Are you an active couple looking for a romantic getaway in Florida but don’t want to get stuck on a boxed vacation with kids and canes? We’re here to tell you that Florida is full of romance and adventure; you just need to know where to look. We should know. We lived and Florida for years and traveled all across the Sunshine State, discovering amazing adventures for people who want to travel experience and activity first, and then fill in with romantic places to stay and delicious food to eat.
Our guide covers the most romantic things to do in Florida at the most romantic hotels in Florida. You’ll explore from A-Amelia Island around the coast to Z-Zepher Hills and beyond. (warning – Zepher Hills may or may not be rolled into greater Tampa😉)
What Do Active Couples Do On a Romantic Getaway to Florida?
We’ll introduce things to do for active couples in Florida and romantic resorts that facilitate the fun. You’ll find some no-brainers on the list, like private islands in the Keys and the perennial who’s who of romantic Florida hotels. You’ll also find a few surprises, like mermaid-themed B&Bs where you can swim with manatees right off your own private dock.
Keep reading if you love romance, coral reefs, baby manatees, hatching sea turtles, 80-lb miniature deer, white sand beaches, golden sunsets, and warm blue water. You’ll find all this and more in our guide to romantic getaways in Florida. We even include an interactive map with every property in this guide, along with pictures and a brief description. (if the map doesn’t pop up below, just hit the refresh button. It’s worth it 😉) Finally, we’ve included our affiliate links for these hotels, so if you like our guide, you can click in from here and give us a little love at no extra cost to you.
The Most Romantic Hotels on Amelia Island – Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island
Our choice for the most romantic hotel on Amelia Island is the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island because it has accessible tranquility with the full Ritz level of service. What makes Amelia Island so accessible and tranquil? It is only 30-minute outside of Jacksonville in Florida’s northeastern-most corner and features 13-miles of golden shores. Active couples can choose from an easy drive down I-95 or plentiful flights into the Jacksonville Airport. From there, it’s just a short hop out to the beach to dip your toes in the ocean. The easy access makes Amelia Island a perfect Florida weekend getaway for couples.
We seriously considered having me work in Jacksonville and having Jenn work at the Amelia Island Ritz, but we moved to San Diego for a few years instead before ultimately heading to Florida. On the bright side, we learned all about romantic Southern California getaways and biking in San Diego during our time in California.
When Jenn was a Spa Lead and opened up the Tucson Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, a member of the property’s opening team came from the Ritz at Amelia Island and couldn’t stop raving about how beautiful the property was. This stunning oceanfront hotel continually tops lists for the most romantic hotel in Florida, includes an on-property AAA Five-Diamond restaurant, Salt. Active couples will love having access to the resident resort naturalist and the Sandcastle Concierge service to arrange any activities.
Romantic things to do on Amelia Island include:
- Riding horses on the beach
- Kayaking Pumpkin Hill Creek Preserve State Park
- Dining at world-class restaurants
- Exploring Amelia Island State Park and Talbot Island State Park
- Watching the sunrise over the Atlantic
The Most Romantic Hotels in Jacksonville – Lodge & Club Ponte Vedra Beach
Our choice for the most romantic hotel in Jacksonville is the AAA Four-Diamond Lodge & Club Ponte Vedra Beach. This classic Old Florida beach has been setting the standard for excellence since 1928. If you’re noticing a pattern of historic lodges and clubs on golden islands, you might be on to something. This area is Florida’s answer to Georgia’s Golden Isles. Kind of like going to Jekyll Island, except for an arguably better oceanfront experience.
Active things for couples to do in Jacksonville on a Ponte Vedra Beach escape include:
- Biking through Ponte Vedra Beach’s charming seaside community
- Kayaking and paddling with on-resort beach rentals
- Oceanfront dining at the Sea View Grille or Sea View Lounge
- Evenings at the heated oceanfront adults-only pool and jacuzzi
- Indulging with one of the spa’s over 100 treatment options
The Most Romantic Hotels in St. Augustine – The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens
Our choice of the most romantic hotel in St. Augustine is the Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens because you’ll feel like your immersed in a fairy tale. St. Augustine is a 400-year-old city dating back to Spanish Florida. The Spanish influence is visible in the city, and the idyllic grounds of the inn take you deeper into the dream.
