Only 85 miles from Miami, Islamorada is full of postcard-worthy views. Known as the “Sports Fishing Capital of the World”, sports fishing and saltwater fly fishing are popular activities. Visit Robbie’s Marina to hand-feed hungry tarpon at the docks, then explore exhibits at the History of Diving Museum, catch a show at the waterfront ICE Amphitheater or admire local artwork at the Michelle Nicole Lowe Art Gallery. Unwind at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, where you’ll find spacious rooms and suites, upscale restaurants an on-site golf course and luxury day spa and access to palm-lined beaches.
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A little over an hour drive from Miami, Palm Beach is home to upscale resorts and a picturesque shoreline. Boasting 14 miles of beach, it’s known for being the former winter home of the Vanderbilts, Kennedy’s and Rockefellers and its popular shopping street, Worth Avenue, that rivals California’s Rodeo Drive. The Breakers, Palm Beach is a great place to unwind with its 5-star service and oceanfront location, offering swimming pools, an 18-hole golf course and an array of restaurants. Kids will love the Family Entertainment Center with its playroom, arcade, mini-movie theater and arts and crafts room.
Just 37 miles north of Miami, Pompano Beach is a relaxing getaway destination that is a great place to escape from the tourist crowds. You’ll find plenty of fine dining restaurants and great shopping at “the heart of the Gold Coast”, while boating and fishing excursions are a favorite for outdoor enthusiasts. Go snorkeling past coral reefs and enjoy beachside playgrounds, then take the family to explore the gardens in Butterfly World or visit the historic Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse. Looking for ocean views? Beachcomber Resort & Villas offers a private beach in addition to spacious villas and a poolside tiki bar.
Fort Lauderdale is less than an hour’s drive from Miami, known for its beautiful beaches and close proximity to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Stroll the city’s popular beachfront promenade, visit Millionaires Row for a look at the glitzy yachts and mansions, then explore the 1900s preserved Historic Stranahan House Museum. See the canal complex canal system on a boat tour around Florida’s “Venice of America”, go shopping at Las Olas Boulevard or take a break in Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Enjoy beach views from a private balcony at Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, which features chic suites, outdoor pools and a luxurious day spa.
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Key Largo is the first and most easily accessible of all the Florida Keys, known for its colorful coral reefs, glass bottom boat tours and delectable seafood offerings. John Pennekamp State Park offers excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities, while diving reveals the iconic “Christ of the Deep” statue underwater. You can learn about Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Dolphin Research Center, then hike the trails in Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park or embrace the laid-back lifestyle with a fruity cocktail in hand. The beachfront Coconut Palm Inn is one of the area’s most popular hotels, offering affordable suites with balconies that have water views.
Hollywood is an alluring beach destination only 20 miles north of Miami, luring families in with its charming boardwalk. Hop on a bicycle and cruise the beachside boardwalk to enjoy the sparkling ocean on one side and a collection of charming cafes and restaurants on the other. Immerse yourself in a day of nature by paddling through the mangroves at Anne Kolb Nature Center or climb the Observation Tower for panoramic views of the beach, then reward yourself with frozen desserts at Florida’s famous Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour and Restaurant. Hollywood Beach Marriott is a family-favorite, offering spacious suites, an outdoor pool and beach access.
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Located along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, West Palm Beach is a great destination for culture vultures. Explore the artwork in Norton Museum of Art, catch a show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, or indulge in nightlife along Clematis Street. The oldest and largest public gardens in West Palm Beach, Mounts Botanical Garden features flowers from around the world, while Manatee Lagoon An FPL Eco-Discovery Center allows you to see manatees basking in the warm waters at winter. Just 70 miles from Miami, Palm Beach Hibiscus is a charming bed and breakfast with individually decorated rooms that feature clawfoot and whirlpool tubs.
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A little more than 50 miles north of Miami, Delray Beach is an underrated destination in Florida. This small town has a big personality and is the perfect place to avoid tourist crowds. Here you’ll get the best of both worlds, as USA Today rated Delray the “Most Fun Small Town in America” in 2012. Spend your days indulging in outdoor adventures like surfing, kayaking, sailing and snorkeling, then enjoy the serene landscapes of Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens or go shopping along East Atlantic Avenue. Crane’s Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas is just a minute’s walk from the beach, boasting one and two-bedroom suites, outdoor saltwater pools and a chic cocktail bar.
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Deerfield Beach offers an award-winning coastline only 45 minutes from the bustle of Miami. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit Quiet Waters Park for a weekend camping and fishing, home to the longest “cable ski” courses that combine surfing, skiing and wakeboarding. Visit the South Florida Railway Museum to see working model trains at a station from 1926, explore scenic nature trails and mangrove swamps at Deerfield Island Park or let the little ones make a splash at Splash Adventure Water Park. Rest easy at the beachfront Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, which boasts a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, beachside grill and ice cream parlor and outdoor pool and bar.
Located in southwest Florida, Marco Island sits on the edge of the Everglades just a two-hour drive from Miami. Its crescent-shaped sandy beach faces the Gulf of Mexico and is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. Explore the canal-lined streets, collect colorful seashells on the shoreline or take an airboat ride through the preserve. Sign up for fishing, kayaking and canoeing adventures or spot bottlenose dolphins splashing about in the waters. Stay at Marco Beach Ocean Resort to enjoy Gulf of Mexico views from private balconies in elegant suites, a rooftop pool and on-site Italian restaurant.
This story originally appeared on www.tripstodiscover.com