When you’ve got an itch for sea islands, sea turtles, snorkeling, and the sapphire blue waters of the Atlantic coast, there’s only one place to satisfy it. Florida is the dream destination for a lively tropical escape, but between luxury hotels and towering condos, why not shake up your vacation plans? If you’re looking for a new corner of the Sunshine State to explore, here’s a list of our favorite coastal communities for a truly unique weekend getaway.
Palm trees, an outdoor pool, and pops of pastel make Sunrise Garden one of the most beautiful secret spots on our list, but that’s not all there is to enjoy. With its distance from the major cities and its broad sands, Anna Maria Island offers some of the quietest beaches in Florida. Sink into some reading by the beach, stretch out by the pool, relish the low-key pace of downtown, or even add some unique flair to lunch at the Ugly Grouper.
A fishing village on the banks of St. Joseph’s Bay, Port St. Joe is alive with natural beauty and makes the perfect getaway for those looking for a less crowded, hidden vacation spot. Barefoot Cottages offer cute, colorful, comfortable stays and a pool for a float or swim between beach trips. While you can kayak and swim with sea turtles in the bay, we recommend a stop at Cape San Blas for a secluded beach retreat.
Uncrowded, with sugar-white sands, Perdido Key’s beautiful beaches are one of the best-kept secrets of the Florida keys. Lounge in your own slice of luxury at Resort Villas at Lost Key, including a pool and tennis courts, while keeping attractions conveniently nearby. Savor fresh seafood, tee off at local golf courses, and meander the boardwalk at Perdido Key State Park.
Just several minutes from Destin, the Villages of Crystal Beach offer stylish and spacious homes for your unique weekend getaway. This community provides a private, secluded experience for your vacation, and is situated close enough to ice cream shops, golf courses, and the sunned beaches of the gulf coast. Have your choice of rest and relaxation on nearby quiet beaches or liven up the party at the famous Panama City Beach, 47 miles away.
Find your tropical paradise at Nantucket Rainbow Cottages, a two-minute drive from peaceful James Lee Beach. This breezy, quiet Destin community offers spacious cottages and a shared, seasonally heated pool, along with easy access to local restaurants, shops, and golf courses. Adventure over to Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park and explore the wetland wildlife, or visit Big Kahuna's Water & Adventure Park for some water park fun.
For a charmingly unique Florida vacation, why not try a bed and breakfast? Curry House is a historic and enchanting getaway with modern updates, including a shared pool and veranda. Activity is in abundance in Key West, so make sure to check out the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Key West Aquarium, and local seafood or Cuban restaurants.