Florida is known for a lot; oranges, sunshine followed by thunderstorms followed by more sunshine, Mickey Mouse, and pools. The chances of you vacationing in Florida without a bathing suit packed in your suitcase is like going to the Arctic without a scarf; it just doesn’t happen. So before you book your flight, book your hotel, and then pack those swim trunks.
1. Hammock Beach Resort:
At Hammock Beach Resort in Palm Coast Florida, about 2 hours northeast of Orlando, you have the option of letting the kids take on the water slide while you float down the lazy river. An onsite pool bar perfectly pairs your new bikini with a strawberry daiquiri. If you prefer some privacy or just a rest from tanning, the indoor pool is open from 6am to 11pm. After the pool, feel free to kayak on the ocean, rent bikes, or play a round of golf.
One look at the Google Plus reviews for Hammock Beach Resort and you can tell why this is a must-try destination for Florida natives and tourists alike! And when you’re done at the pool, don’t forget to try your hand at golf. Hammock Beach Resort’s new golf course, set to open in Fall 2017, is a championship-level course which has undergone a major facelift after Hurricane Matthew and has attracted attention from professional golfers worldwide with its closing stretch called “The Bear Claw.”
2. Eau Palm Beach Resort:
Can’t decide if it’s a beach or pool day? Eau Palm Beach Resorts allows you take a swim in the pool with a beach front. Cabanas are available for families or parties arranged for six people. The cabanas are perfect for privacy, protection from the sun, and even their own entertainment with televisions. If the beach is calling your name, they offer water sport activities (Jet Ski, fishing, and paddle boarding) for their guests.
Eau Palm is known for its personable staff; they take the time to get to know you, your family, and your needs. Located in Manalapan, Eau Palm is the epitome of five-star hotel service with four restaurants available including the reasonably priced Breeze Ocean Kitchen. Don’t worry, you can enjoy a fresh Quinoa Avocado lettuce cup while your kids enjoy their mac and cheese; they make dining a treat for everyone’s palette!
3. St. Regis Bal Harbour:
Day beds are cabanas are located both poolside and on the ocean front. St. Regis Bal Harbour features two infinity pools and the Tranquility Pool (pictured) is reserved specifically for adults. If secluding rowdy children isn’t enough to entice you to lounge at the Tranquility Pool, perhaps complimentary sampling of massages, drinks, and even sunscreen application. Just in case you feel you can’t escape to the Tranquility pool on your own, the St. Regis offers walk-in or reserved spots for child daycare!
If while on vacation you like exploring local cuisine, you don’t need to leave the resort for your try of authentic Greek food. Atlantikos just opened in the St. Regis and yes, it is authentic. The general manager, Panos Nikiforou, was raised in Greece and prides himself on the flavors, freshness, and health of Greek foods. And yes, you can even break plates!
4. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel:
This pool will make you feel like a rock-star with your own private island. Cocktails are available for your enjoyment anywhere on the 4.5 acres of pool exploration. The cabanas come with their own televisions, mini bar, and phones for you and ten guests. Finally, how about a 182 foot tall water slide?
Now if you prefer to live a little more dangerously, perhaps you should visit the casino a few nights of your visit. Their Megabucks machine has reached the $5 million mark. Yes. Live the life you have imagined! Or at least try to with the $1 bet machine.
5. Acqualina Resort:
The Acqualina Resort boasts four pools: The Beach Club Pool (pictured) is where you can find families of any size and age enjoying the ocean front view. The Tranquility Pool is reserved for adults who want to enjoy quiet, food and beverage serviced, pool relaxation. The Recreation Pool is where you can find your fitness classes and pool games. Finally, the ESPA Pool is reserved for ESPA member where they can eat only healthy ESPA options so you still look good in those new swim trunks.
The Acqualina is one of those places that makes you feel like everyone enjoys their job because they enjoy you. Just as you know they staff by name, they make an effort to not only know you by name but get to know your personality. It is not uncommon for their hotel staff to create a bond with their visitors! While this makes the stay wonderful, it makes the departure that much harder.
6. Omni Hotel:
The Omni Hotel’s pools accommodate everyone from a 850 foot long lazy river, to the family pool (pictured), or the formal pool overlooking the golf course. The family pool includes a 125-foot corkscrew slide while the lazy river includes waterfalls, water cannons, and other adventures you’ll be laughing about with your family from 8am to 10 pm.
Located in Jacksonville, the Omni Hotel is known for its speedy and direct service. Parched by the pool? Order a cocktail from Croc’s! Too red from the sun? Request an umbrella by your chaise. The rooftop terrace is great for socializing and mingling with other hotel guests for evenings away from the kids.
7. Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale:
Ritz Carlton offers an exclusivity some other hotels cannot match. Poolside service is available at their 29,000 square foot pool deck. Their Fort Lauderdale hotel offers guests a heated infinity pool. This Ritz Carlton is also very kid friendly with their accommodations including reef exploration, food experimentation, and storytelling. Who knew a resort could be relaxing and educational? Maybe when you return home your kids will start cooking you dinner?
In fact, this week, February 22nd to the 26th Fort Lauderdale will be welcoming the 16th Annual Food Network and Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Now is an optimal time to book your stay at the Ritz Carlton as it the event’s host! Meet top chefs like Anne Burrell or watch the closing ceremony with Neil Patrick Harris!
8. Jupiter Beach Resort:
The pool here offers The Sandbar restaurant which is both poolside and beach side for a causal yet elegant meal by the water. Lay out with your meal, enjoy live music poolside or fire pit. This is the social place of Jupiter Beach Resort; meet new people, join old friends, or just order that Yellow Fin Tuna Wrap to go.
For some Americans, it’s the best time of year; spring training. Jupiter is home to the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins for their month of spring training before their seasons official begin. Whilst staying at the Jupiter Beach resort, catch one of their games at the Roger Dean Stadium!
9. The Palms Hotel Miami Beach:
This pool is surrounded by the beach, palms, and just the general oasis The Palms offers its guests. The pool is heated with easy access to the hotel’s private beach front and Miami Beach’s boardwalk. Cabanas are available for rental and privacy. This place really feels like your own private island for the time…until the renovations of your own private island are done, right?
The rooms start at $300 a night (a nice break from some other $700 a night resorts featured on this list). The Palms is ideal for couples, mother/daughter stays, and girl’s night. The spa includes Aveda products, vegan safe SpaRitual nail care, and even healthy options to be served from the Essensia restaurant.
10. The Reach:
The Reach is located on the shores of Key West. Being poolside also means you are beach side with service to your poolside needs including cocktails and fresh seafood. Because the pool and beach are on the same stretch, The Reach offers guests jet skiing, water boat rides, and snorkeling. Basically, you’ll never get bored here. The views are enough to keep you entertained.
The city of Key West has one of the biggest personalities Florida has to offer. Key West invites all its visitors to explore the colorful attitude of the United States Southern Most point. The Reach is just blocks from one of the liveliest streets in Key West, Duval Street. You won’t be able to leave without a few stories to tell!
11. PGA Resort and Spa:
Central Florida is home to gold legend Arnold Palmer so coming to Florida for your love of golf is not farfetched. Enjoy your favorite outdoor pastime during the day and then come cool off in PGA Resort’s overlooking the property’s lake views. The terrace is over 3000 square feet, perfect for evening socializing amongst other golf lovers.
In fact this past Tuesday, February 21st, a six year born with just his right arm took on the PGA Resort’s course with pros alike for the Honda Classic. Tommy Morrisey played against the pros in a challenge at the 18th hole where they made the promise to swing with just one arm too. A very impressive, inspiring story from a younger golfer to the older ones.
12. Hilton Bonnet Creek:
Starting about $220 a night, guests will receive private access to their pool; yes, the same pool listed as “#1 on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Fantastic Pools”. The pool is open daily from 7 am to 10pm and offers cabanas for up to eight guests, service, flat-screen television, and Wi-Fi (perfect for Instagramming the experience). The pool offers a 48 foot tall water slide for all the thrill seekers on your stay.
Being so close to Florida’s icon, the one and only Mickey Mouse is a Top 10 reason to stay at the Hilton Bonnet Creek. As mentioned in the review, the Bonnet Creek is easily adaptable from families with children and families just for the adults! Isn’t that what we all want?
13. Sheraton Sand Key Resort:
Here is where you can almost not see where the pool ends and the ocean begins. The pool is furnished with lounges ready to be served with cocktails from their Turtle Bar; all complimentary to your stay. Next to the pool, on the beachfront, enjoy volleyball, tennis, kayaking, and water sports. Don’t worry, there enough lounge chairs around for when you decide laying down sounds better than sand-diving for a volleyball.
Located on Clearwater Beach, TripAdvisor’s Number 1 beach in the US for 2016, the Sheraton Sand Key Resort is perfect for your stay on Florida’s gulf coast. White, soft sand and 21 acres of beach front hotel property to explore.
14. Disney’s Art of Animation Resort:
Now this is the pool for your kids. At Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, your kids will feel like are a part of their favorite movies. You can find yourself in Finding Nemo, The Little Mermaid, Cars, and The Lion King. Yes, there are four pools designed for each movie with larger than life versions of your favorite Disney characters. In fact this resort is Disney World’s largest on Disney resort property. There is the Drop Off Pool Bar for poolside drinks and food to enjoy with your clan.
