The 10 Best Resorts in Florida If You Need a Winter Escape
Travel experts say these are the best winter destinations in the Sunshine State.
There's a good reason Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations: The state has more than 1,300 miles of coastline, 11 national parks, spectacular scenery, and luxuriously warm weather. It's also home to some of the best resorts in the U.S., which makes it an especially perfect place if you're looking to escape the cold weather. To help you plan your trip to the Sunshine State, we went to the experts and asked them for the best resorts in Florida if you need a winter escape. Whether you're seeking an equestrian-themed getaway or a beachfront vacation, this list has something for you.
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The 10 Best Resorts in Florida for a Winter Escape
1. Little Palm Island Resort and Spa in Torch Key
Little Palm Island Resort and Spa is a haven for anyone seeking tranquility and privacy in a luxury setting.
"This resort sits on its own private island in the Florida Keys and is only accessible by boat or plane," says Nicole Miller of the travel website A Florida Traveler.
Once you arrive, you'll find private thatched-roof bungalows, an indoor/outdoor spa with a two-story atrium, and culinary offerings prepared with ingredients sourced from the islands. The resort offers a true escape from everyday life since phones aren't allowed in the common spaces and the guest rooms are television-free.
2. The Equestrian Hotel in Ocala
Located in central Florida a half hour from Gainesville, The Equestrian Hotel can be found at the heart of the World Equestrian Center.
"It's like coming home to the ranch of your dreams with access to competitions at the Grand Arena and small touches to remind you you're in horse country." says travel writer Rebecca Deurlein.
Every detail has been carefully thought out, from sumptuous European linens that make it hard to get out of bed to large marble bathrooms filled with luxury bath products. But perhaps the best thing about the Equestrian Hotel is that with a gorgeous pool, 30 boutiques, seven restaurants, and a world-class spa on the property, there is plenty to do for non-horse people, too.
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3. St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami Beach
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort manages to stand out in an area that is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in all of Florida.
"This is a great resort choice if you want to unwind in luxury while avoiding the South Beach party scene," says Jenny Ly, founder of the travel website Go Wanderly.
Guests can soak in the expansive ocean views from private balconies in this beachfront resort, located across from one of the best shopping destinations in the world. The property caters to both adults and families, with a separate pool for guests over 18 and a 14,000-square-foot spa offering a respite from the noise of the outside world.
4. TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach
Florida resorts don't have to come with a sky-high price tag. The TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach offers accommodations in different price ranges in two adjacent waterfront hotels.
Guests have access to the amenities at both properties, including sandy beaches, a waterslide and floating water park, nine pools, an aquarium, and 15 restaurants and bars.
"The property offers a variety of accommodations ranging from traditional hotel rooms to beachfront villas and a plethora of activities such as kayaking, deep-sea fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding," says Fred Hoffman, founder of the travel site The True Wilderness.
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5. The Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island
You'll find the exemplary service synonymous with the Ritz Carlton brand on full display at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island.
Located on the Sea Islands chain of barrier islands, the beaches on Amelia Island are famously uncrowded and the golf courses are as challenging as they are beautiful. Featuring indoor and outdoor pools, delightful amenities like a sandcastle concierge and a hammock massage at the spa, the resort is an oasis of luxury and comfort.
"The views of the ocean and private beach are stunning," says Matt James, founder of the travel website Visitingly. The only downside is that you'll never want to leave.
6. The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa in Miramar Beach
The family-friendly Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is an ideal destination for vacationers of all ages. Located on the Gulf Coast amid white sands and turquoise waters, the setting is spectacular.
"Honestly, you'd have no idea you weren't in the Caribbean, except for the fact that you didn't need to pack your passport," says travel writer Jill Schildhouse. "Deluxe Junior Suites have a private balcony overlooking the Emerald Coast and bunk beds for the kids." She goes on to rave about the hotel spa and onsite restaurant, Seagar's Prime Steaks & Seafood, the only AAA Four-Diamond steakhouse in the area.
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7. Hawks Cay Resort in Duck Key
Ensconced on a small island in the Florida Keys, Hawks Cay Resort is the perfect destination if you're looking to take advantage of water sports and activities.
"You won't get bored because of the full-service marina and the abundance of activities including scuba diving, swimming with dolphins, snorkeling, and paddling to adjacent tropical islands," says Sam Bellantoni, founder of the travel website Hotel Gods. While you're there, don't miss the chance to dine in one of the resort's on-site restaurants featuring local ingredients.
Hawks Cay offers regular resort rooms or larger villas, as well as its own marina.
8. The Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach
The views from the Sandpearl Resort seem to go on forever, offering panoramas of Clearwater, the Gulf of Mexico, and Mandalay Bay.
"You'll love the world-class spa, beachfront fire pits, fitness center, and kids' club, not to mention the amazing beachfront restaurants," says Erin Blakely, founder of the Florida-based travel website Erin's Travel Tips.
The resort is home to 700 feet of private coastline, a marina, and a 12,000-foot spa offering both private treatment rooms and suites for couples.
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9. JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
Guests of the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort are spoiled with three miles of private beachfront.
"This resort boasts beautiful Gulf of Mexico views, three outdoor pools, a spa and fitness center, and twelve restaurants," says Pradeep Guragain, co-founder of the travel website Magical Nepal.
Spend your day golfing on either of the resort's two championship courses or simply relaxing on a lounge chair by the pool. The resort caters to families but also has an adults-only enclave, Paradise by Serene.
10. Disney World Resorts in Orlando
Arguably the most famous Florida destination is Disney World in Orlando. There are more than 165 rides and attractions spread across four theme parks and two waterparks, so it's safe to say you won't get bored. And right on the Disney property are dozens of hotels.
"The resort thinks of every detail—from the tech that runs the app… to the staff that seemed impossibly cheery and helpful at every turn," says travel writer Meg St. Esprit.
St. Esprit also applauds the resort for its inclusivity, which allows families with special needs to fully enjoy the resort through their disability access pass. "There's a reason it's the most magical place on earth," she adds.