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The Sunshine State is a diverse state from the Panhandle down to the Keys. Luckily, if you’re searching for the best places to stay in Florida – I’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll look at where to stay in Florida so you can plan your next trip with ease.

I’ve lived in the state for over a decade. During that time, I’ve traveled extensively and stayed in multiple places. In this guide, I’ll share places to stay in Florida so you can plan your weekend getaway or vacation.

Florida offers diverse options for travelers, from the vibrant nightlife and art-deco charm of Miami Beach to the family-friendly attractions of Orlando, including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. Key West provides stunning sunsets and a laid-back atmosphere, while Naples offers a luxurious retreat with upscale shopping and pristine beaches. 

I’ll share a few of the best places to stay in Florida; whether you’re seeking thrilling theme parks, historical sites, or serene beach getaways, there’s an area in the state to suit your vacation dreams.

Best Areas to Stay in Florida

Where To Stay in Florida

I’ve created a list of the best places to stay in Florida. Whether you’re seeking vibrant city life, family-friendly adventures, or tranquil beach retreats, my recommendations promise unforgettable experiences.

SEE ALSO: 25 Best Places To Visit in Florida

Orlando: Best Place To Stay in Florida for Your First Time

Orlando, Florida, USA  aerial cityscape towards Lake Eola at dusk.

For first-time visitors to Florida, Orlando stands out as an ideal destination. Known as the theme park capital of the world, Orlando offers a magical experience for families and travelers alike. With world-renowned attractions including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, it’s easy for visitors to immerse themselves in the enchanting worlds of fantasy and adventure. 

Besides the theme parks, Orlando offers diverse dining options, vibrant entertainment choices, and a warm, welcoming atmosphere; it’s the perfect introduction to the Sunshine State. If you’re seeking places to stay in Florida for your next vacation, then Orlando is a great option.

Pros of Staying in Orlando

  • Close to world-class theme parks
  • Diverse attractions for every age
  • Family-friendly
  • Conveniently located in Central Florida
  • Ample accommodations
  • Public transportation options

SEE ALSO: Best Florida Transportation Options (By a Local)

Cons of Staying in Orlando

  • Crowded city
  • High tourist prices
  • Congested traffic

Best Places to Stay in Orlando

Sunset at the Beach with clear blue water. Sunset at the Beach with clear blue water.

Staying in Orlando puts you in the hub of one of the state’s most popular tourist hotspots.

1. Blue Heron Beach Resort: The Blue Heron Beach Resort is located just 3.1 miles from Disney Springs. The condo-like hotel offers beautiful lake views. Find out more information here.

2. Embassy Suites Downtown: Stay in the heart of Orlando at the Embassy Suites Downtown. Enjoy the onsite fitness center before venturing out to explore the city. Make reservations here.

3. Home2 Suites by Hilton: When not exploring Orland, enjoy the outdoor swimming pool at the Home2 Suites by Hilton. These are the perfect family accommodations if you are staying in Orlando. Click here for more information.

Top Things To Do in Orlando

If you plan to stay in Orlando, you’ll want to consider exploring everything the area has to offer. Here are my top picks:

1. 90-Minute Everglades Video Tour in Central Florida: Enjoy a heart-stopping airboat ride – fun for young and old alike. Click here for directions.

2. Bioluminescent Stand-Up Paddle Board or Kayak Tour: Explore one of the world’s best spots for bioluminescence via SUP or Kayak. This is a truly unforgettable and highly-rated experience. Find out more here.

3. Sunset Cruise in St Cloud: Take a sunset cruise for unforgettable views of the  East Lake Toho. Click here for directions.

Where to Eat and Drink in Orlando

Orlando is brimming with restaurants and places where you can seek a latte or a cocktail. Don’t miss out on these spots:

1. Hammered Lamb: The Hammered Lamb features both indoor and outdoor seating. The eclectic-style restaurant is always bustling and is fun for all ages. See the location here.

2. Kres Chophouse: If you’re seeking one of the best steaks in Orlando then check out the Kres Chophouse. Click here for directions.

3. The Osprey: Enjoy American classics and fresh seafood choices at The Osprey. Try out their Happy Hour $2 Mid-Atlantic or Florida Oysters every Tuesday – Friday. Find directions here.

Miami: Best Area in Florida for Nightlife

nightlifenightlife

The best place to stay in Florida for nightlife is Miami’s artistic area Wynwood. It’s filled with chic lounges and beachfront clubs. The party keeps going with DJ and live music, cocktails, dancing, and more until the sun comes up.

