Many people associate a vacation to the Caribbean with relaxing on the shore while enjoying beautiful beaches, delicious food, and tranquil accommodations. And while a quick trip to the Caribbean may be in the future for some, others may prefer to stay in the United States, due to costs, flight issues, or convenience.
The travel website The Travel recently wrote about places in Florida that feel like the Caribbean, allowing one to feel like they're on a Caribbean vacation without having to leave the sunshine state.
Here are the destinations that made the cut:
Marco Island: This destination is not as well known as many others in Florida. It's close to Naples, and, in addition to its white-sand beaches, it offers mangrove forests and wetlands for exploration via kayak, paddleboard, or canoe. It also boasts delicious dining from restaurants like Mango's Dockside Bistro and gives off a low-key vibe.
Key West: A visit to this string of keys on Florida's southern tip might convince you that parts of Key West look like the Caribbean, with its pastel-colored buildings and outdoor eateries. And, like the Caribbean, Key West is a wonderful place to dive and see coral reefs.
Panama City Beach: This destination is versatile. It has 27 miles of beaches (with fine, powdery sand,) St. Andrews State Park, and plenty of family-friendly activities, (which is why it is popular with vacationing families.) That said, it offers a plethora of nightlife options for adults.
St. Petersburg: This destination has the lovely beach that one expects from this part of Florida, but it's also home to some cultural treasures such as the Dali Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts. The city's vibrant and artsy downtown has cute galleries and cafes.
Miami: If you are looking for a cultural experience, look no further than this destination in south Florida. It's alive with Cuban culture, and awash with trendy restaurants and clubs. If you'd rather be outdoors, Miami's beaches are beautiful, and the city boasts great golfing.
Sanibel Island: This is another under-the-radar destination and it's a small barrier island known for its superb shelling and its beautiful beaches. Because it has abundant nature trails and outdoor activities, it's a great destination for nature lovers. And restaurants like Timbers Fish Market serve some of the best seafood in the state.
Anna Maria Island: There are building restrictions here that keep this community small and fuss-free. As a result, it feels delightfully old-fashioned at times and is a great choice for those who just want to unplug and relax. Its gorgeous beaches should help you do just that.
Hollywood Beach: With its famous 2 1/2 mile boardwalk, this is a destination that will welcome you outside. Fodor's has called Hollywood Beach the "best beach for families," but there are also opportunities for fishing, snorkeling, or shopping.
Ft. Myers: This city on Florida's Gulf coast offers both beaches and nature preserves. In addition to its outdoor beauty, it has plenty of museums and lovely historic homes to tour. Ft. Myers has some wonderful seafood restaurants, including Izzy's Fish and Oyster.
Clearwater Beach: This destination is often thought of as very family-friendly, since its home to Clearwater Marine Aquarium and its fun pirate cruises, but the white-sand beaches are a draw for any type of traveler.
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