Travel Lemming https://travellemming.com A travel guide to what to do and where to stay in Mexico, Canada, the USA, Europe, and the World. Wed, 03 Nov 2021 02:21:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GN Publisher v1.3 https://wordpress.org/plugins/gn-publisher/ 20 Best Playa del Carmen Hotels & Resorts (for 2022) https://travellemming.com/playa-del-carmen-hotels/ Tue, 02 Nov 2021 15:28:47 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=32090

Playa del Carmen is my favorite place to stay in the Riviera Maya, in large part because there are literally hundreds of excellent resorts and hotels in Playa del Carmen to choose from. Whether you’re searching for 5 star luxury resorts on the beach or budget boutiques, you’ll have plenty of options.

But, with so many choices, how do you know which are the best hotels in Playa del Carmen? 

Well, never fear because my partner Clara and I are here to help! We quite literally have made it our jobs to personally visit, rate, and rank different hotels all around Mexico and the world. 

Our mega guides, like our articles on the best hotels in Tulum and in Valladolid, have already helped over 1 million travelers enjoy the best of Mexico. Now, after months of research all summer, we’re super excited to share our list of the 20 absolute best Playa del Carmen hotels!

👉 Summary of Our Top Playa del Carmen Hotels:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

20 Best Hotels in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Best luxury beach resort in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 800 953 0565 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Banyan Tree Mayakoba on Booking

Luxury travelers looking for the absolute best beachfront resort in Playa del Carmen should look no further than the fantastic Banyan Tree Mayakoba ecoresort. Clara and I review luxury properties all around the world, and the Banyan Tree is quite honestly the best we’ve seen anywhere.

The spacious rooms, which are decorated with a hybrid of Asian and Mayan art, are noticeably larger than anything else in Playa del Carmen. Plus, they are filled with thoughtful details and 5 star amenities. 

The property features a spectacularly clean private beach, several world class restaurants, a Thai spa, and a golf course that hosts a PGA event. It’s situated away from the Playa del Carmen’s bustle, and so feels more like staying in a tranquil nature retreat. 

The resort is enormous, but Banyan provides bicycles, golf carts, and even boats to help you navigate it. Plus, if you ever need anything, you can just ask a staff member. The quality of service here is unparalleled in the Riviera Maya. 

The bottom line? If you can swing it, your best bet is to just book at the Banyan Tree and get on with planning your trip to Playa del Carmen.

Prices, reviews & availability for Banyan Tree Mayakoba 👇

Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen

Best luxury resort in central Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 875 1234 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen on Booking

You won’t find a better mix of luxury and location than the gigantic Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. This fantastic property is located right on the beach, in the center of town. 

The beachfront executive suites are absolutely stunning, featuring private plunge pools on balconies overlooking the Caribbean. But even the interior standard rooms are large and comfortable. For a unique treat, try to book one of the swim up rooms! 

One of my favorite things about this downtown Playa del Carmen hotel is that there is a private centoe spa right in the middle of the hotel. Guests also love the large gym, several restaurants, multiple infinity pools overlooking the ocean, and several fantastic art installations scattered across the grounds. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen 👇

Hotel Riu Yucatan

Best all inclusive resort in Playacar

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 2050 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel Riu Yucatan on Tripadvisor

If you’re looking for a classic beach resort vacation, you might want to consider staying in Playacar – the gated community just south of downtown Playa del Carmen, offering several beach resorts along its stunning strip of sand. 

If we had to pick one Playacar resort to consider, we’d pick the beautiful and friendly Hotel Riu Yucatan. This is one of several Riu properties in Playacar, and like the others offers several gigantic pools (including one with a swim up bar) plus a huge stretch of beachfront with loungers. 

Besides the tasty food and comfortable facilities, what really makes the Hotel Riu Yucatan stand out is the incredible staff. They are some of the most helpful we’ve ever encountered in years of staying at and reviewing the best hotels around the world. 

In terms of price, this is also about as affordable as it gets for an all-inclusive resort in Playacar. That does mean the rooms are a tad smaller, but who stays all vacation in their room anyway? For families looking for an affordable beachfront resort, the Hotel Riu Yucatan is just perfect!

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel Riu Yucatan 👇

Playacar Palace

All inclusive family resort in Playacar

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +1 800-943-5032 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Playacar Palace on Booking

Playacar Palace is one of the most iconic Playa del Carmen hotels. It’s located right next to the Cozumel ferry pier, and is the closest of the Playacar resorts to downtown Playa del Carmen. So it’s a great choice if you’re looking for the amenities of an all-inclusive resort along the famous Playacar beach, but still want to be within walking distance to Playa del Carmen’s famous nightlife. 

The 201 suites are decked out with amenities like whirlpool tubs and feature around-the-clock room service. Guests also love the enormous pool facing the beach, plus the next-door animal reserve where you can spot local wildlife like coatis. Oh, by the way, this is one of the few pet-friendly hotels along Playacar beach.

If you want all the benefits of an all inclusive beachside retreat, but can’t bear to be more than walking distance away from the center of the action, then Playacar Palace is definitely among the Playa del Carmen hotels you should consider.

Prices, reviews & availability for Playacar Palace 👇

Quinta Margarita Boho Chic Hotel

Best boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 593 4196 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Quinta Margarita Boho Chic Hotel on Booking

If you want the comfort and convenience of a hotel, but the facilities of an apartment rental, then check out the suites at Hotel Quinta Margarita. Even the smaller rooms come with mini kitchenettes, while the larger suites offer a complete apartment style experience. And all for a decent price, with nightly rates starting at around $50 per night. 

Quinta Margarita offers clean rooms, large comfortable beds, good free wifi, and a central location just steps from 5th Avenue but a slightly quieter corner near the deportivo (where you can go for a run on the public track). Oh, and the rooftop pool is just sublime! 

This is one of the best Playa del Carmen hotels if you’re looking for a comfortable place to stay on a mid-range budget. Perfect for remote workers, digital nomads, families, and couples.

Prices, reviews & availability for Quinta Margarita Boho Chic Hotel 👇

Thompson Main House

Best hotel in Playa del Carmen for nightlife

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4800 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Thompson Playa del Carmenon Booking

For couples, groups, or single travelers looking to get their party on, there is no classier hotel in Playa del Carmen than the stunning and centrally-located Thompson Main House. 

The star attraction here is the mind-blowing rooftop infinity pool, which stretches the length of an entire city block. On the weekends, the Thompson rooftop is the place to see and be scene, with DJs spinning up tunes while the jetsetter crowd sips on craft cocktails and dances by the pool.

The Thompson’s rooms are modern, comfortable, and located just steps from iconic nightlife spots like Coco Bongo. This is one of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen if you are looking for a high class, but high energy, experience. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Thompson Main House 👇

Thompson Beach House

Best boutique hotel on Playa del Carmen beach

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4800 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Thompson Beach House on Booking

If you are attracted to the Thompson, but would prefer a beachfront hotel in Playa del Carmen, then check out the Thompson Beach House. This gorgeous boutique hotel has one of the most central locations right in the middle of the Playa del Carmen’s best beaches, but with a private pool and lounge area that makes for a perfect serene retreat. 

Several of the 27 rooms offer oceanfront views, many have soaking tubs, and all are beautifully furnished in a modern style. Even if you don’t stay here, you should come for al fresco dining at C-Grill, the hotel’s world class oceanfront restaurant. Oh, and if you have furry ones, this is one of the best pet friendly hotels in Playa del Carmen.

Prices, reviews & availability for Thompson Beach House 👇

Chablé Maroma

5 star luxury wellness resort on the beach

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 998 387 0044 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Chablé Maroma on Booking

One of the newest luxury resorts in Playa del Carmen, Chablé Maroma is one of the most talked-about five star hotels on the beach in Playa del Carmen. All of the 70 suites include private terraces and private pools. 

The on-site spa offers a variety of Mayan-inspired treatments, plus the property offers a activities like sunrise yoga, meditation classes, paddle boarding, and jungle tours. With a focus on sustainability and luxury, this is one of the best luxury hotels in Playa del Carmen for honeymooners or anyone looking for a romantic beach retreat along the Caribbean sea.

Prices, reviews & availability for Chablé Maroma 👇

Palmaïa – The House of AïA

Luxury all inclusive beach resort

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 55 8526 6112 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Palmaïa – The House of AïA on Booking

Just recently opened last year, Palmaïa – The House of AïA is an enormous luxury resort with a gorgeous private white sand beach. The boho chic style is reminiscent of some of our favorite boutique hotels in Tulum. If you’re looking for a Tulum-style “back to nature” retreat, and are looking for an all inclusive experience where you never need to leave the hotel, then the Palmaïa might be your perfect option. 

The resort features a private cenote, a traditional temazcal, and several beachfront dining options. Oh, and if you love pools, be sure to book one of the swim up suites! 

Prices, reviews & availability for Palmaïa – The House of AïA 👇

Hotel Lunata

Best budget boutique hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 873 0884 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel Lunata on Booking

Hotel Lunata is the perfect choice if you are looking for a boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen that is just steps from the beach, on La Quinta (5th Avenue), all while offering clean and comfortable rooms at an affordable price. 

This is one of our favorite budget-oriented boutique hotels in Playa del Carmen. It’s decorated with authentic Mayan art, many rooms offer private balconies overlooking a lush green courtyard, and the hotel’s staff is incredibly friendly and accommodating. If you don’t mind not having a pool, but want to be close to the beach, Hotel Lunata is a great choice!

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel Lunata 👇

Secrets Maroma

Best adults-only luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 3641 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Secrets Maroma on Booking

Secrets Maroma is an enormous high end resort catering to adults looking to escape into a  one-of-a-kind luxury beach experience. Covering more than 500 acres along one of the most pristine white sand beaches in Mexico, Secrets Maroma is an adults-only resort that is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. 

Located north of the city at Punta Maroma, you’ll never really need to leave this all inclusive hotel. Secrets Maroma features 13 outdoor pools, 7 restaurants, a coffee shop, and loads of activities like yoga and scuba diving. 

Overall, Secrets Maroma is the perfect hotel for honeymooners or couples looking for a luxury romantic getaways in Playa del Carmen.

Prices, reviews & availability for Secrets Maroma 👇

El Dorado Royale

Luxury adults-only spa resort

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 866 527 4762 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for El Dorado Royale on Tripadvisor

This is one of the few Playa del Carmen resorts we haven’t yet had the chance to visit. But, because of its incredible guest reviews, we’re still including the El Dorado Royale on our list of the best resorts in Playa del Carmen. 

What’s really incredible about this adults-only property is that you can book a swim-up suite with a private terrace that connects to the resort’s lazy river. It is located pretty far from Playa del Carmen (past the Mayakoba resort complex and halfway to Puerto Morelos), but could be a unique choice if you’re looking for an adults-only experience and you don’t plan to leave the resort.

👉 Read Next: The Best Excursions from Playa del Carmen

Prices, reviews & availability for El Dorado Royale 👇

Hotel LunaSol

Best budget hotel with pool

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 873 3933 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel LunaSol on Booking

While there are many cheap hotels in Playa del Carmen that cater to the budget travel crowd, few are all around perfect as the Hotel LunaSol. This three star hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen wins rave guest reviews for its wonderful location in the city center, its stunning huge pool featuring a jacuzzi, and its clean and comfortable rooms. 

The property offers rooms with amenities you’d usually expect in higher priced hotels in Playa del Carmen, like private balconies, kitchenettes, and massage and spa services. And with one of the more relatively quiet locations in central Playa del Carmen, this is definitely the place to stay if you’re on a budget but want a super convenient location right in the middle of it all.

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel LunaSol 👇

Hilton Playa del Carmen

All inclusive adults only beachfront resort

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 2900 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Hilton Playa del Carmen on Booking

One of the largest hotels in Playa del Carmen, the Hilton has a privileged location right next to the main pier along Playa del Carmen’s beach. It’s one of the more popular all inclusive resorts for those looking for an “adults only” policy. 

Note that although it does offer direct beach access, the location right next to the pier means its not the best area for swimming. Never worry, though, as you can always swim in its fantastic pool!

Overall, the Hilton is one of the best Playa del Carmen hotels if you’re looking for an adults-only resort experience but still want to be walking distance to the city’s famous restaurant and nightlife scene. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Hilton Playa del Carmen 👇

Panama Jack Resorts Playa del Carmen

Beachfront all-inclusive family hotel 

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 833 266 5757 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Panama Jack Resorts Playa del Carmen on Booking

Right across the street from the Hilton is Panama Jacks, another one of the top all inclusive hotels in Playa del Carmen. Guest reviews rave about the pool overlooking the beach, the fun vibe at the property’s beach club, and the balconies (some of which offer sweeping ocean views). Drop your kids at Camp Jack Kids Club, try a soak in the rooftop hot tub, and then grab a cocktail and a lounger overlooking the Caribbean sea. 

Overall, Panama Jacks is one of the best hotels for families looking for an all inclusive hotel just steps away from Playa del Carmen’s famous Fifth Avenue.

Prices, reviews & availability for Panama Jacks Resorts Playa del Carmen 👇

👉 Read Next: The Best Places to Stay in Tulum, Mexico

Hotel HM

Best mid-range hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4646 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel HM Playa del Carmen on Booking

We recently spent three months living next door to the Hotel HM, and I can verify that this is one of the best Playa del Carmen hotels in terms of location. A few blocks away you’ll find Fifth Avenue. A couple more blocks past that, you’ll run straight into the city’s famous beaches along the Caribbean Sea.

But Hotel HM is located just far enough away from the action that it’s still relatively quiet. Inside the property, you’ll find a fantastic pool and a restaurant serving up some of the best breakfast in Playa del Carmen. If you just want a clean, comfortable, and well located hotel in Playa del Carmen, check out Hotel HM. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel HM 👇

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Budget hotel in central Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 257 1000 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Booking

Sure, the Holiday Inn Express might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of Playa del Carmen hotels, but this is actually one of the more impressive properties in town. First off, the Holiday Inn Express is located just a couple blocks from Fifth Avenue and the beach, but in a slightly quieter part of town. 

The spacious suites earn solid guest reviews. Reviewers also love the fitness center, the free parking, the low average nightly price, and the continental breakfast. If you want a safe and comfortable place to stay, and don’t need all the amenities of a 5 star luxury resort, then this just might be the best Playa del Carmen hotel for you!

Prices, reviews & availability for Holiday Inn Express & Suites 👇

Palafitos Overwater Bungalows El Dorado Maroma

Only overwater bungalows in Mexico

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 3477 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Palafitos Overwater Bungalows on Booking

If you want a Maldives-style overwater bungalow experience, then the only place you will find that in Mexico is at the Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma. 

With private infinity pools, full butler service, glass-bottom floors, and outdoor showers, these 30 bungalows are some of the most unique luxury hotel rooms in the Riviera Maya. They book up quickly though!

Prices, reviews & availability for Palafitos Overwater Bungalows El Dorado Maroma 👇

Reina Roja

Sexiest hotel in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 3800 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Reina Roja Hotel on Booking

With its sexy design and unique exterior, Reina Roja is definitely one of the most unique hotels in Playa del Carmen. This boutique hotel located just a block away from La Quinta, but in a relatively quieter part of Playa del Carmen.

The sexy red interior of Reina Roja is really the star attraction here. Everything from the modern art to the color palette choices just screams sensuality, making this one of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen for younger couples or singles looking for a memorable trip.

Prices, reviews & availability for Reina Roja 👇

Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen

Mid range hotel with rooftop pool

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 5200 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen on Booking

Fiesta Inn is one of the larger hotel chains in Mexico, and so we were pretty excited to visit their Playa del Carmen property. Indeed, the rooftop pool at the Fiesta Inn is pretty spectacular, and the rooms are clean, modern, and comfortable. 