Pros of Staying in Miami

  • Cultural diversity
  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Artistic displays
  • Close to the beaches
  • Upscale accommodations

Cons of Staying in Miami

  • Expensive
  • Crowded
  • Congested traffic

Best Places to Stay in Miami

The Wynwood Art District in Miami isn’t home to a large variety of hotels. If you can’t book a room in the area you might want to consider staying nearby.

1. Arlo Wynwood: Zip around the art district on the free bikes provided by the hotel. You can also cool off in the large, lavish pool. Book a room here.

2. Wynwood Apts Boutique Hotel: If you’re looking for the best apartment in Florida, check out the Wynwood Apts Boutique Hotel. Book here.

3. Hampton Inn & Suites: Stay in the heart of the Winwood District at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Reserve a room here.

Top Things To Do in Miami

Miami is bursting at the seams with things to do. Whether you want to enjoy adventure after sunset or explore during the day, I’m confident you’ll find the perfect tour or vacation hotspot to explore.

1. Little Havana Walking Tour: Set out on the perfect food tour with the Little Havana Walking Tour. Find directions here.

2. Miami Sunsets Tour: Set sail on a Miami Sunset Tour to enjoy views of the city as the sun sets as a backdrop. Follow the directions here.

3. ATV Night Activity in Miami: Take a ride on the wild side on the ATV Night Activity in Miami. See here for the location.

Where to Eat and Drink in Miami

There’s no shortage of places to eat and drink in Miami. When looking for the best place to stay in Florida for nightlife, you’ll also encounter many fine dining options. These are my favorite three in the area:

1. Bakan: Enjoy tacos and margaritas from this hopping restaurant. Bakan is well known for its refreshing margaritas. Visit the restaurant here.

2. Alloy Bistro Gourmet: Dine on the patio at Alloy Bistro Gourmet located in one of the posher areas of Miami. After dining on French cuisine, you can head to one of your Florida hotels near the nightlife in the Wynwood Art District. Directions here.

3. Crazy About You: Soak up the amazing views from the Bay Front Restaurant, Crazy About You. Directions here.

Key West: Coolest Place to Stay in Florida 

A white sand beach with coconut palms, crystal pure water, and a clear blue sky. A white sand beach with coconut palms, crystal pure water, and a clear blue sky.

The coolest place to visit in Florida is Key West. This tropical paradise offers a unique blend of vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and historic charm. Enjoy colorful sunsets at Mallory Square, explore Ernest Hemingway’s former home, and snorkel in the crystal-clear waters of Dry Tortugas National Park. 

I love the laid-back atmosphere and vibe of the area, combined with its artistic community and rich history.  In my opinion, it’s one of the most unique places to stay in Florida.

Pros of Staying in Key West

  • Ample outdoor activities
  • Cultural diversity
  • Rich in history

Cons of Staying in Key West

  • Chance of hurricanes
  • Expensive
  • Congested

Best Places to Stay in Key West

Regardless of the time of year, hotels and resorts book up fast in Key West so you’ll always want to make advance reservations to ensure you secure accommodations and don’t end up disappointed.

1. Flagler Station: Flagler Station is located only four minutes from lovely Rest Beach. Click for reservations.

2. Tropical Vibes: Stay just eight minutes from the beach in this lovely guest house complete with an on-site swimming pool. Book now.

3. Secret Garden: Located a mere 2,600 feet from the beach, is the lovely Secret Garden. Click here to reserve.

Top Things To Do in Key West

Boat tour in the Everglades, Florida, USA. Popular tourist attractions from the Key, Miami, and Orlando. People on guided rides for wildlife sightings of alligator, wetlands. Boat tour in the Everglades, Florida, USA. Popular tourist attractions from the Key, Miami, and Orlando. People on guided rides for wildlife sightings of alligator, wetlands.

Key West offers an abundance of things to do; the entire area is geared towards tourism. Here are things to plan for your trip:

1. Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West: Have you ever wanted to view a shark up close and personal? With the Shark and Wildlife Viewing Adventure in Key West, you’ll have ample opportunity to see sharks and other area wildlife as you set off on an eco-friendly 34-foot catamaran. Click here for location.

2. Key West Hop on a Trolley Tour: Yes, Key West is a place that’s easily walkable, but who wants to hike in the heat? Instead, book your spot on the Key West Hop on a Trolley Tour to explore the area and learn about its history. Directions here.

3. Key West Mangrove Kayak Eco Tour: Adventure deep into Florida’s mangroves via the Key West Mangrove Kayak Eco Tour, where you’ll learn about area wildlife and the balanced ecosystem. Click here for directions.