First of all, we love that this property is adults only because, let’s face it, there’s a reason every married date night starts with getting a sitter. The Collector Luxury Inn describes itself as a modern, sensory immersion in art, history, and romance. The property has a collection of nine historic homes surrounded by a one-acre garden in the heart of St. Augustine. You can walk to all the attractions or, better still, use one of their bikes to explore the old city.
Romantic things to do in St Augustine include:
- Strolling St George Street
- Touring America’s oldest masonry fort, the Castillo de San Marcos
- Visiting the iconic Flagler College
- Exploring Anastasia State Park
- Boating to Fort Matanzas National Monument
The Most Romantic Hotels in Orlando – Four Seasons Resort Orlando
This city is a family travel mecca, but that doesn’t mean you active couples can’t make an Orlando romantic getaway. You just need to know where to look. We discovered more amazing date nights during our years living in Orlando than you can shake your mouse ears at and wrote all about it in our 19 Incredibly Romantic Things to do in Orlando article. Here’s the skinny…
Active things for couples to do in Orlando include:
- Kayaking on Shingle Creek or Wekiva Island
- Taking an airboat on Lake Kissimmee
- Biking on the West Orange Trail
- Learning to fly at a vintage aircraft flying school
Seriously, fun in Orlando is only limited by your imagination, so you owe it to yourself to read our full piece to find out more.
We also wrote a dedicated piece for romantic hotels in Orlando, so it’s hard to pick just one. However, here it is the Four Seasons Resort Orlando, which is objectively one of the best properties in Orlando that happens to be at Disney World. It’s close enough to see the fireworks from select rooms or the roof-top restaurants, but it isn’t on the monorail or canal network. The Four Season offers pure luxury, including marble bathrooms, C.O. Bigelow toiletries, and high thread count bedding with plush pillows, perhaps most of all for romance, an adult-only pool and fabulous spa.
The Most Romantic Hotels in Palm Beach – The Breakers Palm Beach
Palm Beach holds a special place in our hearts because it’s the first beach you’ll reach where the ocean is undeniably amazing. This is where the Gulf Stream that flows up from the Keys leaves the coast for the open ocean. Every beach north of here is just a little murky with miles of continental shelf keeping out the clean, open ocean.
Every aquatic adventure is just a little better in the south, but this is particularly true of scuba diving in Palm Beach. A Palm Beach scuba trip features the most diverse diving in the Sunshine State with shore dives at Blue Heron Bridge, drift dives with turtles, wreck dives, and even blackwater diving where you float in the Gulf Stream and see what bioluminescent creatures come to visit.
Active things to do in Palm Beach include:
- Scuba diving (either by boat or at the “World’s Best Shore Dive”)
- Turtle tourism
- Exploring the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge
- Kayaking Peanut Island
- Tour Panther Ridge Conservation Center
No property captures the area’s idyllic setting better than the most romantic hotel in Palm Beach, The Breakers Palm Beach. This 125-year old hotel holds fast to the ideals that put it on the map: unapologetic luxury, seaside glamour, and world-class service. They also add extra spice for active couples looking for a romantic Florida getaway with free bicycle rentals, kayaks, and a world-class workout facility overlooking the ocean. You can even surf here where the breakers meet the beach or snorkel or dive on The Breakers’ Reef.
The Most Romantic Hotel in Fort Lauderdale – The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
Romantic getaways to Fort Lauderdale offer all the refined, upscale elegance of Miami without the debauchery of South Beach. It’s also a mecca of watersports in its own right. 300-miles of canals crisscross through the city, beckoning you to explore by kayak, water taxi, or even a historic paddleboat. You’ll discover everything from the upscale and chic entertainment district of Las Olas Avenue to dinner theater on a private, tropical island while passing by the waterfront mansions of America’s rich and famous.
Snorkelers and divers will delight in exploring Ft Lauderdale’s crystal blue water. Just offshore is 23-miles of coral reef spread and over 100 commercially dove shipwrecks, including the SS Copenhagen Underwater Museum and the Pompano Beach Dive Park, an underwater sculpture garden.
