The 10 Best Beach Resorts in Florida
When it comes to warm-weather getaways, sometimes, only a beach will do. And what better place to find one than Florida, whose 1,350-mile coastline includes more than 800 miles of sand. From the Gulf to the Keys, the 10 best beach resorts in Florida have it all: award-winning spas, top-notch seafood, and yes, dazzling ocean views. It’s time to check in.
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
Just 17 miles from Naples, Marco Island is a favorite for its canals and half-moon-shaped beach fronting the Gulf of Mexico—it’s also a perfect entry point for exploring the nearby Everglades. Our go-to place to stay: the Balinese-style JW Marriott Marco Island, whose recent $230 million renovation ushered in adults-only guest rooms (though there are plenty of family-friendly spaces to enjoy, too) and floor-to-ceiling windows that maximize Gulf views. Go for a dip in any of the four pools, tee off at the 18-hole championship golf course or knock back a tropical drink at the oceanfront Kane Tiki Bar.
The Breakers Palm Beach
Henry Flagler modeled this 1896 569-room property on a 140-acre estate in Palm Beach after 15th-century villas in Rome. Over time, it became one of the most iconic hotels in the state. A palm-lined driveway leads guests to two spired towers; inside, grand public spaces are decorated in gold leaf and Venetian glass chandeliers. Guest rooms are simpler, with light blue and sand color palettes that keep the focus on the ocean views. Anyone whose anyone around these parts belongs to the hotel’s spa and beach club—but you’ll feel just as much of a VIP lounging in a private cabana by the adults-only infinity pool or enjoying an elegant breakfast beneath The Circle’s 30-foot-high frescoed ceiling.
The Miami Beach EDITION
The Miami Beach EDITION feels more like a playground for Miami’s pretty people than a hotel. Sure, it’s got a spa, a private beach, two sexy pools lined with cabanas and two Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurants. But there’s more, including a bowling alley, a nightclub, an outdoor movie theater, and—no joke—an ice rink.
Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection
Say hello to the first new resort to hit Key Largo in two decades. The 144 guest rooms and ten private bungalows, which border the beachfront pool, are done up with wood-paneled walls, deep blue area rugs, and windows overlooking Florida Bay. After a deep tissue massage at the spa, a bike ride through the nearby mangrove forests, or a sail with an expert instructor, dig into an early steak dinner at La Marea, and cuddle up by the beachside fire pit to watch the sunset.
Amara Cay Resort, Islamorada
You’d never guess Amara Cay was formerly a Hampton Inn. The original property’s generic corals and teals were replaced with a fresher, beachy aesthetic—driftwood and rattan furniture; earthy tones—and the sweeping Atlantic views provide a sense of pure calm. It’s easy to spend hours napping and lazing on Amara’s private beach, but there’s plenty to entertain, too, including bocce ball, complimentary happy hour cocktails every day at 5 p.m., the seafood-centric Oltremare Ristorante, and the buzzy Sparrows Rum Bar, which serves a mean key lime pie.
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Faena was made for lovers of high drama. Miami real estate developer Alan Faena teamed up with filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and his wife, costume designer Catherine Martin, to create his first hotel—a renovated 1940s property that’s a serious head turner. The cinematic spaces feature animal-print furniture and sculptures by Damien Hirst (including the now-iconic wooly mammoth skeleton dipped in 24-karat gold) and the lobby wows with gold-leaf columns and floor-to-ceiling murals by Spanish surrealist Juan Gatti. Throw in the two-level dinner theater and 169 rooms decked out in glamorous hues of cherry and mint, and you’ve got an experience that’s truly larger than life.
RELATED: 9 Best Things to Do in Miami Now
Acqualina Resort and Spa, Sunny Isles Beach
Acqualina brings a taste of South Beach to Sunny Isles. You’ll find it in its Mediterranean villa-style architecture, in its Old-World ambiance (think Baroque fountains and opulent chandeliers), and in the groovy-yet-glamorous details—zebra wood, smoked glass, and Chinchilla faux-fur throws—in the 98 guest rooms. There’s also a brand of New York’s award-winning Il Mulino restaurant, as well as a 20,000-square-foot ESPA spa, one of the best in the city. Our favorite feature, however, is the hotel’s location: equidistant from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, it combines the best of both worlds, without the crowds.
The Reach, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, Key West
Talk about prime real estate: this historic 150-room Waldorf fronts the only natural beach in all of Key West. But that’s not all it has going for it. Beyond snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing, you’ll also have run of the heated pool that looks out over the water, dining at Spencer’s by the Sea, and the Spa at sister property Casa Marina.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key
You’ll need to take a boat (or seaplane) to reach this six-acre private island property, halfway between Marathon and Key West. Once you’re there, it’s all about romance: your thatched roof bungalow has no tv or phone and comes with a plush net-canopied king bed perfect for lazy mornings. Spend your days lounging by the beach, drinking sundowners at the bar and feasting on fresh seafood at waterfront candlelit dinners. (More active types can look into kayaking, scuba diving, or seaplane tours of the Everglades.)
The Ritz Carlton, Amelia Island
Florida’s northernmost barrier island is loved by locals for its quaint Victorian architecture and 13 miles of blissfully crowd-free beaches. This is the home of the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, a 446-room U-shaped resort where every room has a private balcony overlooking Center Beach and the Atlantic. Relaxation is easy to come by here: there are leisurely walks along surrounding sand dunes, butler service by the pool, and cocktails at nightly bonfires. If you’re looking for a little more action, go for dinner at the buzzy Salt restaurant, take a bike tour to historic American Beach, or check out the Civil War-era Fort Clinch, just a 10-minute drive up the coast.
RELATED: Florida’s Secret Beach Getaways