Where to Eat and Drink in Key West

Key West is one of the best places to stay in Florida for couples because it offers not only ample things to do but an abundance of great dining opportunities.

1. Off The Hook Restaurant: Locals and tourists alike flock to Off the Hook when they crave the freshest seafood in a laid-back atmosphere. Click here for directions.

2. Thirsty Mermaid: Enjoy the raw bar or order fresh local seafood delicacies at the Thirsty Mermaid. Directions here.

3. Pepe’s Cafe: For an authentic Key West vibe, check out Pepe’s Cafe. This place is beloved by locals and tourists alike. The restaurant has been in business since 1909, so you know you’re in good hands. Click here for directions.

Kissimmee: Best for Families 

Aerial view of sunset over Kissimmee Florida city. Aerial view of sunset over Kissimmee Florida city.

Many people mistakenly believe that Orlando is the hub of theme parks and family vacations, but Kissimmee is a much better location to stay with families.

Kissimmee, located just south of Orlando, is a fantastic destination for families with children. One of the main reasons to visit Kissimmee is its proximity to world-renowned theme parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.

Families can enjoy easy access to these attractions while staying in a more relaxed, and often more affordable, environment compared to the bustling city of Orlando.

Pros of Staying in Kissimmee

  • Close proximity to all the theme parks
  • Family vibe
  • Charming downtown area
  • Relaxed atmosphere

Cons of Staying in Kissimmee

Best Places to Stay in Kissimmee

Anywhere that you decide to stay in Kissimmee with your family puts you in close proximity to one of the many theme parks.

1. Tiger Lily: Stay at the large and lavish Tiger Lily with its covered pool for family fun. You’ll stay in the heart of one of the best vacation spots in Florida for families. Book reservations here.

2. Magical Memories Villa: Stay at the Magical Memories Villa with its own private pool and balcony to view the city. Book here.

3. Mickey’s Paradise: At Mickey’s Paradise, you can enjoy an outdoor oasis with a pool and waterfall that are perfect for the whole family to cool off. You’ll be in one of the main Florida vacation spots for families. Reserve accommodations here.

Top Things To Do in Kissimmee

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The best thing about staying in Kissimmee is that you’ll have many options for things to do with your family, all within minutes of your accommodation.

1. Old Town: Explore Old Town Kissimmee with its frequent car shows and carnival-like rides. Directions here.

2. Kissimmee Lakefront Park: Pack a picnic and explore Kissimmee’s Lakefront Park. Click here for directions.

3. Private Helicopter Tour: Take a private helicopter tour at night to see the lights of Kissimmee and Orlando. See the location here.

Where to Eat and Drink in Kissimmee

Pick from a variety of dining choices at various price points in the Kissimmee area.

1. Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen: Enjoy southern comfort food favorites at the Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. Click here for directions.

2. 3 Sisters Speakeasy: Dine in an eclectic establishment with a variety of American choices at the 3 Sisters Speakeasy. Click for directions.

3. Big John’s Rockin BBQ: Dine on a variety of heaping BBQ choices at Big John’s Rockin BBQ. See here for directions.

Tampa: Best Place in Florida on a Budget 

This is a nighttime photo of one of the many lighted bridges and walkways along Tampa's Riverwalk. This is a nighttime photo of one of the many lighted bridges and walkways along Tampa's Riverwalk.

Tampa is one of the best places in Florida to stay on a budget because it offers not only a variety of affordable accommodations and dining choices but there are also many fun, free things to do. You’ll get to enjoy the vibrance of the big city without breaking the bank.

Pros of Staying in Tampa

  • Affordable
  • Free things to do
  • Variety of restaurants
  • Close to the beaches

Cons of Staying in Tampa

  • Crowded
  • Traffic congestion

Best Places to Stay in Tampa

Tampa is a large and diverse city with a variety of accommodation choices to fit every budget.

1. Holiday Inn Express: Stay in the heart of the city at the Holiday Inn Express. Click here for reservations.

2. Hotel Tamp Riverwalk: Stay only steps away from the picturesque Riverwalk that meanders through downtown Tampa. Click here to book.

3. Sleep Inn: Enjoy a large onsite fitness center at the Sleep In. Book here.

Top Things To Do in Tampa

Walking tour Walking tour

If you are seeking one of the best areas in Florida that won’t break the bank then Tampa stands out because it offers ample affordable and free things to do.

1. Historic Ybor City Food Walking Tour: Enjoy an ideal introduction to Tampa by taking this food tour where you’ll have the chance to sample up to six food and drink tastings whilst being led by a knowledgeable guide. Click here to book.

