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Surely 60 million people can’t be wrong? It is for very good reason that the Sunshine State is one of the biggest tourist magnets in the Western hemisphere. And since the onset of low-priced air travel it has replaced the Mediterranean as the sun-seeking peoples’ choice amongst Europeans - as well as for North Americans, who may have liked to keep their knowledge of the best places to stay in Florida to themselves!

With the longest coastline on the mainland United States, Florida is best known for its beaches, but the best places to stay in Florida aren’t all by the sea. The long coastline is only one part of the story of this flat peninsula, where rich Latin American and Caribbean culture meets one of the world’s unique wetland habitats, with its wild, crocodile-infested mangrove swamps. The best places to stay in the Sunshine State are the ones that offer glimpses of Florida in all its moods.

The ethnic melting pot of the USA in microcosm, Florida has it all: good food, tropical flora, as well as the invariably warm weather and blindingly white beaches.

From the wild hedonism of Miami’s South Beach, to the fisherman’s paradise of Key West in the famous Florida Keys and the concentration of theme parks headed by Walt Disney World, the urbanisation that has made this state the fourth most populous in the US, has not so far damaged its status as an animal-watcher’s paradise. Alligators, herons, manatees and sea turtles, osprey and eagles, dolphins and tarpon all dwell here, and there are touches of the primitive paradise, where precious rare orchids flourish in inaccessible wetlands.

Florida goes from big and brash to delicately natural in a second, making it a dream destination. Our pick of the best places to stay in Florida reflect this diversity, with a good selection for all from family favourites, to glamorous boutiques.

Best Places to Stay in Florida

For golfers

  • Villas of Grand Cyprus, Orlando are located in the heart of Central Florida; a luxury retreat offering 45 holes of award-winning Jack Nicklaus Signature-designed golf, top-notch instruction at Grand Cypress Academy of Golf, good dining and a full range of non-golfing activities for those who don’t play.
  • WaterColor Inn & Resort, Santa Rosa Beach is coastal resort on the Panhandle. The award-winning WaterColor offers no fewer than three pristine courses, including The Greg Norman-designed Shark's Tooth Golf Club on the shores of Lake Powell, Florida's largest coastal dune lake.

For night owls

  • Casa Claridge’s offers Mediterranean moods in the heart of Miami’s liveliest district. Great rooms to come home to in the small hours.
  • Hotel Victor, Miami is an exceptionally cool Art Deco designed hotel, well placed in South Beach’s Ocean Drive for the sights of the city as well as for the bars and clubs.

For honeymooners and other romantics

  • Hotel Impala, on MIami's South Beach is a luxurious 17-room boutique with the intimacy of a Mediterranean retreat, although close to the action it manages to be an oasis of peace.
  • Artist House, Key West, Florida Keys. You can’t get much more “away from it all” in US terms than in Key West. This restored late-Victorian mansion has romantic old world charm built in. Remodelled and recently refurbished, it’s the perfect getaway.

For families

  • At Hawks Cay Resort you'll find pristine blue waters in a sheltered bay with private beach. Ideal for
  • jet skiing, snorkelling, fishing, or swimming with dolphins. Kids are welcome and they run a good babysitting service.
  • Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande has been a family-friendly west coast resort for generations. It specialises in spring break activities for kids as well as adults, such as sand castle contests, laser tag, beach games, "drive-in" movies, bingo and much more.

For great value

  • 1818 Meridian House is a great option if you're on a strict budget, but still want a South Beach location. They have a wide range of accommodation and studios start from as little as $109 per night.
  • Or how about the Colony Hotel and Cabana Club on Delray Beach? Here you're just blocks from the ocean and rooms start from just $150.

For luxury

  • The Setai offers oceanfront luxury on Miami Beach. Suites are spectacular with either city or sea views and the facilities are second to none.
  • Little Palm Island is a seriously romantic property, with a serious price tag to match! The tropical island location plus private marina, pampering spa and fabulous food make it a luxury hideaway not to be missed.

Still not sure which is the best place to stay in the Florida for you?

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The best hotels in Florida

See all » 31 hotels in Miami

  • 1818 Meridian House

    Miami (South Beach)

    Beachy and serene furnished apartments for short and long term stays to remember, fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms, beds with memory foam mattresses, carefully designed spacious suites and studios with natural light and tropical colour scheme. Close proximity to South Beach restaurants.

    27 rooms from $109
    Outstanding location
    Diving  -  Good diving nearby.
    Hideaway  -  Tranquil and intimate.
  • Townhouse Hotel

    Miami (South Beach)

    A modern, playful reinvention of the beach house, this trendy, vibrant hotel has a light and airy feel. All-white rooms are sleek, minimalist and serene. The rooftop terrace is perfect for lounging in the daytime sun or watching the night-life of Miami unfurl below. Enjoy sushi in the restaurant.

    68 rooms from $157
    Sights nearby  -  3 minutes walk from the Bass Museum of Art
    On the beach  -  In front of the hotel.
    Recommended by  -  I Escape

See all » 1 hotel in Delray Beach

  • Colony Hotel & Cabana Club

    Delray Beach

    This cheerfully yellow historic hotel just blocks from the ocean will welcome you in with charm and grace. Original features bring more than a touch of authenticity but the indulgence of modern comfortable living is never forsaken with organic cotton sheets and dreamy beds. Bar, pool, restaurant.

    67 rooms from $150
    Romantic  -  A prime example of the romantic Flagler era of Florida Mediterranean architecture.
    Sights nearby  -  Spady Cultural Heritage Museum is not far from the hotel
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor saltwater pool

See all » Other hotels in Florida

  • Port d'Hiver

    Melbourne, Florida

    A romantic hideaway just steps from the sea at Melbourne Beach. Eleven rooms tastefully and individually furnished with gorgeous four-poster and bamboo beds, spa baths in each bathroom, balconies and floral motifs. Gourmet breakfasts served on the patio are included and special diets catered for.

    11 rooms from $279
    Romantic  -  Casual elegance in a dreamlike location near the sea creates a romantic atmopshere just for two
    Sights nearby  -  Located opposite Ocean Park, just 15 minutes’ drive from Foosaner Art Museum.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children older than 10 years are welcome.
    Views  -  Stunning ocean views from some rooms.
  • Elizabeth Pointe Lodge

    Fernandina Beach, Florida

    Romantic beachfront hotel with charming shingles and a wide porch overlooking the sea. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast or brunch on the porch, and in the evenings partake of complementary wine and nibbles. Rooms and suites decorated with nature-inspired colours, prints and materials. Bicycles for hire.

    25 rooms from $245
    Sights nearby  -  Only 3.5 km away is the Amelia Island Museum where you can see a replica Timucuan Village amongst other historical exhibits.
    On the beach  -  Private beach access with provided chairs and umbrellas
    Views  -  Every room has either an oceanfront or a sunset view.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children cannot be accommodated at the hotel.
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