With an increase in non-air travel, weekend road trips and mini vacations have become very popular. In particular, mini vacations in Florida are very popular right now. No matter what kind of mini-vacations in Florida you’re seeking, the Sunshine State offers plenty of opportunities for weekend getaways along the Gulf of Mexico and other locations. 

Mini vacations in Florida provide you with the perfect opportunity to relax and unwind. Southwest Florida provides you with the beach, Gulf of Mexico, boating trips, fishing opportunities and waterfront restaurants. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind from all the stress of daily life.

But where do you start? How do you know you’re planning the best vacation possible?

Read on to learn the best ways to plan mini-vacations in Florida.

Where to Go on a Mini Vacation in Florida?

The question isn’t really where to go on a mini vacation in Florida. It should be, “What can I fit in on my mini vacation in Florida?” Especially Southwest Florida. 

The best place to vacation, though, is Southwest Florida. The second you arrive in the region is the second you’ll know you’ve found your new favorite vacation spot. Whatever you and those you’re traveling with are in the mood for, Southwest Florida has you covered.

In particular, we think you should plan on the following locations for a mini vacation in Florida:

  • Naples
  • Sanibel Island
  • Captiva Island
  • Fort Myers
  • Fort Myers Beach

Where to Go for Mini Vacations in Florida

Whether you’re looking to take a quick flight, make it a long road trip, or make a quick half hour jaunt from your Florida town, Southwest Florida is the place to visit. With beaches, golf, great restaurants, and plenty of opportunities for family fun, there isn’t a better place to stay.

Mini vacations in Florida are easy to take, even if you want to see multiple sites in your short time on the coast.

It’s easily accessible and has direct flights from pretty much anywhere in the world. If you can’t find one, you’re almost guaranteed an easy connection flight.

If you already live here, then you know there are an abundance of activities to partake in all around the state. Whether you’re interested in exploring nature, local art shows, the cuisine of many kinds, something sporty, or you simply want to keep the kids entertained, there’s plenty to do and see.

Weekend getaways in Florida are easily attainable — especially on the beaches of the southwest.

Here are some recommendations for you to get you started. 

Looking for a beach vacation? Here’s our top destinations. 

Sanibel Island Beaches

Top Sanibel beach destinations include:

  • Lighthouse Beach Park
  • Blind Pass Beach
  • Gulfside City Park
  • Tarpon Bay beach

State Park Beaches

Southwest Florida State Park must stop beach locations are: 

  • Lovers Key State Park in Fort Myers Beach
  • Cayo Costa State Park available by boat only
  • Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples

Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers and its beaches can be a bit more crowded than Captiva and Sanibel Islands but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of a weekend visit.

The area comes with a vast amount of history and plenty of opportunities to learn all about it. Once inhabited by indigenous peoples, settlers laid their claim in the mid-1860s, and now families and retirees find enjoyment in every nook and cranny.

Fort Myers Beach has miles of gorgeous beach coastline. We recommend checking out a sunset between New Pass and Big Carlos Pass. 

Where Should I Go For a Weekend in Florida?

Weekends in the Sunshine State are filled with fun in the sun. There are plenty of beach towns to explore, and some are small enough to get to know in just a short amount of time. Here are some beach towns you should consider for a weekend in Florida. 

Sanibel and Captiva Islands

With as many visitors as these islands draw, you’d never know they were tourist attractions. Both offer miles and miles of sandy beaches and terrain for you and whoever you’re traveling with to enjoy. With an abundance of seashells to find and wildlife to observe, there’s never a dull moment to be had.

Are you a nature lover? You’ve come to the right place.  With more than 200 species of birds, you’re sure to find your new favorite in no time. J.N. “Ding Darling” National Wildlife Refuge is also part of Sanibel.

Are Sanibel and Captiva the Same Island?

While Sanibel and Captiva islands are sister islands, they could not be more different. While they are both barrier islands, their styles and even their building structures are different. Sanibel Island has put limits on what you are allowed to build and how high you can build to preserve the coastline visibility. There are also more restaurants, shops and homes on Sanibel Island. Biking trails and conservancy is important here. 

Captiva Island is just as beautiful yet has a different style and flavor. Think Old Florida flip-flop relaxing destination. It’s a great place to rent a boat and head out on the water for a fishing trip. 

