Southernmost House Historic Inn
A love song to Victorian architecture, the Southernmost House Historic Inn — tucked at the quiet south end of Duval Street — is one of the most photographed buildings in Key West. Painted in pale sea foam, cream, pink and burgundy colors, the 1896 home is steps from the famed Southernmost Point buoy (another most- photographed landmark). The island's public South Beach is across the street, but chances are you'd rather spend your time by the tranquil infinity pool in the house’s backyard. Out of the 18 guestrooms, we recommend Room 201 — highly coveted for its oceanfront views and private balcony.
Coombs House Inn
Just a short drive to the crowd-free beaches of St. George Island, the Victorian-era town of Apalachicola oozes with small-town charm. The circa-1905 Coombs House Inn consists of three historic Victorian mansions, now combined into a 23-room B&B decked out with antique furnishings. Our pick is the Mr. & Mrs. Coombs room — once home to the original Mr. and Mrs. Coombs, it boasts a four-poster king bed and a Jacuzzi bath. Bonus: The inn is within easy walking distance to Apalachicola's compact downtown, full of eclectic shops and waterfront cafes. Or better yet, grab a pair of bicycles —just one of the inn's complementary amenities, along with afternoon tea.
The Magnolia Plantation
At The Magnolia Plantation, choose your preferred room style: one of five rooms in the main house — a scalloped Victorian built in 1885 — or one of seven newer cottages, which come with more privacy, plus perks such as fireplaces, kitchens and Jacuzzi tubs. With an acre and a half of lush gardens on the property, you’ll always find somewhere secluded to sit, and for even more solitude, ask for breakfast to be served in your cottage (the signature French toast with marmalade and cream cheese is a must). For a special treat, book the romance package: You'll get a five-course candlelit dinner served in your room, tickets to the Hippodrome Theatre and a horse-and-carriage ride through the historic district, plus roses and champagne waiting in your room when you return.
Palmetto Riverside Bed and Breakfast
Corralled by a white picket fence, the six-room Palmetto Riverside Bed and Breakfast faces the picturesque Manatee River. Belgian innkeepers Wim and Mieke Lippens bring a European taste (think French antiques and Belgian beer) to the recently renovated B&B, and they pride themselves on their never-frozen, homemade breakfast complete with fresh jams and buttery croissants. To celebrate its 100-year mark in 2013, the inn introduced its own private-label champagne called LaDiva; available by the glass or bottle, you can only get it onsite. If you’re looking for views to go with your sips, ask for the octagonal-shaped Riverview Suite on the ground floor. Or for an even better view, ask Wim for a private helicopter tour over Sarasota— he pilots it himself.
Inn on Charlotte
If the digs alone don’t tempt you, the prime location of this Old City B&B will. Steps away from the Bridge of Lions, Castillo de San Marcos and the historic quarter, the Inn on Charlotte boasts stately guestrooms and a 2-course breakfast — served promptly at 9:15 am —where you can indulge in dishes like poached pears with almond cream sauce or sour-cream blueberry bread. The historic inn has eight rooms total; Henry Flagler’s Verandah, with its king-size, four-poster bed, Jacuzzi and balcony overlooking Charlotte Street, is our favorite.
A historic gem in Northeast Florida, The Dickens House celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 2012. We love the homey look of the Arts & Crafts exterior, lovingly restored by owner Ed Caldwell, who made sure to keep interiors modern— each room has its own whirlpool tub. We like the namesake Dickens Suite. With its two-person shower and spa; the tiny Orange Belt room, tucked right under the roof, is a cozy option if you're looking to save (don’t worry, it has a Jacuzzi too!). Save room at breakfast for the orange-zest French toast.