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Florida is the Sunshine State, as well as home to million-dollar houses, more beaches than you can count, and tropical drinks of all kinds. It's also a welcoming retreat to a warmer climate. Even if you're not hurting from a cold winter this year, we bet sunshine on your skin and temperatures that let you strut around in shorts or a sundress would be a welcome change from the gray, seasonal limbo. To help you get there on a budget, we've highlighted a few deals on flights, hotels, and activities. Read on, and you'll be one step closer to a sunny day at the beach!
First off, you'll want an inexpensive flight to actually get there. Currently, Allegiant Airlines offers 1-way fares for as low as $37 each way. At that price, you're likely to spend less money flying than you would in an attempt to drive. If you can't find the specific route you need, there are also Florida locations included in fare sales from both JetBlue (expires February 21) and AirTran (expires February 17).
Once you figure out transportation, you can focus your efforts on finding a hotel to call home for a few nights. If you're headed to Miami, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, or even Orlando, American Express Travel has an ongoing sale that discounts a long list of hotels (from $41.25 per night, a low on select properties by at least $14; expires February 10). For a majority of these hotels, travelers can get to a relaxing, warm retreat on the sand in an hour at the most.
Looking into lengthier stays? Consider booking a 4-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa (from $939, a low by $51 per night; expires February 17), and you'll receive an upgrade to a Premium 1-Bedroom Suite for free. Clearwater Beach is on a peninsula about 30 minutes from Tampa, and at the Hyatt, you'll be literally footsteps from popular sandy hangouts such as Frenchy's Rockaway, amazing sunsets at Pier 60, or a fun visit to see Winter (don't panic, she's a dolphin) at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. If you're looking for a cheaper option in the Clearwater Beach area, BookIt currently offers deals on other hotels starting at $90.
As we mentioned above, Tampa is just a half-hour ride east from Clearwater, along the scenic Courtney Campbell Causeway. Take the drive and treat yourself to a 1-hour Antioxidant Facial at ForMé Med Spa (for $49, $80 off; expires February 11 at 5 am ET), explore downtown, or even check out some manatees at the Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center. Alternatively, go a half-hour south instead and visit St. Petersburg, where you can get a 1-hour Swedish Massage at Sally Plink (for $45, $70 off; expires February 11). While you're there, popular activities include a visit to the St. Petersburg Pier (which features restaurants and souvenirs galore), strolls through Sunken Gardens' tropical plant displays, and a drive on the Sunshine Skyway, one of the western hemisphere's largest suspension bridges at 19 stories high.
When people are considering Florida, they often think of Miami in particular. It's home to sporting events, SoBe (South Beach), a veritable melting pot of foreign culture, deep sea fishing, the Art Deco Historic District, and more. Of course, it's also a major port for ocean cruises, like this 3-night Bahamas Cruise for two from Royal Caribbean (from $498, a price low by $60 per person; expires February 17). Departing from Miami, the cruise stops in Cococay and Nassau in the Bahamas. It's also the least expensive 3-night Bahamas cruise we've seen with Royal Caribbean, and a grand way to start (or even end) your trip with a bang.
While Florida has much to delight a variety of travelers, perhaps it's not currently on your travel to-do list; in that case, be sure to check out our weekly roundup of the top travel deals from the past week for additional discounted flights, hotels, and vacation packages.