Perhaps the most magical place at Ft Lauderdale is the beach. There’s every watersport imaginable by day, but by night, the beach becomes the world’s largest loggerhead turtle hatchery—more than 3,000 turtles nest in Broward County. Summer turtle tourism is a thing, with visits to the Gumbo Limbo Turtle Hospital or even guided late-night Turtle Treks, where you might witness a hatch for yourself. You might have guessed that we like to play in Fort Lauderdale.
Active things to do in Fort Lauderdale include:
- Scuba diving the “Wreck Capital of Florida”
- Watching baby sea turtles hatch
- Take a canal tour
- Shop and dine on Los Olas Blvd
- See America’s only burlesque mermaid show
There’s no hotel better suited for the Yachting Capital of the World than the most romantic hotel in Fort Lauderdale, the Ritz-Carlton. The beachfront beauty features an elevated pool inspired by a ship’s bow and spa treatments that incorporate elements of the ocean. All of this with the luxury and amenities you’d expect from a Ritz-Carlton.
The Most Romantic Hotel in Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach – Acqualina Resort & Residences On The Beach
There’s nothing more romantic than a blazing orange sunset dropping below the water. Only Miami and Fort Lauderdale area on the east coast, and the sun sets in the west. There is a loophole. You can watch the sunset over the Inner Coastal Waterway. From waterfront dining at GG’s (formerly owned by Al Capone) to sunset and full moon paddle boarding at Oleta River State Park, you’ll discover the elusive east coast sunset on your romantic escape to Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach.
Active things for couples to do in Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach include:
- Enjoying east coast sunsets
- Paddling Oleta River State Park
- Biking the Hollywood Boardwalk
- Surfing on the Flowrider
You might be surprised, but the U.S. News #1 Best Resort in the Continental U.S. for 2021 isn’t in Orlando or the Florida Keys. It’s the most romantic resort in Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach, the Acqualina Resort. Upon arrival, you’ll understand why named Forbes Travel Guide ranked this property a Five Star Hotel for nine consecutive years. With unprecedented accommodations and service, world-class dining destinations, you might never want to leave the grounds. Of course, with three oceanfront pools, who could blame you.
The Most Romantic Hotel in Miami – Mandarin Oriental, Miami
Miami has arts, culture, nightlife, and so much more for active couples, especially boat lovers. From sunset sails to boat trips to Biscayne National Park to airboats on the Everglades, water babies never want for things to do. However, more is more, and more is coming. In 2021, Miami will unveil a seven-mile underwater sculpture park. The Reefline snorkeling trail is South Beach’s aquatic answer to New York’s High Line. I’m not sure what the question was, but if Reefline is the answer, I’m in. It’s the perfect complement to the onshore art deco opulence of South Beach. There’s so much more to a Miami trip than shopping.
Active things to do in Miami include:
- Sailing tours
- Airboat adventures
- Snorkeling trails
- Biscayne National Park
People flock to Miami because they want mo. Mo sun, mo fun, and of course, the original MO, the Mandarin Oriental, in our opinion, the most romantic hotel in Miami. Situated on upscale Brickell Key, million-dollar city and water views surround the MO. And there’s no better place to soak it all in than the waterside private infinity-edge pool. The high-energy bayside dining and exotic day spa offer active couples a taste of Asian serenity in sun-kissed Miami.
The Most Romantic Hotel in the Florida Keys – Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
It’s hard to imagine the dichotomy between Miami and the Upper Keys. Miami is full of flash and fashion, while the Upper Keys feel like a laid-back Caribbean Island, which of course, they are, making them the most romantic island in Florida. Only you can drive to the Keys on perhaps the most beautiful blue road trip in the world. With all these “Best Of’s,” I’m surprised you’re not looking for the best of the Florida Keys resorts right now. Then again, that’s why you’re reading this piece, so there’s that.
If you take advantage of the cheap flights to Miami or Fort Lauderdale, you can save you big bucks in the Keys, but what will you do with your extra vacation budget? How about booking a stay on an adult-only private island? Ok, it’s going to take more than cheap flights to afford this place, but sometimes you have to go big.