Unfortunately, theme park prices tend to go up every year and Disney was exception as of their February. However ordering your passes and booking your adventures online can save you around $20 with Magic Your Way bundle deals allowing you and your family access to a few different parks rather than just picking from one…but if you had to pick it would be Magic Kingdom, right?
15. Pelican Grand Beach Resort:
The pool also is located at the beachfront with only hotel guests allowed access. If you would rather have drink delivered to your lounge chair, that’s fine because your kids can float around on the lazy river. In fact, Pelican Grand’s lazy river is the only one in Fort Lauderdale! If that’s not enough to entice you to stay at the Pelican, perhaps receiving 20% off your stay just for being a Florida resident could seal the deal.
The rooms start at about $200 a night you have your own Ocean 2000 Pool menu that includes a Truffle Kale Salad, El Cuban Sandwich, and Blueberry Cobbler for dessert. If those don’t sound appealing, the Grand Pelican has two other onsite dining options with the O2K Lounge and The Emporium (which is your childhood’s favorite ice cream parlor).
16. Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach:
You have a rooftop pool overlooking the ocean in case the water you’re swimming in isn’t enough. Overlook the ocean while you’re getting the tan all your friends back in Ohio will be jealous of. Everything is resort- style so feel free to order poolside service; not to lose one ray of sun.
Ever wonder what William and Kate feel like? The Hilton Fort Lauderdale delivers just that feeling to its visitors. There are four dining experiences available to guests including the Balqony, Le Marche Gourmet Market, S3, and Ilios. Now that is not to mention a 24/7 access to room service preparations and deliveries!
17. Club Med Sandpiper Bay:
Located in Port Saint Lucie, Club Med has three pools available for its guests including a lap pool for exercise and sports like water polo. The leisure pool is located overlooking the ocean with individual shaded seating for your comfort. The leisure pool is supervised with a lifeguard from 9 am to 5:30 pm for you and your family’s safety. Don’t worry, the Jacuzzi is reserved only for those above the age of 18.
If you get too anxious just sitting in a Jacuzzi, no worries. Club Med has made a conscious effort in offering more sports to its guests. They have added professionals in various sports: tennis, yoga, beach volleyball, paddle boarding, and even trapeze!
18. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas- Jambo House:
Ever feel the desire to take a swim and then maybe see some giraffes? Well lucky for you, Disney had the same desire. For about $320per night, wake up and go to bed with African animals outside your window. At their Animal Kingdom hotel African animals roam in field on hotel property, right next to the pool. You can swim, sun bathe, and then check out animals uncommon to Florida…or anywhere except the Sahara! My kind of hotel.
If that isn’t enough to attract you to stay on Disney property, perhaps the May 27th opening of Pandora: The World of Avatar will convince you. Pandora will open in Animal Kingdom and boasts using “the biggest new land” they’ve developed on “in a very long time”. Keep in mind, four more installments of the groundbreaking movie are already in the works!
19. Hawks Cay Resort:
This resort is amazing. There is a resort pool for family games, a tranquility pool for cocktails and relaxation, there is a pool with a pirate ship for your kids’ imagination, the Coral Cay pool is host for water exercise classes, the Sunset pool is a quiet sanctuary for sunbathing and reading. Finally (pictured), is a saltwater lagoon. A shallow pool inland between the pool and ocean, perfect for lounging in a safe, ocean like pool. Perfect!
This past Valentine’s Day, the Pittsburgh Penguins Hockey team offered military couple, Nadine Brown and Joshua Stumpf, the wedding of a lifetime. The two, who served in Iraq, won the contest entered by hundreds of military couples nationwide. The wedding, worth about $30k, will take place at none than Hawks Cay Resort!
20. Orlando World Center Marriot:
This pool has everything. Waterfalls from stone caves called the Falls Pool Oasis. It has 200 foot water slides for those brave enough to take them on, a 90 foot speed slide, and even a mini splash park for younger children. The pool area also entertains a nightly laser show to accompany you, yours, and your cocktail.
The World Marriot Center is home to many experiences including this past December hosting the 2016 USAW American Open. That is, USA Weightlifting. Athletes will both stay and compete at the hotel has 1,883 rooms…that equates to 399,214 square feet of just event and conference rooms. Basically, you’ll never have to leave during your stay.
21. Margaritaville Beach Hotel:
Any Jimmy Buffet fans? Well live the life he suggest with a few margaritas at Margaritaville in Pensacola Beach. The pool offers a bar for your snacks, lounge chairs, and the vibes summer Mr. Buffet intended for your enjoyment.
