10 Romantic Getaways in Florida
By Kara Franker
Ready to let sparks fly? Florida is for lovers.
We have loads of sunshine, luxurious hotels, the freshest seafood, year-round perfect weather and, you guessed it, miles and miles of beaches -- 825 miles of white-sand perfection to be exact. But who’s counting?
Here are our top 10 ideas for the most romantic getaways in Florida:
1. Watch the Sunset on St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach is a sunset connoisseurs' paradise. And there are no shortage of romantic places in Florida's St. Pete Beach to sit and enjoy the show. For views that will take your breath away and cold cocktails to go along with it, head to the rooftop of the Hurricane on the Pass-a-Grille section of the beach. Or park your toes in the sand and listen to live music while the sun bids farewell at the Paradise Grille.
Where to Stay: Not only does the Don CeSar Hotel look like a sandcastle, it has such a fairytale ambiance that you'll feel like royalty. They don't call it the "Pink Palace" for nothing.
2. Climb the Lighthouse on Key Biscayne
There's nothing more romantic than ascending a spiral staircase and climbing 109 steps in the heart of a historic lighthouse. Especially when you're greeted with stunning panoramic ocean views at the top. Built in 1825, the lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park offers free tours Thursday - Monday. Thinking about a marriage proposal? This would be a great spot to get down on one knee.
Where to Stay: The Ritz-Carlton on Key Biscayne is just seven miles from downtown Miami, but seems a world away. Soak up the laid-back island vibe, excellent service and delicious waterfront dining options such as Dune Oceanfront Burger Lounge and Cantina Beach.
3. Kiss Underwater in the Florida Keys
The 120-mile island chain is home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef, and offers unparalleled diving and snorkeling experiences. In Key Largo, snorkel your way through schools of brightly colored fish at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and visit the Spiegel Grove, a sunken U.S. Navy ship that’s home to its own thriving underwater ecosystem. Go ahead and give her a smooch, the fish won't tell anyone. It's one of the most romantic getaways in Florida.
Where to Stay: Little Palm Island Resort and Spa is accessible only by boat or seaplane. Robinson Crusoe-style thatched roofs cover luxurious suites with private outdoor hot tubs and decks.
4. Visit Lover's Key in Southwest Florida
If ever there was a place designed especially for couples, it's Lover's Key State Park, near Fort Myers. Pack a picnic and spread out a beach blanket on the sand. A haven for wildlife, the island is home to manatees and dolphins. The name alone proves that it's one of the most romantic places in Florida.
Where to Stay: Just a short boat ride away, South Seas Island Resort on neighboring Captiva Island is nestled in a 330-acre beachfront property. For total seclusion and complete luxury, book one of the beach villas or private homes.
5. Stay in Destin at America's Most Romantic Inn
Voted the #1 Most Romantic Hotel in North America, the Henderson Park Inn lives up to its reputation. The service is outstanding and the views of the Emerald Coast from the sunset deck are simply spectacular.
6. Take a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride in St. Augustine
Located on Florida's Historic Coast, St. Augustine is the nation's oldest city. What better way to explore the city than by a horse-drawn carriage? Country Carriages will introduce you to centuries-old architecture and rustic cobblestone streets. Of all the romantic getways in Florida, this one offers you a step back in time and a memory that will last forever.
Where to Stay: Featuring Spanish-influenced architecture and lavishly appointed rooms, the Casa Monica offers couples opportunity to rekindle the romance in the heart of historic St. Augustine.
7. Eat Oysters on St. George Island
Remote St. George Island offers ocean breezes and star-gazing without the glare of the city lights. Located just 20 minutes from Apalachicola (the origin of 90 percent of Florida's oysters), you'll find these tasty little aphrodisiacs at eclectic oyster shacks like Eddy Teach's.
Where to Stay: Rent your own private beach house in this secluded part of Florida, also known as The Forgotten Coast.
8. Explore the Florida Everglades
If your idea of a romantic getaway in Florida includes becoming one with nature, then the 10,000 Island National Wildlife Refuge will appeal to you. Located between Marco Island and Everglades City, the 35,000-acre refuge is home to immense mangrove forests, some 200 species of fish and 189 bird species, plus a diverse array of mammals, from river otters to bottle-nosed dolphins.
Where to Stay: Head over to Marco Island and stay at the sprawling Marco Island Marriott. Located on a pristine white-sand beach, the resort is famous for its nightly sunset celebrations at Quinn's on the Beach.
9. Go Shopping on Palm Beach
Often referred to as the "Rodeo Drive of the East Coast" Palm Beach's Worth Avenue is lined with upscale retail brands amid Old World decor and lush landscaping. Luxury brands include Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co. -- just to name a few. The latter of which could come in very handy for ring shopping.
Where to Stay: Located within walking distance to both the shops and the shore, the Brazilian Court Hotel is rich in history and elegance. Dine at Café Boulud, situated in a romantic garden setting at the hotel and owned by French celebrity chef Daniel Boulud.
10. Go Horseback Riding on Amelia Island
On unspoiled Amelia Island, explore nature trails and go for a sunrise horseback ride on the golden sand beach. After you've worked up an appetite, dine at Salt, a AAA 5-Diamond restaurant that pays tribute to the rich bounty of fresh foods harvested from the ocean and marshes on the island. There are few romantic getaways in Florida that can rival the experience of riding horseback along the beach.
Where to Stay: Located right on the beach, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island offers an elegant combination of Southern charm and five-star service.