The aptly named Sunshine State is many things to many people, but for those who haven’t visited before, its diversity can be surprising.
From the magical theme parks of Orlando to the cosmopolitan hub of Miami, the natural wonders of the Everglades wetlands to the paradise-like islands of the Keys – Florida offers something to suit every age, taste and vacation-style.
As one of the most popular holiday-states in the U.S, resorts are plentiful, and provide accommodation for all budgets.
Here is our pick of the best resorts in Florida:
1. Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
With one of the most enviable, beach-front locations on Florida’s famous Palm Beach Island, the Four Seasons Palm Beach Resort offers the best in luxury accommodation, word-class dining and staff who will cater to your every-pampering need.
Relax in the indulgent onsite spa or partake in something a little more rigorous – the Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach has an extensive selection of water sports and activities, including surfing, kayaking and paddling boarding, or spend the day aboard one of the luxury 14 x 16ft catamarans.
If relaxing in the water is more up your street, you can enjoy the 180-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean from the Four Seasons main pool, whilst making use of the amenities including “chilled” towels and sunglass cleaning.
2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
If spending the day in Disney’s magical Animal Kingdom isn’t enough for the kids (or the grown-ups!) you can always extend the experience by booking into one of the stunning villas at Kidani Village.
Letting families take part in their own “Great African Safari”, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas were inspired by the African kraal and are designed in a horseshoe shape to allow for uninterrupted views of the savanna outside.
Wake up to discover over 30 species of African animals roaming freely outside your window, and thanks to each room’s Wildlife Field Guide, you’ll be able to name them all – from zebras to giraffes, gazelles and flamingos – before you leave!
Animals aside, guests of all ages will enjoy the excellent pool facilities, including a 128-foot-long waterslide and whirlpool spas.
3. The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
One for the sun and sea-lovers, The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota is perfectly positioned to make the most of the Florida Gulf Coast’s famous stretches of powdery white sand and crystal-edged shores.
But it’s not just the beaches which make the location of this Ritz so special – its proximity to downtown Sarasota allows guests to easily explore this artistic centre.
Gallery-goers will delight at Towles Court, where a collective of 40 galleries can be discovered together, or simply stroll through the town to take in turn of the century architecture and landmarks.
Back at the resort, tuck into delicious seafood at Jack Dusty, indulge in a spa treatment (or two!) and enjoy the nightly sunset parties at the private beach club.
4. South Seas Island Resort
Just off the Gulf Coast, the private paradise of Captiva Island’s South Seas Island Resort has been offering guests seeking nature, peace and privacy the perfect escape for decades.
With almost three miles of exclusive pure-white sand beach and a range of accommodation for every taste – from guest suites to private home rentals – every inch of the South Seas Island Resort is designed with relaxation in mind.
Take a dip in one of the 20 swimming pools, enjoy the onsite yoga studio or take part in one of the painting classes.
However, you decide to spend your time, don’t forget to visit the Harbourside Bar & Grill, overlooking the Yacht Harbour and Marina, to taste some local catches with one of the best views on the island.
5. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
If private islands are your thing…and money is no object, check into the exquisite Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, where picture-perfect paradise is a guarantee.
There are no phones or TVs, allowing guests to completely switch off and relax in the incredible natural surroundings.
Snorkel straight off the beach, drink champagne with breakfast or simply wander through the Island’s six acres of tropical shrub and beach – this resort takes playing castaway to a luxury level.
6. Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa
Having recently completed a $40m renovation, the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa boats a brand-new outdoor pool and luxurious spa, but its beachfront location is still its most prized feature.
Just south of Naples, off the Southwest Coast of Florida, the Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa is a popular romantic getaway, but there is plenty for families to do too.
From babysitting services to specially curated children’s activities and menus, parents can enjoy quality time with their children and the chance to relax.
If you can prize yourself away from the hotel facilities, the resort also offers jet-skiing and organises sightseeing trips in the local area.
7. Key Largo Marriott Beach Resort
Just an hour south of vibrant Miami, the Key Largo Marriott Beach Resort is a tropical paradise, perched upon 17 acres of incredible beachfront.
Deciding how to spend your day at the resort – whether by the pool, snorkelling amongst the colourful coral reeds or sampling some fine local cuisine at Gus Grille’s waterfront restaurant – will be the most difficult decision you have to make.
Many guests prefer to make the most of the in-room features – from stunning ocean front views to free wi-fi.
Those who like to keep in shape on vacation can work up a sweat in the state-of-the-art gym, followed by a relaxing massage at the newly renovated day-spa.
8. The Reach Waldorf Astoria Resort
Situated on Key West’s only natural sand beach, guest at The Reach can enjoy the facilities of not one but two luxury resorts – with sister location Casa Marina accessible nearby.
Laid-back sophistication is The Reach’s appeal – merging luxury and style effortlessly to create the ultimate Florida resort.
