With so much waterfront for sale at prices much cheaper than those in California—and with no state income tax to boot—it’s no surprise that many celebrities have parked their money in the Sunshine State. Here are a few of our favorite homes, from Key West to Miramar Beach in the Panhandle.
A-Rod and J. Lo, Miami
Alex Rodriguez, former baseball star and current co-owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team, along with singer-actress Jennifer Lopez purchased a $32.5 million Mediterranean-style mansion on Star Island, a 1922-built bit of land in Biscayne Bay. The island is a favorite of celebs for its prime location between Miami and Miami Beach, making the airport and the Atlantic just minutes away. The nearly 15,000-square-foot, 10-bedroom home packs all the extras, including an elevator, wine room and wet bar, along with a hotel-like pool with a cabana and covered bar. Given the couple’s April 2021 split, it’s reasonable to wonder if this home might re-enter the market soon.
John Travolta, Ocala
Actor John Travolta chose Florida not for its coastline, but for its flat interior—perfect for catering to his aviation hobby. He bought into Jumbolair Aviation and Equestrian Estates just outside Ocala, a horse-centric town that’s a two-hour drive north of Orlando. This 550-acre community includes the world’s largest private runway. Travolta started with a $3.5 million home, making it over into an 8,900-square-foot mansion with six bedrooms and two — yes two — kitchens. The estate was designed so that all rooms enjoy views of Travolta’s beloved jet collection. To us, it feels reminiscent of the Tom Hanks’ movie “The Terminal” and wouldn’t be the best place to relax, but maybe that’s because we’ve been flying commercial, not private.
Serena Williams, Jupiter
Tennis pro Serena Williams’ riverfront home in Jupiter, Florida, started with a teardown of the 14,500-foot, $8 million property formerly owned by St. Louis Cardinal baseball player Yadier Molina. The white, modern affair that stands in its place caters to her tastes, from the gallery-like space (in lieu of a formal dining room) to house her art collection and an open, airy media room with a bar. She even had a bookcase-entrance installed to conceal her karaoke room, adding a secret, fun feel to the space. Oh, and yes, there’s a trophy room housing a sample of her victorious mementos.
Elle Macpherson, Coral Gables
Model Elle Macpherson flexed her negotiation prowess when buying her Miami home, listed for $11.4 million. For $8.1 million, she took possession of an 8,300-foot, seven-bedroom home in the Coral Gables neighborhood Journey’s End. The 1.71 acre pad, with unique touches like the climate-controlled wine room, also includes a saltwater pool.
Emeril Lagasse, Miramar Beach
We were most interested in seeing the kitchen of chef Emeril Lagasse’s 8,000-square-foot seaside home in the town Miramar Beach, just outside Destin in the Florida Panhandle. Like the rest of the $5.25-million home, the kitchen is cast in mostly neutrals, with pops of color, such as the green chandelier. Of course, the Sub-Zero fridge is enviable, as is the gas stovetop. It’s enough for Lagasse to create seven-course meals for friends. One quirk we love is that the star hops in a golf cart for grocery runs when he’s in town.
Tiger Woods, Jupiter
Following his split with wife Elin Nordegren, golfer Tiger Woods relocated to the city of Jupiter, settling into a 9,700-square-foot home as his main digs. This massive compound, located on 12 acres on the Indian River and across Beach Road from the Atlantic, started with a teardown and custom build. The resulting estate, white and modern, includes a golf studio, a 100-foot swimming pool and a boathouse to shelter his 154-foot yacht.
John Cena, Land O’ Lakes
John Cena, a WWE star and actor, resides in a 10,692-square-foot home in the town of Land O’ Lakes, an inland city, 30 minutes north of Tampa by car. Cena purchased the house, then just 3,700 square feet, for $525,000 and contracted major renovations, including pushing the addition of marble floors and an elevator to whisk him straight to the master bedroom. Elevator aside, we’re suckers for the water-park-like pool with a rock grotto and waterslide.
Judy Blume, Key West
Novelist Judy Blume’s 2,500-foot home in Key West takes full advantage of the island’s balmy tropical weather: Most rooms feature glass walls and sliding doors to create indoor-outdoor living. Nearly every room, including the master bath with a stand-alone white soaker tub, has views of orchids, palm trees and the big Banyan tree shading much of the backyard. She, along with her husband, author George Cooper, also has an outdoor shower where a waterfall flows over a stacked slate wall.
Bill Gates, Wellington
Though not his primary residence—Gates owns estates in Medina, Washington, and Del Mar, California, among others—his home, purchased in 2013 for $8.7 million, was a nod to his daughter’s love of horses. The 7,234-square-foot house, small compared to other Gates’ estates, came with a 20-stall barn. Gates has since made additional purchases on the same street, potentially to allow for the possibility of a teardown and remodel, or a private community.
Tony Robbins, Manalapan
The self-help guru calls Palm Beach home, specifically a $24.75 million oceanfront home in the area of Manalapan. Spread across 2 acres, the Georgian-estate-style, 16,026-square-foot property features a main bedroom downstairs with five additional bedrooms upstairs. Grand and stately, the showpiece home has several star attractions, from the media and club rooms, to the infinity-edge pool with ocean views.