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By Kathy Buccio | February 8, 2016 | Lifestyle
Roses and chocolates are great, but sweep-them-off-their-feet staycations are even better. With Valentine’s day just around the corner, you don’t have to jump on a plane to whisk your special someone away to a luxurious getaway. Just a few hours away from the Magic City lay dozens of unforgettable ‘hot’ spots that are sure to rekindle the romance.
Key West: Four hours down to the southern tip of Florida is Key West, an island paradise where laid-back attitudes and picturesque scenery await.
Where to Stay: The Gates Hotel Key West is an upscale boutique hotel that lets you experience the simple pleasures of Key West life to the fullest. Take advantage of their Beneath the Clouds and Between the Sheets package, which kicks off with a seven-mile helicopter ride around the island. Post a selfie with your loved one to receive a complimentary rum libation from Rum Row, the hotel's prohibition-themed bar, before sneaking away to your luxury room or pool for additional fun. Package starts at $399. 3824 N. Roosevelt Blvd., Key West, 305-320-0930
Where to Eat: A visit to Key West isn’t complete without brunch at famous Blue Heaven (729 Thomas St., 305-296-8666), a great place for al-fresco dining in true Key West style. The Blue Heaven Benedict with pink shrimp is a surefire hit. For dinner, check out tapas hot spot Santiago's Bodega (207 Petronia St., 305-296-7691) where you can indulge on shared plates in a whimsical environment. During your trip, don't miss out on Better Than Sex (926 Simonton St., 305-296-8102), a decadent dessert bar that says it all in its name.
What to Do: While you're in Key West, don’t forget to check out Paul Menta’s Key West First Legal Rum Distillery, as you get schooled on his ‘farm-to-bottle’ approach. 107 Simonton St., Key West, 305-294-1441
Vero Beach: Vero Beach is a hidden gem in Florida’s Central Treasure Coast less than three hours away from Miami. Jump in the car and hide out in an oceanside getaway.
Where to Stay: A beachfront oasis that is considered one of the best resorts in the area, Vero Beach Hotel & Spa will surely win you some extra love points with your S/O. If you’re looking to heat things up for Valentine’s Day, book the romance package (use code Bar+129) and indulge in welcome champagne and strawberries, breakfast in bed for two, a White Orchid Spa signature bubble bath, all in the comforts of your luxury accommodations. 3500 Ocean Dr., Vero Beach, 772-231-5666
Where to Eat: You don’t have to go far to enjoy a five-star meal at Vero Beach. The hotel boasts exemplary dining at its in-house restaurant, Cobalt, which specializes in picture-perfect sunsets and local seafood. 3500 Ocean Dr., Vero Beach, 772-469-1060
What to Do: Explore the lush wildlife of this beautiful coastal town with a guided kayak tour from About Kayaks River Rentals, down the St. Sebastian river, one of the last remaining natural rivers in the state. 25 Airport Dr. West, Sebastian, 772-589-3469
Miami Beach: Sometimes you just need to look closer to realize paradise lies right in your backyard. Miami Beach continues to be one of the most popular tourist destinations and with good reason.
Where to Stay: Kick off your romantic getaway with a trip over the bridge to the newly remodeled The Marlin Hotel. Enjoy three days and two nights at this art-deco wonder for their Couples Package, which includes a Deluxe King suite, welcome cocktail for two, dinner for two with champagne at Asian-fusion resto Bází, an in-room bottle of champagne with a dozen red roses, a fruit basket, turn down service with rose petals, breakfast in bed, and late check out. Are you in love yet? Package is $1,500. 1200 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, 305-695-3000
Where to Eat: Step up the romance game and make a reservation at acclaimed eatery, Barton G. The Restaurant It’s more than just a dinner experience, as patrons are delighted with fun, out-of-the-box food presenations (a samurai sword smack in the middle of your entree) throughout the meal. 1427 West Ave., Miami Beach, 305-672-8881
What to Do: Once you’ve soaked up all possible sun you could get, head on over to Miami Beach Botanical Garden for a historic tour of the 2.6-acre property. Learn about the history of the city and its unique ecosystem through a guided tour of the quaint and romantic site. It’s the beach’s worst-kept secret. 2000 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach, 305-673-7256
Clearwater: Award-winning beaches are always a plus when it comes to memorable getaways, and Clearwater Beach has the reputation to prove it.
Where to Stay: Stay at the city’s Sandpearl Resort located right on the Gulf of Mexico for an intimate tête-à-tête with you valentine. Be sure to book the Valentine’s Day Package and get exclusive pricing on your three-night stay at the resort (use booking code VALEN), which includes breakfast in bed for two, as well as an array of chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne. 500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Beach, 727-441-2425
Where to Eat: The resort’s highly-rated restaurant, Caretta on the Gulf has an amazing reputation that is backed up by fresh and creative takes on Florida coastal cuisine, including organic options and a seasonal menu. Its specialty? Romantic dinners. 500 Mandalay Ave, Clearwater Beach, 727-674-4171
What to Do: Feast your puppy love eyes on Clearwater’s magical sunsets with the help of Sunsets at Pier 60's daily festival. The event operates every day of the year, and gives locals and tourists a chance to revel in the beach town's most unforgettable sunsets, all while indulging in the lively street performers, artisans, and crafters. 10 Pier 60 Dr., Clearwater Beach, 727-449-1036
Jupiter Beach: Take the road less traveled to secluded and and serene Jupiter Beach on Florida’s Gold Coast, where crystal blue waters await the most adventurous of lovebirds.
Where to Stay: Surrounded by lush and tropical vegetation on a long stretch of secluded shoreline, Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is the ideal getaway for couples wanting to treat themselves this Valentine’s Day to the utmost romantic experience. Book the Love is a Beach Romance Package, and treat yourself to luxurious accommodations that begins with welcome cocktails, and includes an indulgent romantic duet massage experience inside the hotel spa, and breakfast in bed for two with complimentary mimosas. 5 North A1A Jupiter, 561-746-2511
Where to Eat: It’s no frills eating at Dune Dog Cafe, where their beloved hot dogs take center stage. This airy shack is the perfect place to set up shop after a long day at the beach. 775 North Alternate A1A, 561-744-6667
What To Do: Strap on your scuba gear and explore the deep blue sea with the help of Jupiter Dive Center. Get up close and personal with sharks, coral reefs, and untouched sea life on one of their excursions. If you don’t dive, take a water taxi sightseeing tour and take in all this wondrous natural beauty Jupiter Beach has to offer. 1001 North Hwy. A1A Alternate, Jupiter, 561-745-7807