As summer begins to heat up, you may want to take a big trip outside the state in June, July or August. Don’t think you can’t have a fun, luxurious trip beforehand and stay close to home. You can still treat yourself by staying in the Sunshine State and visiting areas you may not have considered otherwise. I recommend things to see and exotic places to stay for two cities on the Gulf Coast and two cities on the Atlantic Coast.
Sarasota is easygoing and beautiful. Just one hour south of Tampa on Interstate 75, people can enjoy charter rides on glamorous yachts by going to the Sarasota Yacht Club just west of downtown. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art includes not only Florida’s largest collection of Baroque art but a special Museum of the Circus (yes, they’re those Ringlings). Admire tropical plants at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, or relax in the sun at Siesta Beach or Lido Key.
Where to Stay? The Resort at Longboat Key Club (220 Sands Point Rd, Longboat Key) is Sarasota’s only five-star resort. The resort boasts over 200 recently renovated rooms with large balconies that offer breathtaking views of the water. There is also a spa on-site that can rejuvenate you in just 30 minutes’ time. You can play golf and tennis on the resort property as well.
Naples is an hour and 40 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale and two hours away from Miami via Interstate 75. Built in the 1950s, the city of Naples was designed as a place for the rich to stay and play while visiting from the North. Residents and vacationers mingle together in the beautiful shopping malls, on the beaches, and at nearby Marco Island, home to some of Florida’s biggest movers and shakers. If you want a place that drips glamour without pretenses, Naples is the place to stay.
Where to Stay? LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort (9891 Gulf Shore Dr.) is nationally-known and is a resort sponsor of the Live! with Kelly and Michael TV show. Naples boasts some of the whitest sand beaches in the world and you’ll see exactly what they’re talking about just by stepping out your door. Whether you relax on the beach or by poolside cabana, you have your own waiter who will take your drink order! Enjoy the pastel-colored rooms with large four-poster beds.
Melbourne is on the Space Coast, an 80-minute drive from Orlando via Florida’s Turnpike. It is also minutes away from Cape Canaveral and NASA headquarters. If you’re interested in taking a tour, all you have to do is call ahead and reserve your ticket! The main public beach east of Melbourne is Indialantic, which is the perfect place to swim and enjoy the blue Atlantic waters. Other adjacent beaches, such as Melbourne Beach and Satellite Beach, will give any Central Floridian their fill of sun and fun. Also, Space Coast Pride is coming up in Melbourne in the next few weeks. Why don’t you go?
Where to Stay? Hilton Melbourne Beach Oceanfront (3003 N. Hwy A1A) is ideal for a glam getaway. The king bed suites that overlook the ocean can sleep four: two in the main bed and two on the queen-sized sleeper sofa in the living room! The Florida-inspired sea green and blue color scheme was hand-picked to relax, and it does the trick! Partake in a beverage at the poolside bar and then enjoy seafood cooked to perfection at the Ocean Grille.
Port Saint Lucie
Port Saint Lucie, located on the beautiful Treasure Coast, is just a 45-minute drive from West Palm Beach and a 90-minute trip from Fort Lauderdale. This is a place to go if you’re a lover of nature. The city offers hiking trails under canopies of oak and palm, and kayaking tours of the St. Lucie River. If you’re interested in doing something different on the beach, you can enjoy a horseback ride on Hutchinson Island. It’s one of the few places in the state where you can ride a horse on the beach!
Where to Stay? Club Med Sandpiper Bay (4500 SE Pine Valley St.) brings the all-inclusive Club Med resort experience that is beloved worldwide to the state of Florida. All your meals and drinks are included in the price at this lavish resort, which gets high marks for its tennis courts, pools and full-service spa. The spa, the only L’Occitane Club Med spa in the United States, offers 6,000 luxurious square feet of beauty treatments, massage therapy, and relaxation.