Florida is one of the largest states in the US based on population and—as peninsula jutting out into the sea—it has the longest coastline of any state in the lower 48. All of the beachfront combined with sultry, subtropical, weather makes it a favorite destination of vacationers of all types.
Relatively flat, Florida does have areas of rolling hills, primarily in central and northern Florida. It also has the distinction of being the only state that borders on both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. These two very different bodies of water create different feels on the western and eastern coasts respectively. The Gulf is known for its relatively calm, warm waters, and white sand beaches, while the Atlantic side tends to have bigger surf. With an average year round temperature of 70 degrees across the state, you are likely to find pleasant to very warm temperatures, with June, July and August as the hottest months. December through February are the coldest months, with average highs in the mid 60s for the northern part of the state, and mid 70s for points further south like Miami.
Tourism is an important part of Florida’s economy, with quite literally something for just about everyone! Agriculture is also very important, particularly citrus fruit farming, but tomatoes, strawberries, sweet corn and green beans are also abundant. Fishing also plays an important role in the economy, and the Kennedy Space Center is both an important tourist attraction and employer.
Nearly 20% of Florida’s population speaks Spanish, primarily Cuban-Americans and Puerto Ricans in Miami, Orlando and Tampa but you will find a varied mix of residents including “Snowbirds” from the northern US and Canada. About 75% of Florida’s population identify themselves as non-Hispanic Caucasians.
Florida has four major international airports and several regional ones as well as numerous private airports and landing strips. The major airports are located in Miami, Tampa, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.
You can also get to various points in Florida via Amtrak rail service. One line offers service between New York City and Miami; another begins just south of Washington DC and terminates in Orlando. Orlando is also the last station on a third major route originating in Los Angeles and traveling across the southern US.
In terms of accommodations, whatever you could want is probably available somewhere in Florida: romantic bed and breakfasts, posh resorts, quaint hotels, and of course major brand hotel chains. Beachfront condo and beach cottage rental is extremely popular in Florida, allowing people to cook in if they like, and offering amenities like washers and dryers. Florida also offers many unusual and beautiful places to camp, for couples that enjoy outdoor life.
Like the wide variety of accommodations available, couples can also find the mood that suits their nature somewhere in Florida. For chic restaurants, glitzy nightlife and beaches full of beautiful people, Miami Beach is the place to go. For a youthful bar scene and white sand beaches, the Panama City area is the place to go. Couples who prefer a quieter locale and a more leisurely pace will enjoy some of the better kept secrets of the Florida panhandle. There are also destinations to appeal to special interests: the theme parks of Orlando, Daytona for race fans, the Kennedy Space Center, and history buffs will love St. Augustine.
Why Honeymooners Love Florida…
It’s easy to get to Florida…and there’s food for every taste.
Chefs and non-cooks alike will enjoy hitting up the farmer’s markets in Florida. Seasonal fresh fruit is wonderful at anytime, and those who really enjoy cooking will be very impressed by the fresh produce! Small markets and stands for fish and shrimp fresh off the boat are easy to find, or you can go fishing or crabbing and catch dinner yourself.
Here are some of our romantic favorites, though, when you want to have that special meal with your special one.
The Setai Located in the Setai hotel on Miami’s glamorous south beach, its been named one of the ten best hotel restaurants in the world by Hotels magazine. The chef will tempt you with East and Central Asian inspired dishes like crispy Peking duck dumplings, Key West shrimp in a Thai basil and tamarind sauce, and Indian-Spiced lamb shank.
Setai Hotel, South Beach, Miami
Sefa Turkish Mediterranean Grill Snuggle up on one of the cozy loveseats, and enjoy the attentions of the perfectly welcoming staff. Start by sharing bites from the cold appetizer platter, continue with the delightfully seasoned mixed grill, and finish off with the sensuous baklava for dessert.
Eduardo De San Angel
For a sophisticated foodie experience in a classy and intimate setting, this is a restaurant for grown ups. Skillfully blending Mexican ingredients with European technique, they position the cuisine as a “marriage between food and feeling.” Roasted pablanos filled with bluecrab, ancho chile flavored crepes with a squash blossom sauce, yellowtail tuna brushed with key lime—definitely worthy of a trip.
