The sunshine state is jam-packed with unique cities, wildlife, arts, culture, entertainment, and miles upon miles of white-sandy beaches. It’s safe to say that the best thing about living in Florida is the Florida staycation—especially because it doesn’t require a passport.
To help you plan your own staycation in Florida, we’ve made a list of 10 top Florida destinations that will satisfy the travel bug within you. Keep reading to find out more.
Florida Staycation Destinations
Most of the time, planning a vacation involves seeing how far you can get with what little money you have. And, while living in Florida may come with a certain stigma, don’t forget that the sunshine state a vacation destination for everyone else.
Having said that, vacationing doesn’t always mean an overly stuffed suitcase and a pricey plane ticket. There are plenty of beaches to drink on, cultural and inventive cuisines to dine on, and much, much more.
Now without further adieu, here are our top 10 Florida staycation destinations:
1. South Beach
Miami is always a good time, especially if you love the art deco boutique hotels that overlook South Beach in all of its glory. South Beach is especially famous for its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, Cuban cuisine, and of course, its nightlife.
But there’s more to Miami than just South Beach—there are several gorgeous botanical gardens, museums, famous eateries, farmer’s markets, the famous Calle Ocho, and plenty of shopping. Of course, that is if you want to leave South Beach!
2. Key West
Key West is another staycation destination in Florida that will make you forget you’re still in the states. Famous for being the state’s southernmost point—being just 90 miles from Cuba—Key West is riddled with activities. And Key Lime pie.
There are plenty of bars, shops, restaurants, and quaint Bed & Breakfast places to crash. Not to mention, it’s home to some of the best beaches, sunsets, and people on the East coast. Just be careful, or you may catch the “Key’s disease“, as the locals call it.
Warning: Jimmy Buffet’s music is everywhere down here.
3. Siesta Key
Siesta Key sits off the coast of Sarasota as the barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Here you’ll find calm, shallow waters, shops, cafes, great nightlife and more. Siesta’s pristine beaches have been named as our nation’s best—two years in a row.
There are plenty of events and festivals here, including nightly drum circles on the beach. It’s a great place to come for families, lovers, and friends of all kinds.
Orlando made our list because of Walt Disney World. But who can resist the innocent joys of the Disney theme parks that make you feel like a kid again?
But Disney World isn’t the only reason that Orlando made our list. Orlando is well known for its downtown nightlife and music venues. It’s even home to the world’s largest permanent Ice Bar, just in case you need a break from the heat.
Orlando isn’t a beachside city, but it’s about an hour’s drive to some well-known beaches like Daytona and Cocoa beach.
Tampa really is a great bay city to escape to because it’s got a little bit of everything. It especially has an incredible culinary scene, making it a top destination for foodies.
There’s so much to do in Tampa, we don’t even know where to begin! There are activities of all kinds, including national parks, museums, cultural centers, nightlife, and much more.
We will say that one thing you have to do while you’re here is to get your sugar fix at the Harry Waugh Dessert Room located on the second floor of Bern’s Steakhouse. Trust us, this place is worth the trip to Tampa alone.
6. St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg has undergone a major cultural revival. It is, after all, home to the Salvador Dalí art museum. Just like Tampa, there is something here for everyone, even the kids.
St. Pete’s is also known for its great antique shopping and it’s beautiful Fort de Soto beaches. It’s also in close proximity to Treasure Island, which is another unique barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico.
We can’t talk about St. Pete without pointing you towards the Grand Central District. With its rainbow-painted streets, delicious food, amazing shops, and intimate coffee and libation spots, it’s not to be missed.
7. Sanibel and Captiva Islands
For more low-key adventures, you’ll love the peaceful Sanibel and Captiva Islands for your next staycation in Florida. The islands are accessible by bridge, and they’re perfect for outdoor and wildlife lovers.
If you love kayaking, enjoying nature and animal watching, fresh seafood, and collecting perfect seashells, then these islands are perfect for you.
8. Ft Lauderdale
Ft Lauderdale is so much more than just a cheaper airport to fly into. Plenty of Florida natives flock here for the music venues, events, and nightlife. They also come here to spend time on Hollywood beach to enjoy some R and R, bars, and restaurants.
Make sure to check out Wilton Manors Ave. The businesses on this stretch are 99% LGBTQ owned. Our favorite stops are Old Florida Seafood House, Galanga, and Tasty Thai. For a great night out, check out Georgie’s Alibi Monkey Bar for strong drinks and tons of fun.
Weekends are the perfect time to explore the Yellow Green Farmer’s Market before hitting the beach. The market opens at 8 am, and you’ll want to be early because it gets packed quickly!
Daytona has been nicknamed the “fun coast”, and for good reason. This city-sized playground has it all—great nightlife, restaurants, shopping, white-sand beaches, and of course, the NASCAR headquarters.
No matter what your idea of fun is, you’ll definitely find it here.
10. St Augustine
St Augustine is a unique city full of modern Floridian culture amongst the backdrop of the oldest European settlement. It’s well known for its Spanish-colonial architecture and Crescent Beach.
Tourists from all over come here to learn more about the history, visit the Castillo de San Marco, the lighthouse, museums, and of course, the surf. This beach city offers everything you could want in nightlife, arts, culture, entertainment, and activities.
Ready, Set, Staycation!
Between the well-known cities and hidden gems, there are more than enough Florida staycation destinations to keep fulfill your inner travel bug. So instead of googling “Florida man”, it’s time to refine your search to the best beaches, breweries, restaurants, and hot spots to explore in the sunshine state.
For more of our favorite staycation and travel destinations, visit our blog. We do all the work for you, so all you have to do is take off of work.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.