Adirondack Beach Chairs on a Sun Beach in front of a Holiday VacAptly named the 'Sunshine State', Florida has been a refuge for travellers escaping colder climates since the early 1900’s when Henry Flagler completed the Florida East Coast Railroad, which led many weather weary northerners to Florida’s golden shores. Fast-forward to present day and Florida’s claim on sun-drenched beach holidays is as strong as ever, with over 97 million tourists visiting the state every year. Straddled between two magnificent coastlines, the warm shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the eastern beaches along the Atlantic Ocean, Florida is truly a beach lover’s dream. So for travellers looking to get a piece of beach paradise for themselves, we’ve highlighted the state’s top 5 resort towns for your pleasure. Each town has an unique appeal and offers its own medley of attractions to explore and enjoy.


Vero Beach

Credit: Vero Beach Hotel and Spa Credit: Vero Beach Hotel and Spa Vero Beach has a fun and youthful atmosphere that appeals to the young and young at heart. Its miles of golden sandy beaches make it a no-brainer for a relaxing beach holiday, but that’s just the beginning. From watersports, boating and golf to museums, shopping and fine dining, Vero Beach really is your one-stop-shop for the ultimate family-friendly vacation. And for families looking to skip the craziness of the Orlando parks but still enjoy a touch of Disney magic, Disney’s Vero Beach Resortoffers Florida’s only Walt Disney World Resort outside of Orlando.

Eat

Vero Beach enjoys a sophisticated and diverse dining scene, so that no matter what you are in the mood for, like seafood, burgers or a sweet treat, it’s sure to be found nearby. The Tides is a well-loved Vero Beach gem that is acclaimed for its fresh seafood, skillfully prepared appetizers and entrees and warm service. Dining alfresco here with a chilled glass of white wine and one of their appetizing entrees (think tender bites of grilled grouper, crispy duck and fettuccine with shrimp) is the perfect way to end a day at the beach. For even more seafood action don’t miss the extensive menu at Ocean Grill, a family-run restaurant that has been delivering delicious meals since 1965. The grill’s beachfront real estate means you can enjoy the fresh catch of the day while sipping on one of their specialty cocktails and watching the sunset over the Atlantic. Casey’s Placemight be a casual burger joint and cafe with countertop service, but it takes it chilli dogs, burgers and sandwiches very seriously. Park yourself outside at one of their few picnic tables shaded by brightly coloured umbrellas, and enjoy a heaping plate of Cajun fries and a good old-fashioned hamburger. Abbots Frozen Custardis a long-standing local chain and the place to go to satisfy you sweet tooth. Their classic style of custard is served up in over a dozen different ways, including root beer floats, hot fudge sundaes and milkshakes.

Drink

You don’t need much to enjoy a night out at the beach, so Orchid Island Brewery’s simple yet winning combination of great local craft beer, laidback vibes and nightly live music deliver all you need for a great time.

See

Vero Beach Museum of Art is home to a treasure trove of modern American art and its collection contains over 880 different pieces in a broad range of media. Wandering through the museum's vast collection is the perfect way to escape the heat of the beach and admire some of America’s most talented artists. 43145834McKee Botanical Gardenis a historical, sprawling 18-acre wonderland of lush tropical vegetation, water lily speckled ponds, waterfalls and palm tree groves. Its exotic botanicals and winding pathways make it a stunning setting for a picnic or casual hike. Local Wildlife: A kayak excursion along the Indian River is a fun way to get up close to some of Vero’s amazing wildlife that includes dolphins, manatees, egrets and herons. Two outfitters that rent out kayaks are Kayaks Etc. and Orchid Island Rental & Sales.


Palm Beach

mansion-in-palm-beach-floridaFrom its exclusive golf clubs that overlook the Atlantic to its palm fringed boulevards and abundance of luxury resorts and multi-million dollar mansions, Palm Beach embodies every inch of its posh reputation. Since American oil and railroad tycoon Henry Flagler took up residence in Palm Beach, it has enjoyed its stance as a popular playground for the rich and famous and offers everything you expect from an affluent beach town. Expect to pay through the roof to enjoy the lavish offerings here but if you have the budget for it, it’s sure to be an unforgettable holiday.

Eat

HMF at the Breakers, Credit: Palm Beach Daily News HMF at the Breakers, Credit: Palm Beach Daily News Palm Beach’s tendency for excess also translates to its stylish and sumptuously rich dining scene. For a taste of real South Florida old-world elegance don’t miss dining at the swanky HMF at the Breakers. Also at the Breakers is the Seafood Bar, that offers luxury dining in a relaxed atmosphere, succulent seafood and gorgeous beach views. And for a break from all the glitz and glamour, The Blind Monk is a tiny, art-house inspired wine and craft beer bar that serves up tasty small-plates like an ahi tuna tostada and mouth-watering chicken liver pate for reasonable prices.