2. Lettuce Lake Park: Walk the miles of boardwalk to discover the beauty of Florida at Lettuce Lake Park. Click here for directions.

3. Ybor City: Walk the many city blocks of Ybor City to discover the heart of the area’s historic Cuban culture. Click here for details.

Where to Eat and Drink in Tampa

Dining choices abound in Tampa with affordable diners or lavish restaurants. Here are the best three, in my opinion:

1. Seasons 52: At Seasons 52, you never know what the menu will list because it’s constantly changing based on the freshest seasonal food choices in the area. Click here for directions.

2. Green Lemon: The Green Lemon offers modern charm with Mexican cuisine choices. Click here for directions.

3. Oystercatchers: Dine indoors or outdoors at Oystercatchers where you’ll find fresh seafood choices that are sure to delight. Click here for directions.

Tips About Staying in Florida

Notebook with Phrase Travel Tips and Tourist Items on Light BlueNotebook with Phrase Travel Tips and Tourist Items on Light Blue

I’ve spent over a decade of my life living in Florida, and during that time, I’ve gathered several tips that can help you enjoy your visit and stay in the Sunshine State.

Pack for Weather Changes

Yes, it’s called the Sunshine State, but in the afternoons there are often severe thundershowers. Ideally, you should always pack an umbrella and dress in layers to peel off as the mercury starts to climb.

Hurricane Dangers

Be aware of hurricane seasons (June to November). Stay informed about weather forecasts and have a plan in case of evacuation.

Plan Ahead for Theme Parks

If you intend to visit theme parks, book tickets online to save time and money. Arrive early to maximize your experience and use the park’s mobile apps for updates.

Step Away From Tourism

Yes, Florida is known for its theme parks and beaches but it has plenty of other things to offer too. Explore natural parks, springs, and trails. Bring water, comfortable shoes, and a hat for outdoor activities.

Be Aware of Bugs

The tropical climate of Florida makes it an ideal home for biting bugs. Pack mosquito repellent to stay comfortable.

FAQ’s About Where To Stay in Florida

Here are a few answers to the most frequently asked questions about where to stay in Florida. I’ve used my first-hand insight experience when answering each one.

What area of Florida is best for tourists?

One of the best areas for tourists in Florida is Orlando. Known as the theme park capital of the world, Orlando offers attractions including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort; making it a top destination for families and thrill-seekers alike.

Where should I avoid staying? (Where NOT to stay in Florida)

While Florida has many wonderful locations there are few places to avoid staying. Miami’s Overtown and Liberty City neighborhoods have higher crime rates, so it’s advisable to exercise caution if staying in these areas.

Parts of Jacksonville, especially around the downtown area, can also be challenging due to crime. Additionally, some parts of Orlando, like the neighborhoods around Orange Blossom Trail, are known for higher crime rates and may not be the best choice for accommodation

What is the safest place to stay in Florida?

The safest place to stay in Florida is typically in the tourist hubs such as Kississimee where the accommodations have security guards and other safety precautions.

Does it matter where I stay in Florida?

Yes, it matters where you stay in Florida because the state is so large – you’ll want to pick an area that’s close to the things you plan to see and do.

Which part of Florida is most beautiful?

It’s hard to pick which area of Florida is the most beautiful. Many areas are either lush and tropical or beachside. The state even offers rolling grasslands and orchards as far as the eye can see.

Is Florida walkable?

The state of Florida itself is not walkable but most tourist areas are walkable.

What’s the best way to get around Florida?

The best way to get around Florida is via an automobile. Renting your own vehicle can make your trip much easier.

Where should I vacation on the west coast of Florida?

If you want to vacation on the west coast of Florida, consider staying in Clearwater, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, or Naples.

Which side of Florida is better for beaches?

Both sides of Florida are ideal for beaches. The Atlantic side offers large rolling waves and the Gulf side tends to be calmer and warmer.

Which side of Florida has warmer beaches?

The west side of Florida has warmer beaches. The Gulf of Mexico is warmer than the Atlantic Ocean.

What part of Florida doesn’t get too hot?

All parts of Florida get hot but the Panhandle is often considered slightly cooler due to its northern location.

In Conclusion

Florida offers a diverse range of options for travelers, from vibrant cities to serene coastal towns, each with its unique charm. Whether you’re seeking the excitement of nightlife in Miami, family-friendly attractions in Kissimmee, or the peaceful beaches of Key West, The Sunshine State has something for everyone.

Consider your preferences, budget, and travel companions when choosing the best place to stay, and you’re sure to find a memorable and enjoyable experience in Florida.

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