Set amongst tropical gardens, you’ll find the sea-views equally as breathtaking from your room as they are in the ample swimming pool.
Spa al Mare at Casa Marina provides The Ranch guests with beachfront treatments, whilst Spencer’s by the Sea serves up some of the best steaks in the state.
Barefoot Billy’s beach shop offers those looking to surf, jet and kayak their way around the pristine waters all of the equipment they could need, or jump on one of the daily boat trips to see dolphins up close.
9. Fisher Island Club
Make no mistake, Fisher Island Club is one of the most exclusive resorts in Florida, with a price-tag to match.
Just moments from all of Miami’s main action, Fisher Island Club offers guests a range of luxury accommodations in the former private estate building of the Vanderbilt II family.
“Living like a Vanderbilt” is something of a motto here, and the resort has been designed to make your stay as indulgent as possible.
Think salt-water mansion pools, golf with a view and fine dining at Miami’s most exclusive private beach club.
The elite favour Fisher Island Club’s renowned Mediterranean-style spa retreat, where pampering doesn’t begin to describe the treatment you’ll receive.
10. Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort
Situated on Florida’s picturesque Amelia Island, the 1,350-acre Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort offers couples and families the chance to experience some of the state’s most beautiful natural surroundings, without compromising on those all-important little luxuries.
Rooms are generous and modern, with iHome docks and high-speed wi-fi, whilst outside your private sanctuary, you’ll find three Audubon International certified sanctuary golf courses, a golf academy and a tennis program managed by Cliff Drysdale Tennis professionals.
Don’t forget to try out the resort restaurant, where “Omni Originals” – a brand new culinary and cocktail program from Omni Hotels & Resorts – was introduced earlier this year.
11. Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina
Don’t be fooled by this luxury Gulf of Mexico resort’s name – there’s nothing but white, sugary sand for as far as the eye can see! With unbeatable sunrise to sunset views, and over 10 acres of lush tropical surroundings, Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina is the perfect For Myers Beach getaway.
Accommodation is served up in one and two-bedroom condo-style suites – inclusive of breakfasts, beach lounge chair and umbrella rental – designed for even the most style-conscious of travellers, each with its own stunning sea view.
If you make it out of the room, sailing and dolphin spotting are available onsite, whilst the resort’s three pools – complete with their own waterfalls – keep all the family at play.
12. The Diplomat Beach Resort
Old-world glamour meets luxurious modern style at The Diplomat Beach Resort, Curio Collection by Hilton, in Florida’s charming oceanside town of Hollywood.
Having recently undergone a $100m renovation, The Diplomat has regained its place as one of Florida’s top luxury resorts.
Rooms are chic and beach-y, and sun-loving guests can choose from one of two Instagrammable pools to laze beside, with poolside dining optional.
There are plenty more delicious dining options to choose from, with 10 new concept restaurants onsite since the renovation was completed – concepts led by celebrity chefs including Geoffrey Zakarian and Michael Schulson.
13. TradeWinds Island Grand
Want to experience the best of the Florida Gulf, through two equally adored St Pete Beach resorts? Look no further than TradeWinds.
As well as the TradeWinds Island Grand, guests can also use the facilities at Guy Harvey Outpost – where beachside restaurant RumFish Grill features a now famous 33,500-gallon aquarium.
From the beach cabana to the water slide, TradeWinds has something to keep all the family entertained throughout the day, and with an array of rooms – featuring spectacular Gulf views and even pet-friendly options – you’ll find the perfect place to spend your nights too.
14. Hyatt Clearwater Beachfront Resort
If you’re looking for a classic resort with a residential-like feel, Hyatt Clearwater Beachfront Resort offers award-winning service, modern luxury and all the comforts of home.
Just moments from turquoise waters of the Mexican Gulf and steps from beaches of perfect white sand, this resort offers guests a choice of 250 spacious suites, complete with balcony-views to die for.
Indulge in a poolside snack or tuck into local seafood at SHOR restaurant.
If you prefer to catch your own fish, take part in one of the resorts many water-based activities – including deep-sea fishing – or join a eco-friendly dolphin watch tour.
Don’t forget to book in for a luxury treatment at the Sandava Spa, and relax in the knowledge that the kids will be occupied by Camp Hyatt®’s range of activities.
15. Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach
Ideally situated between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, the Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach is Florida’s top luxury resort and spa.
With almost five acres waterfront in Sunny Isles Beach and featuring stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Acqualina Resort & Spa on the Beach offers world-class dining from restaurants such as Il Mulino New York and the first ESPA-branded spa to land in the United States.
Rooms are lavishly decorated, with luxury bedding and oversized baths – and each offers a private balcony.
Guests can choose from three outdoor swimming pools, lined with private cabanas, or alternatively book themselves in for an exclusive ESPA treatment.