Sun, Sand and Smiles: 5 of Florida's Top Warm Destinations

Marti Travis Gonzalez
| February 28, 2024 | 3 Minute Read

If you're dreaming of an escape that involves more flip-flops than clothing layers, Florida is calling your name. We all know the magic and enchantment of Orlando, but let's set those aside for a moment and explore five of the top places for a family getaway in the warmth of the Sunshine State

Sunset at Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach - The Ultimate Family Playground

Tired of multiple layers of clothes and chilly winds? Head to Clearwater Beach, where the only frost you'll find is on your mojito glass. Start your day by introducing your toes to the white sand beaches. Clearwater Beach was named the “#1 Beach in the South” by USA Today and named Tripadvisor's “#1 Beach in the US” several years running. Seek a sea adventure with dolphin-watching tours or explore the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, former home to Winter the dolphin, star of the movie "Dolphin Tale." The bustling Beach Walk is lined with vibrant shops and eclectic eateries providing entertainment for all ages. Clearwater Beach truly embodies the spirit of fun, relaxation and the laid-back charm that Florida is famous for.

Top Tip: The nightly Sunset at Pier 60 festival – a dazzling display of colors and street performers – will leave the whole family in awe.

Animal viewing from river boat at Naples Zoo Paradise Coast

Naples - Luxury Meets Family Fun

Welcome to Naples, where the lap of luxury meets laid-back vibes. First things first, ditch the shoes – it's all about sandy toes in this tropical haven. Head down to the iconic Naples Pier, to catch some rays and maybe even a glimpse of dolphins showing off their aquatic acrobatics. Feeling fancy? Go for a shopping spree on the iconic Fifth Avenue South – because even flip-flops deserve to strut their stuff in style. At the Naples Zoo, you can hang with some wild neighbors without venturing too far from your beach towel. And for the ultimate photo-worthy moment, head to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park to watch the sunset, turning the sky into a canvas of breathtaking hues.

Top Tip: Make sure you come hungry. Naples was named in the “Top 20 U.S. Small Towns for Dining” by Conde Naste Traveler.  

Children doing an activity at Castillo fort Visit St. Augustine

St. Augustine - History Comes Alive

Get ready to step into a time machine and sail back to the charming streets of St. Augustine, where history and fun collide. Wander through the cobblestone streets of St. George Street and the historic district, where Spanish moss hangs like nature's streamers. Explore the Lightner Museum, a AAA Gem, where elegance and eccentricity collide. Marvel at the quirky collection of everything from shrunken heads to exquisite Tiffany glass. Climb to the top of the Castillo de San Marcos, another AAA favorite, and channel your inner conquistador for breathtaking views. For the daredevils in the crew, embark on a family-friendly ghost tour and listen to spine-tingling tales that'll give you a good-natured chill.  

Top Tip: Don't forget to try the Datil pepper – the famous locally grown pepper adds a zing to every dish!

Kayaking in the Mangroves in Florida Adobe

Siesta Key - A Tropical Haven

Get your feet ready to feel the softest, most powdery sand. (Noticing a trend? Florida’s got some amazing beaches.) Siesta Key Beach is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. Feeling adventurous? Grab a paddleboard or kayak and cruise along the turquoise waves. Or visit nearby Turtle Beach for epic shell and shark tooth collecting. where dolphins might just join in on your aquatic escapades. When the sun starts playing hide-and-seek, head to Siesta Key Village, a vibrant hub of quirky shops, laid-back eateries, and spots for the ultimate tropical refreshments.

Top Tip: Don’t miss the famous sunset drum circle on the beach for a unique family bonding experience.

children experiencing butterflies at Butterfly World Visit Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale - Venice of America

Not just for snowbirds or spring breakers, Fort Lauderdale turns winter into a beachy blast. Kick off your visit with a relaxing gondola ride along the city's picturesque canals, earning its title as the "Venice of America." For a dose of whimsy, flutter over to Butterfly World, where your little explorers can marvel at more than 20,000 butterflies creating a kaleidoscope of colors surrounding them. Located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercoastal waterway, almost in the heart of the city lies Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. This natural playground invites families to kayak, hike, bike and picnic. And no visit is complete without an airboat ride to explore the nearby Everglades.

Top Tip: Explore the vibrant Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District, where culture and family fun seamlessly intertwine.

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