No matter which island you choose for a mini vacation, Captiva and Sanibel islands are sure to become your favorite vacation destination.

Where Should I Go For a 3 Day Vacation in Florida?

When it comes to three-day weekends in Florida, you’re likely to find no shortage of activities to keep you and everyone you’re traveling with happy.

Whether it’s the beach with your kids or a high-end restaurant for one, Florida’s got you covered. Here are some 3 day Florida weekend spots we recommend.

Fort Myers River District

Looking for a place with some nightlife, restaurants, live music and more? Check out the Fort Myers River District for old downtown city vibes that includes brick paver streets lined with Palm trees along a beautiful riverfront backdrop. 

As we already talked about, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach are great places for a few-day getaway. Whether you’re visiting for the history or staying for the small-town feel, you’re sure to fall in love with this town and its beaches.

There is an abundance of restaurants, luxurious spas, and opportunities for recreational water sports that everyone can enjoy.

Cape Coral

Cape Coral is another destination that offers a wide array of things to do. Whether you visit Four Freedom Park for the kids or Yacht Club Community Park, you’re sure to find an abundance of welcome for you and your family. 

No matter what you’re in the mood for, there’s a restaurant to satisfy your cravings. Restaurants we recommends include:

  • Crisp Creperie for a wonderful breakfast
  • Lehne Burger Cape Coral for burgers and beers
  • 4 Sestras Bistro to Go for great soups, sandwiches and flatbreads
  • Twenty Five for American pub fare and a mouth water weekend brunch

Cape Coral is best known for its 400 miles worth of canals and many prefer to travel by boat when spending a day on the town.

Where to Go For Mini-Vacation for Christmas in Florida

Though you can’t expect snow in Florida, you can expect plenty of Christmas fun. Floridians find a way to create festivity even when it doesn’t feel like a White Christmas, making it the perfect place to take a beachy mini vacation for the holiday season.

Here are a few events you can expect.

Fort Myers Christmas Events

While the Shell Factory in Fort Myers comes with its own year-round Christmas shop, special things happen when it’s actually the holiday season. Visitors can enjoy the annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade featuring as many as 30 decorated boats!

The parade begins at Salty Sam’s Marina, sails along Matanzas Pass and into the first two canals of Siesta Isles. Typically, the event lasts two hours.

Sanibel Christmas Tips

Every year, the barrier island communities of Sanibel and Captiva Islands come together for an annual Holiday Stroll.

As the sun sets, volunteers line Periwinkle Way holding candle-lit lanterns while storefronts open their decorated doorways for visitors to enjoy. Here, you’ll be able to find music, Santa visits, art, activities and so much more holiday cheer.

Florida Weekend Getaway Ideas

If you’re looking for specific things to do in the Sunshine State, creating a theme for your weekend getaway is a fun idea! If you’re going on a girls’  trip, center the weekend around something that everyone enjoys. Themes aren’t essential, but they can make things fun for everyone.

Pine Island Fishing Recommendations

Fishing Pine Island is a great place to visit if you want a weekend to enjoy the aquatic sport.

Fishing charters take you and your fishing buddies out on the water to enjoy the view and to have a chance at prime catches like snook, redfish, cobia, tripletail, and so much more depending on the season.

Pine Island fishing tip: Tarpon is the island’s prime catch, and you’re sure to find an abundance of it at local restaurants and eateries.

Naples Family Vacation Tips

Naples is a great place to take the family on a mini vacation. 

Downtown Naples is perfect for those with shopping in mind. Referred to as the “Beverly Hills of Florida,” you’re sure to find no shortage of glitz, glamor, and luxury for some real shopping and come fun window shopping. 

That’s not all there is, though.

Kids are sure to love the Children’s Museum of Naples. If you’re more of a night owl, however, there are even plenty of options available well into the darkness. You can also head to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens for a fun day with the kids. 

Family time can also be spent at the beach, in the pool and visiting local ice cream shops like Naples Ice Cream Shoppe in Promenade Plaza at Naples and Ben & Jerry’s in the Village on Venetian Bay. 

Bonita Springs Weekend Getaways

Bonita Springs might actually take a few weekend getaways to see in its entirety. There is an abundance of beaches to visit, so you’ll have plenty to choose from no matter how many times you choose to visit.

