Where to Go From Here

What to Do On Your Day Off: Florida

by Daniel Schwartz
The Live like Moorish monarchy. Photo courtesy of Casa Monica.

You've weathered the nine-to-five workflow and migrated home to the Sunshine State for the holidays. Whether you're staying with nana or spending your bonus in South Beach, these short itineraries will help make the most of time off in Florida.

FLORIDA – With white-sand beaches, wildlife reserves, and unrivaled watersports, the game plan for winter birds is wonderfully simple — stay active, sunbathe often, and say yes to that third margarita.

MIAMI

Hit the streets: There's nothing but glorious art, indie boutiques, and cool bars in Wynwood, like Boho Hunger, a concept store with indie South American designers; Wynwood Letterpress, a locally sourced paper goods and south Florida-style stationary; and Malaquita, a Mexican crafts and clothing shop. For food, Alter Miami rocks a reasonably priced tasting menu with herbs from the chef's outdoor garden. For a taco fix, Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is the spot for a al pastor tacos with spit-broiled pork and charred pineapple. For cold brews, Box Elder has plenty of American craft and Belgian beers.

Alter Restaurant in Miami

Dinner in Miami. Photo courtesy of Alter.

Colony Hotel and Cabana Club in Delray Beach

Throwback beach town vibes. Photo courtesy of Colony Hotel and Cabana Club.

DADA Restaurant in Delray Beach

Dinner in Delray Beach. Photo courtesy of DADA.

Or get of town: Retire from the scene in South Beach and head to Delray Beach. Check into Colony Hotel & Cabana Club and kick back on the private patch of sand included in your stay. Pamper your pained feet (never again with six-inch heels) at Foot Haven Reflexology Bar, then detox with one of 100 teas from Yaxche Tearoom, a globally-stocked local gem and the only cafe in the country that brews with certified-pure GoodWater (the same quality agua the president drinks). With fresh feet, mount a paddle board from Delray Beach Watersports. Close out with cocktails and funky American fare from DADA.

NAPLES

Live large: Rent bikes from Extreme Family Fun Spot and play The Price Is Right with the grand homes that line the gilded shoreline. Board Sweet Liberty for luxurious views of the Gulf Coast (and the occasional dolphins) then hit the high-end stores at Waterside Shops. Grab a patio table at bha! bha! Persian Bistro for something you haven't had in a while (spicy tabrizi apricot chicken?) or a bar seat at HobNob for that could-be-in-Brooklyn vibe.

Or convene with nature: Spend the weekend in wildlife paradise on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Cruise, canoe, or kayak the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge with Tarpon Bay Explorers and call out animals — manatees, armadillos, alligators, and birds of every color and breed. Stock a picnic from Jerry's Foods, rent bikes from Billy's Rentals, and cycle towards Bowman's Beach to comb through the bounty of rare seashells that line the coast. Grab a beer at Mucky Duck and gaze over the ocean before calling it a night at Island Inn.

Kayaking in Tarpon Bay on Sanibel Island

Kayaking in J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of Tarpon Bay Explorers.

Marsh Creek Golf Course on Amelia Island

An aerial view of Oak Marsh Golf Course. Photo courtesy of Omni Hotels.

JACKSONVILLE

Tee up: Grab your golf buddy and daytrip to Amelia Island. The barrier isle has lush landscapes, sunset views over the intercoastal, and top-notch greens, including: Long Point Golf Course, Oak Marsh Golf Course, and Ocean Links. Compare scorecards from the rocking chairs at Brett's Waterway Cafe, then boast about the best swing over liquor and live jazz at The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island.

Or, for an international feel: Weekend in St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in the United States. For the old-world experience, stroll the recreated Colonial Spanish Quarter starting with Castillo de San Marcos, then settle into the historic Columbia Restaurant for lunch. Stay the night at Casa Monica Hotel and live like a Moorish monarch. Wake up and dedicate your Sunday to the sand.

Columbia Restaurant in St. Augustine

Grand interiors. Photo courtesy of Columbia Restaurant.

Casa Monica in St. Augustine

An old Spanish hotel experience. Photo courtesy of Casa Monica.

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