Valentine’s Day is on the way. That got Mrs. Funmeister and myself thinking about the most romantic vacation destinations we have visited since we started crisscrossing the Sunshine State. There have been quite a few that have come to mind. And not all for the same reasons.

So here’s our list, in no particular order, with no fixed criteria other than to say we have visited there, had a wonderful time and for the most part they met our pricepoint.

Beaches Always are a Good Bet

The Edison Beach House, Fort Myers Beach. This was a find by Mrs. Funmeister that we booked sight unseen. At first we worried about the age of the accommodation, but when we popped open the front door we were absolutely amazed.

Our suite at The Edison

All the rooms are suites. Our first was on the second floor with a king-sized bed. The patio had a breathtaking view that we could see both from the living room, and from the bed through a window over the couch.

We were particularly impressed with the attention to detail. There were enough appliances for a weeklong stay, a newspaper outside the room each morning, and they dragged the beach each day to make it smooth and pleasant for the guests.

It was so nice, we booked it again for Christmas. Although the fourth floor suite was smaller with a queen, our spot on the south side of the building gave us a view of the sunrise over the water – something not usual on the Gulf side. It was within walking distance of everything you need and a wonderful treat for yourselves.

The walk on the beach makes it a top romantic vacation destination.

Lakeside

The Vista Inn Lake Tarpon. This was another find by Mrs. Funmeister as we planned a trip to Tarpon Springs. It literally is minutes from either downtown Tarpon Springs or the Sponge Docks.

Admittedly, it is an older facility. That being said, the view down the canal into Lake Tarpon never gets old. It is easy to get a room with a balcony which is a wonderful venue for sitting and enjoying the morning or evening.

The view from the Vista balcony was amazing

It’s a great place to watch a sunrise or a moonrise. In the morning it is tranquil with waterbirds flying in and out and even a glimpse of the resident alligator swimming about. We like to get a loaf of tsoureke sweet bread and enjoy our coffee there. At night the canal sparkles with both artificial strings of light and the glow of the moon and stars.

Some of the best places aren’t hotels

The Beach Place Guesthouses at Cocoa Beach. This is another older facility, but they have taken the age and turned it into a “fun and funky” atmosphere. We drew a three room suite featuring a living room/dining room area that opened into a kitchenette, a large bathroom and a spacious bedroom.

Our accommodations faced the beach and we could see the sunrise, but we could not see the water due to the topography of the property. The owners have taken the time to set up a series of outdoor “rooms” where we could enjoy the view into the Atlantic over the sea oats and sea grapes.

There were decks featuring barbecue grills to cook on – replete with tools. There also were dining tables, chairs, benches and hammocks to enjoy the day or evening. Each were separate and attractively illuminated for day or evening use.

The funky ambiance of this place oozes romantic vacation.

It’s great to sit on the chairs at the Beach Guesthouses and watch the cruise ships on their way out to sea.

On the Gulf

Castaways Cottages of Sanibel on Sanibel Island. This was another property where they took an old facility and spruced it up with a fun and funky decor.

We had the Castaway cottage #37. Tucked away off a cove, it was very quiet and secluded. We were about 100 yards off Blind Pass Beach and were able to walk down and across the road to the beach with no problem. It was not over-populated and there were plenty of shells to be found.

The room was tight – or they might say cozy – but had everything a traveler would want from a small flat-screen TV to a kitchen with small fridge, sink and microwave. There was a pool down by the office, plus access to the amenities at their parent property just up the street.

Possibly the best part was that as guests, we could park at the office and walk across the street to possibly the best shelling beach in the world – as well as a wonderful place to watch the sunset. Our cabin had the best of all worlds – easy access to a fishing pier on a canal, a breathtaking access to the beach, and a quiet, secluded location.

For a romantic vacation, you cannot beat standing on the beach and watching the sunset.

Yes, the Sebring Raceway can be Romantic

The Chateau Elan Hotel & Conference Center in Sebring. Located at the famous “hairpin turn” on the grounds of the famous Sebring International Raceway is a people-friendly property that can make race fans out of the most casual observer.

Perched on the fourth floor of the hotel, there was a beautiful view of Turn Seven. We watched from our own small balcony as the ChumpCar World Series hammered through a six hour race on New Year’s Eve. We watched a number of close calls and even some fender-benders as the sun set over the competition. c

The rooms at the Chateau Elan feature a racing theme.

That being said, the room was wonderful and well appointed with very comfortable sleeping facilities. Perhaps the most impressive feature was the walk-in shower (big enough for two), that had LED lights that changed from blue to red as the water temperature increased.

Pick Your Best Spot

Those are some of the more romantic locations we have visited. We know that there are others, and if you have some suggestions, please visit our Florida Fun Travel Facebook page, our Florida Fun Travel Facebook Group or email us at floridafuntravel@yahoo.com

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