Tag: weekend getaways
- The Weekend: Find your spot on the sand at Vero Beach. If there were a competition for the perfect beach town, Vero Beach could take top honors, simply because everything is so approachable.
Start Here: Park your car at the Vero Beach Hotel & Spa and stash your keys in your suitcase; you won’t need them. At this 113-room boutique property directly on the Atlantic Coast, you can waltz right down to the shore and plop into a chaise lounge. Accommodations run from traditional rooms to one- and two-bedroom suites with wet bars or full kitchens.
Weekend To Dos:
1. Start the stay off easy with dinner at Cobalt, the hotel's well-loved restaurant. Kick things off with watermelon cocktails at the hotel bar, followed by local shrimp or snapper served on the open patio overlooking the sand.
2. This weekend is all about the beach, and the attendants are there to please, whether you're craving pina coladas or kayak rentals. When you get the urge to wander, stroll over to Ocean Drive where you'll find swimsuits and sun hats at Twiggs and cute designer sandals at Kemp’s Shoe Salon.
3. Four blocks away, Waldo's Restaurant, at the 1930s-era Driftwood Resort, lives up to its self-anointed nickname as the “last great American hangout.” Take a seat on the deck and watch more active types work up a sweat playing beach volleyball while you munch on beer-battered dolphin fingers dipped in salsa-mango sauce.
- The Weekend: See the cultural side of St. Augustine. Devote a weekend to exploring the prolific art scene and discover some unexpected treasures.
Start Here: Convenient to downtown's shops and restaurants, the Old Powder House Inn whisks you back to another era with its old-fashioned décor and attentive staff. Sit on the porch of this quaint Victorian (where gunpowder was once stored), sip a cocktail and listen to the click-clack of horse hooves as they pass on the brick streets. Guests rave about the homemade cookies — grab one in the lobby as you make your way out to explore.
1. Plan your trip for the first Friday of the month, so you can enjoy the First Friday Artwalk downtown. Hide Tide Gallery is just down the street, where you'll find ocean-inspried works by a slew of Florida artists. From there you can pick up a map of the other participating galleries, accessible on foot or via a free trolley that runs from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
2. The next day, visit the Lightner Museum — housed in Henry Flagler’s former Hotel Alcazar — where Thomas Edison’s 1877 phonograph and a Tiffany stained-glass window of St. Augustine are highlights. Take the winding stairway to find off-the-radar pieces like the 19th-century Balloon Back sofa from Burma and a huge antique button collection.
3. For dining, try 95 Cordova. Tucked inside the Casa Monica Hotel, the cozy hideaway gets a Middle Eastern vibe courtesy of lush fabrics, Moorish archways and the gorgeous ceiling, hand-painted with 24-karat gold. For an appetizer, try their unique take on fried green tomatoes with creamy smoked jalapeno sauce, goat cheese and basil oil.
- The Weekend: Pamper yourself at a St. Pete Beach landmark. Make a weekend without leaving the grounds at one of Florida’s iconic hotels.
Start Here: Standing proudly on a barrier island on the Gulf, the historic Loews Don CeSar Hotel (appropriately nicknamed Florida’s “Pink Palace” for its flamingo hue) is the perfect blend of Roaring Twenties romance and modern-day resort elegance. The best digs by our account are the Junior Grand Suites, with private balconies that face the Gulf.
1. Dine in at the signature Maritana Grille and Lobby Bar. Bespoke cocktails, fresh seafood and organic veggies add up to a light yet rich meal to remember — especially if you reserve a cozy table near the giant saltwater tank, where lionfish will entertain you between courses. For dessert, simpler palates can go for the ice cream (it’s homemade), but the more adventurous can try the Key Lime Bavarian Reveal — a unique dessert with a delicate white chocolate dome that melts away when the waiter pours hot raspberry sauce over it to reveal the treat inside.
2. The Don faces one of the best beaches, and aims to make sure you enjoy it in style with private daybeds and oceanfront food-and-bevvy service. Or make your perch at one of two Gulf-front pool, where the Pool Concierge team makes the rounds all day with offering from Evian-water mists to frozen fruit kabobs, gratis. There are also kayak and jet-ski rentals onsite, should you want to take in the hotel from a different vantage point.
3. Recharge with the hotel’s 11,000-square-foot Spa Oceana’s three-hour Honeymooners package, a favorite of Don CeSar guests — newlyweds or not. The indulgent itinerary will spoil you with its hydrating bath, full-body exfoliation, massage and facial. End your spa experience with lunch on the private rooftop garden overlooking the Gulf — gazing at the crystal blue waters will keep the refreshed feeling long after the three hours are over.
- The Weekend: Slow down in Siesta Key. Recharge with a no-rush weekend on the flour-soft beaches of Siesta Key.
Start Here: You’ll find plenty of vacation rentals here, but to make things super-easy try the Hyatt Siesta Key Beach resort—the only luxury hotel property on the six-mile stretch. Instead of traditional hotel rooms, this residence club offers rentals on one- to four-bedroom condo-style units with washer-dryers and kitchen that would make any Food Network chef feel at home. Plentiful chaises, umbrellas, sand toys and paddleboards make it easy to relax oceanside, and the waterfall/hot-tub combo and poolside cabanas will equally spoil you.
1. Complimentary bicycles let you cruise under the banyan trees on Midnight Pass Road at a leisurely pace. Along the way, you can peek into the backyards of some of the region’s most gorgeous beach houses.
2. Go north and peruse Siesta Key Village to shop at funky stores for hats and flip-flops. Later, indulge in a big scoop of Kahlua Krunch ice cream at Big Olaf’s Creamery. (We won’t tell anyone how fast you eat it.)
3. Nearby Ophelia’s on the Bay serves waterside romance and a luscious blue-crab bisque. Request a table on the outdoor terrace skirting Little Sarasota Bay, and take your time as you dine, keeping an eye out for dolphin and long-legged waterfowl.
4. No one understands the importance of slowing down more than Southerners, so don’t miss a meal at Owen's Fish Camp restaurant for a home-grown taste of the Gulf with cornmeal-crusted catfish and collard greens.
The Weekend: Stay in downtown Naples. Leave the car keys behind with a weekend in the heart of downtown Naples, where you can people-watch from a balcony fronting Fifth Avenue and take a plunge in the city’s only rooftop pool.
Start Here: Stay at the swanky Mediterranean-inspired Inn on Fifth, a boutique inn nestled in the center of downtown Naples. With a location this good, there’s there’s no need for an advanced itinerary; the best of the city’s chic downtown is within walking distance, including high-end shops and galleries, chef-owned restaurants and even the beach — though you may prefer taking a dip in the rooftop pool instead.
1. On the third floor of the Inn is the Asian-inspired Spa on Fifth, where you can experience the benefits of wine— without taking a sip. The spa’s signature vinotherapy treatments capitalize on the antioxidant and anti-aging benefits of resveratrol and polyphenols, found in grapes, grape seeds and vines.
2. You won't have to walk far to sample Naples' dining scene. The Inn serves up pub food and draft beer at McCabe's Irish Pub & Grill, and fresh seafood at Truluck's Seafood Steak & Crabhouse. But that's just the start: There are more than 37 restaurants nearby, and you'll find one of our favorites, the Café & Bar Lurcat, just a three minute walk away. (Don’t miss their signature cinnamon and sugar mini-doughnuts, served perfectly warm.)
3. Catch a play at the Sugden Community Theatre, which offers year-round performances on Wednesday through Sunday. The venue is just a hop from the inn, so you can walk to one of the nightly shows.
The Weekend: Go back in time at Hollywood Beach. Experience Florida as it once was with this vintage getaway that recalls the “happy days” of the 1950s.
Start Here: Base yourself at the Riptide Oceanfront Hotel; this 1960s-era former apartment building is now 12-room hotel that charms with throwback décor and a friendly crowd. Just steps from the sand, this property is all about the beach experience—so kick off your flip-flops and dig your toes into the sand. Simply appointed rooms have all the basics, plus kitchenettes (a nice convenience). Hit the casual tiki bar for rumrunners and piña coladas, paired with live music.
1. Riptide guests get bicycles and beach toys at no extra charge. Rise early to ride and accompany the sunrise to the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, home to kitschy Florida shops and nostalgic cheery vibes — a reminder that some things don’t have to change.
2. Yet another retro spot, Le Tub is a 1959 Sunoco gas station-turned-restaurant, famous for its oversize burgers. (In 2006, GQ named their burger the "Best Burger in America.") Expect a possible wait for grub here, but with a view this good of the Intracoastal Waterway (and eye-candy of quirky knickknacks dotting the walls), you won't mind a few extra minutes.
3. At night, get ready for music (think great oldies bands and classic favorites) and dancing under the stars at the Hollywood Beach Theatre. The laid-back outdoor venue hosts free live performances every night year-round starting at 7:30 p.m. — no reservations needed.
The Weekend: Sample history in Jacksonville. Base yourself in the charming historic neighborhood of Riverside and get a glimpse of this modern city as it used to be.
Start Here: The downtown Riverside neighborhood used to have more than 50 Victorian homes, but only two are still standing today. Stay at the Riverdale Inn, an original Victorian charmer that dates back to 1901. Of the 10 guest rooms, we love the one named St. John’s, with its deep-red tones, century-old headboard and view of the city’s skyline. Make time for a nightcap at the inn's Gum Bunch Pub; the bar itself is handcrafted from the home's original doors.
1. Just three blocks from the inn, the lovely Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens contains works by the likes of Norman Rockwell and Thomas Moran. But it's the garden that really shines, blooming with azaleas, jasmine, sweet peas, pansies and camellias, and showing the design of prominent landscape architects from an earlier age.
2. Riverside is also home to the Five Points shopping center, a vibrant district that dates back to the 1920s and is now home to eclectic boutiques, pubs, restaurants and tea shops. The center point of the district is the independent Five Points Theatre; opening its doors in 1927, the historic movie venue was the first theatre in Florida to show talking picture shows. But that's not the only theatre with some history: the art deco-inspired San Marco Theatre, just two miles from the Riverdale Inn, was built in 1938. Bonus: For a small corking fee, you can bring your own wine to the show.
3. For dinner, head to Black Sheep in the Five Points shopping center and claim a spot at the rooftop bar for a view of the St. John’s river. Don’t miss the poutine: fries with cheese curds and short rib, spiced up with the Cajun flavors of tasso ham and drizzled with gravy.
- New year, new you! Book a quick trip to one of these top Florida spa destinations and indulge in massages, fitness classes and delicious food from these relaxing resorts.
- Break open the peanuts and Cracker Jack and plan a weekend around baseball's pre-season action.
- Ten days. Nineteen restaurants. Totally doable. The Fifth Annual Amelia Island Restaurant Week gets cooking on Jan. 18, and it sounds totally delicious.
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