A mix of Southern charm and quirky local culture, buzzing towns, beautiful beaches, barrier islands, sophisticated cities and quaint seaside villages, Florida’s Gulf Coast is full of unique communities each offering its own distinct flavour. If you’re planning a holiday somewhere along this stunning coastline, we have some fantastic news– there are plenty of great places in which to spend it! With so many things to do and see it’s almost impossible to narrow it down to just a few highlights. If you love seafood, beaches, golfing, fishing or pretty much anything involving water, then this is the place for you.
The beaches you’ll find along the Gulf Coast in Florida are like nothing you’ve ever experienced; choose from over 450 miles of beach locations running from Pensacola right down to Marco Island all engulfed in sparkling white sands and crystal clear waters. The calm and serene waters are the perfect place to go snorkelling, swimming and paddle-boarding. . And there’s no need to worry about packing blankets or wrapping up, the sun shines all year round which makes this the ideal holiday destination for any time of year.
To the north is the Florida Panhandle, famed for its breathtakingly white beaches, thrilling outdoor activities and friendly locals. Extending down from Pensacola this area has a rich history, must see waterfront towns, the cutest cafes, the warmest people and plenty of sunshine.
Pensacola offers art galleries, restaurants and cultural venues, and is the home to the Blue Angels the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. Locally known as the ‘World’s Luckiest Fishing Village’ Destin boasts a sensational white sandy shoreline, crystal clear waters, and plenty of boutique and outlet shopping opportunities. The Destin Fishing Rodeo and the Destin Food Festival are hugely popular events late each year. Panama City boasts a 27 mile stretch of powder white sandy paradise with emerald green waters and sensational sunsets. For family themed fun visit Zooworld and Goofy Golf in Panama City, the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island, featuring a musical pirate performance, outdoor seaside movies and fireworks, or hop on the safari line train at Gulf Breeze Zoo.
In addition to the bustling large metropolis of Tampa and the well-developed beach resorts of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, the central Gulf Coast region is home to quaint fishing villages, state parks, nature reserves, wildlife refuges, and exciting outdoor activities.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is one of the most unique and beautiful places in the state of Florida, home to a spring that yields an abundance of fresh water, which feeds into an impressive waterfall. Be entranced by famous underwater performance known as the “Human Aquatic” show where mermaid performances take place in a dark, 90-foot-long cave where audiences can see the beautiful sirens swimming above them. If you are looking for an offbeat family adventure that will leave you speechless, then plan a trip to Weeki Wachee.
Tampa is an interesting destination thanks to its unique blend of ancient architecture and modern landmarks, its culture that is blended with Cuban and Spanish characteristics, and its magnificent waterways. Whether you’ve headed to the coast to contrast the mix of thrill and excitement in Orlando but are not quite done with your fix of theme parks, or are basing yourself near the water and need an adrenalin rush, you’ll find the ultimate family adventure at Busch Gardens Tampa. Featuring 300+ acres of exciting activities inspired by far-flung travels throughout the world this one-of-a-kind amusement park that caters to visitors of all ages with its thrilling rides, one of the best zoos in the country, live performances, dining options, retail stores, and games.
Clearwater Beach, and Caladesi Island which sits just to the north, are common names in most top US beach reviews but with over 30 miles of super soft sandy coastline you’ll be able to find your own favourite. For boutique shopping head to Corey Avenue at St Pete Beach, you’ll find galleries, locally owned speciality stores plus a dining options ranging from casual cafes through to upscale fine dining. Nature lovers have got to visit Crystal River where the clean warm waters attract 100s of magnificent manatees, join a tour to get up close and even swim with these gentle creatures.
Smaller beach communities in the central Gulf Coast area include; Treasure Island, Indian Rocks and Indian Shores.
The Southwest Florida region promises yet more glorious beaches, the natural beauty of the Florida Everglades, quirky roadside stops, arts, culture, the finest seafood, shopping, golf and much, much more.
The 7.5 mile Anna Maria Island is home to some of our most popular rental properties, our guests are drawn to this barrier island by the quiet beaches and tranquil waters, laid back atmosphere and locally owned stores, cafes and restaurants. Strict planning rules means you won’t find big brand stores, fast food chains or high-rise tower blocks. Beaches on this island include; Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, Coquina Beach, Bean Point, Manatee Public Beach and Palmetto Avenue Beach. Want to make your visit extra special, why not create an unforgettable memory horseback riding on the beach under the supervision of our expert local tour guide.
Siesta Key is a hidden gem of an island located just north of Sarasota, well-known for its powder white sand this 8-mile barrier isle is one of the most idyllic places on the Gulf Coast. A perfect place for a couple’s retreat, a vacation with the kids or an exciting outdoor excursion.
With its own thriving arts community, laid-back beach feel, and rapidly developing food culture, Sarasota has a personality all its own setting it apart from the other coastal communities in Florida. Visit the art galleries, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens or the charming shops on S. Main Street and St. Armands Circle and be sure to visit the excellent attractions like the Salvador Dali Museum, the John and Mable Ringling Museum and the Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
Just a little further south and we reach a network of coastal and harbour towns and home to some of the state’s most stunning scenery. Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are ideal Florida holiday destinations.
The picturesque Port Charlotte can be found tucked away on the northern side of Charlotte Harbor, close to the point where the Peace River empties into the vast oceans. The region is known as the Tarpon Capital of the world and is a popular destination for boating and fishing
due to its easy access to miles of waterways and abundant fishing opportunities.
Cape Coral is full of fun and entertainment for all ages, with kid friendly water parks, skate parks, adventure golf and go-carting alongside art galleries and theatre. Fort Myers Beach is seven miles long and runs along Estero Island, the perfect place for adventurers who love to be on the water; snorkelling, paddle boarding, jet-skiing, parasailing, sailing and kayaking are all on offer and you can even take a trip to go dolphin spotting.
Breath-taking beaches, verdant forests, and diverse animal population are just a few of the reasons why the picture-perfect island of Sanibel is such a popular location for tourists to visit. The Gulf’s gentle waters sweep along the sloping sea floor, bringing countless shells to the island in pristine condition, adopt the renowned “Sanibel Stoop” or “Captiva Crouch” to get a closer look at the infinite shells blanketing the beach.
The city of Naples is a tourist hotspot known for its upscale shopping, museums, fine restaurants, and access to the great outdoors while neighbouring Marco Island, one of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, has gorgeous beaches, halophytic mangroves, dolphins, and corals. A golfer’s paradise this region has more holes per person than anywhere else in the world thanks to the presence of more than 80 championship courses in the area.
Your gateway to the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands, Naples and Marco Island provide the perfect base to explore the millions of acres of national, state, and local parks, nature preserves, and wildlife refuges that are within an hour’s drive.