Motivation for a Southwest Florida vacation: The vistas off Lovers Key. Credit: simplyliving.

By Maria Mora

For travelers seeking a quiet, upscale beach excursion, Southwest Florida is the ultimate Florida vacation destination. From Sarasota to Naples, Florida’s gulf beaches stand out as some of the world’s most pristine shorelines. The sand is powdery and white, and the waves are mild and jewel-toned. Trying to decide whether to plan your Florida vacation in Sarasota, Naples or Fort Myers? Here’s a quick guide from a local.

Sarasota
This medium-sized city is teeming with art and culture. The Ringling Museum of Art houses an incredible collection of Baroque art, while the Circus Museum is perfect for families and the young at heart. St. Armand’s Key is home to a quiet beachside village and a lively shopping area with boutiques and local restaurants. Visit Sarasota for quiet beaches, upscale hotels and a chance to take in world class art.

Fort Myers
As the most youthful of these three areas, Fort Myers has great beach area bars and nightlife. But the area also has incredible eco tourism resources, like Mound House, a 2,000-year-old Indian shell mound. Kayakers and bicyclists will enjoy Lovers Key State Park, a barrier island with a pristine two-mile beach. For one of Florida’s best kept secrets, stay on gorgeous Sanibel Island. Book Florida vacation packages at island resorts like the Sanibel Harbour Marriott.

Naples
As the southernmost beach community on the west coast, Naples has a tropical feel to it. You can really feel your vicinity to the Everglades in this sprawling, beachside community. Naples is known for soaring beachside hotels and condos, incredible beach resorts, and some of the best luxury shopping in Florida. Takes a break from the hot sun by catching a movie at Mercato, where you can enjoy a cocktail and dinner in a leather easy chair while you view the film.

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Maria Mora is a memoir blogger and wannabe photographer. She travels extensively throughout Florida and the Caribbean with her two young sons.

Tagged: Beach Vacation, Florida Vacation, Hotels

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