Clara did find the staff here to be pretty unhelpful and, at times, downright rude. While the property itself is wonderful, we can’t put the Fiesta Inn higher on our list of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen considering how the service level compares to the many other wonderful Playa del Carmen hotels on this list. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen 👇

***

Answers to FAQs About Choosing Playa del Carmen Accommodation

What are the best resorts in Playa del Carmen?

Top-rated resorts in Playa del Carmen include Banyan Tree Mayakoba, El Dorado Royale, and the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. All of these resorts offer 5 star luxury and receive some of the best guest reviews of any Riviera Maya property. 

Which hotels in Playa del Carmen are good for families?

Family-friendly hotels in Playa del Carmen include Panama Jacks Resort, Quinta Magarita Boho Chic Hotel, the Fives Beach Hotel and Residence, and the Mahekal Beach Resort. These hotels offer kid-friendly spaces, secure locations, and family-friendly activities. 

What’s the best place to stay in Playacar?

The best resorts in Playacar include Playacar Palace, Hotel Riu Yucatan, and the Hotel Xcaret Mexico. 

Are the hotels in Playa del Carmen safe to stay in? 

Playa del Carmen is mostly safe as a travel destination. While the city has faced issues with cartel-related violence, the biggest risk to most tourists is petty crime. The hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen all take great care to protect guest safety. If you’re nonetheless concerned about finding the safest hotel, you might consider the gated communities of Playacar. 

What do I do if I need to cancel my Playa del Carmen hotel reservation?

Many hotels are currently offering free cancellation policies, often with free cancellation available until a day or two before the reservation starts. If you are concerned about the risk of cancellation, you may also consider insuring your trip to Mexico for further protection.

***

That’s it for this guide to the best Playa del Carmen hotels, resorts, and boutiques. I hope we’ve helped you get one step closer to sorting out your accommodation.

Before you go, be sure to check out our mega Playa de Carmen travel guide for more tips on what to do, where to eat, and how to travel Playa del Carmen like a pro. 

Playa del Carmen is my favorite place to stay in the Riviera Maya, in large part because there are literally hundreds of excellent resorts and hotels in Playa del Carmen to choose from. Whether you’re searching for 5 star luxury resorts on the beach or budget boutiques, you’ll have plenty of options.

But, with so many choices, how do you know which are the best hotels in Playa del Carmen? 

Well, never fear because my partner Clara and I are here to help! We quite literally have made it our jobs to personally visit, rate, and rank different hotels all around Mexico and the world. 

Our mega guides, like our articles on the best hotels in Tulum and in Valladolid, have already helped over 1 million travelers enjoy the best of Mexico. Now, after months of research all summer, we’re super excited to share our list of the 20 absolute best Playa del Carmen hotels!

👉 Summary of Our Top Playa del Carmen Hotels:

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

20 Best Hotels in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Best luxury beach resort in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 800 953 0565 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Banyan Tree Mayakoba on Booking

Luxury travelers looking for the absolute best beachfront resort in Playa del Carmen should look no further than the fantastic Banyan Tree Mayakoba ecoresort. Clara and I review luxury properties all around the world, and the Banyan Tree is quite honestly the best we’ve seen anywhere.

The spacious rooms, which are decorated with a hybrid of Asian and Mayan art, are noticeably larger than anything else in Playa del Carmen. Plus, they are filled with thoughtful details and 5 star amenities. 

The property features a spectacularly clean private beach, several world class restaurants, a Thai spa, and a golf course that hosts a PGA event. It’s situated away from the Playa del Carmen’s bustle, and so feels more like staying in a tranquil nature retreat. 

The resort is enormous, but Banyan provides bicycles, golf carts, and even boats to help you navigate it. Plus, if you ever need anything, you can just ask a staff member. The quality of service here is unparalleled in the Riviera Maya. 

The bottom line? If you can swing it, your best bet is to just book at the Banyan Tree and get on with planning your trip to Playa del Carmen.

Prices, reviews & availability for Banyan Tree Mayakoba 👇

Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen

Best luxury resort in central Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 875 1234 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen on Booking

You won’t find a better mix of luxury and location than the gigantic Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. This fantastic property is located right on the beach, in the center of town. 

The beachfront executive suites are absolutely stunning, featuring private plunge pools on balconies overlooking the Caribbean. But even the interior standard rooms are large and comfortable. For a unique treat, try to book one of the swim up rooms! 

One of my favorite things about this downtown Playa del Carmen hotel is that there is a private centoe spa right in the middle of the hotel. Guests also love the large gym, several restaurants, multiple infinity pools overlooking the ocean, and several fantastic art installations scattered across the grounds. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen 👇

Hotel Riu Yucatan

Best all inclusive resort in Playacar

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 2050 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel Riu Yucatan on Tripadvisor

If you’re looking for a classic beach resort vacation, you might want to consider staying in Playacar – the gated community just south of downtown Playa del Carmen, offering several beach resorts along its stunning strip of sand. 

If we had to pick one Playacar resort to consider, we’d pick the beautiful and friendly Hotel Riu Yucatan. This is one of several Riu properties in Playacar, and like the others offers several gigantic pools (including one with a swim up bar) plus a huge stretch of beachfront with loungers. 

Besides the tasty food and comfortable facilities, what really makes the Hotel Riu Yucatan stand out is the incredible staff. They are some of the most helpful we’ve ever encountered in years of staying at and reviewing the best hotels around the world. 

In terms of price, this is also about as affordable as it gets for an all-inclusive resort in Playacar. That does mean the rooms are a tad smaller, but who stays all vacation in their room anyway? For families looking for an affordable beachfront resort, the Hotel Riu Yucatan is just perfect!

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel Riu Yucatan 👇

Playacar Palace

All inclusive family resort in Playacar

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +1 800-943-5032 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Playacar Palace on Booking

Playacar Palace is one of the most iconic Playa del Carmen hotels. It’s located right next to the Cozumel ferry pier, and is the closest of the Playacar resorts to downtown Playa del Carmen. So it’s a great choice if you’re looking for the amenities of an all-inclusive resort along the famous Playacar beach, but still want to be within walking distance to Playa del Carmen’s famous nightlife. 

The 201 suites are decked out with amenities like whirlpool tubs and feature around-the-clock room service. Guests also love the enormous pool facing the beach, plus the next-door animal reserve where you can spot local wildlife like coatis. Oh, by the way, this is one of the few pet-friendly hotels along Playacar beach.

If you want all the benefits of an all inclusive beachside retreat, but can’t bear to be more than walking distance away from the center of the action, then Playacar Palace is definitely among the Playa del Carmen hotels you should consider.

Prices, reviews & availability for Playacar Palace 👇

Quinta Margarita Boho Chic Hotel

Best boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 593 4196 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Quinta Margarita Boho Chic Hotel on Booking

If you want the comfort and convenience of a hotel, but the facilities of an apartment rental, then check out the suites at Hotel Quinta Margarita. Even the smaller rooms come with mini kitchenettes, while the larger suites offer a complete apartment style experience. And all for a decent price, with nightly rates starting at around $50 per night. 

Quinta Margarita offers clean rooms, large comfortable beds, good free wifi, and a central location just steps from 5th Avenue but a slightly quieter corner near the deportivo (where you can go for a run on the public track). Oh, and the rooftop pool is just sublime! 

This is one of the best Playa del Carmen hotels if you’re looking for a comfortable place to stay on a mid-range budget. Perfect for remote workers, digital nomads, families, and couples.

Prices, reviews & availability for Quinta Margarita Boho Chic Hotel 👇

Thompson Main House

Best hotel in Playa del Carmen for nightlife

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4800 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Thompson Playa del Carmenon Booking

For couples, groups, or single travelers looking to get their party on, there is no classier hotel in Playa del Carmen than the stunning and centrally-located Thompson Main House. 

The star attraction here is the mind-blowing rooftop infinity pool, which stretches the length of an entire city block. On the weekends, the Thompson rooftop is the place to see and be scene, with DJs spinning up tunes while the jetsetter crowd sips on craft cocktails and dances by the pool.

The Thompson’s rooms are modern, comfortable, and located just steps from iconic nightlife spots like Coco Bongo. This is one of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen if you are looking for a high class, but high energy, experience. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Thompson Main House 👇

Thompson Beach House

Best boutique hotel on Playa del Carmen beach

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4800 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Thompson Beach House on Booking

If you are attracted to the Thompson, but would prefer a beachfront hotel in Playa del Carmen, then check out the Thompson Beach House. This gorgeous boutique hotel has one of the most central locations right in the middle of the Playa del Carmen’s best beaches, but with a private pool and lounge area that makes for a perfect serene retreat. 

Several of the 27 rooms offer oceanfront views, many have soaking tubs, and all are beautifully furnished in a modern style. Even if you don’t stay here, you should come for al fresco dining at C-Grill, the hotel’s world class oceanfront restaurant. Oh, and if you have furry ones, this is one of the best pet friendly hotels in Playa del Carmen.

Prices, reviews & availability for Thompson Beach House 👇

Chablé Maroma

5 star luxury wellness resort on the beach

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 998 387 0044 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Chablé Maroma on Booking

One of the newest luxury resorts in Playa del Carmen, Chablé Maroma is one of the most talked-about five star hotels on the beach in Playa del Carmen. All of the 70 suites include private terraces and private pools. 

The on-site spa offers a variety of Mayan-inspired treatments, plus the property offers a activities like sunrise yoga, meditation classes, paddle boarding, and jungle tours. With a focus on sustainability and luxury, this is one of the best luxury hotels in Playa del Carmen for honeymooners or anyone looking for a romantic beach retreat along the Caribbean sea.

Prices, reviews & availability for Chablé Maroma 👇

Palmaïa – The House of AïA

Luxury all inclusive beach resort

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 55 8526 6112 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Palmaïa – The House of AïA on Booking

Just recently opened last year, Palmaïa – The House of AïA is an enormous luxury resort with a gorgeous private white sand beach. The boho chic style is reminiscent of some of our favorite boutique hotels in Tulum. If you’re looking for a Tulum-style “back to nature” retreat, and are looking for an all inclusive experience where you never need to leave the hotel, then the Palmaïa might be your perfect option. 

The resort features a private cenote, a traditional temazcal, and several beachfront dining options. Oh, and if you love pools, be sure to book one of the swim up suites! 

Prices, reviews & availability for Palmaïa – The House of AïA 👇

Hotel Lunata

Best budget boutique hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 873 0884 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel Lunata on Booking

Hotel Lunata is the perfect choice if you are looking for a boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen that is just steps from the beach, on La Quinta (5th Avenue), all while offering clean and comfortable rooms at an affordable price. 

This is one of our favorite budget-oriented boutique hotels in Playa del Carmen. It’s decorated with authentic Mayan art, many rooms offer private balconies overlooking a lush green courtyard, and the hotel’s staff is incredibly friendly and accommodating. If you don’t mind not having a pool, but want to be close to the beach, Hotel Lunata is a great choice!

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel Lunata 👇

Secrets Maroma

Best adults-only luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 3641 | $$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Secrets Maroma on Booking

Secrets Maroma is an enormous high end resort catering to adults looking to escape into a  one-of-a-kind luxury beach experience. Covering more than 500 acres along one of the most pristine white sand beaches in Mexico, Secrets Maroma is an adults-only resort that is the perfect place for a romantic getaway. 

Located north of the city at Punta Maroma, you’ll never really need to leave this all inclusive hotel. Secrets Maroma features 13 outdoor pools, 7 restaurants, a coffee shop, and loads of activities like yoga and scuba diving. 

Overall, Secrets Maroma is the perfect hotel for honeymooners or couples looking for a luxury romantic getaways in Playa del Carmen.

Prices, reviews & availability for Secrets Maroma 👇

El Dorado Royale

Luxury adults-only spa resort

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 866 527 4762 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for El Dorado Royale on Tripadvisor

This is one of the few Playa del Carmen resorts we haven’t yet had the chance to visit. But, because of its incredible guest reviews, we’re still including the El Dorado Royale on our list of the best resorts in Playa del Carmen. 

What’s really incredible about this adults-only property is that you can book a swim-up suite with a private terrace that connects to the resort’s lazy river. It is located pretty far from Playa del Carmen (past the Mayakoba resort complex and halfway to Puerto Morelos), but could be a unique choice if you’re looking for an adults-only experience and you don’t plan to leave the resort.

👉 Read Next: The Best Excursions from Playa del Carmen

Prices, reviews & availability for El Dorado Royale 👇

Hotel LunaSol

Best budget hotel with pool

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 873 3933 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel LunaSol on Booking

While there are many cheap hotels in Playa del Carmen that cater to the budget travel crowd, few are all around perfect as the Hotel LunaSol. This three star hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen wins rave guest reviews for its wonderful location in the city center, its stunning huge pool featuring a jacuzzi, and its clean and comfortable rooms. 

The property offers rooms with amenities you’d usually expect in higher priced hotels in Playa del Carmen, like private balconies, kitchenettes, and massage and spa services. And with one of the more relatively quiet locations in central Playa del Carmen, this is definitely the place to stay if you’re on a budget but want a super convenient location right in the middle of it all.

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel LunaSol 👇

Hilton Playa del Carmen

All inclusive adults only beachfront resort

The author posing for a picture in Hilton Resort

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 2900 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Hilton Playa del Carmen on Booking

One of the largest hotels in Playa del Carmen, the Hilton has a privileged location right next to the main pier along Playa del Carmen’s beach. It’s one of the more popular all inclusive resorts for those looking for an “adults only” policy. 

Note that although it does offer direct beach access, the location right next to the pier means its not the best area for swimming. Never worry, though, as you can always swim in its fantastic pool!

Overall, the Hilton is one of the best Playa del Carmen hotels if you’re looking for an adults-only resort experience but still want to be walking distance to the city’s famous restaurant and nightlife scene. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Hilton Playa del Carmen 👇

Panama Jack Resorts Playa del Carmen

Beachfront all-inclusive family hotel 

View of the Panama Jacks from the outside

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 833 266 5757 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Panama Jack Resorts Playa del Carmen on Booking

Right across the street from the Hilton is Panama Jacks, another one of the top all inclusive hotels in Playa del Carmen. Guest reviews rave about the pool overlooking the beach, the fun vibe at the property’s beach club, and the balconies (some of which offer sweeping ocean views). Drop your kids at Camp Jack Kids Club, try a soak in the rooftop hot tub, and then grab a cocktail and a lounger overlooking the Caribbean sea. 

Overall, Panama Jacks is one of the best hotels for families looking for an all inclusive hotel just steps away from Playa del Carmen’s famous Fifth Avenue.

Prices, reviews & availability for Panama Jacks Resorts Playa del Carmen 👇

👉 Read Next: The Best Places to Stay in Tulum, Mexico

Hotel HM

Best mid-range hotel in downtown Playa del Carmen

View of the entrance to Hotel HM in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 4646 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Hotel HM Playa del Carmen on Booking

We recently spent three months living next door to the Hotel HM, and I can verify that this is one of the best Playa del Carmen hotels in terms of location. A few blocks away you’ll find Fifth Avenue. A couple more blocks past that, you’ll run straight into the city’s famous beaches along the Caribbean Sea.

But Hotel HM is located just far enough away from the action that it’s still relatively quiet. Inside the property, you’ll find a fantastic pool and a restaurant serving up some of the best breakfast in Playa del Carmen. If you just want a clean, comfortable, and well located hotel in Playa del Carmen, check out Hotel HM. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Hotel HM 👇

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Budget hotel in central Playa del Carmen

View of the Holiday Inn Express building in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 257 1000 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Holiday Inn Express & Suites on Booking

Sure, the Holiday Inn Express might not be the first name that comes to mind when you think of Playa del Carmen hotels, but this is actually one of the more impressive properties in town. First off, the Holiday Inn Express is located just a couple blocks from Fifth Avenue and the beach, but in a slightly quieter part of town. 