Little Palm Island Resort and Spa is located on a private island just off Big Pine Key (home to the adorably cute miniature key deer). This property was a Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice 50 Resorts in the World and Top 10 Resorts in the U.S. All these accolades make it an easy choice for the most romantic hotel in the Florida Keys and the Best Honeymoon Resort in Florida.
Romantic things to do in the Florida Keys at the Little Palm Island Resort include:
- Swimming in their crystal clear lagoon pool
- Strolling the pristine white sand beach
- Use of the resort’s paddleboards, kayaks, Hobie cat, and Boston Whalers
- Exploring the crushed paths through the lush gardens inspired by a British West Indies aesthetic
- Indulging in the indoor/outdoor spa with the charm of a Balinese hideaway
The Most Romantic Hotel in Key West – The Gardens Hotel
Romantic getaways to Key West are about as far as you can go and still be in America, but just barely. The entire island is a bird preserve, with wild roosters roaming the streets and a sanctuary dedicated to six-toed cats. Just offshore sits America’s only living hard coral reefs, teeming with life and color. No wonder people consider Key West one of the most romantic places in Florida. It’s one of the best places for active couples to come and play in the American tropics.
Things for active couples to do in Key West include:
It’s hard to imagine a non-romantic trip to Key West, but you can always make it better, and that’s just why The Gardens Hotel does. The New York Times calls this the prettiest hotel in Key West; we call it the most romantic hotel in Key West. It’s far enough away from Duval Street to have seclusion and privacy, even a private cottage if you wish, but close enough to enjoy all the attractions. The Garden Hotel has been rated the third-most romantic hotel in America, with private verandas and lush tropical grounds creating your own magical oasis in America’s tropics.
The Most Romantic Resort In Naples – JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
The Gulf of Mexico’s warm and gentle waters sets the scene for a Marco Island getaway. You’ll find luxury resorts and beautiful beaches just across from unspoiled parks. This enclave is the only development in Florida’s Ten-Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve on the edge of the Everglades.
Things for Active couples to do in Naples include :
- Exploring beaches
- Visiting parks and preserves
In between your adventures, you can return to a luxury resort. Our choice of the most romantic resort in Naples is the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. It has three miles of private beach, 12 on-premise restaurants, and a fantastic spa.
However, that’s not why it’s on our romantic Florida hotel list. They offer an adult-only exclusive private penthouse enclave – Paradise By Sirene. This paradise in paradise offers 94-guest rooms and suites with decor that will transport you to the beaches of Bali. You’ll have exclusive access to the rooftop pool and unparalleled views of the gulf and Marco Island’s stunning sunsets. Your chances of scoring will be as sure as an ice cream cone melting in the Florida sunshine.
The Most Romantic Hotel in Fort Myers – Tarpon Lodge
Fort Myers sits on the Caloosahatchee River, with forms the second-largest estuary in Florida when it empties into the ocean into a large sound. Only Tampa Bay is larger, but it’s also significantly more developed. Charlotte Harbor / Gasparilla Sound / Pine Island Sound retains its biodiversity with miles and miles of unspoiled shoreline and salt marshes accessible by the 190-mile long Great Calusa Blueway paddling trail. The sound is formed by a series of barrier islands, most notably the Cayo Costa State Park, which is accessible only by boat and known as the shelling capital of Florida.
When we were looking for the most romantic hotel in Fort Meyers, we looked for a place with exceptional access to this remarkable waterway and found the Tarpon Lodge. The circa 1926 romantic property takes you back to a time when life was slower and Florida was still wild. The waterfront resort offers unparalleled access to paddle and play all day.
Adventurous things to do for couples in Fort Myers include:
- Taking the ferry to Cayo Costa
- Booking a private boat tour
- Paddling the Great Calusa Blueway
- Eating a cheeseburger in paradise at Cabbage Key
There so many fun things to do on the water here, but make sure you’re back in time to enjoy the stunning sunset and four-star dining at the Tarpon Lodge restaurant.
