You’re off work, the yard work is all done, the housework is caught up, the bills are paid, you’ve got a little extra cash on hand… OK, OK, maybe things aren’t that good, but everything doesn’t have to be perfect to plan the perfect weekend getaway. Here are a few locales to consider when planning your next weekend vacation.
One of the state’s most pristine beaches can be found surrounding the small eight-mile-long barrier island of Siesta Key. In fact, Siesta Key is known for having the world’s “Finest White Sand.” On Siesta Key, you can truly have the best of both worlds—the laid-back beachcomber life coupled with all the exciting entertainment located in the city of Sarasota. Check out siestakeyvisitorinfo.com for lots of other fun activities.
The Capri at Siesta
Just a short walk from the glistening quartz sands of privately accessed Crescent Beach, this luxury resort is a wonderful place to visit. It pays to reserve one of the 10 guest rooms well in advance. Beach access, proximity to town and immaculate rooms make the Capri a delight.
Conclare Aman’s Beach Resort
Remember the classic Florida one-story strip hotels of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s? Well, fast forward to 2016 and you have the Conclare… but it has all the latest amenities and the grounds are truly amazing! A short walk takes you to the beach and a short drive takes you to anywhere on the Key or in Sarasota.
Some of the most exquisite seashells in Florida can be found hidden in the gorgeous white sand beaches of Siesta Key. Another thing that makes these beaches so special is the fact that in many places you wade out into the warm Gulf waters for hundreds of yards… in water that is only waist-deep. This makes Siesta Key beaches perfect for families with children.
If you want your entertainment to be a little more manmade, then the bustling city of Sarasota is just a short drive away—in fact, part of Siesta Key is incorporated into the city. In the main town, you will find aquariums, zoos, botanical gardens, tours, cruises, fishing charters, gondola rides, museums, art centers, theaters, the opera, circuses, symphonies, ballets and exciting nightlife galore… you name it, and it’s only a few minutes’ drive in any direction. visitsarasota.org
Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
The only thing better than the magnificent view of Sarasota Bay from your patio table is the delicious food. You won’t find any better, or fresher, seafood on the Key than at Dry Dock. And who goes for a weekend at the beach if they don’t plan on a great seafood dinner?
If you like hip, trendy, live music and great food and drinks, then The Cottage is for you. You can sit outside on the back patio and listen to live local bands while relaxing in the heart of Siesta Key. And when you finish dining, the beach is just a short walk away.
3.14 Pi Craft Beer & Spirit
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know good beer and food when you taste it. The craft beers found at Pi are some of the best on the west coast of Florida. With its laid-back, livin’-on-the-beach atmosphere and affordable prices, this is the place to find a great pizza or calzone—and definitely the best bread sticks on the planet. siestapi.com
This quaint little suburban city is the perfect place to spend a quiet, relaxing weekend. It spends most of its time overshadowed by Orlando and the state’s nearby tourist attractions, but this town was created just for vacationing more than a century ago, and it easily lives up to its reputation as being one of the premier vacation spots in the state. Check outcityofwinterpark.org/visitorsfor lots of details.
The Alfond Inn
Staying at the Alfond is not only a wonderfully aesthetic experience, it is also an altruistic one—a portion of the room cost goes to fund scholarships for students attending Rollins College. Oh, and it’s pet-friendly.
Park Plaza Hotel
Sit on the lushly decorated balcony and watch the shoppers beneath stroll the shops lining magnificent Park Avenue. Walk out of the beautiful lobby and conveniently join them for a day of shopping and fun.
The Bach Festival Society
You’ll want to go Bach again and again, as the Festival Society “chorales” some of the best musical talent in the world for your listening pleasure. The society is one of the oldest continuously running Bach Festivals in the United States.
This truly is the heart of Winter Park. More than 140 boutiques and sidewalk cafes call this European-style street home, along with three museums and a Saturday-only farmers market. The avenue is also pet-friendly and offers a great mix of high-end and affordable stores and restaurants. This one street alone offers an entire weekend of fun. experienceparkavenue.com
Located in downtown Winter Park, this 11-acre park is the focal point of the city. Graceful fountains, mini-gardens, a lush green meadow and a forest of towering oaks make this a must-see for any visitor. For more than 55 years, thousands of visitors have strolled Central Park and Park Avenue to inspect some of the world’s finest arts and crafts creations. The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival takes place March 18-20 and displays the artwork of 225 local and international artists.
Delicious Italian foods paired with Italian and Spanish wines makes Prato a great family choice. Good food at good prices makes for a memorable dining experience.
American food at its finest. Don’t let Luma’s laid-back casual atmosphere fool you, this is one culinary treat you won’t want to miss.
The Ravenous Pig
Don’t let the name cause any concern—the only ravenous pig you’ll find here is you… once you get your first taste of the delightful and varied unique menu offerings.
