See more of the Sunshine State on a fly-drive adventure across Florida. Create a road trip to tick off theme parks in Orlando or explore the super cool city of Miami. Discover mesmerising beach scenes in Clearwater and the kooky tropical islands of the Keys. Plan your journey with our Florida guide.
Fort Lauderdale – Palm Beaches – Naples – Marco Island
Best for: East to west coast delights
The journey: 214 miles
The lowdown: Begin your adventure in the Venice of Florida. Immerse your senses in a city of waterways and balmy beach days. Meander along the Riverwalk promenade, savour al fresco dining or catch the Atlantic surf before you unwind on sweeping golden beaches. Discover the urban Las Olas Boulevard, a lively area bursting with thriving bars, a cluster of appetising restaurants and stylish shops.
Where to stay: Admire passing boats (and their creative names) at Gallery One, which sits just next to the Intercoastal Waterway. Explore the area, hit the beach, then sip on delicious drinks at the Vue bar as you ponder what you would name your own yacht...
Otherwise, B Ocean Resort offers an idyllic sanctuary with a powder-sand beach on your doorstep – pure bliss for beachside lounging. Experience the world-famous Wreck Bar and catch a mermaid performance through the porthole windows.
The lowdown: Drive north to the glitz and glamour of Palm Beaches. Roll through a manicured landscape dotted with exquisite condos. Explore the luscious (and exclusive) area of Worth Avenue, dine like royalty or enjoy window shopping with a scoop of frozen yogurt in hand.
Where to stay: For an eclectic stay, The Colony is a beautiful hotel in a brilliant location with live entertainment and cabaret shows.
Want a stay right on the beach? Look no further than the picturesque Eau Palm Beach Resort, which is surrounded by tropical gardens. Unwind in a private oceanfront cabana on the Florida Gold Coast, then indulge in the Eau Spa.
The lowdown: Head across state to glossy Naples on the Gulf Coast, passing through the Everglades en route. Arrive to the pretty city, well-known for its affluence and natural beauty. Soak up the Mediterranean style of The Village Shops on Venetian Bay as you explore its many shops and flavourful bistro cuisine. Tune in to nature when you tee off from one of many golfing greens or embrace the serenity of tranquil mangroves and satin beaches.
Where to stay: Stay on fifth Avenue at The Inn on Fifth to be in the centre of the action. Savour the rooftop oasis with a pool, hot tub and loungers during an enchanting evening under the stars.
Or enjoy a mosaic of beachside luxury at Naples Grande Beach Resort. Relax in the spa, play at the beach and sip your morning coffee (or sundowner cocktail) at the Sunset Veranda.
The lowdown: Cruise a little further south for nonchalant island days. Marco Island is the perfect final stop for a road trip, where you can hang foot loose and fancy-free. Kick back on South Marco Beach and immerse yourself in the warmth of the shallow waters. Skim over the glistening waters on a boat ride to Keewaydin Island and watch as dolphins playfully chase the surf. Cool down with an ice-cream from a boat vendor and spend days lounging in the sun.
Where to stay: JW Marco Island Resort & Spa provides an award-winning resort stay with a perfect three mile stretch of pristine beach for family-fun days or romantic sunset strolls.
Tampa – Sarasota – Fort Myers
Best for: A cultural nature trip
The journey: 136 miles
The lowdown: Satisfy your adrenaline needs at Tampa’s Busch Gardens. Zoom around on tumbling and swivelling rollercoasters, encounter animals and explore the destination themed elements of the park from the Congo to Egypt. If parks aren’t for you – no problem. Discover the lively Ybor City for a dose of Cuban culture. Then stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk and find al fresco dining spots for brunch. Stop for a taco dinner and margarita mixers and see lights flicker across the glistening waters at night-time.
Where to stay: The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, close to Downtown Tampa and Tampa’s beaches, makes a brilliant base. Savour a location where you can catch a glowing sunset over the bay, unwind by a firepit and head to the bar for a tasty nightcap.
The lowdown: Make tracks south to Sarasota, for a fusion of old and new. Soak up the cultural scenes of Downtown Sarasota in its mellow coffee shops and brewery hangouts. Immerse yourself in the shopping at St Armand’s Circle and marvel at the European architecture. Next stop? The beautiful beaches. Siesta Key Beach is a USA favourite with ivory-white sands, a sunbathing haven and a gorgeous shoreline for sunset walks. Get closer to nature with a bike ride along the Legacy Trail or venture through Myakka River State Park to see gators in the wild.
Where to stay: For beachside opulence, The Ritz Carlton Sarasota is dripping in style. Savour a tropical sanctuary with a sparkling pool beneath palm trees and a private beach with its own Members Club for guests.
Or for barefoot luxury, The Resort at Longboat Beach Club, offers golf and tennis clinics, if you can summon the energy to rise from your poolside lounge chair.
The lowdown: Venture further south to miles of palm-lined white sandy beaches of Fort Myers to unwind at your final road trip destination. Relax on the shores of Bowditch Point Park or take to the waters on rented kayaks and paddleboards. Find a spot on Lynn Hall Memorial Park beach to sun-bathe, play volleyball and enjoy leisurely lunches. Find a slice of history at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates and admire the velvety gardens.
Where to stay: On an island of wonders, Captiva Island’s South Seas Resort provides lounge-worthy euphoric beaches. Cycle with the family, hop on a jet-ski just for two, play some golf, then sip sundowner cocktails on the beach amidst live music.