The spacious suites earn solid guest reviews. Reviewers also love the fitness center, the free parking, the low average nightly price, and the continental breakfast. If you want a safe and comfortable place to stay, and don’t need all the amenities of a 5 star luxury resort, then this just might be the best Playa del Carmen hotel for you!

Prices, reviews & availability for Holiday Inn Express & Suites 👇

Palafitos Overwater Bungalows El Dorado Maroma

Only overwater bungalows in Mexico

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 3477 | $$$$ | 👉 Check Prices for Palafitos Overwater Bungalows on Booking

If you want a Maldives-style overwater bungalow experience, then the only place you will find that in Mexico is at the Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma. 

With private infinity pools, full butler service, glass-bottom floors, and outdoor showers, these 30 bungalows are some of the most unique luxury hotel rooms in the Riviera Maya. They book up quickly though!

Prices, reviews & availability for Palafitos Overwater Bungalows El Dorado Maroma 👇

Reina Roja

Sexiest hotel in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 877 3800 | $ | 👉 Check Prices for Reina Roja Hotel on Booking

With its sexy design and unique exterior, Reina Roja is definitely one of the most unique hotels in Playa del Carmen. This boutique hotel located just a block away from La Quinta, but in a relatively quieter part of Playa del Carmen.

The sexy red interior of Reina Roja is really the star attraction here. Everything from the modern art to the color palette choices just screams sensuality, making this one of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen for younger couples or singles looking for a memorable trip.

Prices, reviews & availability for Reina Roja 👇

Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen

Mid range hotel with rooftop pool

Hotel Website | Hotel phone: +52 984 206 5200 | $$ | 👉 Check Prices for Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen on Booking

Fiesta Inn is one of the larger hotel chains in Mexico, and so we were pretty excited to visit their Playa del Carmen property. Indeed, the rooftop pool at the Fiesta Inn is pretty spectacular, and the rooms are clean, modern, and comfortable. 

Clara did find the staff here to be pretty unhelpful and, at times, downright rude. While the property itself is wonderful, we can’t put the Fiesta Inn higher on our list of the best hotels in Playa del Carmen considering how the service level compares to the many other wonderful Playa del Carmen hotels on this list. 

Prices, reviews & availability for Fiesta Inn Playa del Carmen 👇

***

Answers to FAQs About Choosing Playa del Carmen Accommodation

What are the best resorts in Playa del Carmen?

Top-rated resorts in Playa del Carmen include Banyan Tree Mayakoba, El Dorado Royale, and the Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen. All of these resorts offer 5 star luxury and receive some of the best guest reviews of any Riviera Maya property. 

Which hotels in Playa del Carmen are good for families?

Family-friendly hotels in Playa del Carmen include Panama Jacks Resort, Quinta Magarita Boho Chic Hotel, the Fives Beach Hotel and Residence, and the Mahekal Beach Resort. These hotels offer kid-friendly spaces, secure locations, and family-friendly activities. 

What’s the best place to stay in Playacar?

The best resorts in Playacar include Playacar Palace, Hotel Riu Yucatan, and the Hotel Xcaret Mexico. 

Are the hotels in Playa del Carmen safe to stay in? 

Playa del Carmen is mostly safe as a travel destination. While the city has faced issues with cartel-related violence, the biggest risk to most tourists is petty crime. The hotels and resorts in Playa del Carmen all take great care to protect guest safety. If you’re nonetheless concerned about finding the safest hotel, you might consider the gated communities of Playacar. 

What do I do if I need to cancel my Playa del Carmen hotel reservation?

Many hotels are currently offering free cancellation policies, often with free cancellation available until a day or two before the reservation starts. If you are concerned about the risk of cancellation, you may also consider insuring your trip to Mexico for further protection.

***

That’s it for this guide to the best Playa del Carmen hotels, resorts, and boutiques. I hope we’ve helped you get one step closer to sorting out your accommodation.

Before you go, be sure to check out our mega Playa de Carmen travel guide for more tips on what to do, where to eat, and how to travel Playa del Carmen like a pro. 

]]>
The Best Time to Visit Orlando? When to Go, By a Local https://travellemming.com/best-time-to-visit-orlando/ Mon, 01 Nov 2021 17:06:23 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31893

The best time to visit Orlando, Florida is in the spring when the weather is comfortable and the summer crowds have not flown in yet. Since a majority of Orlando attractions operate year-round, you never need to worry about activities being available. 

The best time for you to visit Orlando will of course depend on your preferred activities and availability. Luckily, there are plenty of periods throughout the year that are better for avoiding crowds, enjoying the best weather, and finding great prices.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

When is the Best Time to Visit Orlando

Spring is the best time to visit Orlando because the weather is warm but not too hot, the crowds are manageable, and there are some deals on hotels and attractions available. By visiting before the start of the rainy season in June, you won’t need to worry about planning backup activities for bad weather. 

For each person, the best time to visit varies based on your planned activities in Orlando. While spring has the best weather, the cheapest prices are found in winter. We will go through the best times to visit for each factor.  

When to Visit Orlando for Good Weather

The best time to visit Orlando for the most pleasant weather is March through early May. The evenings cool down to 50-70 degrees but the days are comfortably warm. You can enjoy a dip in the pool, but you won’t be overheating at Walt Disney World. This period is before the rainy months, so you can expect warm weather and sunny skies on most days. 

👉 Pro Tip: The spring is my favorite time to hit the beach before the summer crowds come in. Check out our guide to the most gorgeous Florida beaches, some are just a short drive from Orlando. 

When to Visit Orlando for Cheap Prices

The cheapest time to visit Orlando is in January and February, as long as you avoid Martin Luther King Jr weekend, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day weekend. Since the kids are back in school, the crowds are much thinner at the theme parks and you can find deals on hotel prices. 

Start checking prices 6 months before your winter visit to Orlando. While the weather is still chilly for locals (highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s), this is great weather for those with “thicker” blood to enjoy outdoor activities. 

If you’re looking to save money, be sure to check out my article with tons of tips for visiting Orland on a budget.

🚗 Where to Rent a Car: Discover Cars can help keep your budget on track by offering excellent rates on rental cars for your Orlando or Walt Disney World vacation. 

When to Visit Orlando to Avoid Crowds

Crowds and Orlando go together like peanut butter and jelly. The best way to avoid crowds is to visit on weekdays when school is in session. Some families will pull their children out of school for a vacation, but a majority of parents choose to travel during school holidays. The summer months have consistently large crowds, but the busiest season is actually the holidays.

Some peak seasons to avoid include:

  • Summer break (May – early September)
  • Thanksgiving week
  • The holiday season (Mid-December – January 5) 
  • Spring break (Mid-March – Mid-April) 
  • Long holiday weekends

When to Visit Orlando for Families and Kids

To minimize crowds and maximize the fun for the family, it is best to visit Orlando while school is in session. For many families, children can’t miss school, so the best time to visit would be during a long weekend. At the theme parks, the early mornings and late evenings will have fewer crowds and allow children to ride as many attractions as possible. 

👉 Pro Tip: To avoid cranky kids during the summer heat, take a midday break. Head back to your hotel for lunch, swim in the pool, and enjoy some much-needed air conditioning. Once the entire family is refreshed, you’re ready to head back to the theme parks or other attractions.

Orlando Travel Seasons

January and February

  • Weather –  Expect daytime temperatures in the low-70s and lows at around 50-degrees. There is very little rainfall during the winter.
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – After New Years Day, the crowds die down by mid-January in Orlando. Martin Luther King Jr. and President’s Day weekends will bring in moderate crowds.
  • 💵 Prices – Other than early January and the holiday weekends, hotel rates are affordable and attractions with variable pricing will have their lowest rates. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot Festival of the Arts, Walt Disney World Marathon, Lunar New Year Festival, Mardi Gras at Universal Studios

👉 Pro Tip: The winter season is the best time for manatee viewing, which is one of my favorite Things to Do in the Central Florida area.

March and April 

  • ☔ Weather – The average temperature during the day will be around 80-degrees and the evenings can dip into the 50s. There may be a chance of rain on some days.
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – Spring break crowds will flock to the theme parks, but other Orlando attractions are less affected. Easter weekend will also cause a spike in crowds. 
  • 💵 Prices – Early March and late April will offer better pricing than the peak season for spring break between those times. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival, Easter and Earth Day events

May – August

  • ☔ Weather – Summer brings high temperatures in the 90s and humid nights in the mid-70s. During Florida’s rainy season, afternoon showers are common, but they usually last less than an hour. Hurricane season begins in early June and runs through the end of November. 
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – As schools across the country start their summer vacation, the crowds increase throughout May and remain high for the rest of the summer. Major attractions will have long wait times and reservations fill up at popular restaurants. 
  • 💵 Prices – Attraction and hotel prices will be high during the summer. Weekdays will offer better rates than weekends. 
  • 🎉 Events – SeaWorld’s Electric Ocean, Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Gay Days.

September and October

  • ☔ Weather – September is still hot and humid in Orlando, but the weather usually cools down by the end of October. It won’t necessarily be sweater weather, but you won’t be sweating from sun up to sundown. Hurricane season is still in full swing during these months. 
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – Special events bring in crowds to the Orlando theme parks, but the city as a whole does not have too many tourists during this time. 
  • 💵 Prices – You’ll notice hotel prices dropping in mid-September, as most kids are done with summer vacation. Other than school holiday weekends and fall break, prices should be reasonable. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Halloween Horror Nights, Boo Bash, SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival, SeaWorld Spooktacular, Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND, Magical Dining, Come Out With Pride Festival

November and December

  • Weather – Expect very little rain, high temperatures in the 70s, and low temperatures in the 50s. Orlando gets a few cold fronts throughout the winter months that can send the temperatures down into the 40s-60s. Hurricane season ends on November 30. 
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – These months bring some of the lowest and highest crowds. Early to mid-November and early December will have fewer visitors. During the winter break, expect theme parks to close due to holiday crowds hitting capacity, traffic to be horrible, and restaurants to be full. 
  • 💵 Prices – Just like the crowds, prices are low during the beginning of each month and high during the holidays. You can find some great deals on hotel rates before and after the holidays. Rates are highest around the holidays, one of the peak seasons. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, Disney’s Very Merriest at Magic Kingdom, Asian Lantern Festival at the Central Florida Zoo, Holidays at Universal Orlando, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Holidays at LEGOLAND, Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, FusionFest, Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World, 

Orlando Weather and Climate

Orlando has a subtropical climate. The average temperatures in Orlando range from highs in the low 70s in January to the mid-90s in August. Overnight temperatures average from 50-degrees to 75-degrees. Orlando may receive a few touches of frost from January to mid-February, but it rarely receives a true freeze. Overall, Orlando weather offers pleasant temperatures. 

The average humidity in Orlando is over 50% year-round. Expect the humidity to jump to 70% or more during the summer.

Orlando does not have very many significantly windy days. There is usually a light breeze, but it varies depending on where in Orlando you are. The many bodies of water around Orlando help create lake wind effects, adding a cooling breeze to many places. 

Tips for Visiting Orlando

Bring Sun Protection

The Sunshine State got its name for a reason, so always be prepared for sunny days. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are necessities for a day out and about in Orlando. 

Be Prepared for Rain 

The summer has the highest chance of rain when it is common to have an afternoon shower almost every day. Don’t let the rain ruin your plans though because most storms move through quickly. 

☔️ Need an Umbrella? Bring this compact umbrella (with over 6,000 5⭐️ ratings!) to Orlando so you’re always prepared for an afternoon shower. 

Plan for Some Pool Time

The weather is warm enough to go swimming throughout most of the year. Even in winter, you can find hotels that have heated pools. 

FAQs

What is the cheapest month to visit Orlando?

January (and early February) is the cheapest month to visit Orlando. You can find excellent prices at hotels and attractions after the holiday tourists have returned home. 

📚 Related Reading: For more ways to save money on your Orlando vacation, read my article about visiting Orlando on a Budget

When is the low season?

Orlando has several low periods for tourism, including:
Mid-January through early March
Late April through mid-May
Mid-September through mid-November 
Early December
These low seasons occur when school is in session and there are no Orlando events taking place, especially events at Walt Disney World. 

What if I want to visit Orlando for the holidays?

If you plan on visiting Orlando during Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, or New Year’s Eve week, expect large crowds, traffic, and long wait times. To see the holiday decorations and shows while avoiding the worst crowds, visit Orlando during the first week of January. The theme parks, restaurants, and town centers typically don’t take down their decorations until a week into January. 

***

Whether you plan to visit in spring, my recommended season, or another time of year, there are always periods for better prices, fewer crowds, and great weather. 

📚 Related Reading: Now that you’ve narrowed down when to visit, figure out Where to Stay in Orlando.

The best time to visit Orlando, Florida is in the spring when the weather is comfortable and the summer crowds have not flown in yet. Since a majority of Orlando attractions operate year-round, you never need to worry about activities being available. 

The best time for you to visit Orlando will of course depend on your preferred activities and availability. Luckily, there are plenty of periods throughout the year that are better for avoiding crowds, enjoying the best weather, and finding great prices.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

When is the Best Time to Visit Orlando

Spring is the best time to visit Orlando because the weather is warm but not too hot, the crowds are manageable, and there are some deals on hotels and attractions available. By visiting before the start of the rainy season in June, you won’t need to worry about planning backup activities for bad weather. 

For each person, the best time to visit varies based on your planned activities in Orlando. While spring has the best weather, the cheapest prices are found in winter. We will go through the best times to visit for each factor.  

When to Visit Orlando for Good Weather

View of a grass field during a sunny day in Orlando

The best time to visit Orlando for the most pleasant weather is March through early May. The evenings cool down to 50-70 degrees but the days are comfortably warm. You can enjoy a dip in the pool, but you won’t be overheating at Walt Disney World. This period is before the rainy months, so you can expect warm weather and sunny skies on most days. 

👉 Pro Tip: The spring is my favorite time to hit the beach before the summer crowds come in. Check out our guide to the most gorgeous Florida beaches, some are just a short drive from Orlando. 

When to Visit Orlando for Cheap Prices

View of people riding a water ride being splashed by water

The cheapest time to visit Orlando is in January and February, as long as you avoid Martin Luther King Jr weekend, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day weekend. Since the kids are back in school, the crowds are much thinner at the theme parks and you can find deals on hotel prices. 

Start checking prices 6 months before your winter visit to Orlando. While the weather is still chilly for locals (highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s), this is great weather for those with “thicker” blood to enjoy outdoor activities. 

If you’re looking to save money, be sure to check out my article with tons of tips for visiting Orland on a budget.

🚗 Where to Rent a Car: Discover Cars can help keep your budget on track by offering excellent rates on rental cars for your Orlando or Walt Disney World vacation. 

When to Visit Orlando to Avoid Crowds

View of crowds in Disney Parks in Orlando
Crowds can be a real issue in Orlando!

Crowds and Orlando go together like peanut butter and jelly. The best way to avoid crowds is to visit on weekdays when school is in session. Some families will pull their children out of school for a vacation, but a majority of parents choose to travel during school holidays. The summer months have consistently large crowds, but the busiest season is actually the holidays.

Some peak seasons to avoid include:

  • Summer break (May – early September)
  • Thanksgiving week
  • The holiday season (Mid-December – January 5) 
  • Spring break (Mid-March – Mid-April) 
  • Long holiday weekends

When to Visit Orlando for Families and Kids

The author with her son in a theme park in Orlando
Hanging out with my son!

