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Looking for world class powdery white quartz sand beaches, 100 golf courses within driving distance, and an endless selection of cultural and family activities? Siesta Key is the laid-back beach town that goes above and beyond. Right nearby in Sarasota, you'll find museums, art, wildlife, circuses, opera, ballet, symphonies, theater, film festivals, botanical gardens, baseball spring training... the list goes on.
What kind of beachgoer are you? Chances are, you’ll find something in the Sarasota area that appeals to you. Soft sand, fishing piers, shells—you can find it around here. Just don’t go looking for a nude beach—that’s the one thing they don’t have.
Most vacation spots are either relaxing (Tahiti) or family-friendly (Orlando). Sanibel Island, however, is that rare place which is both. Spend a quiet afternoon shell-collecting, or find a hotel with a kids' program so you can enjoy a trip to the spa or a round of golf.
Floridas Southwest Gulf Coast contains a constellation of enticing coastal gems. Stunning beaches, including Ft. Myers Beach, Tigertail Beach and Pensacola Beach, fringe the Gulf, down the I-75 from Tampa to Naples. Sanibel Islands shelling attracts thousands. Cape Corals waters are paradise for flyfishing. Golfers adore spectacular courses in Marco Island and Naples. Glorious sunny days and deliciously warm turquoise waters beckon in this often overlooked corner of the Sunshine State.
Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, Fort Myers offers its own great beaches as well as being surrounded by some 100 barrier and coastal islands to explore. The shelling is stupendous, and the nearby Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is inspirational. The Great Calusa Blueway offers 40 miles of canoe and kayak trails.
The quaint feel of Anna Maria Island makes it the perfect place to eat grouper sandwiches and kayak with dolphins. While you’re here visit Bean Point Beach, tucked away on the north end of the island — a cozy paradise with an Old Florida vibe. Then hop on over to Anna Maria Bayfront Park, which includes sweeping views of Tampa Bay and the iconic Sunshine Skyway. Numerous beaches, restaurants and events make Anna Maria Island the perfect relaxation spot for your next vacation.
Ruskin's location on the Little Manatee River, part of Tampa Bay's South Shore, gives residents and visitors easy access to traditional Floridian pursuits like fishing and boating. Simmons County Park has white sand beaches, mangrove trees, wildlife and views of Tampa Bay. Long an agricultural community focused on vegetable farming, Ruskin hosts its own farmers' market and a Tomato and Heritage Festival.
At the shore in Miami Beach, visitors can swim, surf and jet ski in the warm and crystal-clear Atlantic waters. You can also nap on the white sands, work on a tan or simply watch the beautiful people, especially at South Beach, a favorite of models and celebrities.
Escape to Daytona Beach, and discover a destination where new adventures for all ages are around every corner — whether you’re strolling along 23 miles of uncrowded, white-sand beaches or reeling in a new discovery at the Main Street Pier. Greet the morning by soaking in the salt air on a paddleboard tour or by rounding the famed Daytona Beach International Speedway at top speed. Then get a taste of local culture at the Riverfront Shops and the fantastic Museum of Arts & Sciences.
Stretching 126 miles south toward Cuba, the stunning Keys are a perfect escape. Highlights along the way include Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and the irrepressible Key West. Get up close with an amazing array of fish while snorkeling, diving or fishing in the warm turquoise waters. Creeks, coral and costumed spectacles are other lures along the way. Highway 1 is a spectacular ribbon tying together the islands and atolls of this paradise between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.
Destin is located on Florida’s Emerald Coast, which gets its name from its beautiful, clear green water. Beaches here have extremely fine, soft sand, so if you’re a beach-walker or your kids enjoy building sand castles, this could be a great destination for you.
Myrtle Beach is all at once a spring break destination, golfing destination, retirement community, and family vacation spot. Take in a foot-stomping show at the Carolina Opry, or cheer on your favorite knight at Medieval Times. Mingle with the fishermen of Springmaid Pier, then stop for ice cream along the boardwalk. Shop and dine at one of the area’s many outdoor entertainment complexes, or simply explore the many beaches of the Grand Strand – all with a personality of their own.
Mayan ruins tower over the sea in Tulum. The formerly walled city was one of the last to be built by the Mayans, and its archaeological sites are incredibly well preserved. Take a break from the beach to visit El Castillo, the Temple of the Frescoes, and the Temple of the Descending God. Explore an underground river under a canopy of stalactites in the sacred caverns of LabnaHa Eco Park, or dive into Cenote Dos Ojos to snorkel inside of caves in the middle of a forest.
Puerto Rico offers the perfect balance of rum-soaked nightlife and tranquil retreat. The Spanish colonial buildings of San Juan set a perfect backdrop for a day of shopping and sightseeing. Hike the massive El Yunque rainforest to see waterfalls, stone towers, and colorful Puerto Rican wildlife. As far as beaches go, it doesn’t get better than the private sands of Isla de Vieques – particularly Mosquito Bay, where by moonlight the water glows blue-green thanks to magical microorganisms.
San Diego embodies laid-back California culture, complete with a Boardwalk, surfing communities, and outstanding Mexican food. Breathe in the fresh ocean air at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, then gobble down a fresh fish taco at a La Jolla seafood joint. The naval aircrafts at the USS Midway Museum will have you standing at attention. A free Sunday concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion is the perfect way to unwind after a Saturday night bar-hop in the thumping Gaslamp Quarter.
The Hawaiian island of Maui is a destination for true nature lovers. The ethereal bamboo forest and churning waterfalls in Haleakala National Park can be explored via the Waimoku Falls Trail. Stretch out on warm, golden sands or hit the surf for an unforgettable windsurfing or snorkeling session. Driving the scenic road to Hana along the island’s northeastern shore will be among the most spectacular journeys of your life. Time stands still at the Hawaiian village of Keanae, definitely worth a visit.