Sarasota's 10 Best Florida Getaways

By staff July 1, 2007

If you’re a golf aficionado who likes chilling with the guys, the Guilt-Free Golf package at Amelia Island Plantation is for you. This Jacksonville-area resort boasts 72 holes of championship golf, dozens of tennis courts and pools, a spa, eateries galore and a range of accommodations—from the swanky beachfront hotel to private villas. The package (for four guys) includes daily golf, complimentary drinks and food, take-home swag—and all the male bonding you can stand. $196 per person per night. 6800 First Coast Highway, Amelia Island (904) 261-6161.

There’s more to romance than roses, which is why St. Augustine’s Cedar House Inn includes chocolates, a carriage ride, a $50 dinner credit and champagne in its Romance & Roses package. At the heart of the city’s historic district, this restored 1893 Victorian bed-and-breakfast is just a hand-in-hand stroll away from museums, shops and restaurants. Ask for the St. Augustine Grand Suite with its sexy sleigh bed, elegant sitting area and spacious Jacuzzi. $195 plus price of room. 79 Cedar St., St. Augustine (800) 845-0012.

The historic Don CeSar Beach Resort has been around since 1928, when it was a hotspot for well-heeled guests from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Al Capone. It’s still got charm—a curious blend of Old World grandeur and contemporary seaside sophistication. (A recent $20 million facelift has it looking better than ever.) Gal pals in the mood for extreme pampering should check out the Pretty in Pink package, a three-night getaway with spa treatments and other indulgences. Price starts at $1,224 for four, sharing a room. 3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg Beach (866) 728-2206.

Leave your tech toys home when you visit Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, a secluded island paradise in the Keys where phones, laptops and TVs are taboo. This elite resort offers high-luxe comforts with 28 exquisitely furnished thatched-roof bungalows, an Indonesian-themed spa, celebrated dining—all nestled in a tropical Eden. Indulge in the five-night Wi-Try getaway, which includes meals, a couple’s massages and pure, barefoot bliss. $11,000 for two. 28500 Overseas Highway, Little Torch Key (800) 343-8567.

Enjoy golf and romance at the posh LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples. The Stay and Play package includes three nights in a drop-dead gorgeous beachfront suite (with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Gulf), daily tee time on the Robert Cupp-designed course, a couple’s massage, a private beachside cabana feast, dinner for two at the acclaimed beachfront restaurant, Baleen, and a sunset gourmet picnic. Around $2,200. 9891 Gulf Shore Drive, Naples (800) 237-6883.

Seduce your senses and your partner at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club. This pleasure palace was recently renovated to the tune of $100 million, and it shows. The spectacular suites offer terracotta floors, lavish furnishings, marble bathrooms, soaking tubs and balconies. Pamper yourself with the Moon in Miami package, featuring a romantic dinner, extravagant breakfast, and a couple’s massage in the privacy of your room. From $679 per night. 19999 West Country Club Drive, Miami (305) 932-6200.

The moment you board the ferry (or your boat) for Palm Island Resort, your laid-back Florida vacation begins. This family-friendly resort near Englewood sits along two miles of pristine beaches on Palm Island. Guests stay in 160 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with Gulf, bay or marina views. While the Gulf villas are great, the summer deal is for the Bay Villas: Stay three nights and get the fourth night free. Prices vary. 7092 Placida Road, Cape Haze (941) 697-4800.

On the sugary sands of Estero Island in Fort Myers, Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa offers 200-plus beachfront suites, plenty of eating places, a kid’s camp, and a spa—fun for the whole family. If it’s just the two of you, ask for a brand-new one-bedroom Captiva Villa with private sunning deck. Families will prefer the spacious and comfy two-bedroom Vacation Villas. Stay three nights during the summer and get the fourth night free. 275 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach (888) 222-7465.

Indulge your fantasies with An Affair to Remember package at The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach. Designed to inspire (or re-inspire) romance, this memorable package features such sensual treats as a couple’s massage with a “ritual bath,” a candlelit dinner for two at Baleen (overlooking the ocean), breakfast in bed and more. Ask for an oceanfront suite with a balcony and follow your bliss. From $806 for one night. 2637 S. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach Shores (386) 767-7350.

At Bokeelia Tarpon Inn on Pine Island, depending on the season, grouper, tarpon, shark, redfish, snook, trout, and snapper await you. In the Poe-Johnson house dating from 1914, this lovingly restored bed and breakfast offers sweeping views of Charlotte Harbor, a lounge filled with nautical oddities, six charming guestrooms, and all the fishing, boating and island-hopping you’re up for. Rent the whole house and bring friends; six rooms go for $999 per night. You’ll be hooked. 8241 Main St., Bokeelia (239) 283-8961.

Our 10 Best lists are not ranked in order of numerical preferences.

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