The hotel’s Landshark Landing has been under construction for four months. The beach bar is a very popular visit for beach goers and hotel guests with hammocks for kids, chicken fingers, and of course, what all the booze Jimmy Buffet would approve of. Happy Hour is from 3 to 6 pm with hours varying for private parties!
22. Shores of Panama:
Ever wonder what a 22,000 square foot pool deck looks like? Shores of Panama has the largest one North Florida has to offer. If the pool isn’t enough to keep your attention, this resort offers ocean attractions like dolphin tours or even their Shipwreck Island Water Park.
The Shores of Panama is also an idyllic place for weddings. Travel Channel, USA Today, and Southern Living have all praised its beaches as one of the most beautiful in the world. Treat yourself and your bridal party to the spas. Why not have your wedding at a recipient of the 2017 Couples’ Choice Award for Wedding Wire?
23. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort:
The Hyatt’s Coconut Point Resort just opened its $7.1 million water park in November of last year. Water slides are not the only thing that will make the world’s coolest dad, it’s their two speed slides and a 900 foot long slide for inner-tubes. The resort already has a 2,700 foot water slide and a 5,000 square foot Adventure Pool, but these additions make this resort’s pool one of the largest in Florida’s resorts. Finally, as you will be burning off all those calories trying to keep up with your kids, enjoy some refreshments at their new Corkscrew Pool Bar. A hotel and water park for the price of one!
24. Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach:
While this resort offers you a pool on the beach, it also brings the pool to the beach. They have Surf WipeOut which is an inflatable wave to ride for any resort guest. Every want to ride a mechanical bull? How about an inflatable shark? For just 4$ you have three attempts to the inflatable monster known as Buck the Shark. Or how about a movie while you swim (pictured)? All these extreme pool inflatables are located beach front so you don’t have to choose!
Tradewinds is looking to expand its St. Pete property by adding a new 12- story hotel to the soft sanded beaches. Expected to open by summer 2018, the “Sugar Sands at Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach”, will give Tradewinds 30 acres of land on the beach. Much like the original, guests will have a fitness center, ocean views, poolside service, and of course onsite dining.
25. Ponte Vedra Inn and Club:
Ponte Vedra wants to make not only your family happy, but everyone else at the resort happy as well. To do so, they provide guests with four pools. For about $200/night, your family can choose from four different pools. You have a family pool safe for all ages that includes a seven foot water slide attached to a lap pool for all ages. If you want a pool for swimming laps without little children and their floaties, the Inn offers an exclusive lap pool just for adults. It also offers a heated private pool for adults for time away from the kids. The last pool is also reserved for adults as part of the lodge and it is beachfront.
This past week the Ponte Vedra hosted an ever-popular Town Hall Meeting for voters to listen and express their opinions on current situations in immigration, health care, and other concerns raised in the new American atmosphere. The Fox News host, Martha MacCallum allowed the attendees to be interactive with not only each other but their government. Just another way resorts can help their visitors and country! Who would have thought?
26. Mandarin Oriental Miami:
At Brickell Key in Miami you swim in their infinity pool while overlooking the ocean. Now if getting a tan in a bikini at the pool with the salty ocean breeze keeping you cool isn’t enough, Mandarin steps it up. They have the Oasis Pool Bar which serves fresh sushi. Yes, my two favorite things in one place; swimming and sushi. I may need to book a room…
The Global Star Ratings just came out for 2016 and the Mandarin Oriental Miami was given a five-star rating. Its “own private beach back dropped by gorgeous views of Biscayne Bay” may have sealed its rating. Don’t worry, its dinning and spa offerings also received five-star reviews. Don’t you deserve the best?
27. Fountainbleu Miami Beach:
For about $300 a night, you have access to their famous Bowtie Pool (pictured). If you are coming just for you and your friends, enjoy their Arkadia pool meant only for those above the legal drinking age with poolside bottle service. But if you came for family, enjoy the family pool with beach side with a slide, interactive water games for kids, and shallow enough water for toddlers.
As mentioned, South Beach is welcoming another tasting; the 2017 South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Three of the hotels are on this list, include the Fountsinbleu, The Palms, and Lowes. The Fountainbleu will host a sampling of wine that must pass the “Wine Spectator’s intense rating with 90 points or higher”. Tickets are $350 and include wine and fine dining sampling.
Florida is obviously home to some of the nation’s most beautiful pools. I’m a three-generation Florida native and I know the importance of taking a splash in the Sunshine State. I know these pools are maintained so you can maintain your vacation’s fun.