Beaches aren’t the only thing you can enjoy, though. With a bustling downtown district, you can discover the city’s history and enjoy local and traveling art exhibitions, classes, and all kinds of other community events.

Also enjoy a disc golf course, a dog park, and Barefoot Beach Preserve Park. You are sure to find something for everyone to enjoy here. 

Sanibel Island Getaway Itinerary Ideas

You can rent a house on Sanibel Island and then pay a visit to Sanibel Island Farrmer’s Market for fresh food to cook for your stay.

If you’d rather be out and about, Periwinkle Place offers plenty of shopping, dining, and even a butterfly and hummingbird garden. If you’d like a peak at harder-to-find flora and fauna, pay a visit to the Sanibel Moorings Botanical Gardens. If you’re lucky, you might be able to purchase a plant to take home!

For a taste of the arts, catch a show at The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theatre or go antiquing at Islander Trading Post Antiques.

No matter what part of the islands you’re staying on, you’re bound to leave with happy memories. Both are a favorite for locals and visitors alike, and they’re sure to present a fun time, no matter who you’re visiting with.

Hidden Romantic Getaways in Florida

Florida’s beaches have become hubs for beachside weddings and honeymoons, but where can couples go to find seclusion and romance in the state? Look no further than Southwest Florida. 

In particular, we recommend the following romantic activities on Sanibel Island to get the full romantic island setting: 

Head to the Beach

This is a must for so many romantic reasons. Just go to the beach with your partner and listen to the waves, do some shelling and relax. Head back to the beach later in the day to watch the sunset together. There’s nothing more romantic than what Mother Nature provides for you as a backdrop on Sanibel Island. 

Do Some Sanibel Shopping

It’s always a good time to do some shopping with your loved ones. We recommend visiting Shop on Sanibel for some fantastic outdoor shopping and great restaurant spots 

Head to Lovers Key State Park

With Lovers Key State Park and its beautiful beach, you have access to a well-maintained two-mile stretch of beach and ocean water.

It was once destined to become a stretch of luxury condo buildings but was eventually donated to the people of Florida (and the state’s visitors) to enjoy and cherish for decades to come.

With kayak rentals, umbrellas to lounge under, and even the occasional manatee visit, this is the perfect space for a romantic getaway.

Weekend Getaways in Florida for Singles

No matter where you go in Florida, you’re going to find things to do if you’re single. Whether you’re looking to meet someone or you’ve decided to take the chance on a lone getaway, you have the chance to have fun.

For more casual weekend getaways in Florida for some personal time, we recommend

  • Time at the beaches we recommend above
  • A sunset cruise with friends
  • Time to reflect and enjoy in a kayak
  • Renting a bike for the day and cruising Sanibel Island
  • Having a nice meal

Best Quick Trips to Florida

No matter where in Southwest Florida you choose to visit, shopping, restaurants, art walks, and different local events are great for quick trips.

Visit Periwinkle Place in Sanibel Island. If you’re visiting with the whole family, opt for a weekend out in nature in one of the region’s many state parks or spend your days lounging in the sun on the beach.

How to Find Florida Getaway Packages

With Royal Shell, planning weekend trips becomes a lot easier. We’re the largest vacation rental company in Southwest Florida and we make it easy for you to plan your dream getaway. With pet-friendly options and access to private beaches, there’s something for everyone you bring on your road trip.

With Flexcation™ options, you can reschedule your trip if things come up, or cancel if worst comes to worst. Your pricing doesn’t change once you’ve booked, so even if you do need to reschedule, you won’t have to worry about any prices going up.

With vacation specials happening all the time, you’re sure to always find something in your price range. Whether you’re looking for last-minute deals or off-season booking, Royal Shell has options for you. You can even choose to book your own private villa or an entire home all to yourself!

No matter where you’re going, when you’re going, or who you’re going with, Royal Shell has you covered.

Book a Mini-Vacation With Royal Shell Today!

Now that you have a few ideas for mini-vacations in Florida, it’s time to find the perfect Royal Shell vacation rental for you. We have plenty of options for your mini-vacation and can’t wait to help you find exactly what it is that you’re looking for.

At Royal Shell, we make it easy to book your dream vacation getaway. Contact us today to get started.