Drink

While holidaying in Palm Beach it’s almost mandatory to grab a drink at the legendary Leopard Lounge.With its jet black walls, glossy wrap round bar and studded black leather chairs, this swanky feline-inspired lounge is definitely where all the cool cats grab a mojito on Friday and Saturday nights. And if all the sophistication is just too much and you’re looking for somewhere to really let your hair down, then the fun-loving ambiance at Roxy’s Irish Pub or the oceanfront Islander Grill and Tiki Bar are sure to fit the bill.

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Ultra Glamorous Worth Avenue Ultra Glamorous Worth Avenue Whether you choose to spend some serious cash or window shop, a trip to historical Worth Avenue is a definite must in Palm Beach. The rows of shops are painted in cheerful pastel hues while inside are some of the world’s most coveted luxury brands. From Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo and Louis Vuitton, Worth Avenue offers exquisite designer shopping, stylish curb appeal and a variety of excellent restaurants. No visit to Palm Beach would be complete without paying tribute to the man responsible for its wealth and prosperity, Henry Flagler. The Flagler Museum, also known as Whitehall, is your window into the fascinating life and work of one of America’s most influential self-made men. The museum itself is a work of art and its 55-room mansion and estate was originally a birthday present to Flagler’s wife Mary Lily Kenan.


Islamorada

Beautiful aerial view of Florida Bridge across Keys IslandIslamorada is part of the Florida Keys, an archipelago of islands that jet out along the Florida Straits that separate the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico. While many holidaymakers are familiar with Key West, the largest and most popular of the Florida Keys, it’s the six subdued islands of Islamorada that really capture the imagination. Situated between the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, barrier reefs and Everglades National Park, Islamorada is blessed with a Caribbean-like climate and translucent waters, making it perfect for watersports, diving and swimming. Renowned as the sports-fishing capital of the world, Islamorada is popular with fisherman and yachters alike. Here you’ll find great shopping and entertainment and arguably some of the best seafood around.

Eat

A beautiful outdoor venue for sunsets and great food isLorelei Cabana and Barwhich specialises in classic casual Floridian dishes like fried fish platters, conch sandwiches, coconut shrimp and a trio of creamy seafood chowders. With awesome live music from local bands and a full bar, it’s a fun environment for drinks and dinner. For an upscale dining experience that’s well worth its price tag,Chef Michael’s Restaurant offers Islamorada’s best fine dining. Everyone who goes is encouraged to try out the hogfish, a weirdly named fish but a delicious choice. Excellent wait staff, prompt service and an enticing menu of dock-to-dish seafood makes Chef Michael’s stand above the rest. At Morada Bay Restaurant it’s all about location, location, location. Diners are treated to lunch and dinner right on the sand with nothing but palm trees and blue ocean in sight. Try the tuna tartar, fish tacos and pan grilled mahi mahi and you won’t be disappointed.

Drink

One thing that Islamorada definitely doesn’t lack is bars, and why not? The island vibes and laidback atmosphere go hand in hand with, well… a drink in the hand. Two of our top picks for enjoying a rum runner or frozen cocktail are the Jaws Raw Barand the Tiki Bar at Holiday Isle. Both beach bars will get you in the holiday spirit in no time.

See

Travelling with kiddies? They don’t miss the fun dolphin and sea lion shows atthe Theatre of the Sea, a family-friendly marine park where you can also swim and paint with dolphins! For a in depth understanding of the area’s history and geology, be sure not to miss the History of Diving Museum, the Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Parkand the Indian Key State Historic Site, a tiny island that’s home to ruins and snorkeling opportunities.


Sanibel Island

sanibel-island-beach-white-sandOutside of the USA, Sanibel Island is a little known holiday destination, but its accolades speak volumes. Located off the coast of Fort Myers, this beach retreat consistently scores well in the U.S. News & World Report travel rankings:

#1 in Best Winter Family Vacations#2 in Best Family Beach Vacations in the USA#3 in Best Beaches in Florida

So for foreign travellers looking for an idyllic Florida holiday, it’s high time to consider paying Sanibel Island a visit. Miles of wide sandy beaches and a chic small town feel give Sanibel Island a quaint, quiet appeal. The island’s claim to fame are the impressive seashells beachcombers scoop up along its shores. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing escape that’s as low-key as a day on the beach, Sanibel Island is perfect for couples and the whole family.