The Most Romantic Hotel in Punta Gorda – The Wyvern Hotel Punta Gorda
Punta Gorda is at the other end of the Gasparilla Sounds from Fort Myers on the Peace River. Its sister city, Charlotte Harbor, is just on the other side of the inlet, joined by the Barron Collier Bridge.
Our choice for the most romantic hotel in Punta Gorda is the Wyvern Hotel. J’adore Wyvern Hotel Punta Gorda, c’est très chic. It’s so chic, in fact, that I had to break out my French. You’ll find paintings from local artists on the walls, marble bathroom floors, and imported Italian linens. However, the chicest of the chic is the rooftop pool and Perch 360 restaurant serving your sunset with herbs sourced from their rooftop garden and craft cocktails. If that’s not enough, you can book a sunrise rooftop massage and start your day off right.
If chic’s your style, Punta Gorda’s your stop to explore the sound. You can still take the ferry to Cayo Costa, but it’s a full-day trip with a festive soundtrack and dolphin watching. You can also paddle the northern edge of the Great Calusa, especially around the mouth of the Peace and Myakka rivers. (can you say kayak the Myakka ten times fast?) However, your backdrop now is the urban backdrop of Charlotte Harbor.
Things to do in Punta Gorda are:
- Take a dolphin tour to Cayo Coast
- Paddling the Great Calusa Blueway
- Visit the Peace River Wildlife Center
- Take a Babcock Ranch Preserve eco-tour
The Most Romantic Hotel in Clearwater Beach – Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Tampa Bay is like Florida’s Boston, except they have Tom Brady. The city is modern, progressive, and filled with exciting art and museums. There’s a whole city scene to explore here, but this an active couples piece, so we’ll hop right over to the beach.
Generally speaking, you have two choices, St. Petersburg (St. Pete Beach) and Clearwater Beach. St Pete is a fabulous destination for families with every beach activity imaginable. Clearwater Beach is famous as Florida’s best beach city because of the rooftop bars and Pier 39. If you haven’t heard of Pier 39, it’s the Gulf Coast’s answer to Mallory Square, with its own sunset celebration, local artists, and cool vibe. From either beach, you can easily book a dolphin cruise or sunset sail. However, we have a secret third option that we like better, Sand Key. That’s why our most romantic hotel in Clearwater Beach is actually in Sand Key.
The Sheraton Sand Key is just across the channel from Clearwater Beach, but you feel miles away. You’ll enjoy strolling the shore to the secluded Sand Key Park, but you can take the trolley from Sand Key in either direction and not have to worry about parking (or indulging at the rooftop bar). You could even ride your bike up the Pinellas Trail up the coast to the idyllic Greek town of Tarpon Springs and take the trolley back. You’ll have all this and the luxury you’d expect from an upscale Sheraton. There’s no better way to get out of the fray of Tampa Bay than Sheraton Sand Key. (did you force that last rhyme? 😉)
Things for active couples to do in Clearwater Beach include:
- Biking on the Pinellas Trail
- Dolphin cruises
- Sunsets at Pier 39
- City tours of Tampa
The Most Romantic Getaway in Central Florida – Crystal Blue Lagoon Bed & Breakfast
If you really want to get away from everything, come to Crystal River. Fifty years ago, this was just another backwater town. Scientists noticed a small herd of manatees that came to the springhead in the winter, but locals thought they were nothing more than strange-looking speed bumps. Attitudes changed, and awareness raised.
The manatees were embraced and protected, and the population rebounded. Now, the Florida manatees are the only worldwide population to be on the rise. Their numbers are increasing enough to make it off the endangered list, but Crystal River, Florida, is the only place in the world you can snorkel with manatees in clear water. And the Crystal Blue Lagoon Bed and Breakfast is the only accommodation next to one of the special springheads these aquatic angels love so much.
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in Central Florida, you have to consider swimming with manatees. Also, because of the modest backdrop of Crystal River and bargain flights to Orlando or Tampa, this is one the best cheap romantic getaways in Florida. There are still some great dining options, like the surprisingly gourmet Vintage on 5th, home to the second-best she-crab soup we’ve eaten in Florida (still worth it!).
