Florida's Beachside Resorts

Susan Elnicki

With cool days just around the corner, it’s time to start planning for autumn excursions in warm waters. If you’re in the mood to get pampered, experience a luxurious lifestyle, or simply relax at sunset with your toes in the sand, Florida’s coastal retreats are the place to be.

As thousands of beautiful resorts reside along the state’s east and west coasts, choosing the right one might be challenging. To help pick your dream destination, Marinalife has assembled a sampling of 10 unique places in the Sunshine State. Some of them bustle with an energetic contemporary vibe; others project a laid-back atmosphere with Old Florida charm. All of them guarantee sun, surf and a memorable visit by the sea.

Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island | Luxuori Collection

The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island

Amelia Island

Whether you want to explore nature on a 13-mile barrier island or nurture your senses in the lap of luxury, this Ritz-Carlton offers a cornucopia of amenities in a breathtaking setting. Located just north of Jacksonville, the resort is surrounded by pristine beaches and ancient forests with moss-draped oaks. Balconies on 446 rooms overlook the pool, spa, fitness center, tennis courts, golf course, family game room, shops, and restaurants ranging from fine dining to a dune bar. Guests can go fishing or kayaking, or take eco-field trips to discover coastal sea life.

Where to Dock: Oasis Marinas at Fernandina Harbor

Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa


This beachside beauty promises to please all its guests, including canine companions by offering puppy cabanas and two dog beaches. But being pet friendly does not distract from the coastal elegance of seven acres of oceanfront, lush tropical gardens and a fresh paint job in 2023 that highlights the classic Florida architecture. Enjoy the pool, spa, tennis courts and watersports such as snorkeling and surfing lessons. Loggers Kids Club and play zone offers summer camp and lessons about endangered sea turtles. Eight dining options range from a farm-to-fork steakhouse and Italian cuisine to a breezy beach bar and craft cocktail lounge.  

Where to Dock: Loggerhead South Lantana Marina

The Breakers | Courtesy of The Breakers Palm Beach

The Breakers Palm Beach

Palm Beach

In 1896, railroad magnate Henry Flagler built this opulent Italian Renaissance-style resort on a barrier island now dotted with posh hotels and estates. Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, presidents and royalty have cruised up the palm-lined driveway to the Florentine fountain and stepped inside to marvel at arched ceilings decorated with intricate drawings. Its 140 oceanfront acres host 534 guest rooms and suites, 10 restaurants, six spas, four swimming pools, two golf courses, 10 tennis courts, 13 boutiques, and a family entertainment center.

Where to Dock: Palm Harbor Marina

Boca Raton Beach Club

Boca Raton

Five hotels in one stunning location boast an immaculate private beach as the centerpiece of all the action. The resort’s 356-acre property is graced with floor-to- ceiling windows to accentuate the ocean view. Cabanas at eight pools come complete with butler service, and 17 restaurants accommodate every culinary whim from white linen and gourmet plates to a casual burger bar. Kids’ activities, tennis and pickleball, boating, watersports, a fitness center, and shops keep guests busy. Events include holiday celebrations, movie nights, food and wine festivals, full moon yoga, and family bonfires on the beach.  

Where to Dock: Port 32 Marinas Lighthouse Point

Four Seasons Hotel & Residences Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Nestled between Miami and Palm Beach on a lovely stretch of the Atlantic coast, guests are welcomed to a destination of relaxed glamour that reflects a modern spin on the classic yacht club lifestyle. Faena Hotel gilded woolly mammoth Boca Raton Beach Club lounge Think clean contemporary design with a tasteful touch of tropical décor. Arriving is easy thanks to three international airports and several deep-water marinas nearby. Amenities include two ocean view pools, a spa, salon, fitness center, kids’ clubhouse, yoga classes and bicycles. Whether you like snacks at the pool or upscale dishes, expect coastal Florida cuisine that’s fresh and healthy.  

Where to Dock: Bahia Mar Marina

Acqualine Resort & Residences on the Beach

Sunny Isles Beach

With cherry-red umbrellas and lounge chairs poised at the beach and muted earth tones garnishing the interior, this luxurious resort blends the combo of fun and relaxation at the shore. The Mediterranean villa-style property covers 4.5 miles of south Florida that houses 98 oceanfront rooms. Dining options: Italian, Greek, Japanese fusion, tapas and picnic baskets packed with gourmet treats. Guests can stay on-site to play soccer or basketball, swim in the pool or the waves, play beach games, or engage in marine biology activities that explore seashells and other aquatic life. Offsite activities include water sports, jet skis, surf lessons, local arts, shops and world-class golf.  

Where to Dock: Williams Island Marina

Faena Hotel

Faena Hotel pool | Courtesy of Faena Hotel

Miami Beach

Perhaps the most unique and strikingly beautiful resort on the list, this destination is certain to spark the imagination and creative spirit. A golden mammoth statue is on display in the tropical garden overlooking a white-sand beach. Every space is splashed with vibrant colors, bold designs and distinctive artwork that echo Miami’s eclectic cultural scene. Enjoy water activities, yoga, meditation, and jazz and experimental music concerts. Four restaurants introduce guests to cuisine from South American live-fire cooking and modern Asian cuisine to Tokyo-style sushi and traditional Mexican dishes. Amenities: pet friendly rooms, pool, theater, salon and holistic healing spa.  

Where to Dock: Miami Beach Marina (transients) or Sunset Harbour Yacht Club (members)

JW Marriott Marco Island

Marco Island

The recent $230 million renovation created a Balinise-style paradise with adult-only spaces and a kids’ day camp, so everybody gets to do their own thing. Located about 17 miles from Naples, the resort is known for a gorgeous half-moon- shaped beach and spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Attractions include 12 restaurants, two golf courses, four pools, a spa and fitness center, stylish rooms, and an arcade with mini golf, bowling and other games. Hungry guests can opt for a range of meals from breakfast buffets and tiki bar snacks to high-end steaks and seafood.  

Where to Dock: Marco Island Marina

Gasparilla Inn & Club

Boca Grande

About an hour south of Sarasota awaits a charming Old Florida gem that overlooks the Gulf ’s warm waters. Plans for the luxury hotel began in 1909 when the state was emerging as a vacation spot for wealthy northern visitors. Over the years, renovations and upgrades transformed it into an idyllic destination for modern travelers while retaining its historic inn designation. The 142 rooms are cozy and cheerful. Guests can stroll around the grounds to soak in the relaxed vintage groove, or engage in activities such as golf, tennis, croquet, sportfishing, sunset cruises, seashell collecting, billiards, backgammon, bike and kayak rides, and much more.

Where to Dock: Boca Grande Marina

The Don CeSar

Don CeSar in St. Pete Beach | Ebyabe via Wikimedia Commons

St. Pete Beach

When it opened in 1928, the “Pink Palace” was considered the crown jewel of Gulf Coast resorts, attracting celebrities and A-list guests from around the globe. During its almost 100-year history, it served as a hospital for World War II airmen, fell into disrepair, was saved from the wrecking ball and eventually restored to its former grandeur. Today, this timeless luxury resort wows visitors with 241 exquisite rooms and 36 suites, newly renovated lobby and restaurant, and stunning seaside views. As a hallmark for lavish opulence and superb architecture, it’s a must-visit destination with a delightful history and plenty of activities and amenities to create an unforgettable experience.  

Where to Dock: Loggerhead St. Petersburg Marina

Related Articles
No items found.

Want to Stay In the Loop?

Stay up to date with the latest articles, news and all things boating with a FREE subscription to Marinalife Magazine!

Thanks for subscribing!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Marinalife articles