If you’re traveling to Florida, and you’re not there to see the Mouse, chances are you’re going to the beach. Florida has no shortage of hotels, resorts and rental properties right on the sand, but staying at the right one can turn a regular Florida vacation into paradise. From historical buildings with nearly a century of stories to sprawling, secluded getaways, Florida is home to some of the best beach resorts in the world. These are 10 of the best.
This historic 1926 luxury hotel was Addison Mizner’s answer to the palatial hotels of railroad magnate Henry Flagler. It closed down during the pandemic for a $200 million renovation, which, among other things, saw its longtime pink façade return to its original beach-sand-and-plaster cream hue. The Boca Raton also added a fifth hotel — Tower — to its offerings, the resort’s first high-rise with 224 new rooms. There’s also an on-site golf course if you want to get in a round during your stay, plus a bevy of spectacular new restaurants, including Major Food Group’s Boca Raton outposts of Sadelle’s and the Japanese Bocce Club.
The crown jewel of Henry Flagler’s luxury hotel empire was The Breakers, a Palm Beach landmark that’s still every bit the opulent escape it was when it opened in 1926. Its famous twin towers stand as a symbol of all that is Palm Beach island wealth, and the intricate ceilings and fine art in the lobby are a big part of why it remains the most iconic hotel in Florida. The HMF bar is still a see-and-be-seen hangout for the Palm Beach elite, though regular folks can enjoy the city’s top cocktails every night of the week. Though oceanfront rooms can be prohibitively pricey, stay during the summer in one of the Breakers’ garden rooms and you can still pretend to live like royalty by the hotel’s glamorous pool.
The perfect contrast to the endless parties of South Beach, aqua spinning and aerobics classes are about the only thing breaking the peace at this wellness resort. While guests have elevated views of Miami’s trademark turquoise water from the hotel’s adults-only saltwater pool and zen, apartment-like rooms, the Carillon’s main attraction is its award-winning spa. Here, dozens of touchless treatments like saltwater soaks and halotherapy allow you to explore relaxation in new ways before moving on to your hot-stone massage. The Carillon also just opened an exclusive new tasting menu restaurant called Tambourine Room, where chef Tristan Brandt showcases classic French cuisine with a sprinkling of Asian influence.
This 1,000-room behemoth just south of the Hollywood boardwalk might be the best beachside value in the state, as the seemingly endless inventory of rooms means prices can be kept down. Every room has a view of either the Atlantic Ocean or Intracoastal Waterway, and even entry-level double queens are spacious and modern. You’ll also have access to the Diplomat’s winding lagoon pool as well as cocktails and bites from the hotel’s waterfront café. Those looking to indulge a little can splurge at Diplomat Prime, one of South Florida’s top steakhouses that also makes a killer espresso martini.
When it comes to architecture, history and musical lore, no Florida beach resort touches the Fontainebleau. From its 1960s heyday as a Rat Pack stomping ground to its modern-day poolside concerts, the Fontainebleau has drawn musicians for decades. That draw is made even more enticing for electronic and hip-hop artists at the hotel’s world-famous nightclub LIV. Don’t worry, if you’re not there to rage, the Fontainebleau is still the ultimate Miami vacation. Guests can enjoy drinks outside on the celebrity-studded pool deck, or sip cocktails at the brass-and-glass marvel that is the lobby’s Bleau Bar. Even better, Scott Conant’s Scarpetta and Michael Mina’s STRIPSTEAK headline the best hotel restaurant offerings in the state.
Few know about the quiet beachside enclave of Hillsboro Beach, about 20 minutes north of Ft. Lauderdale. That’s because for decades, the only people you’d find occupying this pristine stretch of sand were the owners of the spread-out waterfront mansions along Hillsboro’s Millionaire’s Mile. But 2022 saw the opening of the town’s first full-service hotel, a 72-room high-rise with unfettered view of the Atlantic in every room. The hotel feels undiscovered, even though it stands six stories tall. Floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies immerse you in oceanside silence, and serve as the state’s best example of seclusion and affordable luxury. Roi, the Mediterranean-inspired ground-floor restaurant, is only open to guests and locals, meaning you’ll never have to wait for a table from which to enjoy your pasta and branzino.
Surprisingly, the Florida Keys don’t offer much in the way of beaches, which is why finding a resort with its own private stretch of sand is such a rarity. Such is the case at Isla Bella: just off the Seven Mile Bridge you can kick back at the resort’s private lagoon and feel like you’re on your own deserted island. Each room has a private terrace on which you can relax and read a book as the saltwater air blows over you, or enjoy an intimate evening cocktail over a Florida Keys sunset. You’ll also find pretty much every water sport imaginable, as well as some of the Keys’ best seafood at the on-site restaurant Mahina.
No beachside resort offers access to wild Florida quite like the JW Marriott on Marco Island. A short Jet Ski tour takes you straight to the fringes of the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands, where you can escape into mangroves among soaring herons and the occasional alligator. Back on property, guests can entertain themselves inside 10K Alley, where mini-golf, a video arcade, midway games and a local craft beer bar await. Those with a more sophisticated palate can enjoy a meal from Ario, whose prime steaks and curated wine list always make for a memorable meal. Kane, the hotel’s tiki bar on the beach, could also lay claim to being Florida’s top rum bar, with selections of rare Caribbean and South American rums you’ve likely never tasted.
The soft sands of Longboat Key have appeared on many Best Beaches lists over the years, and the best way to enjoy them is with a stay at its namesake resort. This gulfside escape sits on over 400 acres on an idyllic barrier island and has golf courses, a tennis club, a marina and a full-service spa to fast-track your vacation relaxation. Newly renovated rooms feel like your own personal beach house, and you might be tempted to luxuriate with in-room dining for your entire stay. However, you’d be remiss to skip the fantastic fresh pasta at Portofino, Longboat Key’s on-site Italian restaurant.
Set among northeast Florida’s oft-overlooked natural beaches, the Omni Amelia Island allows guests to submerge themselves in the landscape across its massive 1,350 acres. It possesses an unheard-of 3.5 miles of beachfront, so you’ll be hard-pressed to find beachgoers from off-property, and 36 holes of golf to occupy the rest of your time. Nearly every room at the Omni has an ocean view and a private balcony. Because the resort is so secluded, the 402-room property still feels gloriously empty even when it’s at capacity.