What the Crystal Blue Lagoon lacks in luxury, it makes up for in location. Your right next to one of the most visited springs, and you are almost sure to spot a manatee or two resting right outside your door on a winter morning. You can jump in and snorkel with these sirens or use the B&B’s kayaks to go exploring for more. The property embraces mermaids and manatees, and you’ll see both in abundance throughout their decor. If that doesn’t satiate your mermaid cravings, the world-famous Weeki Wachee Springs mermaid show is just around the corner.
Active things for mermaid lovers to do in Crystal River include:
The Most Romantic Hotel in the Florida Panhandle – The Pearl
The Florida Panhandle is a naturally romantic destination. It’s driving distance for much of the south, and as soon as you clear the last pine tree, you’re on miles and miles of snow-white sugar sand beaches.
The obvious romantic getaway in the Panhandle is St Andrews Bay. With and the largest population of bottlenose dolphins in the world, it’s an active couples playground. From airboats tours on the backwater to scuba diving offshore, you can find it all. No wonder St. Andrews State Park is the most popular camping site in Florida, and families have been returning to their oceanfront condos in Panama City Beach for generations. But that doesn’t exactly scream romance, now does it?
We found the PCB Loophole, The Pearl, just off Highway 30A (the most romantic road in Florida) in Rosemary Beach. You’re close enough to Panama City Beach to hop over for a bowl of the best she-crab soup in Florida at Firefly (TOTALLY WORTH IT!), but you’re on a private beach surrounded by luxury, elegance, and comfort. Of course, you have to try the Pearl’s own Havana Beach Bar & Grill, which features locally sourced ingredients from farms less than 100 miles away and won the coveted Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Award” for 2016. Now you know why this property is our choice for the most romantic hotel in the Florida Panhandle and the best beach resort for couples in Florida.
Swim in the adult-only pool, take their kayaks out for a paddle or borrow a bike for a spin. You have choices. Even if you just chose to relax in their alluring spa and dine at their destination-worthy restaurants, you can’t go wrong at the Pearl. You have all the seclusion of a couples retreat with all the access to the fun of St Andrews Bay.
Nearby activities include:
- Biking on the Timpochee trail
- Kayak/canoe rentals at WaterColor BoatHouse (Complimentary with your Pearl stay)
- Exclusive access to Rosemary Beach
- Scuba diving
- Exploring St Andrews Bay
The Most Romantic Beaches in Florida – Henderson Park Inn
The sand dunes of Destin are our final romantic Florida destination and your last chance to be gruntled by a cunning linguist. The beaches here are nothing short of exquisite, with the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Okaloosa Island, and Henderson State Park perennially topping best beach lists worldwide. In fact, we consider them the most romantic beaches in Florida because of the snow-white sand dunes, and aqua blue water. The only knock on Destin is its popularity, but we have a not-so-well-kept secret for you – The Henderson Park Inn.
Named one of the Most Romantic Inns in America by Trip Advisor, the word is out. Only, you don’t have to worry about throngs of kids splashing around the pool, as the entire property is adults only. It’s the perfect intersection of modern luxury and coastal charm as it sits adjacent to Henderson State Park. A few steps to the west, and you’ll have miles of undisturbed beach to explore and enjoy. Their Beach Walk Café was named one of the most romantic restaurants in the United States and the best outdoor dining of the Emerald Coast. No wonder the Henderson Inn is known as the best place to pop the question in Destin. It’s a swoon with a view.
Destin is a Florida beach destination and so much more. Advanced divers can challenge the mighty Oriskany, the one-time aircraft carrier that’s now the largest artificial reef in the world. Deep-sea fishermen will love that it’s the Billfish Capital of the Northern Gulf too.
Active things for couples to do in Destin include:
- Scuba diving
- Deep-sea fishing
- Boat Charters
- Exploring white sand beaches
Wrapping Up the Most Romantic Florida Getaways for Active Couple
I don’t know about you all, but I’m ready to head for Florida right now! Luckily, flights are cheap and plentiful, and many people just drive here from almost any place east of the Mississippi. The winters are beautiful, and at least you have ocean breezes to cool you down during the hot summers. If nothing else, we hope that we showed you how much fun adults can have in Florida, without having to appease kids or eat at chain restaurants.
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