To minimize crowds and maximize the fun for the family, it is best to visit Orlando while school is in session. For many families, children can’t miss school, so the best time to visit would be during a long weekend. At the theme parks, the early mornings and late evenings will have fewer crowds and allow children to ride as many attractions as possible. 

👉 Pro Tip: To avoid cranky kids during the summer heat, take a midday break. Head back to your hotel for lunch, swim in the pool, and enjoy some much-needed air conditioning. Once the entire family is refreshed, you’re ready to head back to the theme parks or other attractions.

Orlando Travel Seasons

January and February

  • Weather –  Expect daytime temperatures in the low-70s and lows at around 50-degrees. There is very little rainfall during the winter.
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – After New Years Day, the crowds die down by mid-January in Orlando. Martin Luther King Jr. and President’s Day weekends will bring in moderate crowds.
  • 💵 Prices – Other than early January and the holiday weekends, hotel rates are affordable and attractions with variable pricing will have their lowest rates. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot Festival of the Arts, Walt Disney World Marathon, Lunar New Year Festival, Mardi Gras at Universal Studios

👉 Pro Tip: The winter season is the best time for manatee viewing, which is one of my favorite Things to Do in the Central Florida area.

March and April 

  • ☔ Weather – The average temperature during the day will be around 80-degrees and the evenings can dip into the 50s. There may be a chance of rain on some days.
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – Spring break crowds will flock to the theme parks, but other Orlando attractions are less affected. Easter weekend will also cause a spike in crowds. 
  • 💵 Prices – Early March and late April will offer better pricing than the peak season for spring break between those times. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival, Easter and Earth Day events

May – August

  • ☔ Weather – Summer brings high temperatures in the 90s and humid nights in the mid-70s. During Florida’s rainy season, afternoon showers are common, but they usually last less than an hour. Hurricane season begins in early June and runs through the end of November. 
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – As schools across the country start their summer vacation, the crowds increase throughout May and remain high for the rest of the summer. Major attractions will have long wait times and reservations fill up at popular restaurants. 
  • 💵 Prices – Attraction and hotel prices will be high during the summer. Weekdays will offer better rates than weekends. 
  • 🎉 Events – SeaWorld’s Electric Ocean, Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Gay Days.

September and October

  • ☔ Weather – September is still hot and humid in Orlando, but the weather usually cools down by the end of October. It won’t necessarily be sweater weather, but you won’t be sweating from sun up to sundown. Hurricane season is still in full swing during these months. 
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – Special events bring in crowds to the Orlando theme parks, but the city as a whole does not have too many tourists during this time. 
  • 💵 Prices – You’ll notice hotel prices dropping in mid-September, as most kids are done with summer vacation. Other than school holiday weekends and fall break, prices should be reasonable. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Halloween Horror Nights, Boo Bash, SeaWorld Craft Beer Festival, SeaWorld Spooktacular, Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND, Magical Dining, Come Out With Pride Festival

November and December

  • Weather – Expect very little rain, high temperatures in the 70s, and low temperatures in the 50s. Orlando gets a few cold fronts throughout the winter months that can send the temperatures down into the 40s-60s. Hurricane season ends on November 30. 
  • 🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏾 Crowds – These months bring some of the lowest and highest crowds. Early to mid-November and early December will have fewer visitors. During the winter break, expect theme parks to close due to holiday crowds hitting capacity, traffic to be horrible, and restaurants to be full. 
  • 💵 Prices – Just like the crowds, prices are low during the beginning of each month and high during the holidays. You can find some great deals on hotel rates before and after the holidays. Rates are highest around the holidays, one of the peak seasons. 
  • 🎉 Events – Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival, Disney’s Very Merriest at Magic Kingdom, Asian Lantern Festival at the Central Florida Zoo, Holidays at Universal Orlando, SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Holidays at LEGOLAND, Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, FusionFest, Night of a Million Lights at Give Kids the World, 

Orlando Weather and Climate

Orlando has a subtropical climate. The average temperatures in Orlando range from highs in the low 70s in January to the mid-90s in August. Overnight temperatures average from 50-degrees to 75-degrees. Orlando may receive a few touches of frost from January to mid-February, but it rarely receives a true freeze. Overall, Orlando weather offers pleasant temperatures. 

The average humidity in Orlando is over 50% year-round. Expect the humidity to jump to 70% or more during the summer.

Orlando does not have very many significantly windy days. There is usually a light breeze, but it varies depending on where in Orlando you are. The many bodies of water around Orlando help create lake wind effects, adding a cooling breeze to many places. 

Tips for Visiting Orlando

Bring Sun Protection

The Sunshine State got its name for a reason, so always be prepared for sunny days. A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses are necessities for a day out and about in Orlando. 

Be Prepared for Rain 

View of a theme park in Orlando after rain pours

The summer has the highest chance of rain when it is common to have an afternoon shower almost every day. Don’t let the rain ruin your plans though because most storms move through quickly. 

☔️ Need an Umbrella? Bring this compact umbrella (with over 6,000 5⭐️ ratings!) to Orlando so you’re always prepared for an afternoon shower. 

Plan for Some Pool Time

The weather is warm enough to go swimming throughout most of the year. Even in winter, you can find hotels that have heated pools. 

FAQs

What is the cheapest month to visit Orlando?

January (and early February) is the cheapest month to visit Orlando. You can find excellent prices at hotels and attractions after the holiday tourists have returned home. 

📚 Related Reading: For more ways to save money on your Orlando vacation, read my article about visiting Orlando on a Budget

When is the low season?

Orlando has several low periods for tourism, including:
Mid-January through early March
Late April through mid-May
Mid-September through mid-November 
Early December
These low seasons occur when school is in session and there are no Orlando events taking place, especially events at Walt Disney World. 

What if I want to visit Orlando for the holidays?

If you plan on visiting Orlando during Thanksgiving week, Christmas week, or New Year’s Eve week, expect large crowds, traffic, and long wait times. To see the holiday decorations and shows while avoiding the worst crowds, visit Orlando during the first week of January. The theme parks, restaurants, and town centers typically don’t take down their decorations until a week into January. 

***

Whether you plan to visit in spring, my recommended season, or another time of year, there are always periods for better prices, fewer crowds, and great weather. 

📚 Related Reading: Now that you’ve narrowed down when to visit, figure out Where to Stay in Orlando.

]]>
19 Best Things to Do in Rincon (Fun Activities & Top Sites) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-rincon/ Sun, 31 Oct 2021 17:28:43 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31536

Rincon is famous for having the best beaches to surf in Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean, but even if you’re not a surfer, there are other great things you can do in this city located on the west coast. 

Whether you want to spend the day surfing, swimming, or hiking, Rincon definitely offers endless entertainment for your vacation.

To help you have the time of your life like a local, I’ve summed up the best things to do in Rincon, so you don’t miss a bit of the fun.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Things to Do in Rincon

Go Scuba Diving at Desecheo Island

📍 Map It: Desecheo Island | 👉 Browse Viator’s Top Scuba Diving Tours

Desecheo Island is a small uninhabited island you can see from Rincon. This island is a popular destination for scuba diving because of its crystal clear waters and virgin coral reefs. Currently only the company Taino Divers offers scuba diving tours to Isla Desecheo.

👉 Looking for more great things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in Puerto Rico.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

The union of the Caribbean sea with the Atlantic Ocean makes the waters of the west ideal for fishing. Multiple companies offer boat trips for fishing enthusiasts with the option to do deep-sea fishing, live bait fishing, and kite fishing, making Rincon the perfect day trip for fish lovers.

Go Snorkeling

👉 Book a Rincon Snorkeling Tour

One of the best things to do in Rincon is to go snorkeling on one of its beautiful beaches. While not all the beaches are suitable for snorkeling, especially during the winter, snorkel enthusiasts can’t miss the chance to practice the water sport in Steps Beach. If you don’t feel confident doing it alone, you can book this guided snorkeling tour to enjoy a safe experience.

Go Horseback Riding

There are multiple ways you can enjoy the beaches of Rincon, one of them is while riding a horse! Riding a horse on a beach during the sunset is one of the things you can scratch from your bucket list while visiting this city. There are different guided horseback riding tours you can take, so you’ll surely find one that fits your needs.

Visit Punta Higüera Lighthouse

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677  | Entrance: free 

There are more than a dozen lighthouses left behind by the Spaniards around Puerto Rico. Punta Higüera Lighthouse in Rincon is one of them, and it sports a height of 70 feet. This lighthouse started its service in 1922 and although it’s automated, it works up to today.

👉 Short on time? Take this amazing tour through the west of Puerto Rico so you get to visit Domes Beach and Punta Higüera Lighthouse along with other destinations on the west coast of the island.

Catch Rincon’s Art Walk Every Thursday

📍 Map It: Pueblo, Rincón | Entrance: free 

One of the things Puerto Ricans are best known for is for always finding an occasion to get together and celebrate with good music and food. That’s the experience you can enjoy every Thursday evening in Rincon’s Art Walk, where you’ll find local crafts, food, and music all while enjoying a tropical vibe atmosphere.

Reach the Steps in Steps Beach

📍 Map It: PR-413 Rincon Puerto Rico 00677, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Steps Beach is one of the most beautiful and iconic beaches of Rincon and its name comes from the concrete steps on the shore. Besides its famous steps, this beach is home to natural pools and beautiful scenery. During the winter, waves can reach over 20 feet, which makes it ideal for surfing too.

👉 Local Tip: Steps Beach is perfect for sunbathing, and snorkeling in Tres Palmas Reserve. Check out the Aqua Marina Beach Club to stay a few steps away from this beach.

Surf in Domes Beach

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00602 | Entrance: free 

Domes Beach is one of Rincon’s top beaches for surfing. Located a few minutes away from the lighthouse, this beach gets its name from the dome that was once a nuclear facility right behind it. The beach sports great waves for surfing, areas for camping, and a swing. This beach is also home to multiple surfing festivals during the winter.

🛎️ Local Tip: Rincon is the best place to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re a beach lover. You can read my complete guide to where to stay on the island to see what other places are great for staying on this tropical paradise.

See the Sunset

📍 Map It: PR-413, Rincon, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Rincon is famous for its colorful and breathtaking sunsets and it’s something you can’t miss if you’re in the city. There are multiple spots from where you can enjoy the sunset, but one of the best is the viewpoint in front of The Beach House in Rincon. 

📚 Related Reading: Rincon is one of the top places you need to visit during your vacation in Puerto Rico. Read the complete guide to find out about the other places you can’t miss.

Walk Above the Sea

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00677 | Entrance: free

Right in front of La Cueva del Burro in Rincon, you’ll find a wooden stair that descends to the below waters and rock formations. While you travel down the road, you should keep your eyes open or you might miss it. Make a stop not only to take a picture but to enjoy the view as if you’re walking on top of the water.

Go Whale Watching

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you love whales, then you’ll be glad to know you can see them from Rincon. Every winter season, from January to March, humpback whales frequent the southwest coasts and locals gather along different viewpoints to take a peek of them. Punta Higüera Lighthouse serves as a whale-watching park.

🚗 How to Get There: If you’re arriving at San Juan airport, you should rent a car if you’re planning to tour around the island. You can use Discover Cars to find the best price for your rental car and if you have any worries about driving by yourself in Puerto Rico, read my guide to driving on the island.

Enjoy Local Coffee at Cafe 413

📍 Map It: 157B Cll Progreso, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Phone: (939) 697-8188 | Hours: 8 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Wednesdays 

If you haven’t tasted a good Puerto Rican coffee yet, then I recommend you stop at cafe 413 in Rincon’s Town Center. This casual restaurant sports both a bar and a coffee shop, and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or brunch. The coffee here is to die for, or if you’re more of a tea person, don’t miss the Chai Latte.

Take a Surfing Class

If you’re a surfing enthusiast, but you don’t know how to surf yet, then you can start by taking your first class in Rincon. Since the city is the capital for surfing on the island, you will find multiple surfing schools that provide guided lessons regardless of your age, weight, or gender.

Shop in the Town Center

Rincon sports a colorful town center with souvenir shops, art galleries, bakeries, bars, and small boutiques. Set your shopaholic free and go store hopping around the plaza. You can also grab a quick lunch at the area, or enjoy a nice coffee while sitting on the benches.

🛎️ Need a hotel? Villa Cofresi is a great hotel to stay close to the town center and have top bars, restaurants, and festivities within walking distance.

Hunt for Sea Glass in Sandy Beach

Sandy Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Rincon, both for its waters and the beach bars around it, but craft makers and souvenirs lovers will find it perfect for hunting Sea Glass or small “frosted” crystals on the shore. 

Visit a Local Gallery

Besides its wonderful beaches, Rincon also sports different galleries visitors can enjoy like the Secret Garden Art Gallery, Galeria Exodo, and Playa Oeste. Besides admiring the local art, you can also buy local crafts and paintings.

Swim in Rincon Public Beach

📍 Map It: 8PRV+6Q8, Rincon, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you´re looking for a beach with facilities where you can spend your day swimming, then head over to Rincon’s Public Beach. This beach with turquoise waters is where the locals go to relax, snorkel and kayak. It sports free parking, showers, bathrooms, and even gazebos you can rent for any type of activity. 

👉 Are you a beach lover? Don’t miss the guide to the top beaches in Puerto Rico.

Hike to Spanish Wall Beach

📍 Map It: Cam. las Trinitarias, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Spanish Wall Beach is one of the secret beaches from Rincon even when it’s reachable from Domes Beach. The beach gets its name after the historic Spanish wall ruins that used to be the railroad. You can access the trail from Domes Beach, you can also reach Pools Beach and Sandy Beach along the coast.

Enjoy Dinner at Gastropark@115

📍 Map It: Stella, Rincón 00677 | Hours: 12 – 10 pm Thurs to Sun, Closed from Mon to Wed 

Foodies will not lack options in Rincon, especially in Rincon’s Gastropark@115. This food truck park sports food for all different tastes and it’s open until late so you can visit when you’re hungry for a night snack. They also host live music during some days of the month. 

FAQ’s About Rincon

Is Rincon worth visiting?

Rincon is one of the top destinations to visit in Puerto Rico and visitors should spend part of their vacation there. Rincon sports top notch beaches, great local cuisine, historical buildings, and local festivals travelers can enjoy.

What is there to do in Rincon Puerto Rico today?

Travelers that visit Rincon can take surfing lessons, surf in Playa Domes or Maria’s Beach, enjoy food on the kiosks in Sandy Beach, go shopping, horseback riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving too.

What is Rincon known for?

Rincon is best known as the Caribbean’s surfing capital for its world class surfing beaches, and its beautiful sunsets. Rincon is also known as one of the best spots in Puerto Rico to see humpback whales during the winter.

Is Rincon Puerto Rico safe for tourists?

The city of Rincon is probably the safest city for tourists after San Juan and Carolina. The city is home to dozens of expats and it’s also one of the top tourist destinations in Puerto Rico. See our full guide to Puerto Rico safety for more information.

***

That’s it for the best things to do in Rincon! This beautiful city is one of the top destinations in Puerto Rico and even if you’re not a surfer, you will love your stay in Rincon.

👉 If you’re looking for more great places in Puerto Rico, check out the 33 best places to see around the island!

Rincon is famous for having the best beaches to surf in Puerto Rico and the entire Caribbean, but even if you’re not a surfer, there are other great things you can do in this city located on the west coast. 

Whether you want to spend the day surfing, swimming, or hiking, Rincon definitely offers endless entertainment for your vacation.

To help you have the time of your life like a local, I’ve summed up the best things to do in Rincon, so you don’t miss a bit of the fun.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

19 Best Things to Do in Rincon

Go Scuba Diving at Desecheo Island

The blue green water from Desecheo Island in Rincon
Desecheo Island from Rincon

📍 Map It: Desecheo Island | 👉 Browse Viator’s Top Scuba Diving Tours

Desecheo Island is a small uninhabited island you can see from Rincon. This island is a popular destination for scuba diving because of its crystal clear waters and virgin coral reefs. Currently only the company Taino Divers offers scuba diving tours to Isla Desecheo.

