How to Find a Romantic Florida Hideaway

by Contributor

With white, sandy beaches surrounding the entire peninsula, it's easy to see why Florida would be a great place to vacation. But, because of the tourism, it's prone to crowds. However, with a little help you can find romantic hideaways in Florida. Here are a few suggestions.

Travel to Key West. Reserve a cottage from a variety of rental properties like Historic Hideaways, which offers vacation rentals on historic homes for around the price you'd pay for a crowded hotel. Choose from a variety cottages, suites, condos or villas right on the water from various management companies and avoid the hotel crowds.

Relax in Sarasota. Sarasota offers numerous cultural attractions and 35 miles of white sand beaches. Stay at the Lido Beach Resort and enjoy a luxurious view of the gulf coast. Stroll the stretch of beach in early morning or evening with your significant other, which is easily accessible from the hotel.

Explore the Gulf Islands of Florida. The islands of Ana Maria, Longboat Key, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch encompass colorful cottages, parrots in trees and restaurants inspired by mermaids. Wander the quaint and historic Cortez fishing village of Bradenton, tour the Rosa Fiorelli Winery or take in sunset at Bean Point in Anna Maria--one of the best places to see the sunset on the islands.

Build on old traditions and create new romantic ones in St. Augustine. Walk the historic streets of St. Augustine and take in historic sites such as the Colonial Spanish Quarter and both the oldest home and schoolhouse in the U.S. Create new traditions by sampling wine at the San Sebastian Winery and eating chocolates from Claude's Chocolates. Take in an evening at the Cellar Upstairs and listen to live jazz music with your partner.

Visit the Fantasy Islands. Enjoy pastel sunrises in Lovers Key and stroll the 2.5- mile beach, watching the sun and surf roll in. Check out Sanibel Island and take a sunset cruise through a wildlife refuge, where you can see terns, ibises and double-crested cormorants with dolphins and manatees idling by. Sit and enjoy the show and sunset over a glass of wine.

Birdwatch and beach comb in the Florida panhandle. Explore the historic towns, beaches and nature found in Cape San Blas. This serene town is located on the Panhandle's "forgotten coast," a tiny piece of land that juts out into the gulf between Panama City and Apalachicola.

Rekindle the romance in Fort Lauderdale. This east coast town has come of age and no longer boats the spring break crowds, but rather attracts more luxury-seeking, beach-bound couples year round. Stay at one of the many luxurious hotels including the Atlantic Hotel, the St. Regis Resort Fort Lauderdale and the Trump International Hotel and Tower Fort Lauderdale. Stroll the 52-block long Hollywood Beach Broadwalk at sunset and dine at the Le Cafe de Paris with a romantic Parisian setting.

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