Is it the Gulf Coast's soft sandy beaches, the Space Mountain roller coaster at Disney World, or the club scene of Miami drawing you to Florida? The list of Florida's pros includes much more than the virtually year-round sunny and warm weather, making it a frequent vacation pick for all types of travelers. To help you plan your trip, we've found a hotel for three different price ranges -- budget, mid-range, and luxury -- in the Sunshine State's most popular destinations. Whether you want to be frugal or go all out, we've got you covered.
Hotels in this story
Calm blue water abutting miles of soft white sand isn’t the only draw to Miami, a buzzing city that attracts families on spring break, honeymooners, and bachelorette groups. Foodies can sample cheap and delicious Cuban fare or head to Michelin-starred restaurants, while shopping enthusiasts can stroll along Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue for designer goods. Whether travelers want to relax and sunbathe (topless) on the beach or party all night at one of many popular clubs hosting famous DJs, Miami offers it all.
- Budget: The Posh Hostel is a stylish property with a fantastic location two blocks from the ocean in South Beach. The modern, co-ed bunks aren’t for everyone, but free happy hour, breakfast, and Wi-Fi, plus a communal kitchen, are great amenities.
- Mid-Range: Just one block from the beach, Red South Beach Hotel is a good bang-for-your-buck option, thanks to its quiet, central location, contemporary guest rooms, tasty restaurant, and large outdoor pool. Daily happy hours with free cocktails are also well-received.
- Luxury: The five-pearl 1 Hotel South Beach has it all: beachfront chairs, gorgeous and huge guest rooms, four outdoor pools, multiple bars and an upscale eatery, and a full-service spa. Eco-friendly touches at every turn are typical of the 1 Hotels brand.
Despite not having a beach, millions of visitors head to sunny Orlando for theme park fun at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. Given that the former claims to be the Happiest Place on Earth, it’s no surprise parents take their kids there to have fun amid their favorite Disney characters. From Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom to safaris at Animal Kingdom, there’s no shortage of attractions, thrilling rides, and costume-filled parades. If that’s not enough, tourists can head to Universal Studios for movie-based rides and the Hogwarts Express, or visit SeaWorld Orlando.
- Budget: The Best Western Plus Universal Inn is a value property within walking distance of Universal Studios. It offers an outdoor pool, a free breakfast with hot and cold items, and free shuttle service to the nearby theme park. The 70 clean rooms have flat-screen TVs and mini-fridges.
- Mid-Range: Situated inside the park complex, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort has spacious suites with kitchenettes, three outdoor pools, a big food court, a huge game room, and free shuttles to Disney parks and the airport.
- Luxury: For well-heeled Disney travelers, the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is hard to top. Its prime location on the monorail and the Seven Seas Lagoon is excellent, plus the hotel provides elegant rooms, two pools, a kids’ club, and several dining options.
Many travelers who visit the Florida Keys make their way down to Key West, located at the southern tip of the state and roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. While it has come to be known for kitschy souvenir shops and rowdy bars, it has a lot going for it. It’s laid-back, funky vibe is enticing, as are the plethora of outdoor activities — nature reserves, kayaking, golfing, and beachside lounging — and historic area housing the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. Make sure to sample Key lime pie and fresh fish, and catch live music at a bar on Duval Street.
- Budget: The 38-room, adults-only Southernmost Inn was converted from a late-1800s cigar factory and feels like a classic Key West bed-and-breakfast. Ample outdoor space, two swimming pools, free breakfasts, and spotless, quaint rooms make this hotel a great value.
- Mid-Range: Set in a restored Victorian mansion, Artist House is a raved-about B&B with historic charm, free breakfast and happy hour, a small dipping pool, and character-filled guest rooms.
- Luxury: The 19-room La Mer Hotel and Dewey House is an upscale, adults-only property offering access to a sister hotel’s pools, spa, and three bars. It’s located on a quiet end of Duval Street, and it provides free breakfasts, swish rooms — some with ocean views — and a romantic atmosphere.
Attracting lots of families and business travelers, Tampa sits on a bay along Florida’s Gulf Coast. Although lacking beaches that the Sunshine State is known for, several sandy stretches are within easy driving distance — Clearwater and St. Pete Beach are standouts. Art museums, kid-friendly attractions such as wildlife-filled Busch Gardens, and a burgeoning restaurant and bar scene make this a suitable vacation destination for tourists of all ages. Accessible by foot or bike, the Riverwalk has pleasant views, though not many dining options.
- Budget: The 123-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites Tampa is just down the road from Busch Gardens theme park and free shuttles are available. Simple rooms have microwaves and coffeemakers, plus there are free breakfasts, an outdoor pool, and laundry facilities.
- Mid-Range: The 520-room Hilton Tampa Downtown is a contemporary, business-centric hotel with several leisure features, including a sleek pool deck with fire pits and a bar, a quality restaurant, and a full-service Starbucks. Rooms have Hilton Serenity beds and MP3 docking stations.
- Luxury: The upscale Epicurean Hotel is chic and modern, and designed with a culinary theme. Multiple wining and dining options include a rooftop bar and demo kitchen that hosts regular classes. A spa, outdoor pool, and streamlined rooms with espresso machines are top-notch.
Once a party-heavy spring break destination, Fort Lauderdale now attracts largely affluent travelers seeking relaxation by the beach. Numerous hotels line the large, white-sand beaches that are similar to those in Miami (a 40-minute drive south), making ocean access easy. Most travelers will also want to spend some time exploring the city’s extensive network of canals — Fort Lauderdale has been dubbed the “Venice of America” — which are flanked by luxury yachts and impressive mansions.
- Budget: Located across from the beach in Fort Lauderdale, the 18-room snooze has vintage-modern charm and a stylish roof deck overlooking the water. Free-to-borrow beach towels, bicycles, chairs, and umbrellas are perks, but don’t expect a pool or restaurant.
- Mid-Range: The Sun Tower Hotel & Suites is located on the beach, and almost all 23 rooms have spectacular ocean views. A small outdoor pool and restaurant with patio seating are available, and a resort fee covers beach chairs.
- Luxury: The 159-room Pelican Grand Beach Resort has a prime beachfront location and large pool with a lazy river. Balcony-equipped rooms are charming, featuring cottage-like and shabby-chic details. A spa, restaurant, and ice cream shop round out the offerings.
Between Pensacola and Panama City Beach, Destin occupies a spot on Florida’s Emerald Coast, an area known for its stunning clear green water and powdery white sand. In addition to lounging away the days oceanside, water-centric activities include parasailing, dolphin-watching cruises, and fishing charters to take advantage of the heavily populated water. Head to the Destin History & Fishing Museum for an in-depth look at the town, or visit the scenic Harbor Boardwalk to grab a drink or bite to eat.
- Budget: The 72-room SummerPlace Inn isn’t along the beach, but it’s within walking distance and rates are affordable. Old-fashioned rooms have coffeemakers, and additional perks consist of free daily breakfasts, two pools, and free Wi-Fi.
- Mid-Range: Sterling Shores is a great kid-friendly condo-style property across a small road from the beach. Rooms are bright and airy, with Gulf-facing balconies. Two pools, special events for kids, and a small movie theater keep guests entertained.
- Luxury: The 35-room Henderson Park Inn is a boutique property that only allows adults 25 and older, giving the hotel a romantic vibe. Impeccable service, all-inclusive amenities like free welcome drinks, breakfast, lunch, and happy hour, and a somewhat secluded beach location make this the city’s top pick.
You’ll Also Like:
- Where to Go in Florida: A Cheat Sheet to the Top Destinations
- 14 Florida Hotels With Lazy Rivers
- The Best Weekend Itinerary for Key West
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