Most people think of Florida State University and Seminole football when they hear the word Tallahassee, but this town is much more than just a college town—it’s a fun and exciting place to spend a great weekend. Check out visittallahassee.comfor more information.
The Park Avenue Inn
Formerly The Chittenden House, this antebellum mansion is an amalgam of rich Florida history. Built from pieces of the former territorial capitol building, it is now one of the premier luxury boarding houses in Florida’s Panhandle.theparkavenueinnreservations.com
Aloft Tallahassee Downtown
This modern-style hotel is pet-friendly, and the rooms are spacious and accommodating. It is located in the heart of the city, and provisions for all your needs are well within walking distance.
Little English Guesthouse
This three-room bed and breakfast is the perfect place to stay. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of downtown but close enough so that everything Tallahassee has to offer is right at your fingertips.
Florida State University
A tour of the university, which was established in 1851, is both enlightening and a scenic pleasure. The Legacy Walk is still under construction but provides visitors a historical view of the campus seen by few. The rolling hills, greenery and beautiful architecture make it one of the most beautiful college campuses in the state.
This museum is designated as one of the state’s finest nature museums. It is set on 52 acres, and its nature trails, native gardens and abundant wildlife offer a view of natural Florida that is slowly disappearing.
Mission San Luis de Apalachee
This living historical museum offers a look at Florida’s history from Spanish, English and Native American perspectives. Docents provide informative narratives, and many of the historical buildings have been authentically reproduced.
Bradfordville Blues Club
If you’ve had enough of academia and just want a taste of some down-home fun, try the Bradfordville Blues Club. It’s a bit off the beaten path but well worth the visit. If you like good music, tasty fried catfish, room to dance and just love to have fun, follow the dirt roads to one of the greatest experiences of your life.
Food Glorious Food
Whether you want to dine inside or out, upstairs or downstairs, this fine restaurant has entrées to delight even the most discriminating diner. For almost 30 years the residents of Tallahassee have enjoyed FGF’s endless list of international dishes.
Zin & Sin
This unique restaurant offers an inviting Zin dinner and lunch menu coupled with a decadent Sin dessert menu. Named as one of the 21 Best New Restaurants in the state, Z&S offers the best in New Southern cuisine.
This fantastic eatery is one of only 39 Florida restaurants listed in the Golden Spoon Hall of Fame. Offering a unique Southern-style menu, Cypress has been serving the local community since 1999.
The Space Coast
Just like its area code—3…2…1…—a weekend spent on Florida’s Space Coast can blast you off on a trip to the moon, Old Florida or natural Florida. The Space Coast encompasses the cities of Titusville, Palm Bay, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Melbourne, Indialantic and Rockledge. Check out visitspacecoast.comfor additional details.
Casa Coquina del Mar Bed and Breakfast
Located on the Indian River in Titusville, this romantic hideaway offers a beautiful view of the river and also gives visitors a bird’s eye view of any rocket launches taking place at nearby Kennedy Space Center. Enjoy a bedroom, sitting room and private bath that will make your stay both comfortable and luxurious.
Crane Creek Inn Waterfront Bed & Breakfast
This bed and breakfast in Melbourne is a step back into the past… it is Old Florida at its best. Located on beautiful Crane Creek, this unique B&B has its own heated pool and is only a very short drive from downtown Melbourne.
Kennedy Space Center
The sprawling 140,000-acre Kennedy Space Center tour is a must for any Space Coast visit. KSC is the quintessence of American technological supremacy. Seeing the awe–inspiring, 363-foot-long Atlas V rocket that powered the six manned space flights to the moon is a truly stirring experience that should be a source of enormous pride to every American. Rockets still launch regularly from the cape, and a schedule of future launch dates can be found at visitspacecoast.com/launches.
The Dinosaur Store
Yes, that’s right, it’s a dinosaur store, and no, you can’t buy a dinosaur there, but that’s the only disappointment this visit will bring. The Dinosaur Store in Cocoa Beach is a hidden historical gem in this city of beaches. Outside of a museum, this is one of the most complete displays of dinosaur fossils on Earth. You can buy fossil castings, meteorite jewelry, books, educational toys and visit the interactive Adventure Zone.
If it’s seafood you’re after, then the Chart House Restaurant in Melbourne is your place. Romantic atmosphere, great views of the Indian River and what many consider to be the finest offering of seafood on the East Coast.
Thai Thai Restaurant and Sushi
Thai Thai III in Cape Canaveral is a hidden gem on the Space Coast. Huge portions of sushi, sashimi and delicious servings of spicy curry make this cozy restaurant a culinary delight. The affordable prices and friendly staff are a plus.
The Fat Snook
Located in Cocoa Beach, this quaint restaurant only has one drawback: There are simply too many delicious dishes to choose from. And the waiters boast that they make the best key-lime pie in the state—and it could just be that they do.