👉 Looking for more great things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in Puerto Rico.

Go Deep Sea Fishing

View of a man holding a big fish

The union of the Caribbean sea with the Atlantic Ocean makes the waters of the west ideal for fishing. Multiple companies offer boat trips for fishing enthusiasts with the option to do deep-sea fishing, live bait fishing, and kite fishing, making Rincon the perfect day trip for fish lovers.

Go Snorkeling

A sea sponge and coral reefs under the sea

👉 Book a Rincon Snorkeling Tour

One of the best things to do in Rincon is to go snorkeling on one of its beautiful beaches. While not all the beaches are suitable for snorkeling, especially during the winter, snorkel enthusiasts can’t miss the chance to practice the water sport in Steps Beach. If you don’t feel confident doing it alone, you can book this guided snorkeling tour to enjoy a safe experience.

Go Horseback Riding

View of a woman riding a horse in a beach

There are multiple ways you can enjoy the beaches of Rincon, one of them is while riding a horse! Riding a horse on a beach during the sunset is one of the things you can scratch from your bucket list while visiting this city. There are different guided horseback riding tours you can take, so you’ll surely find one that fits your needs.

Visit Punta Higüera Lighthouse

The Punta Higüera Lighthouse and the clear blue sky

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677  | Entrance: free 

There are more than a dozen lighthouses left behind by the Spaniards around Puerto Rico. Punta Higüera Lighthouse in Rincon is one of them, and it sports a height of 70 feet. This lighthouse started its service in 1922 and although it’s automated, it works up to today.

👉 Short on time? Take this amazing tour through the west of Puerto Rico so you get to visit Domes Beach and Punta Higüera Lighthouse along with other destinations on the west coast of the island.

Catch Rincon’s Art Walk Every Thursday

📍 Map It: Pueblo, Rincón | Entrance: free 

One of the things Puerto Ricans are best known for is for always finding an occasion to get together and celebrate with good music and food. That’s the experience you can enjoy every Thursday evening in Rincon’s Art Walk, where you’ll find local crafts, food, and music all while enjoying a tropical vibe atmosphere.

Reach the Steps in Steps Beach

The author sitting on a steps in the shore of Steps Beach

📍 Map It: PR-413 Rincon Puerto Rico 00677, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Steps Beach is one of the most beautiful and iconic beaches of Rincon and its name comes from the concrete steps on the shore. Besides its famous steps, this beach is home to natural pools and beautiful scenery. During the winter, waves can reach over 20 feet, which makes it ideal for surfing too.

👉 Local Tip: Steps Beach is perfect for sunbathing, and snorkeling in Tres Palmas Reserve. Check out the Aqua Marina Beach Club to stay a few steps away from this beach.

Surf in Domes Beach

The clear blue sky in Domes Beach in Rincon

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00602 | Entrance: free 

Domes Beach is one of Rincon’s top beaches for surfing. Located a few minutes away from the lighthouse, this beach gets its name from the dome that was once a nuclear facility right behind it. The beach sports great waves for surfing, areas for camping, and a swing. This beach is also home to multiple surfing festivals during the winter.

🛎️ Local Tip: Rincon is the best place to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re a beach lover. You can read my complete guide to where to stay on the island to see what other places are great for staying on this tropical paradise.

See the Sunset

Scenic view of the colorful sky during sunset in Rincon

📍 Map It: PR-413, Rincon, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Rincon is famous for its colorful and breathtaking sunsets and it’s something you can’t miss if you’re in the city. There are multiple spots from where you can enjoy the sunset, but one of the best is the viewpoint in front of The Beach House in Rincon. 

📚 Related Reading: Rincon is one of the top places you need to visit during your vacation in Puerto Rico. Read the complete guide to find out about the other places you can’t miss.

Walk Above the Sea

The author posing for a picture on a staircase

📍 Map It: Rincon, 00677 | Entrance: free

Right in front of La Cueva del Burro in Rincon, you’ll find a wooden stair that descends to the below waters and rock formations. While you travel down the road, you should keep your eyes open or you might miss it. Make a stop not only to take a picture but to enjoy the view as if you’re walking on top of the water.

Go Whale Watching

View of the tail of a humpback whale

📍 Map It: PR-4413, Aguada, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you love whales, then you’ll be glad to know you can see them from Rincon. Every winter season, from January to March, humpback whales frequent the southwest coasts and locals gather along different viewpoints to take a peek of them. Punta Higüera Lighthouse serves as a whale-watching park.

🚗 How to Get There: If you’re arriving at San Juan airport, you should rent a car if you’re planning to tour around the island. You can use Discover Cars to find the best price for your rental car and if you have any worries about driving by yourself in Puerto Rico, read my guide to driving on the island.

Enjoy Local Coffee at Cafe 413

The Cafe 413 shop in Rincon

📍 Map It: 157B Cll Progreso, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Phone: (939) 697-8188 | Hours: 8 am – 4 pm daily, Closed Wednesdays 

If you haven’t tasted a good Puerto Rican coffee yet, then I recommend you stop at cafe 413 in Rincon’s Town Center. This casual restaurant sports both a bar and a coffee shop, and you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or brunch. The coffee here is to die for, or if you’re more of a tea person, don’t miss the Chai Latte.

Take a Surfing Class

View of a man holding a surfboard while walking by the beach

If you’re a surfing enthusiast, but you don’t know how to surf yet, then you can start by taking your first class in Rincon. Since the city is the capital for surfing on the island, you will find multiple surfing schools that provide guided lessons regardless of your age, weight, or gender.

Shop in the Town Center

View of an entrance to a shop in Rincon Town Center

Rincon sports a colorful town center with souvenir shops, art galleries, bakeries, bars, and small boutiques. Set your shopaholic free and go store hopping around the plaza. You can also grab a quick lunch at the area, or enjoy a nice coffee while sitting on the benches.

🛎️ Need a hotel? Villa Cofresi is a great hotel to stay close to the town center and have top bars, restaurants, and festivities within walking distance.

Hunt for Sea Glass in Sandy Beach

Sea glasses on the sand in Sandy Beach in Rincon

Sandy Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Rincon, both for its waters and the beach bars around it, but craft makers and souvenirs lovers will find it perfect for hunting Sea Glass or small “frosted” crystals on the shore. 

Visit a Local Gallery

View of the exterior of Local Galleries in Rincon

Besides its wonderful beaches, Rincon also sports different galleries visitors can enjoy like the Secret Garden Art Gallery, Galeria Exodo, and Playa Oeste. Besides admiring the local art, you can also buy local crafts and paintings.

Swim in Rincon Public Beach

View of people having fun in Rincon Public Beach

📍 Map It: 8PRV+6Q8, Rincon, Rincón 00677 | Entrance: free 

If you´re looking for a beach with facilities where you can spend your day swimming, then head over to Rincon’s Public Beach. This beach with turquoise waters is where the locals go to relax, snorkel and kayak. It sports free parking, showers, bathrooms, and even gazebos you can rent for any type of activity. 

👉 Are you a beach lover? Don’t miss the guide to the top beaches in Puerto Rico.

Hike to Spanish Wall Beach

Small waves from Spanish Wall Beach

📍 Map It: Cam. las Trinitarias, Aguada, Rincón 00602 | Entrance: free 

Spanish Wall Beach is one of the secret beaches from Rincon even when it’s reachable from Domes Beach. The beach gets its name after the historic Spanish wall ruins that used to be the railroad. You can access the trail from Domes Beach, you can also reach Pools Beach and Sandy Beach along the coast.

Enjoy Dinner at Gastropark@115

Car parked outside the Gastropark@115 in Rincon

📍 Map It: Stella, Rincón 00677 | Hours: 12 – 10 pm Thurs to Sun, Closed from Mon to Wed 

Foodies will not lack options in Rincon, especially in Rincon’s Gastropark@115. This food truck park sports food for all different tastes and it’s open until late so you can visit when you’re hungry for a night snack. They also host live music during some days of the month. 

FAQ’s About Rincon

Is Rincon worth visiting?

Rincon is one of the top destinations to visit in Puerto Rico and visitors should spend part of their vacation there. Rincon sports top notch beaches, great local cuisine, historical buildings, and local festivals travelers can enjoy.

What is there to do in Rincon Puerto Rico today?

Travelers that visit Rincon can take surfing lessons, surf in Playa Domes or Maria’s Beach, enjoy food on the kiosks in Sandy Beach, go shopping, horseback riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving too.

What is Rincon known for?

Rincon is best known as the Caribbean’s surfing capital for its world class surfing beaches, and its beautiful sunsets. Rincon is also known as one of the best spots in Puerto Rico to see humpback whales during the winter.

Is Rincon Puerto Rico safe for tourists?

The city of Rincon is probably the safest city for tourists after San Juan and Carolina. The city is home to dozens of expats and it’s also one of the top tourist destinations in Puerto Rico. See our full guide to Puerto Rico safety for more information.

***

That’s it for the best things to do in Rincon! This beautiful city is one of the top destinations in Puerto Rico and even if you’re not a surfer, you will love your stay in Rincon.

👉 If you’re looking for more great places in Puerto Rico, check out the 33 best places to see around the island!

]]>
15 Best Things to Do in Aguadilla (Fun & Unique Activities) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-aguadilla/ Sat, 30 Oct 2021 19:42:26 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31491

If you want your vacation in Puerto Rico to be all about exploring beaches, sunbathing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, then Aguadilla is your go-to destination.

This city located on the west of Puerto Rico is a popular destination for nature and beach lovers, but it also sports other attractions worth visiting.

I stay in Aguadilla around three times a year, and here I’ve summed up for you the 15 best things to do in Aguadilla.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

15 Best Things to Do in Aguadilla

Hike in Survival Beach

📍 Map It: 14, 6 Cliff Rd, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free | 👉 Book a Hiking Tour in Survival Beach

If you’re always looking for challenging trails with beautiful scenery, then you can’t miss a visit to Survival Beach. Besides being a great surfing destination, Survival Beach is ideal to spend a day hiking and admiring the great outdoor surroundings. 

👉 Looking for more fun things to do? Check out my list of the 49 things you can do in Puerto Rico. 

Surf in Punta Borinquen Beach

📍 Map It: Borínquen Ave, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free 

If you can’t make it to the best beaches for surfing in Rincon, you’ll be glad to know Aguadilla sports a few of Puerto Rico’s best beaches for surfing. In particular, Punta Borinquen Beach is a beach that sports strong waves, especially during the winter months. Although you have to hike to get there, you’ll get to see the great outdoors and spend a carefree afternoon catching waves.

Jump off the Crash Boat Pier

📍 Map It: Borinquen, Aguadilla | Entrance: $5 

Crash Boat is one of the most iconic beaches on the west coast. This beach sports turquoise waters, nearby beach kiosks, and a famous pier from where locals like to jump. A visit to Aguadilla isn’t complete without the thrilling experience. Always ask the locals about the best way to do it and beware of currents during the winter.

👉 Local Tip: If you only have a few days check out this 12-hour tour around Puerto Rico’s hidden gems, including a stop in Crash Boat Beach.

Visit El Parterre

📍 Map It: C. José de Diego, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 

El Parterre was once the town center of Aguadilla. What makes this plaza different from all the others, is the fact that it’s built around a natural water spring. It’s believed that this natural spring flows underground for more than 25 miles and it emerges in Aguadilla and that it was a main source of water to the Spaniards.

👉Love History and Art? Check out the Top Attractions To Visit in Puerto Rico.

Enjoy Street Art in Casitas de Colores

📍 Map It: CRJW+XH2, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free  

A visit to Aguadilla isn’t complete without visiting the macro mural called Pintalto. This mural extends over the houses of a complete neighborhood named Cerro Cabrera, making it the picture-perfect spot. Explore between the houses to find beautiful street art, and bring your kids to this family-friendly area.

👉 Short on time? Book this amazing one-day tour to visit all the important highlights of Aguadilla.

Explore Punta Borinquen Lighthouse Ruins

📍 Map It: FRQQ+F9C, Borinquen, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free 

Next to Punta Borinquen Golf Course, you’ll find the ruins of the original Punta Borinquen Lighthouse, which dates back to the Spanish colonial era. Even if there are few remains, you can see the washed-out red in front of the structure and the place where the tower was. Located in the Ramey Air Force Base, besides the ruins, you’ll also find Borinquen Beach, a mural, a Spanish Well, and a hiking route.

👉 Local Tip: To explore the cities of the west is best to stay a night or two in the area. Check out my guide of the top places to stay on the island to find the best neighborhood for you.

Snorkel with Turtles at Playa Peña Blanca

📍 Map It: Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free 

Playa Peña Blanca in Aguadilla used to be a secret urban beach, but now it’s a  popular snorkeling and surfing destination. In the winter months, the tide is stronger and great for surfing while the summer tide is calmer for people to snorkel and see sea turtles. Crash Boat Beach is another great alternative for snorkeling in Aguadilla.

👉Local Tip:  If you aren’t planning to stay in Aguadilla, but you still want to snorkel in one of its beaches, check out this tour through the northwest of the island going out from San Juan.

Go Scuba Diving in Playa India El Natural

📍 Map It: Borinquen, Aguadilla Pueblo | Entrance: free 

Scuba diving is also one of the things to do in Aguadilla. Scuba diving enthusiasts can’t miss the chance to explore Playa India El Natural,  right above Crashboat Beach. Its waters are home to beautiful coral reefs with diverse marine life, including sea turtles and squids. If you’ve never dived before, you can take a beginner scuba diving tour with Aquatica Dive & Surf.

Go Bowling

📍 Map It: PR-2 KM 130.0, Aguadilla Pueblo, 00603 | Phone: (787) 891-3495 | Hours: 4 – 10 pm Mon-Thurs, 4-11 pm Fri, 10-11 pm Sat | Price: $13 per lane per hour, $8 shoes

If you’re looking for a family night out with your kids, then don’t miss a visit to Aguadilla’s Bowling Center. Although small, this bowling center sports other attractions like laser tag, bump carts, and an arcade you can use for small added fees. They also have the equipment to help smaller kids play.

Find the Abandoned Plane

Map It: PR-107, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free

If you’re walking around the city, make a quick stop at the abandoned airplane of Aguadilla. This airplane is a canvas for urban street art and you can get inside it to take pictures. Nobody is sure how it got there, although some rumors say it was going to be a dining place. 

Go Horseback Riding

📍 Map It: Aguadilla 

One of the best ways to enjoy Aguadilla’s coast is on the back of a horse. Playuelas Horse Rides is one of the companies that offer horseback riding tours through the beach area of Playuela and Punta Borinquen, for a unique experience full of cliffs, sand, and beautiful beaches.

🚗 How to Get There: To get to Aguadilla on your own, you’ll need to rent a car. Use Discover Cars to find the best deal, and read the guide to driving in Puerto Rico to get there safely.

Pose with the Flag at Fuerte de la Concepción

📍 Map It: CRPV+9HX, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 

If you’ve traveled before to Puerto Rico, then you know you can find Puerto Rico’s flag painted almost everywhere, from buildings to bus stops. At Fuerte de la Concepción in Aguadilla, you can find a huge mural of Puerto Rico’s flag, where you can take the perfect picture for your vacation album.

See the Sunset from the Mirador

📍 Map It: # km. 128.4, Cll 2, Aguadilla Pueblo, 00603 | Entrance: free

If you happen to pass through this viewpoint close to the sunset time, make a quick stop to appreciate it from this spot. From this viewpoint you can get incredible views of the west coast, Aguadilla Pueblo, and part of Aguada, so make sure to snap a picture before moving on with your trip.

