Unwind and Recharge: The Best Relaxing Vacations in Florida
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Looking for relaxing vacations in Florida? The Sunshine State is a fun destination for many people, and for good reason.
With its warm weather, beautiful beaches, and endless array of activities, Florida has something to offer everyone.
For those looking to unwind and relax, Florida also has a number of vacation spots that are perfect for a peaceful and rejuvenating trip.
Whether it’s a secluded beachfront bungalow or a luxurious spa resort, Florida has no shortage of relaxing vacation spots. Some of the top options include Amelia Island, Sanibel Island, and Siesta Key. But these destinations can get quite crowded at certain times of the year.
There are several other locations under an hour from the congested Florida hot spots you may have heard of. These destinations offer stunning natural beauty, tranquil surroundings, and plenty of opportunities for rest and relaxation.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a relaxing vacation in Florida can be just what the doctor ordered.
With so many beautiful and peaceful spots to choose from, visitors are sure to find the perfect place to unwind and recharge.
At the bottom of this article, I will put additional links to help you plan your relaxing Florida getaway.
Top Relaxing Vacations in Florida
Florida is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and relaxing atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for an adventure getaway or to simply relax while on vacation, Florida has something for everyone.
Often people will say Miami for a relaxing destination. I do not agree. Yes sitting on the beach is relaxing but try to get a dinner reservation.
It is often quite crowded and there are very few beaches you can enjoy simply listening to the waves. It is more difficult to find a restaurant or bar without advance reservations.
Something to consider if you’re thinking about a Miami vacation to relax.
Here are some of the top spots for a relaxing vacation in Florida:
Clearwater Beach is a beautiful vacation spot located on the Gulf of Mexico. The beach offers miles of white sand, crystal clear waters, and breathtaking sunsets.
Visitors can relax on the beach, take a sunset cruise, or go on a dolphin watching tour. Clearwater Beach is also home to many theme parks, making it a great destination for families.
Key West is a laid-back vacation spot located at the southernmost point of the United States. The island offers a relaxed atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a rich history.
Visitors can take a sunset sail, explore the island’s many historic sites, or simply relax on the beach.
Key West is also known for its vibrant nightlife, making it a great destination for couples. That may be good or bad depending on how much you want to unplug.
If you truly are looking for downtime, I would recommend picking another island in the Florida Keys that is less busy.
St. Augustine is a historic vacation spot located on the east coast of Florida. The city offers a charming atmosphere, beautiful beaches, and a rich history.
Visitors can explore the city’s many historic sites, relax on the beach, or take a wildlife tour. St. Augustine is also home to many art galleries and museums, making it a great destination for culture lovers.
Like Miami, St. Augustine can be quite busy during tourist season. This is generally in the months of May through September.
Another thing to keep in mind, yes the winter months are less crowded, but the temps can dip into the 40s or even the 30s. Something to keep in mind if you want any beach time.
Palm Beach is a luxurious vacation spot located on the east coast of Florida. The city offers beautiful beaches, high-end resorts, and world-class golf courses.
Visitors can relax on the beach, shop at the city’s many boutiques, or enjoy a glass of champagne at one of the city’s many upscale restaurants.
Palm Beach is in the South Florida area but much less crowded than Fort Lauderdale or Miami.
Roughly an hour from Orlando, is the quaint town of Mount Dora. It is literally the opposite of Orlando.
Orlando is always very busy due to the theme parks and as well as a destination for international tourists. These theme parks really do not have downtime like other vacation destinations.
In Mount Dora, you can enjoy lakes, antique shopping, family owned BNB’s and restaurants. All without having to deal with Disney size crowds.
Florida State Parks
For me, true relaxation happens when I’m in nature. That includes the beach as well as rivers, springs, and forests.
When I hike or kayak along any of Florida’s beautiful rivers, I can literally feel my blood pressure go down.
Florida State Parks are the perfect for getting away from it all. Decompress a few days.
Some of the state parks that are breathtakingly gorgeous are in the center or northern portion of the Sunshine State.
My favorites are those that have crystal clear springs like Itchetucknee Springs State Park, Manatee Springs State Park, Homassa Springs State Park, or Rainbow Springs State Park.
Unfortunately, Florida State Parks are prime destinations for RV’s and snowbirds which makes it harder to get reservations if you plan to camp. Many have cabins and primitive campsites are often more attainable.
Other options for a nature vacation are Florida’s State Forests as well as Ocala National Forest in Ocala and Osceola National Forest near Lake City.
Outdoor Activities To Enjoy Relaxing Vacations in Florida
Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and sunny weather, but it also offers a variety of outdoor activities.
Whether you want to explore the state’s natural beauty from a boat or by foot, you will find plenty of options for relaxing vacations in Florida as well as fun activities.
Fishing in Florida is a popular activity for both locals and tourists alike. The state is home to a variety of fish species, including tarpon, snook, and redfish.
There are many fishing charters and guides available for those looking to experience the best fishing spots in the area.
Kayaking is a great way to explore the state’s waterways and wildlife. Many areas offer guided tours, including the Everglades and the St. Johns River.
Be careful if you are considering the St. Johns River. Some areas of the river such as near Jacksonville have a lot of motorboat traffic.
The boats are supposed to reduce speed when they’re near kayaks or canoes. These days, many do not. It seems that common courtesy on the water is no longer a thing.
If you are not an experienced kayaker, my suggestion would be the Suwannee River or Sante Fe Rivers in North Central Florida. Both of these are the friendly Florida Paddle Trail.
You may also consider the Peace River in the center of the state. These rivers are much less crowded especially during the week.
Snorkeling or Diving
Florida is known for its clear waters and diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts.
There are many dive sites throughout the state, including the Florida Keys, Gulf of Mexico and even cave diving in the area of the state I live.
Visitors can also take diving classes and get certified while on vacation.
Snorkel in the Gulf, Ocean or in any of the beautiful natural springs. A favorite destination for snorkeling is the Rainbow River. The beauty is unreal.
For those looking for a more relaxing outdoor activity, Florida is home to many beautiful gardens.
The Alfred B. Maclay Gardens in Tallahassee, the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, Jacksonville Arboretum or Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens in Willison.
These are just a few examples of the less crowded but stunning gardens visitors can explore. Tip: Cedar Lakes Woods And Gardens is right next door to Devil’s Den Spring.
Dining and Nightlife
Florida is known for its vibrant dining and nightlife scene, and there are plenty of options for those looking to unwind after a day of relaxation.
From upscale restaurants to casual bars, there is something for everyone. Stay away from the tourist trap areas of Miami, Orlando, Siesta Key, and Tampa and you will have a much easier time walking in and getting a table.
Florida is home to a diverse range of restaurants, offering cuisine from around the world. Seafood is a staple in the state, and visitors can find fresh catches at many restaurants along the coast.
For those looking for a fine dining experience, there are plenty of upscale restaurants serving everything from steak to sushi.
For those looking for a more casual dining experience, there are plenty of options as well. Southern comfort food with a twist or fresh from the water seafood at a beach or riverside restaurant.
Florida is also home to a lively bar scene, with plenty of options for those looking to enjoy a drink or two. From beachside bars to rooftop lounges, there is something for everyone.
For those looking for a beachside bar, there are plenty of options as well. Many beachside locations provide stunning Gulf or Atlantic views and a menu featuring fresh seafood and tropical cocktails.
When it comes to entertainment, even if you are in desperate need of some relaxing vacations in Florida, you will find it wherever you decide to go.
No matter what you need for some downtime, whether it is a yoga class, spa day or dinner cruise, you will find it in Florida.
One of the best ways to unwind and enjoy the beauty of Florida is by taking a sunset cruise. There are many companies that offer guided tours of the coast, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the stunning views.
The best referral? Ask the hotel, BNB or other accommodation you have for recommendations. The best advice always comes from locals.
Baseball Spring Training
Florida is home to many Major League Baseball teams that hold their spring training here. This is a great opportunity to watch your favorite teams play in a more relaxed and intimate setting.
Some of the teams that hold spring training in Florida include:
- New York Yankees
- Boston Red Sox
- Philadelphia Phillies
Planning Relaxing Vacations in Florida
When planning a relaxing vacation in Florida, there are a few things to consider to make sure you enjoy a stress-free trip. Here are some tips to help you plan your perfect getaway.
Best Time to Visit
Florida is known for its warm weather and sunny skies, making it a popular destination year-round. However, the best time to visit depends on your preferences and budget.
Depending on where you are considering your vacation, the peak tourist season for cities like Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Siesta Key and other busy destinations is December to April, when the weather is mild and dry.
This is also when prices for accommodations and activities are at their highest. If you’re looking to save money and avoid the crowds, consider visiting during the off-season, which runs from May to November.
Just keep in mind that this is also hurricane season, so be sure to check the weather forecast before booking your trip.
TIP: You have quite a few more options for affordable vacations any time of the year in the northern parts of the state.
Florida, like any warm, tropical locale, can be an expensive destination, but there are ways to save money without sacrificing your vacation experience.
Here are some budgeting tips to keep in mind:
- Book your accommodations in advance to take advantage of early bird discounts.
- Consider staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel, as this can be more cost-effective, especially for larger groups.
- Look for deals on activities and attractions online before your trip.
- Take advantage of free activities, such as visiting public beaches or exploring state parks.
- Plan your meals in advance and look for restaurants that offer happy hour specials or early bird discounts.
No vacation is complete without a little shopping, and Florida has plenty of options to choose from. From high-end boutiques to outlet malls, there’s something for everyone.
These shopping locations are near larger cities but not IN the city itself making them less crowded. Here are some popular shopping destinations in Florida:
- Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise: This outlet mall is the largest in Florida and features over 350 stores, including high-end brands like Burberry and Prada.
- Silver Sands Premium Outlet in Destin : This outdoors shopping destination offers boutiques, restaurants and more.
- Premium Outlet Mall: St. Augustine. Located away from the historic area, this outlet mall offers name brand choices as well as boutique.
When you are craving relaxing downtime to recharge your batteries, look at destinations away from the touristy areas. Sometimes, less than an hour away from a busy city like Orlando, will have you feel like you are not even in Florida.
Here are a few links to help plan relaxing vacations in Florida:
I like to use TripAdvisor for booking not only my hotels, but my tickets and rental cars as well. Makes life so much easier with only having to log into one location for my information.
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Denise Sanger lives a life split between her love for fitness and her passion for travel particularly to the BEACH. Denise also has a love of marketing and lives in beautiful Suwannee County, Florida. You can find out more about Denise here: About Denise