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Eat

Il Cielo Restaurantis a great find among the dozens of different eateries on Sanibel. Serving up an outstanding selection of creative American and Italian cuisine, diners can expect to be blown away by dishes like seared scallops served with a corn and tomato relish and drizzled with Lemongrass-Ginger Vinaigrette, Lobster Ravioli and Veal Scaloppini. Add in an impressive wine list and friendly service and this place is practically perfect. For a complete change of pace and palate, don’t miss the trying out The Pecking Orderwhich serves fried chicken and carry out. Frying up juicy pieces of fried chicken just like grandma would make (or we wish she had) this place serves up all-American Southern comfort food, with favourites like chicken and waffles and country-styled sides like creamy mashed potatoes, sweet coleslaw, cheesy grits and collard greens. It’s not a classy joint but with soul food this finger lickin’ good, we don’t mind one bit.

Drink

While Sanibels lacks the high-energy nightlife scene, (you won’t find any nightclubs here!) this chilled out resort town is home to several easy-going hotel and beach bars. If you want to unwind after sunset your best bets are the Jac Barat the Jacaranda Hotel, which attracts a diverse crowd of all ages, the Sanibel Grill, a popular sports bar and Turtle’s Beach and Pool Bar found within the Sundial Resort and offers a great happy hour.

See

Great Blue Herons exchanging nesting material. It is the largestIn Sanibel it’s all about enjoying the great outdoors. So to make the most of the island’s beautiful environment check out theJ.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refugewhich is a verdant beachfront park that’s home to an abundance of birdlife, walking trails and fishing spots. Another gorgeous natural spot is Blind Pass, the straight that separates Sanibel and Captiva Islands and has a pretty beach where you can collect shells and fish from.


New Smyrna Beach

84812071Located on Florida’s eastern seaboard, New Smyrna is a relaxed alternative to South Florida’s high-end beach towns. Home to several notable historic sites, a thriving arts community, a handful of culinary gems and lots of small-town charm, New Smyrna is perfect for a laid-back beach holiday for travellers on a budget. Canal Street, located in New Smyrna’s historic district is where you will find plenty of local flavour and shopping to enjoy. Cross over the Indian River on the causeway and you’ll be greeted by long stretches of soft white sand and rolling surf. Flagler Avenue is the main drag that leads to the beach and is lined with lots of quirky beach shops, pubs and boutiques.

Eat

Dolphin View: This place is a New Smyrna Beach treasure and boasts a loyal following of customers who wouldn’t dream of eating anywhere else. Located right on the water, Dolphin View’s outdoor deck offers unrivalled views of local marine life and sunsets. Its unfussy menu includes fried, grilled or blackened fish that is served with down home sides like chips, waffle fries, coleslaw, hush puppies and cheesy grits. And if you’re not a seafood lover don’t worry, you’ll fall for their meaty sandwiches like their pulled pork and Philly Cheese Steak. Norwoods Restaurant and Wine Shop: American and seafood specialties are served up in this treetop bar and restaurant. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but the strong cocktails, steaks, burgers and seafood dishes like blackened grouper, She Crab Soup, calamari and Mahi Mahi really shine. Credit: The Travel Channel Credit: The Travel Channel The Garlic delivers on its promise of bringing authentic Tuscan cuisine to New Smyrna Beach. With its comprehensive wine list and selection of rustic Italian fare that includes juicy steaks, pastas and oven-fired entrees, there is something to satisfy everyone. Set in a lush garden, The Garlic offers a beautiful setting and fun atmosphere with live music playing every night of the week.

Drink

For a beachside beer or cocktail there’s no beatingBreakers, a local dive bar and restaurant housed in its famous pink building and serves up casual dining favourites like burgers and fish and chips. Another great watering hole is Flagler Tavern, with its cool outdoor veranda and spacious interior, it offers plenty of room to drink, eat and dance. And if you need some ‘hair of the dog’ after a big night, the tavern's Sunday Brunch has tasty Bloody Marys, French Toast and a luxurious Lobster and Eggs.

See

new_smyrna_turnbull_palace_foundation_02The Turnbull Ruins are the mysterious remnants of Andrew Turnbull’s attempt to colonise the New Smyrna Beach Area from 1766-1777. The only thing that remains of his efforts to build his personal mansion is this coquina block foundation. And for the full history of the town stop by the New Smyrna Museum of History.

Harshitsingh

14/09/2017 08:40:19

I like Monteria Resort.

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