Admire the Art in a Local Museum

📍 Map It: C. Ramón E. Betances, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Phone: (787) 649-0000 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 3 pm Thurs-Sat, Closed Sunday- Wednesdays | Entrance: free 

Aguadilla’s Art Museum is a must-stop in the city for art lovers. Although small, this museum sports an impressive collection of local art from renowned Puerto Rican artists and it also offers free art workshops on Saturdays. Since the hours change constantly, make sure to call before visiting and use the chance to explore the rest of the downtown area.

Take A Sunset Boat Tour

📍 Map It: Aguadilla  

If there is something special about the west coast in Puerto Rico is its colorful breathtaking sunsets. One of the ways to make those sunsets even better is by experiencing them in the sea. Crashboat Experiences offers sunset tours during which you’ll visit different Aguadilla spots, admire the wildlife, and of course, you’ll see the sun disappear behind the horizon.

FAQ’s About Aguadilla

Is Aguadilla worth visiting?

Aguadilla is a city travelers should visit during their trip to Puerto Rico. The city sports fun outdoor activities, beautiful sunsets, top notch restaurants, and great beaches like Crashboat Beach, one of the top attractions of Aguadilla and Puerto Rico.

What is in Aguadilla?

Aguadilla is a coastal city on the west that sports one of Puerto Rico’s most famous public beaches, Crashboat Beach. Aguadilla is also home to perfect waters for surfing and snorkeling. 

***

You’ve reached the end of the best things to do in Aguadilla! Will you be visiting this city during your vacation in Puerto Rico? Let me know in the comments!

👉 Before You Go: be sure to bookmark my guide to the top places to go in Puerto Rico.

If you want your vacation in Puerto Rico to be all about exploring beaches, sunbathing, scuba diving, and snorkeling, then Aguadilla is your go-to destination.

This city located on the west of Puerto Rico is a popular destination for nature and beach lovers, but it also sports other attractions worth visiting.

I stay in Aguadilla around three times a year, and here I’ve summed up for you the 15 best things to do in Aguadilla.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

15 Best Things to Do in Aguadilla

Hike in Survival Beach

The author between two big boulders near Survival Beach

📍 Map It: 14, 6 Cliff Rd, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free | 👉 Book a Hiking Tour in Survival Beach

If you’re always looking for challenging trails with beautiful scenery, then you can’t miss a visit to Survival Beach. Besides being a great surfing destination, Survival Beach is ideal to spend a day hiking and admiring the great outdoor surroundings. 

👉 Looking for more fun things to do? Check out my list of the 49 things you can do in Puerto Rico. 

Surf in Punta Borinquen Beach

Scenic view of the blue water and clear blue sky in Punta Borinquen Beach

📍 Map It: Borínquen Ave, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free 

If you can’t make it to the best beaches for surfing in Rincon, you’ll be glad to know Aguadilla sports a few of Puerto Rico’s best beaches for surfing. In particular, Punta Borinquen Beach is a beach that sports strong waves, especially during the winter months. Although you have to hike to get there, you’ll get to see the great outdoors and spend a carefree afternoon catching waves.

Jump off the Crash Boat Pier

Underwater view of Crash Boat Pier

📍 Map It: Borinquen, Aguadilla | Entrance: $5 

Crash Boat is one of the most iconic beaches on the west coast. This beach sports turquoise waters, nearby beach kiosks, and a famous pier from where locals like to jump. A visit to Aguadilla isn’t complete without the thrilling experience. Always ask the locals about the best way to do it and beware of currents during the winter.

👉 Local Tip: If you only have a few days check out this 12-hour tour around Puerto Rico’s hidden gems, including a stop in Crash Boat Beach.

Visit El Parterre

📍 Map It: C. José de Diego, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 

El Parterre was once the town center of Aguadilla. What makes this plaza different from all the others, is the fact that it’s built around a natural water spring. It’s believed that this natural spring flows underground for more than 25 miles and it emerges in Aguadilla and that it was a main source of water to the Spaniards.

👉Love History and Art? Check out the Top Attractions To Visit in Puerto Rico.

Enjoy Street Art in Casitas de Colores

📍 Map It: CRJW+XH2, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free  

A visit to Aguadilla isn’t complete without visiting the macro mural called Pintalto. This mural extends over the houses of a complete neighborhood named Cerro Cabrera, making it the picture-perfect spot. Explore between the houses to find beautiful street art, and bring your kids to this family-friendly area.

👉 Short on time? Book this amazing one-day tour to visit all the important highlights of Aguadilla.

Explore Punta Borinquen Lighthouse Ruins

The author posing for a picture in Punta Borinquen Lighthouse Ruins

📍 Map It: FRQQ+F9C, Borinquen, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free 

Next to Punta Borinquen Golf Course, you’ll find the ruins of the original Punta Borinquen Lighthouse, which dates back to the Spanish colonial era. Even if there are few remains, you can see the washed-out red in front of the structure and the place where the tower was. Located in the Ramey Air Force Base, besides the ruins, you’ll also find Borinquen Beach, a mural, a Spanish Well, and a hiking route.

👉 Local Tip: To explore the cities of the west is best to stay a night or two in the area. Check out my guide of the top places to stay on the island to find the best neighborhood for you.

Snorkel with Turtles at Playa Peña Blanca

View of a man snorkeling in Playa Peña Blanca

📍 Map It: Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free 

Playa Peña Blanca in Aguadilla used to be a secret urban beach, but now it’s a  popular snorkeling and surfing destination. In the winter months, the tide is stronger and great for surfing while the summer tide is calmer for people to snorkel and see sea turtles. Crash Boat Beach is another great alternative for snorkeling in Aguadilla.

👉Local Tip:  If you aren’t planning to stay in Aguadilla, but you still want to snorkel in one of its beaches, check out this tour through the northwest of the island going out from San Juan.

Go Scuba Diving in Playa India El Natural

View of two scuba divers in Playa India El Natural

📍 Map It: Borinquen, Aguadilla Pueblo | Entrance: free 

Scuba diving is also one of the things to do in Aguadilla. Scuba diving enthusiasts can’t miss the chance to explore Playa India El Natural,  right above Crashboat Beach. Its waters are home to beautiful coral reefs with diverse marine life, including sea turtles and squids. If you’ve never dived before, you can take a beginner scuba diving tour with Aquatica Dive & Surf.

Go Bowling

View of a man playing bowling in Aguadilla’s Bowling Center

📍 Map It: PR-2 KM 130.0, Aguadilla Pueblo, 00603 | Phone: (787) 891-3495 | Hours: 4 – 10 pm Mon-Thurs, 4-11 pm Fri, 10-11 pm Sat | Price: $13 per lane per hour, $8 shoes

If you’re looking for a family night out with your kids, then don’t miss a visit to Aguadilla’s Bowling Center. Although small, this bowling center sports other attractions like laser tag, bump carts, and an arcade you can use for small added fees. They also have the equipment to help smaller kids play.

Find the Abandoned Plane

Map It: PR-107, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Entrance: free

If you’re walking around the city, make a quick stop at the abandoned airplane of Aguadilla. This airplane is a canvas for urban street art and you can get inside it to take pictures. Nobody is sure how it got there, although some rumors say it was going to be a dining place. 

Go Horseback Riding

View of a woman riding a horse near the beach

📍 Map It: Aguadilla 

One of the best ways to enjoy Aguadilla’s coast is on the back of a horse. Playuelas Horse Rides is one of the companies that offer horseback riding tours through the beach area of Playuela and Punta Borinquen, for a unique experience full of cliffs, sand, and beautiful beaches.

🚗 How to Get There: To get to Aguadilla on your own, you’ll need to rent a car. Use Discover Cars to find the best deal, and read the guide to driving in Puerto Rico to get there safely.

Pose with the Flag at Fuerte de la Concepción

The Puerto Rico's flag painted in a wall in Aguadilla

📍 Map It: CRPV+9HX, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 

If you’ve traveled before to Puerto Rico, then you know you can find Puerto Rico’s flag painted almost everywhere, from buildings to bus stops. At Fuerte de la Concepción in Aguadilla, you can find a huge mural of Puerto Rico’s flag, where you can take the perfect picture for your vacation album.

See the Sunset from the Mirador

The colorful sky during a sunset in Aguadilla

📍 Map It: # km. 128.4, Cll 2, Aguadilla Pueblo, 00603 | Entrance: free

If you happen to pass through this viewpoint close to the sunset time, make a quick stop to appreciate it from this spot. From this viewpoint you can get incredible views of the west coast, Aguadilla Pueblo, and part of Aguada, so make sure to snap a picture before moving on with your trip.

Admire the Art in a Local Museum

📍 Map It: C. Ramón E. Betances, Aguadilla Pueblo, Aguadilla 00603 | Phone: (787) 649-0000 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 3 pm Thurs-Sat, Closed Sunday- Wednesdays | Entrance: free 

Aguadilla’s Art Museum is a must-stop in the city for art lovers. Although small, this museum sports an impressive collection of local art from renowned Puerto Rican artists and it also offers free art workshops on Saturdays. Since the hours change constantly, make sure to call before visiting and use the chance to explore the rest of the downtown area.

Take A Sunset Boat Tour

View of a rocky shoreline in Aguadilla

📍 Map It: Aguadilla  

If there is something special about the west coast in Puerto Rico is its colorful breathtaking sunsets. One of the ways to make those sunsets even better is by experiencing them in the sea. Crashboat Experiences offers sunset tours during which you’ll visit different Aguadilla spots, admire the wildlife, and of course, you’ll see the sun disappear behind the horizon.

FAQ’s About Aguadilla

Is Aguadilla worth visiting?

Aguadilla is a city travelers should visit during their trip to Puerto Rico. The city sports fun outdoor activities, beautiful sunsets, top notch restaurants, and great beaches like Crashboat Beach, one of the top attractions of Aguadilla and Puerto Rico.

What is in Aguadilla?

Aguadilla is a coastal city on the west that sports one of Puerto Rico’s most famous public beaches, Crashboat Beach. Aguadilla is also home to perfect waters for surfing and snorkeling. 

***

You’ve reached the end of the best things to do in Aguadilla! Will you be visiting this city during your vacation in Puerto Rico? Let me know in the comments!

👉 Before You Go: be sure to bookmark my guide to the top places to go in Puerto Rico.

]]>
Where to Stay in Prince Edward Island (Best Places & Areas) https://travellemming.com/where-to-stay-in-prince-edward-island/ Fri, 29 Oct 2021 19:53:22 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31692

Choosing where to stay in Prince Edward Island is a strategic decision.

With a landmass under 6,000km² (3728miles²), PEI is small enough to see all the major sites in just a few days, yet big enough to put some destinations out of a day trip’s reach if you stay in the wrong area.

A Canadian prairie local, I recently paid a visit to the east coast for the primary purpose of finding the top places to stay and the best things to do on Prince Edward Island.

By chatting with locals, touring a ton of properties, and staying in the hotels myself, I came away with important info on where you should stay to optimize your trip.

In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know in order to make the best decision about where to stay (including my hotel recommendations).

Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Places to Stay in Prince Edward Island

Want the short answer to where you should stay in Prince Edward Island? 

Here are my top property choices on the island, depending on your travel style:

With that, let’s do a deep dive into the best neighborhoods and areas to stay in Prince Edward Island.

Best Areas to Stay in Prince Edward Island

Before you decide on a Prince Edward Island hotel, you need to decide what regions you want to prioritize. 

Prince Edward Island is essentially split up into four areas — western, Charlottetown, central, and eastern. 

Though you’ll find Charlottetown in the central area, I’ve split them up into distinct zones for the sake of this guide. Charlottetown is very much the hub of the island, and the central zone outside of Charlottetown is much more off-grid.

Though the east and west sides of the island are decidedly more rural, they are great places to base yourself if you have specific items you want to check off your bucket list (we’ll get into those items more below). 

Charlottetown

👉 Best Area For Solo & Business Travelers | ✨ Best Charlottetown Hotels: Great George HotelHotel on PownalThe Holman Grand Hotel

Home to just 40,000 people, Prince Edward Island’s capital of Charlottetown is very much the beating heart of the island. Though it’s the province’s largest city, it very much has a small, homegrown vibe to it and the locals are just as friendly as you’ll find in more rural areas.

The core of Charlottetown is easily walkable and very safe, and all the major hotels, restaurants, and attractions are conveniently right in the center of it all.

Here, you’ll find the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Victoria Row, Beaconsfield Historic House, Victoria Park, Province House National Historic Site, and tons of restaurants. I especially recommend walking around historic downtown Charlottetown, which is a special hotspot for Canadian history.

On my PEI visit, I stayed right in Charlottetown and, though I did rack up a few miles on the road, I found it a great location from which to explore other destinations around the island.

👍 Pro tip: Notable sit-down restaurants in the island’s capital tend to fill up on a nightly basis. Don’t take the chance of not getting a table and make reservations in advance.

Pros of staying in Charlottetown:

  • The entire downtown area is within walking distance
  • A wide array of restaurants and shopping
  • It’s a great central location for day trips
  • Accommodation options for all travel styles

Cons of staying in Charlottetown:

  • You’ll miss staying amongst nature
  • Hotels are the priciest in this area

📚 Charlottetown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Solo & Business Travelers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsGreat George HotelHotel on PownalThe Holman Grand Hotel
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Slaymaker & Nichols ($$$), Row House Lobster Co. ($$$), Water Prince Corner Shop ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Olde Dublin Pub, Pilot House
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Victoria Row, Confederation Centre of the Arts

Central Prince Edward Island

👉 Best Area For Anne of Green Gables Fans & Beach Lovers | ✨ Best Central Prince Edward Island Hotels: Barachois InnThe Lookout InnThe Cavendish Motel

The area surrounding the capital city, central Prince Edward Island stretches between Charlottetown in the east and just before Summerside in the west. 

It includes north and south coastal regions and is home to the Green Gables Heritage Place, red cliffs, Prince Edward Island National Park, North Rustico, and Victoria. Summertime festivals in this region are plentiful and it’s a great option if you don’t want to stay right in the city but want to be close enough to experience its entertainment.

Central PEI is also home to some amazing beaches including Cavendish, Brackley, Tracadie, and Thunder Cove.

✨ Tour alert! If you’re a fan of Anne, then you gotta check out this Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place tour from Charlottetown. It’ll take you to the best spots!

Pros of Staying in Central Prince Edward Island

  • Staying central means easy access to all of the island
  • The primary PEI attractions are close by
  • The main entertainment and festival area
  • Easy access to car rentals and amenities

Cons of Staying in Central Prince Edward Island

  • Hotels tend to book up fast in the summer months
  • Is generally the pricier area of the island

📚 Central PEI Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Anne of Green Gables Fans & Beach Lovers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsBarachois InnThe Lookout InnThe Cavendish Motel
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – The Table Culinary Studio ($$$), Blue Mussel Cafe ($$), The Mill in New Glasgow ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – The Ship’s Company Pub & Galley, Island Stone Pub
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place, Prince Edward Island National Park

Western Prince Edward Island

👉 Best Area For Adventure Travelers & Nature Lovers | ✨ Best Western Prince Edward Island Hotels: Loyalist Country InnClark’s Sunny Isle MotelTraveller’s Inn Prince Edward Island

Including the town of Summerside and everything west, western PEI is known for its vast stretches of open area, quirky sites, and absolutely stunning north cape. 

Though its population is sparse, it makes for a great place to stay if you love peaceful nature and have a penchant for scenic hikes.

In particular, this area is known for the Canadian Potato Museum, Bottle Houses, Cedar Dunes Provincial Park, North Cape Wind Energy Interpretive Centre, the North Cape Nature Trail, and West Point Lighthouse.

