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Scenic South Florida

One of the best places to visit in the state, as the weather begins to cool, is South Florida. While only a few hours away by car, it can often feel like an escape to a tropical paradise. From its pristine beaches with relaxing days to clubs and restaurants with a vivacious nightlife to its deluxe accommodations, South Florida is an ideal vacation destination for Central Floridians. Whether a family trip or a romantic getaway, these 13 cities and towns are on our radar for top places to visit this fall.  

Coral Gables 

Located just seven miles southwest of downtown Miami, Coral Gables is known for its ivy-covered mansions and tree-lined avenues. City founder George Merrick named the area after the home he grew up in, which had a coral-esque exterior and a gabled roof. The area offers a wide array of restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and shopping venues including Miracle Mile, one of South Florida’s most sought-after shopping destinations. It is home to the majestic Biltmore Hotel, historical Venetian Pool, as well as the University of Miami.


Just a short drive from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Davie feels like a world away. With its rural Western vibe, this unique town has a lot to offer. One must-see in the area is Flamingo Gardens. With 60 acres of lush gardens featuring over 3,000 species of rare and exotic, tropical, subtropical and native plants and trees, Flamingo Gardens is also home to the largest collection of Florida native wildlife. Visitors have the opportunity to experience once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters, as well as be awed by the many fascinating exhibits and events. 

Deerfield Beach 

Named for the many deer that once roamed the area, the city lies just over 45 minutes north of Miami and 20 minutes from Fort Lauderdale, and offers ample shopping and dining opportunities. Deerfield Beach was awarded a “Blue Wave” designation from the Clean Beach Council, based on its excellence in water quality, beach conditions, safety services, public information and habitat conservation. In addition to the impeccable beaches, the area also features International Fishing Pier, which stretches 976 feet into the Atlantic and is beloved by locals and tourists alike. 

Delray Beach 

Nestled between Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, Delray Beach is a popular destination filled with lots of fun activities including parks, gardens, wetlands and nightly entertainment. Delray’s Atlantic Avenue runs through the center of town from I-95 to the ocean and is the longest main street in Florida. Delray’s downtown district features six distinct neighborhoods boasting many unique eateries, shops, art galleries and museums. It’s no wonder it was awarded “Best of the Road—Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today.

Fort Myers 

With an average of 271 sunny days per year, 60 more than the U.S. average, it’s not surprising that Fort Myers is well known for its outdoor activities. Its Gulf Coast beaches are an ideal destination for those seeking warmer waters, smaller waves and plenty of seashells. The city has long been a sought-after vacation spot. Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford had neighboring winter homes in Fort Myers and tours are offered for visitors wanting to see these historic estates and lush grounds.


Located midway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood is home to more than 60 parks, seven golf courses and seven miles of scenic beaches. It is perhaps best known for the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, a beachside promenade that stretches along the Atlantic Ocean for two and a half miles. The Broadwalk features over 50 eateries and cafes, more than 30 boutiques and shops, three oceanfront resorts, two parks and plenty of activities such as biking and rollerblading. Downtown Hollywood is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers a lively and cultural arts district. 

Key Largo 

The first and northernmost of the Florida Keys, Key Largo is known as the Diving Capital of the World. In addition to scuba diving and snorkeling, the area has sport fishing, kayaking, eco-tours, dolphin encounters and more. It is also home to the world’s largest artificial reef, the 510-foot USS Spiegel Grove. Visitors to the area can also take a canal cruise on the African Queen, the iconic steamboat made famous in the 1951 movie of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

Key West 

The southernmost point of the continental U.S., Key West is best known for its pastel-colored, conch-style houses and lively nightlife. In addition to its many water sports and beaches, the island has several fun activities for visitors of all ages. The Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden offers guests the chance to view rare butterflies, migratory and resident birds, tropical and subtropical plants and beautiful flowers. The only frost-free botanical garden in the continental United States, the garden showcases flora native to the Florida Keys, Cuba and the Caribbean and emphasizes cultivation of threatened and endangered species of the Florida Keys.


In the city of Marathon, aquatic activities abound with something for everyone, including fishing, boating, scuba diving and jet skiing. The 10-mile-long marine-based island also provides unique interactive and educational experiences such as The Turtle Hospital, which was the world’s first licensed veterinary hospital dedicated to the treatment of sea turtles, and the Dolphin Research Center, a not-for-profit education and research facility since 1984. Located at the very west end is the famous Seven Mile Bridge. This incredibly picturesque bridge connects the Middle Keys to the Lower Keys.

Marco Island 

Marco Island is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico off Southwest Florida, linked to the mainland by bridges south of the city of Naples. It’s home to resort hotels, beaches, marinas and golf courses, as well as a network of inland waterways. The six-mile crescent beach on Marco Island is among the widest in Florida and features bright-white, sugar sand, and bountiful shelling opportunities. This Gulf Coast retreat offers luxury resorts, beautiful beaches and unspoiled parks. Marco Island’s tropical climate and proximity to the ocean make it a premier destination. 

Palm Beach and West Palm Beach 

Known as a “traveler’s playground,” Palm Beach has a bevy of activities for any type of vacationer. Considered one of the wealthiest cities in Florida, the area offers the best of the best in everything. Travelers can get a real sense of luxury at the nearby Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa. Between its private beach, infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, lagoon-style pool with a waterfall and slide, and top-notch spa, guests will surely experience all the relaxation and rejuvenation a true vacation provides. A few minutes away, in neighboring West Palm Beach, is the AAA 4-diamond Hilton West Palm Beach hotel. Featuring a resort-style pool, poolside cabanas and lawn games, this hotel is centrally located and connected to the Palm Beach Convention Center via a covered walkway. With so many things to see and do in Palm Beach, check out to stay up-to-date on the latest events and happenings in the area.


With over 40 miles of coastline, Sarasota has some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. This vibrant city also offers up an abundance of history and culture. Considered to be the “hub” of Sarasota, Armand Circle is an outdoor upscale shopping, dining and entertainment mecca. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art pays homage to the Ringlings, the family behind America’s most famous circus, and features John Ringling’s massive collection of paintings and artworks. Visitors can also tour the neighboring Ca’ d’Zan, the magnificent 56-room Venetian Gothic palace that served as the Ringlings’ former winter residence. 


The Atlantic Coast city of Stuart, known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” is located along Florida’s renowned Treasure Coast, north of Palm Beach and south of Vero Beach.

Stuart is frequently cited as one of the best small towns to visit in the U.S., in large part because of its proximity to the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. It is famed for its historic and pedestrian-friendly downtown, along with its popular fishing spots. In fact, several U.S. presidents are said to have loved fishing in Stuart, including Grover Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt.