Florida may be synonymous with sun and sand, but only a few resorts actually put you right on the beach. From a top-notch spa to a secluded island, here are the very best Florida beach resorts based on beach access, amenities, and TripAdvisor ratings.
Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach
Situated on four-and-a-half acres of blissful beachside property in Sunny Isles Beach (between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami), Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach gives new meaning to fun in the sun. The 98-room Mediterranean-style villa sits directly overlooking the ocean, without any barriers between guests and its 400-feet of Atlantic shoreline.
A recipient of the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award and the AAA Five Diamond Award, Acqualina doesn't disappoint when it comes to service and amenities. The resort features three outdoor swimming pools, beachfront yoga, a world-class oceanfront spa, and three on-site restaurants.
Southernmost on the Beach
Key West may not be known for its beaches—Duval Street always steals the spotlight—but there are plenty of places to dig your feet in the sand. Southernmost on the Beach is just such a spot, with its own private beach, oceanfront pool, Shores bar, and a private pier perfect for sunset viewing.
The resort features 124 recently renovated rooms that offer ocean views, each of which come with access to South Beach and use of rental beach chairs and umbrellas. Located a stone's throw from the historic Old Town, Southernmost on the Beach delivers the best of both worlds when it comes to Key West vacations.
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Lago Mar Resort and Club
With a 500-foot private beach and a secluded location in Ft. Lauderdale, Lago Mar Resort and Club feels like a true escape from the every day. Cabanas, chaise lounges, steamer chairs, and umbrellas are provided to take lounging to the next level. The Lago Mar Resort and Club also features two swimming pools—one is a 9,000-foot lagoon-inspired area with its very own island—and plenty of on-site activities, such as four tennis courts, a resort shop, and a spa. Six on-site eateries offer a range of cuisines and dining options, including a soda shop (ice cream fanatics rejoice) and a wine cellar lounge.
Pink Shell Beach Resort
Located on the northern tip of Ft. Myers Beach, Pink Shell Beach Resort boasts sweeping beachfront views. Amenities include a wide range of water activities, including sailing lessons, WaveRunner rentals, parasailing, dolphin adventure tours, and free use of kayaks and paddleboards.
Three heated swimming pools also provide plenty of entertainment, and one even comes with a large waterfall. As for the sandier-side of things, the Pink Shell Beach Resort provides yoga on the beach and free use of beach chairs and umbrellas, as well as cabana and fire-pit rentals. There's also a 6,000-square-foot spa, a kids' camp, two on-site eateries, and complimentary nature walks.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
With a slew of awards to its credit—Conde Nast "Gold List"; Travel + Leisure Top 500 World's Best Hotels in 2013, 2014, and 2015; and TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013 and 2014; among others—Little Palm Island Resort & Spa promises a luxurious and splurge-worthy getaway on a remote island off the Florida Keys coastline. A true secluded escape, only accessible by sea plane or boat, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa offers air-conditioned thatch-roofed bungalow suites set among six acres of sandy beaches and palm trees.
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Situated on 140 acres of pristine oceanfront property in the heart of Palm Beach, a stay at The Breakers is a tropical experience unlike any other in Florida. The Italian-Renaissance-style resort provides five acres of oceanfront splendor, which includes a half-mile of private beach, four oceanfront pools, five whirlpool spas, beach bungalows, and a bathhouse. Outdoor enthusiasts can partake in the Breakers' many activities, such as scuba diving, sunset cruises, ocean kayaking, snorkeling, tennis, and golf. There's also a spa and eight on-site restaurants.
Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
Located in northeast Florida, just 20 miles southeast of Jacksonville, the 300-acre Ponte Vedra Inn & Club lures both travelers with amenities such as seaside golf, tennis, sailing, fishing, and cycling. It doesn't end there, however, as the resort also features miles of beaches, four heated swimming pools, a full-service spa, four restaurants, and three lounges. The 250-room resort earned a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014.
Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort
Overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in the heart of the Florida Keys, Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort is known for its white sandy beaches, tropical swimming pools, and lush gardens. Tranquility Bay Beachfront Hotel & Resort also offers on-site diving, snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and jet skiing.
The Carillon Hotel & Spa
Formerly Canyon Ranch Miami Beach, The Carillon Hotel & Spa combines a dramatic setting overlooking the water with Southern Florida's largest spa. More than 40 activities are offered each day, including beach boot camp, morning walks, classes in the adults-only heated rooftop pool, indoor rock climbing, and boxers' workout. Four pools and the beach, only steps from the hotel, make it easy to soak up the sun in a stunning setting.
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Costa d'Este Beach Resort & Spa
Gloria and Emilio Estefan (yes, that Gloria Estefan) founded Costa d'Este Beach Resort & Spa in Central Florida's Treasure Coast as the ultimate escape from the ordinary. The beachfront haven provides ocean views alongside locally grown and organic dishes served at the Wave Kitchen & Bar or the Beachside Cabana Bar. Guests can take a dip in the infinity pool or enjoy water activities on Vero Beach, such as scuba diving, surfing, boating, and kayaking.
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Read the original story: 10 Best Florida Beach Resorts by Kate H. Knapp, who is a contributor to SmarterTravel.
(Photo: TripAdvisor LLC)