Pros of Staying in Western Prince Edward Island:

  • An off the beaten path area with wild, rustic nature
  • Stunning north cape coastline

Cons of Staying in Western Prince Edward Island:

  • Far away from most amenities
  • Not a huge selection of hotels and conveniences

📚 Western PEI Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Adventure Travelers & Nature Lovers
Google Map

Eastern Prince Edward Island

👉 Best Area For Ocean Experiences & Lighthouse Lovers | ✨ Best Eastern Prince Edward Island Hotels: Lanes Riverhouse Inn & CottagesRodd Brudenell River ResortRollo Bay Inn

Including everything east of Charlottetown and the #2 highway heading north, eastern PEI is known for its historic lighthouses, red sand beaches, ocean adventures, and walking trails.

Like western PEI, the east side of the island is fairly sparse population-wise, but it packs a punch with things to do. In particular, it’s home to Greenwich Park, Basin Head Provincial Park, deep-sea fishing excursions, Point Prim Lighthouse, and Cape Bear Lighthouse.

Pros of Staying in Eastern Prince Edward Island

  • An off-the-beaten-path feeling
  • Some of the best lighthouses in the province
  • Plenty of natural beauty, picturesque seaside towns, and historic buildings

Cons of Staying in Eastern Prince Edward Island

  • Few hotel options and most are seasonal

📚 Eastern PEI Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Ocean Experiences & Lighthouse Lovers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsLanes Riverhouse Inn & CottagesRodd Brudenell River ResortRollo Bay Inn
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Point Prim Chowderhouse ($$), Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant ($$), The Lucky Bean Cafe ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Wheelhouse in Georgetown, 1888 Pub
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Cape Bear Lighthouse, PEI National Park — Greenwich

Tips for Staying in PEI

Rent a Car

Renting a car on PEI is essential to see all the attractions. Prince Edward Island is small, but it’s still much too big to navigate without wheels.

Before you book, check Discover Cars to compare rates and get the best bang for your buck. They’re my car rental go-to!

Plan for Summer

If you’re traveling to PEI for vacation, then it’s important to note that it is very much a seasonal destination.

Peak season here is in the summer (May through September), and many hotels, attractions, and restaurants are closed outside of these specific months. I visited in late September / early October, and I found that though there was still a lot to do, many businesses shut their doors precisely on October 1st.

Book Early

In accordance with the above point, because PEI’s peak season is only five months, make sure you book your hotel, car rental, festival tickets, and activities as early as possible. 

A condensed tourism season means that everyone books their travel during the same time of year, driving up prices across the board and leaving a lot of businesses without vacancies.

Plan for the Unexpected

Though Canada is a very safe country, it’s still a global health crisis, so it pays to think ahead and have a plan for the unexpected. 

Purchasing travel insurance is a great way to secure peace of mind in case your plans go awry. World Nomads is my go-to provider, but check out our Canada travel insurance guide for more info.

Book More Than One Location

As you can probably tell, though PEI is the smallest province in Canada, it does require a bit of driving to get from the western tip to the east. 

To get the best of all worlds, I recommend splitting up your hotel stays so that you book a couple of nights in each area. This way, you can plan your road trip in advance and see the sites without spending the bulk of your holiday in the car.

👉 Read Next: The Best Places to Visit in Canada

FAQs about PEI

How many days do you need in PEI?

Though Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, it does pack a punch with things to do and see. For this reason, I’d recommend at least five days to adequately check out the top sites.

What should you not miss on Prince Edward Island?

Some of the top attractions on Prince Edward Island include the Anne of Green Gables Heritage Site, Cavendish Beach, a tour of the Great George Hotel, the Confederation Trail, Cape Bear Lighthouse, and Singing Sands Beach.

Does Prince Edward Island have nice beaches?

Prince Edward Island has gorgeous sandy beaches of both the white and red variety. Some of the best beaches include Cavendish, Greenwich, Brackley, Basin Head, Cedar Dunes, and Jacques Cartier.

What is the warmest part of PEI?

The warmest parts of PEI include the southern region and the east. In particular, Singing Sands Beach on the west coast has some of the warmest sea waters in the province.

***

That’s it for my guide on where to stay and the best hotels in Prince Edward Island! 

Though it’s a small province, there’s a great variety of accommodation options, and you’ll have no problem booking the perfect property for yourself.

For more information about travel in the great white north, check out these 16 essential Canada travel tips.

Have fun in Prince Edward Island!

Choosing where to stay in Prince Edward Island is a strategic decision.

With a landmass under 6,000km² (3728miles²), PEI is small enough to see all the major sites in just a few days, yet big enough to put some destinations out of a day trip’s reach if you stay in the wrong area.

A Canadian prairie local, I recently paid a visit to the east coast for the primary purpose of finding the top places to stay and the best things to do on Prince Edward Island.

By chatting with locals, touring a ton of properties, and staying in the hotels myself, I came away with important info on where you should stay to optimize your trip.

In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know in order to make the best decision about where to stay (including my hotel recommendations).

Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Places to Stay in Prince Edward Island

The author posing for a picture on a bed

Want the short answer to where you should stay in Prince Edward Island? 

Here are my top property choices on the island, depending on your travel style:

With that, let’s do a deep dive into the best neighborhoods and areas to stay in Prince Edward Island.

Best Areas to Stay in Prince Edward Island

Before you decide on a Prince Edward Island hotel, you need to decide what regions you want to prioritize. 

Prince Edward Island is essentially split up into four areas — western, Charlottetown, central, and eastern. 

Though you’ll find Charlottetown in the central area, I’ve split them up into distinct zones for the sake of this guide. Charlottetown is very much the hub of the island, and the central zone outside of Charlottetown is much more off-grid.

Though the east and west sides of the island are decidedly more rural, they are great places to base yourself if you have specific items you want to check off your bucket list (we’ll get into those items more below). 

Charlottetown

View of different building shops in Charlottetown

👉 Best Area For Solo & Business Travelers | ✨ Best Charlottetown Hotels: Great George HotelHotel on PownalThe Holman Grand Hotel

Home to just 40,000 people, Prince Edward Island’s capital of Charlottetown is very much the beating heart of the island. Though it’s the province’s largest city, it very much has a small, homegrown vibe to it and the locals are just as friendly as you’ll find in more rural areas.

The core of Charlottetown is easily walkable and very safe, and all the major hotels, restaurants, and attractions are conveniently right in the center of it all.

Here, you’ll find the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Victoria Row, Beaconsfield Historic House, Victoria Park, Province House National Historic Site, and tons of restaurants. I especially recommend walking around historic downtown Charlottetown, which is a special hotspot for Canadian history.

On my PEI visit, I stayed right in Charlottetown and, though I did rack up a few miles on the road, I found it a great location from which to explore other destinations around the island.

👍 Pro tip: Notable sit-down restaurants in the island’s capital tend to fill up on a nightly basis. Don’t take the chance of not getting a table and make reservations in advance.

Pros of staying in Charlottetown:

  • The entire downtown area is within walking distance
  • A wide array of restaurants and shopping
  • It’s a great central location for day trips
  • Accommodation options for all travel styles

Cons of staying in Charlottetown:

  • You’ll miss staying amongst nature
  • Hotels are the priciest in this area

📚 Charlottetown Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Solo & Business Travelers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsGreat George HotelHotel on PownalThe Holman Grand Hotel
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Slaymaker & Nichols ($$$), Row House Lobster Co. ($$$), Water Prince Corner Shop ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Olde Dublin Pub, Pilot House
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Victoria Row, Confederation Centre of the Arts

Central Prince Edward Island

The author descending a staircase going to the beach in Prince Edward Island

👉 Best Area For Anne of Green Gables Fans & Beach Lovers | ✨ Best Central Prince Edward Island Hotels: Barachois InnThe Lookout InnThe Cavendish Motel

The area surrounding the capital city, central Prince Edward Island stretches between Charlottetown in the east and just before Summerside in the west. 

It includes north and south coastal regions and is home to the Green Gables Heritage Place, red cliffs, Prince Edward Island National Park, North Rustico, and Victoria. Summertime festivals in this region are plentiful and it’s a great option if you don’t want to stay right in the city but want to be close enough to experience its entertainment.

Central PEI is also home to some amazing beaches including Cavendish, Brackley, Tracadie, and Thunder Cove.

✨ Tour alert! If you’re a fan of Anne, then you gotta check out this Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place tour from Charlottetown. It’ll take you to the best spots!

Pros of Staying in Central Prince Edward Island

  • Staying central means easy access to all of the island
  • The primary PEI attractions are close by
  • The main entertainment and festival area
  • Easy access to car rentals and amenities

Cons of Staying in Central Prince Edward Island

  • Hotels tend to book up fast in the summer months
  • Is generally the pricier area of the island

📚 Central PEI Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Anne of Green Gables Fans & Beach Lovers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsBarachois InnThe Lookout InnThe Cavendish Motel
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – The Table Culinary Studio ($$$), Blue Mussel Cafe ($$), The Mill in New Glasgow ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – The Ship’s Company Pub & Galley, Island Stone Pub
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Anne of Green Gables Heritage Place, Prince Edward Island National Park

Western Prince Edward Island

The Cedar Dunes Provincial Park in Prince Edward Island

👉 Best Area For Adventure Travelers & Nature Lovers | ✨ Best Western Prince Edward Island Hotels: Loyalist Country InnClark’s Sunny Isle MotelTraveller’s Inn Prince Edward Island

Including the town of Summerside and everything west, western PEI is known for its vast stretches of open area, quirky sites, and absolutely stunning north cape. 

Though its population is sparse, it makes for a great place to stay if you love peaceful nature and have a penchant for scenic hikes.

In particular, this area is known for the Canadian Potato Museum, Bottle Houses, Cedar Dunes Provincial Park, North Cape Wind Energy Interpretive Centre, the North Cape Nature Trail, and West Point Lighthouse.

Pros of Staying in Western Prince Edward Island:

  • An off the beaten path area with wild, rustic nature
  • Stunning north cape coastline

Cons of Staying in Western Prince Edward Island:

  • Far away from most amenities
  • Not a huge selection of hotels and conveniences

📚 Western PEI Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Adventure Travelers & Nature Lovers
Google Map

Eastern Prince Edward Island

View of the author walking on a boardwalk during sunset

👉 Best Area For Ocean Experiences & Lighthouse Lovers | ✨ Best Eastern Prince Edward Island Hotels: Lanes Riverhouse Inn & CottagesRodd Brudenell River ResortRollo Bay Inn

Including everything east of Charlottetown and the #2 highway heading north, eastern PEI is known for its historic lighthouses, red sand beaches, ocean adventures, and walking trails.

Like western PEI, the east side of the island is fairly sparse population-wise, but it packs a punch with things to do. In particular, it’s home to Greenwich Park, Basin Head Provincial Park, deep-sea fishing excursions, Point Prim Lighthouse, and Cape Bear Lighthouse.

Pros of Staying in Eastern Prince Edward Island

  • An off-the-beaten-path feeling
  • Some of the best lighthouses in the province
  • Plenty of natural beauty, picturesque seaside towns, and historic buildings

Cons of Staying in Eastern Prince Edward Island

  • Few hotel options and most are seasonal

📚 Eastern PEI Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Ocean Experiences & Lighthouse Lovers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsLanes Riverhouse Inn & CottagesRodd Brudenell River ResortRollo Bay Inn
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Point Prim Chowderhouse ($$), Clam Diggers Beach House & Restaurant ($$), The Lucky Bean Cafe ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Wheelhouse in Georgetown, 1888 Pub
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Cape Bear Lighthouse, PEI National Park — Greenwich

Tips for Staying in PEI

Rent a Car

Renting a car on PEI is essential to see all the attractions. Prince Edward Island is small, but it’s still much too big to navigate without wheels.

Before you book, check Discover Cars to compare rates and get the best bang for your buck. They’re my car rental go-to!

Plan for Summer

If you’re traveling to PEI for vacation, then it’s important to note that it is very much a seasonal destination.

Peak season here is in the summer (May through September), and many hotels, attractions, and restaurants are closed outside of these specific months. I visited in late September / early October, and I found that though there was still a lot to do, many businesses shut their doors precisely on October 1st.

Book Early

In accordance with the above point, because PEI’s peak season is only five months, make sure you book your hotel, car rental, festival tickets, and activities as early as possible. 

A condensed tourism season means that everyone books their travel during the same time of year, driving up prices across the board and leaving a lot of businesses without vacancies.

Plan for the Unexpected

Though Canada is a very safe country, it’s still a global health crisis, so it pays to think ahead and have a plan for the unexpected. 

Purchasing travel insurance is a great way to secure peace of mind in case your plans go awry. World Nomads is my go-to provider, but check out our Canada travel insurance guide for more info.

Book More Than One Location

As you can probably tell, though PEI is the smallest province in Canada, it does require a bit of driving to get from the western tip to the east. 

To get the best of all worlds, I recommend splitting up your hotel stays so that you book a couple of nights in each area. This way, you can plan your road trip in advance and see the sites without spending the bulk of your holiday in the car.

👉 Read Next: The Best Places to Visit in Canada

FAQs about PEI

How many days do you need in PEI?

Though Prince Edward Island is Canada’s smallest province, it does pack a punch with things to do and see. For this reason, I’d recommend at least five days to adequately check out the top sites.

What should you not miss on Prince Edward Island?

Some of the top attractions on Prince Edward Island include the Anne of Green Gables Heritage Site, Cavendish Beach, a tour of the Great George Hotel, the Confederation Trail, Cape Bear Lighthouse, and Singing Sands Beach.

Does Prince Edward Island have nice beaches?

Prince Edward Island has gorgeous sandy beaches of both the white and red variety. Some of the best beaches include Cavendish, Greenwich, Brackley, Basin Head, Cedar Dunes, and Jacques Cartier.

What is the warmest part of PEI?

The warmest parts of PEI include the southern region and the east. In particular, Singing Sands Beach on the west coast has some of the warmest sea waters in the province.

***

That’s it for my guide on where to stay and the best hotels in Prince Edward Island! 

Though it’s a small province, there’s a great variety of accommodation options, and you’ll have no problem booking the perfect property for yourself.

For more information about travel in the great white north, check out these 16 essential Canada travel tips.

Have fun in Prince Edward Island!

]]>
27 Best Colorado Ski Resorts (‘21-’22 Season) https://travellemming.com/colorado-ski-resorts/ Thu, 28 Oct 2021 18:03:01 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31730

If you’re planning a ski trip to Colorado, your only problem may be deciding which of the many amazing Colorado ski resorts you want to settle on. 

I happen to think Colorado is gorgeous in every single season, but I have a soft spot for the ski towns and resorts in winter. Spending a day on the slopes, unwinding with a little après-ski cocktail or craft beer, and flopping in front of a fire with a fluffy blanket, exhausted from the day…well, there’s no feeling quite like it. It’s even worth wrangling four children in huge snowsuits who keep losing their gloves!

Whether you’re a serious powderhound or a family trying out skiing or snowboarding for the first time, Colorado has a ski resort that’s perfect for you! I’ve rounded up the best ski resorts in Colorado here, with tips on pricing, amenities, local favorites, gorgeous tourist destinations, and more. 

Happy shredding!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

Vail Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best varied terrain for all types of skiers

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Vail is one of the biggest resorts in the world, and one of the top places to go in Colorado for winter sports. Just the word “Vail” is basically synonymous with skiing, so it’s no wonder they have terrain for every level of skier. Lionshead Village is at the base of the mountain and has shops, restaurants, ice skating, and other activities if you have non-skiers in your party.  

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12th
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 189 inches / 480 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,120 feet / 2,475 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,570 feet / 3,527 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Skiing and boarding in Colorado can get cold! Bring along some hand and toe warmers to keep those extremities toasty warm. 