Part of the luxurious La Playa resort, you can start at their tiki bar and finish with a cuddle and a cocktail next to one of their romantic beach fire pits. In between, have a sumptuous meal on the terrace at Baleen. Gulf catch ceviche, pork chops with smoked plantains, chili rubbed short ribs, and seared scallops with an escabeche will put you in the mood.
La Playa Resort, Naples
With a jaw dropping view of Old Tampa Bay through huge glass windows, and the best of Northern Italian cuisine, Armani’s makes for a very special night out. With an impossible-to-choose-one array of salads, true Italian specialty pastas, and sophisticated meat and seafood entrees for any palette, you will be delighted.
Grand Hyatt, Tampa Bay
Beach Walk Henderson Park Inn
Who doesn’t like fine dining with an ocean view? For an even more special experience, Beach Walk Henderson Park Inn offers private dining experiences called “Toes in the Sand” with your own table right on the beach. They also have “Sky View Deck Dining”. Both require reservations, and are weather and availability permitting.
The Cellar Restaurant
Located in the historic district of Daytona Beach, The Cellar is a casually elegant, fine dining experience. All pastas are homemade, and fresh seafood accents many dishes. You’ll also find Italian classics like Osso Bucco and Scallopine of Veal Loin. With an excellent wine list, it’s been named by Open Table as one of the 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America.
Red Fish Grill
Enjoy an evening of delicious food under the palms beside Biscayne Bay, or inside the coral dining room; this charming restaurant has appeared in more than one movie. Casual but well appointed, the setting is perfect for dinner just for two.
Matheson Hammock Marina, Coral Gables
Jackson’s Steak House
This fine dining steakhouse has fine steaks—but also a great deal more. A favorite in the panhandle for romantic nights out, Jackson’s is in a mercantile building built in the 1860s. While its cuisine is the recipient of numerous awards, a night here will make you feel like the winners.
ROMANCE AND FROLIC
Florida is known for its wonderful beaches from hidden ones that are virtually deserted, to ritzy ones with beach butler service. You don’t have to look hard for opportunities to golf, fish, or boat. And beach walking is the pastime of choice! Here are some off the beaten path suggestions for you and your loved one to enjoy.
Canoe Through Florida Cypress
Take a break from the beach for an intimate paddle down the lovely Hillsborough River in central Florida. Pack a picnic, rent a canoe and enjoy the Spanish moss draped cypress trees. The water does move along, so you won’t have to work too hard.
Swim with Manatees
What could be more relaxing and inviting than a swim with gentle creatures? This reputable tour service makes sure the manatees are protected while you get in the water to enjoy their company.
The crystal clear, spring-fed, Ichetucknee Springs River in northern Florida is the ultimate in a lazy outdoor experience. Rent a couple of tubes, and float down holding hands if you like. The park offers lots of picnic spots, and a chance to see wild deer, great blue herons, and raccoons from the river.
Experience the Fountain of Youth
For a little walk through history, St. Augustine offers numerous things to do including the Fountain of Youth Archeological Park that encompasses the original 16th century site of St. Augustine. You can also get up close to some gators at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands
Known for their wonderful shelling, Sanibel and Captiva Islands offer 15 miles of beach, 22 miles of bike paths, and absolutely no stoplights! A Mecca for bird watching and fishing, you can also golf, boat, and dawdle through galleries and boutique shops. And at night, you can even find a casino.
With an unofficial slogan like “nice dogs strange people” you have to be captivated by this funky old beach community. Home to a wonderful state park, interesting shops, great little restaurants, and a “turtle watch” from May to October every year, this eclectic community on the “Emerald Coast” offers a lot to couples who don’t need a planned agenda. There’s also a lovely re-creation of the painter Claude Monet’s home and garden in France.
The Silver Moon Drive-In Movie Theater
Snuggle up with your honey and catch a flick at this sixty-year old drive-in theater in Lakeland. With two screens and mostly first-run movies, you’re sure to find a show to make date night fun. Go early to get a good spot, and grab a corn dog and some popcorn for a no-pressure night out.
TO SUM IT UP…
Florida offers something for almost any honeymooning couple–whether you want to go clubbing on South Beach, or pick up shells on the Gulf, you’ll find an incredible array of activities for you and your loved one to enjoy. Good restaurants abound, or you can rent a condo or beach cottage and cook up Florida’s bounty yourself. Action, nature, adventure, and intimacy are all just a step away.