From the Art Deco-lined shores of Miami Beach to the couture-filled streets of the Design District, Miami is a city that manages to simultaneously pay tribute to its storied past and to remain on the cutting edge of what’s next. Read on for restaurant and hotel recommendations, as well as Miami travel tips!
Pensacola Beach: Untouched Pensacola Beach has translucent waters best appreciated at low tide, when you can walk hundreds of yards and see nothing but a sandy, winter-white bottom and maybe a few minnows.
Caladesi: Fall off the grid with a 20-minute ferry ride to pristine Caladesi, where good things come in threes: three miles of beaches with enough mollusk shells and sand dollars to lure collectors; a three-mile nature trail through tropical mangrove forests; and three miles of paddling trails.
Gasparilla: “Hush, don’t rush” is the unofficial mantra on Gasparilla Island between Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. Driftwood is strewn across seven miles of shoreline flanked by fluffy, creamy-white powder, turning the beach into an organic art installation.
Playalinda: You’ll have to drive through a wildlife refuge to reach this sweet swath of Cape Canaveral National Seashore. With bald eagles, manatees and loggerhead turtles hiding in wetlands, it’s like playing nature’s version of “I Spy” on your way to one of the most peaceful stretches of sand in the state.
Santa Rosa Beach: You’ll think you’ve stumbled into the Caribbean when you first gaze at this 26-mile stretch of north Florida beach, which draws comparisons to both Aruba and Curaçao. Quartz crystals wash down from the Appalachian Mountains, collecting here and making the sugar-white sand sparkle.
Cayo Costa: Only accessible by ferry, this barrier isle is both rustic and remote, so expect to have its seven miles of beaches practically to yourself. While travelers flock to nearby Sanibel Island for some of the world’s top shelling, Cayo Costa doesn’t disappoint.
Psst: Secret Beaches For a Non-Crowded (!) Florida Getaway
Boneyard Beach: Step into the ethereal scene inside Big Talbot Island State Park just south of Amelia Island, where salt-dusted skeletons are all that remain of the oak and cedar trees that once guarded this stretch of coast. Stroll the shore and take note of the scent of the maritime forests directly behind the towering sand dunes.
Not far from Key West, Hawks Cay Resort caters to families with Camp Hawk, which will host your kids for an entire day of supervised activities, from fish feedings to snorkeling in the saltwater lagoon.
Miami is a full-throttle destination, but it’s always nice to escape the mad crush. At this time of year, peak rates are coming down and the activity is slowing down in the city, making it an ideal time to get out and explore the surrounding area.
At first glance, Siesta Beach, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, looks like the standard picture-perfect shore. It has clear blue water, exceptionally white sand, and is so pristine that Dr. Leatherman rated it the number one beach in America. But once you kick off your flip-flops, your feet will experience what makes this beach so unique. The powdery sand is 99.9 percent quartz crystal and so fine and uniform in size that it squeaks when you walk on it. Plus, its composition allows it to stay cool…