As we navigate our new, socially distant normal, sometimes a no-passport-required staycation is just the refresher needed. And where better than Florida, where sugary white sands, golf courses, theme parks, and beachfront resorts reign supreme. And as the state continues to lift restrictions, a new survey from WalletHub finds that some Florida cities are among the best for an in state vacation.
Here are 12 places in the Sunshine to steal away to, and the protocols they have adopted to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the disease that causes COVID-19.
7593 Gathering Drive, Kissimmee
Boasting three golf courses designed by legends of the game—Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Tom Watson—Reunion Resort features 360 accommodations that include private villas and vacation homes. The resort also offers casual and fine dining, an 18-hole miniature golf course, multiple pools, slides, water playgrounds, and a 1,000-foot lazy river. It is also conveniently located near Orlando’s theme parks—six miles from Walt Disney World.
To limit guests and potential staff exposure to the coronavirus, trash, and tidy cleaning services in guest occupied units have been suspended, EPA-approved cleaning is instituted, and a 24-hour hold between occupants for all vacation rentals—full list of measures here.
5500 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach
RumFish Beach Resort
6000 Gulf Blvd, St Pete Beach
Grab the kids and your pup and head to TradeWinds Island Grand Resort for your ultimate family beach getaway. Let loose on the High Tide Slide, Surf WipeOut ride, or drop the kids off at KONK Care while you mellow out on a beachside hammock; your furry friend gets to as well.
If romance is on the agenda, then book at the sister property, RumFish Beach Resort. While in-room dining is a nice treat, RumFish Grill restaurant offers a unique opportunity to nosh next to a 33,500-gallon aquarium featured on Animal Planet’s Tanked. You may get lucky and see southern stingrays, snook, grouper and southern stingrays.
The brand’s instituted sanitation procedures for both properties include screening questionnaires for all guests, employees, and vendors, physical distancing, rigorous protocols utilizing the highest CDC recommended cleaning products, and contactless check-in. Full list of measures here.
6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando
For an activity-filled family trip, then head to the all-inclusive day resort Discovery Cove. Swim with dolphins and snorkel with thousands of tropical fish and rays or relax and check out rocky lagoons, tropical reefs, winding rivers, and white, sandy beaches. There’s no need to carry cash because breakfast, lunch, and all-day snacks are included.
In addition to other safety measures to protect guests and employees upon arrival on-property, guests must undergo and pass temperature screening using the CDC’s temperature recommendation of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. In designated areas, face coverings will be required for guests 2 and older, plus social distancing—full list of measures here.
453 Edgewater Drive, Dunedin
Tagged as the home of Honeymoon Island, Dunedin is a small slice of paradise located by the Gulf, and it’s where you find the vintage-inspired Fenway Hotel. Built in 1924, it once served as Pinellas County’s first radio station. Though its original speakeasy was located in the basement, you can now enjoy your favorite cocktail at its HI-FI rooftop bar. If you’re feeling feisty, pair the Tropical Heatwave (Corralejo Tequila, Ancho Reyes Verde, cucumber, jalapeño and Hellfire Shrub) with the Chophouse Meatballs (Ribeye, Strip, Tenderloin, Arrabiata, Parsley Pistou, Asiago).
Safety is in mind at the Fenway, where initiatives in place include housekeeping services per request, reduced hours at the restaurant and bar, and maximum pool capacity of 50%. Full list of measures here.
Related:Florida and the Caribbean
2200 Edwards Dr, Fort Myers
The newly-built 243-room waterfront Luminary Hotel & Co. now features food and beverage outlets, Ella Mae’s Diner, Dean Street Coffee, and a lobby bar, with plans to open its signature Silver King Ocean Brasserie and Beacon Social Drinkery rooftop lounge. There is also a culinary laboratory, an indoor and outdoor fitness facility, and a pool with an event deck overlooking the Caloosahatchee River.
In addition to typical cleaning protocols, there will be electrostatic spraying in all public areas, guest rooms and common area cleaning procedures, daily temperature checks for all staff, and face-covering requirements for guests and staff in all indoor public areas—full list of measures here.
699 5th Ave S, Naples
The Inn on Fifth & Club is a modern boutique hotel puts you right in the heart of award-winning shops and restaurants on Fifth Avenue. You can walk to the Emerald Gulf coast or arrive in style via the hotel’s Bentley SUV. In addition to regular offerings, there are also packages available through Oct. 19, for remote workers who need to change their scenery from their makeshift work from home office during the ongoing pandemic.
To accommodate guests and reduce the risk of the transmission of COVID-19, the staff has been doubled; cleaning crews are paying extra attention to common and high touch areas and “back of house” operations. Full list of measures here.
1 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach
Inspired by 1950s art deco, the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach has recently undergone a massive renovation of its 376 rooms and suites. Reflecting the city’s culture, history, and views of the Atlantic Ocean and South Beach, guests can sample a fusion of Latin American and Caribbean flavors at its restaurant Fuego Y Mar.
To deal with the current pandemic, the Ritz has instituted more frequent cleanings of all spaces, expanded mobile technology use, replaced buffets with grab and go, installed protective barriers, and social distancing. Full list of measures here.
1900 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
The eco-inspired Lennox Hotel Miami Beach, which specializes in personal comfort, uses green and upcycled materials to add to your stay’s luxury. The Mediterranean architectural style exterior plays well with its South Beach location.
Though the hotel boasts intimacy and seclusion, safety measures have been set in place. Sun loungers by the pool and beach are placed farther apart, there are fewer tables inside the restaurant, and no more than four guests are allowed in elevators. Room service and in-room offerings can be requested through the hotel’s app. In addition to enhanced cleaning, hand sanitizer will be placed in high traffic areas, and guests will be notified if there is a presumptive case of COVID-19 on property. Full list of measures here.
82 Gleason St, Delray Beach, FL 33483
Crane’s Beach House, an off-the-beaten-path, 28-room boutique hotel, includes kitchenettes or full kitchens in each unit. Though you may want to stay hidden inside its lush tropical garden, the beach, shopping, and restaurants are just a short walk away.
There is a no-contact policy in place so that guests can check-in and have their rooms cleaned without interacting with staff. At the pool, chairs are placed apart at safe distances—full list of measures here.
95 Cordova St, St. Augustine, FL 32084
If you are thinking about checking out the Lightner Museum’s shrunken head, mummy, or Sir Winston Churchill’s stuffed lion for Halloween, then book your stay at the Casa Monica Resort & Spa, where there is no shortage of things to do. This iconic landmark offers guests the chance to dine on coastal cuisine at Costa Brava, sip on handcrafted cocktails, and check out the featured works in its Grand Bohemian Art Gallery.
The brand continues to monitor CDC protocols along with its in-house experts in food and water safety to institute measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19. They are requiring face coverings in public areas, cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants and increased frequency, and disinfecting wipes in each room. Full list of measures here.
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa
4000 Sandestin Blvd S, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Bask in the glow of the breathtaking sunsets of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa. Start your vacay with a massage at the Serenity by the Sea Spa, named one of the “10 Best Summer Spa Treatments Under the Sun” by USA Today. Or work on your short game at one of the four award-winning golf courses because, well….practice makes perfect even during a pandemic.
In addition to following CDC guidelines, they have made other adjustments as well; the resort is currently operating at 75% capacity—full list of measures here.