Breckenridge

⛷️ Ski in, ski out lodgings

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Breck’s popular Peak 8 has terrain parks, bowls, and plenty of intermediate and advanced ski runs. It also offers lessons for beginners, or anyone looking to improve. If you want a break from skiing, dog-sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities are available. Downtown has great restaurants, bars, and shops. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 366 inches / 930 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,998 feet / 3,962 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Aspen Mountain Ski Resort

⛷️Best for expert runs

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

There are four ski resorts in Aspen, and this one is the closest to downtown. There aren’t many beginners runs here, but there are plenty of black diamonds and a few blues. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches / 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,945 feet / 2,422 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,212 feet/ 3,417 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort

⛷️Best intermediate resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

One lift ticket allows you to access all four ski resorts in Aspen. Snowmass is the largest and most popular. It’s in-between the expert runs of Aspen Mountain and Highlands, and the easy runs at Buttermilk. It also offers plenty of non-ski activities like ziplines, an alpine coaster, and ice skating. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,104 feet / 2,470 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,510 feet/ 3,813 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Highlands 

⛷️  Best for Aspen locals

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Aspen Highlands isn’t as popular as the other Aspen resorts, which could be why it’s a hangout for locals. More than two-thirds of the resort is expert skiing, and the views of the Maroon Bells are unrivaled. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,040 feet / 2,451 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,392 feet/ 3,777 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$ 

Buttermilk Mountain

⛷️  Best Aspen resort for beginners

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Buttermilk is the best of the four Aspen resorts for learning to ski, and for kids wanting to take to the mountain. There’s also a popular terrain park. Buttermilk’s visibility as home to the X Games also makes it popular with freestyle skiers and riders. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,870 feet / 2,399 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,900 feet/ 3,018 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Keystone Resort

⛷️Best for beginners

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Keystone is a family-friendly resort that’s not far from Denver. It has plenty of free gear wagons to cart kids and stuff around, deals on gear and lessons, and a Kidtopia play area. Keystone’s night skiing goes until 8 pm on weekends and holidays. The resort also has beginner and intermediate runs scattered throughout so beginners have plenty of choices. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October (as soon as weather permits)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  225 inches/ 571 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,280 feet / 2,829 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

🏔️ Pro Tip: I-70, the main thoroughfare for many resorts in Colorado, is notorious for its ski traffic. To improve your chances, ski during the week, leave really early in the morning or very late the night before, and always check the weather.

Telluride Ski Resort

⛷️ World-class resort with every amenity

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Telluride is hard to reach (it’s a 6+ hour drive from Denver!), but once you’re there it has everything you’ll need for a winter vacation. The mountain views are legendary, and the resort has a variety of beginner-advanced runs. There’s a free gondola in town, and an adventure park, and other winter fun.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  280 inches/ 711 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,750 feet / 2,667 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,150 feet/ 4,008 meters 

Steamboat Resort

⛷️Best  “Champagne Powder”

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Steamboat Resort trademarked their snow. 

It’s the only place in the world where you can ski on official “Champagne Powder,” and the pillowy, fluffy snow is a whole lot of fun. The mountain is lower than most others, so if you struggle with altitude sickness, this could be a good option. Steamboat also has great runs for tree skiing. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  336 inches/ 853 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,900 feet / 2,103 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,568 feet/ 3,221 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Winter Park

⛷️ Great for families

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Winter Park is another popular place for Denver-area locals, as it makes for an easy winter day trip. Winter Park is just 90 minutes from Denver, and there is a wide variety of trails for beginners to expert skiers and boarders. There’s plenty of lodging nearby, along with shops and restaurants, plus tubing and other activities for kids. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  327 inches/ 831 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,000 feet / 2,743 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,060 feet/ 3,676 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Ski helmets can (literally) be a lifesaver, even if you’ve been skiing a long time. REI has some great options

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

⛷️Local skiing for intermediates and beyond

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Thanks to its close proximity and the fact that there’s no on-site lodging, A-Basin is popular with locals and less so with tourists. The slopes are more challenging here, and there aren’t a ton of options for beginning skiers. For more fun, picnic at “The Beach” – a section of the parking lot where people tailgate. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,780 feet / 3,286 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Copper Mountain

⛷️Popular overnight resort for locals

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

When locals want to get away for a weekend of skiing, many of them head to Copper Mountain. It has the amenities of upscale resorts like Vail, plus quick freeway access makes for an easy drive. It’s family-friendly with plenty of runs for every level, plus tubing, ice skating, and other activities. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  305 inches/ 774 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,712 feet / 2,946 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,441 feet/ 3,792 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: You’ll want heavy, waterproof gloves for skiing and snowboarding, but these cable-knit gloves are great for wearing around town after the slopes (and you can text with them on!).

Loveland Ski Area

⛷️ Best for a quick day trip

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Loveland and A-Basin are two of the most popular local ski areas, but Loveland Valley is much easier for less-experienced skiers. Loveland Basin has more challenging runs. Loveland also offers free snowcat skiing for a unique experience.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 31 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  422 inches/ 1,072 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,800 feet / 3,292 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,010 feet/ 3,965 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

📚 Related Reading: Hanging out in Denver for a while? Check out this complete list of things to do in Denver!

Beaver Creek Resort

⛷️Less crowded upscale resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Beaver Creek is in the same general area as Vail, but doesn’t have an entire town built around it so it attracts fewer crowds. It does have a famous World Cup run, plus plenty of beginner through advanced runs. When I skied there, helpful guides at the top of the lifts suggested runs based on my ability.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  325 inches/ 826 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,100 feet / 2,469 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,440 feet/ 3,488 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Purgatory Resort

⛷️Jaw-dropping scenery, budget price

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Purgatory is a great southwestern Colorado resort for families. It’s mostly visited by locals and while there are plenty of beginning and intermediate runs, advanced skiers will find stuff for them, too. The price is low, too. Durango is the closest town, about a 20 minute drive away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 23 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,793 feet / 2,680 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,822 feet/ 3,299 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Silverton Mountain

⛷️ Expert backcountry skiing

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Silverton is unique in that there’s one double chairlift that drops you off at a spot where you then have plenty of options to hike to ski. If that’s not your style…you can also heli-ski. Every skier on the mountain is required to carry avalanche gear, and nothing is groomed – it’s all untouched snow. Guides are available, or you can go your own way.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  400 inches/ 1,016 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,400 feet / 3,170 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,487 feet/ 4,111 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$-$$$$

Wolf Creek Ski Area

⛷️ Best for early skiing

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Wolf Creek brags they’re the resort with the most snow in Colorado. There’s a good range of beginner and intermediate runs, and almost half the runs are advanced. There’s no town or lodgings at the resort, but Pagosa Springs is just over half an hour away – and a good hot spring to soak after a day on the slopes! 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 16
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  430 inches/ 1,092 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,300 feet / 3,139 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,904 feet/ 3,628 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Crested Butte

⛷️ Best real Colorado ski town

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Crested Butte prides itself on being a “real Colorado ski town” with no high rises, or even traffic lights. The mountain has a terrain park and plenty of runs for all levels. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  234 inches/ 594 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,375 feet / 2,856 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,162 feet/ 3,707 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Eldora Mountain

⛷️ Best for Boulder locals

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Eldora Mountain is less than an hour from Boulder and has plenty of skiing for all levels. It’s laid back and the children’s center makes it family-friendly. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 19
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,200 feet / 2,804 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,600 feet/ 3,231 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

📚 Related Reading: Staying in Boulder for a while? Be sure to check out my extensive list of things to do in Boulder!

Ski Cooper 

⛷️ Best family budget ski area

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

As evidenced above, Ski Cooper is one of our family favorites. Here’s why: it’s not crowded. It’s cheap. It’s small enough that older kids who want to ski on their own aren’t going to get lost. It’s not built up or fancy. 

One drawback: the drive is close to two hours, although you can stay in Leadville about half an hour away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 8 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,500 feet / 3,200 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,700 feet/ 3,566 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Powderhorn Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best Western Slope skiing

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Powderhorn is known for their awesome tree skiing, but they also have great options for beginners. If you don’t want to downhill ski, they have cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,200 feet / 2,499 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,850 feet/ 3,002 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Sunlight Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best uncrowded ski area

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Sunlight is off the beaten path, and is a budget-friendly, family-friendly resort without a lot of fancy amenities. There’s skiing and boarding for all abilities, along with snowmobile tours. You can also soak in Glenwood’s famous hot springs after a day of hard work on the mountain!

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 10
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,880 feet / 2,402 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,895 feet/ 3,016 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

Monarch Mountain 

⛷️ Best hidden gem

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Monarch is west of Salida, and is a lesser-known resort with amazing views. If you want to branch out from the 64 trails, you can also go snowcat skiing.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,790 feet / 3,289 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,952 feet/ 3,643 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$ 

Granby Ranch 

⛷️ Best place to learn to ski

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Granby is a family-friendly resort that’s one of the best places in the state to learn to ski. It also offers night skiing and boarding. It’s about an hour and a half from Denver, so you can make it a long day or stay nearby.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 11
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  120 inches/ 305 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,202 feet / 2,500 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,202 feet/ 2,805 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Echo Mountain 

⛷️  Closest to Denver

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Echo Mountain is one of Colorado’s newest resorts, and the closest to Denver. It has night skiing and boarding, and a terrain park, although if you’re a beginning skier you may find there aren’t many runs for you here. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: TBD
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  275 inches/ 699 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,050 feet / 3,063 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,650 feet/ 3,246 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Denver, be sure to check out some of our favorite hotels!

Howelsen Hill

⛷️  Best long jumps 

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs is the oldest ski resort in Colorado. It has also produced the most Olympic skiers. Howelsen has great night skiing and is cheaper than Steamboat Ski Resort. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 27
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  170 inches/ 432 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,696 feet / 2,041 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 7,136 feet/ 2,175 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Kendall Mountain Ski Area

⛷️  Best tiny community ski spot

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Kendall Mountain was a resort that closed in the 80s. The city of Silverton then bought and opened it for the community. It isn’t fancy, it has one lift, a terrain park, and four trails. But it’s a great spot for families who want to do a little skiing for barely more than it costs to go to the movies.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,313 feet / 2,839 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,596 feet/ 2,925 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

FAQ

How many ski resorts are in Colorado?

There are 32 ski resorts in the state of Colorado. 

What months are best to ski in Colorado?

January and February are the best months to ski in Colorado. All resorts – even the late-starting ones – are open by then, and there has been time for snow to accumulate. Just remember that these months can be very cold, and also get busy on weekends.

What are the major ski areas in Colorado?

Colorado has several major ski areas. Many resorts are along I-70 as it winds through the mountains, including Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Vail, and Beaver Creek. There are several resorts in southwestern Colorado as well, like Telluride, Purgatory, and Silverton. Aspen has four resorts. Finally, there are some smaller resorts near Denver like Echo Mountain and Eldora.

What is the oldest ski area in Colorado?

Howelsen Hill is the oldest ski area in Colorado. It opened in 1914 and has been in operation for more than 100 years. It has also produced more Olympians than any other ski area in the U.S.

What is the prettiest ski resort in Colorado?

Telluride is considered the prettiest ski resort in Colorado by many. The remote location means fewer people crowd the slopes and streets of Telluride, and the jaw-dropping scenery is one-of-a-kind.

Which Colorado ski resorts stay open the longest?

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is known for staying open the longest – usually into June each year. Loveland and Winter Park both tend to stay open until May.

Which is the biggest ski resort in Colorado?

Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado, based on skiable acreage. It has 5,317 skiable (or boardable) acres – 2,000 acres more than the next resort on the list.

Is skiing better in Utah or Colorado?

The consensus seems to be that skiing is better in Utah than Colorado. Utah resorts get more snow overall, and it’s easier to predict when that snow will land. However, Colorado does have more – and higher – resorts than Utah. The altitude can produce fluffier, lighter snow but Colorado just doesn’t have as much of it. 

***

👉 Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Colorado

Thanks to Colorado’s variety of smaller, family-friendly resorts, it’s still topsin my book, however!

Hopefully, you found a resort (or several!) to suit your plans here. Colorado in winter and snowy spring is truly a magical place. 

If you’re planning a ski trip to Colorado, your only problem may be deciding which of the many amazing Colorado ski resorts you want to settle on. 

I happen to think Colorado is gorgeous in every single season, but I have a soft spot for the ski towns and resorts in winter. Spending a day on the slopes, unwinding with a little après-ski cocktail or craft beer, and flopping in front of a fire with a fluffy blanket, exhausted from the day…well, there’s no feeling quite like it. It’s even worth wrangling four children in huge snowsuits who keep losing their gloves!

Whether you’re a serious powderhound or a family trying out skiing or snowboarding for the first time, Colorado has a ski resort that’s perfect for you! I’ve rounded up the best ski resorts in Colorado here, with tips on pricing, amenities, local favorites, gorgeous tourist destinations, and more. 

Happy shredding!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Ski Resorts in Colorado

Vail Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best varied terrain for all types of skiers

View of the Vail ski slopes and a snowy mountain

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Vail is one of the biggest resorts in the world, and one of the top places to go in Colorado for winter sports. Just the word “Vail” is basically synonymous with skiing, so it’s no wonder they have terrain for every level of skier. Lionshead Village is at the base of the mountain and has shops, restaurants, ice skating, and other activities if you have non-skiers in your party.  

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12th
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 189 inches / 480 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,120 feet / 2,475 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,570 feet / 3,527 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Skiing and boarding in Colorado can get cold! Bring along some hand and toe warmers to keep those extremities toasty warm. 

Breckenridge

⛷️ Ski in, ski out lodgings

View of skiers in Breckenridge Colorado
(photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Breck’s popular Peak 8 has terrain parks, bowls, and plenty of intermediate and advanced ski runs. It also offers lessons for beginners, or anyone looking to improve. If you want a break from skiing, dog-sledding, tubing, snowmobiling, and other outdoor activities are available. Downtown has great restaurants, bars, and shops. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 12
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 366 inches / 930 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,600 feet / 2,926 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,998 feet / 3,962 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Aspen Mountain Ski Resort

⛷️Best for expert runs

The Aspen Mountain covered with snow during winter season

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

There are four ski resorts in Aspen, and this one is the closest to downtown. There aren’t many beginners runs here, but there are plenty of black diamonds and a few blues. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall: 300 inches / 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,945 feet / 2,422 meters
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,212 feet/ 3,417 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort

⛷️Best intermediate resort

View of skiers and snowboarders riding a lift in Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort
(photo: David A Litman / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

One lift ticket allows you to access all four ski resorts in Aspen. Snowmass is the largest and most popular. It’s in-between the expert runs of Aspen Mountain and Highlands, and the easy runs at Buttermilk. It also offers plenty of non-ski activities like ziplines, an alpine coaster, and ice skating. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,104 feet / 2,470 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,510 feet/ 3,813 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Aspen Highlands 

⛷️  Best for Aspen locals

The Aspen Highland Bowl in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Aspen Highlands isn’t as popular as the other Aspen resorts, which could be why it’s a hangout for locals. More than two-thirds of the resort is expert skiing, and the views of the Maroon Bells are unrivaled. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,040 feet / 2,451 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,392 feet/ 3,777 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$ 

Buttermilk Mountain

⛷️  Best Aspen resort for beginners

View of the Aspen Colorado Buttermilk Mountain covered in snow

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Buttermilk is the best of the four Aspen resorts for learning to ski, and for kids wanting to take to the mountain. There’s also a popular terrain park. Buttermilk’s visibility as home to the X Games also makes it popular with freestyle skiers and riders. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 12 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,870 feet / 2,399 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,900 feet/ 3,018 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Keystone Resort

⛷️Best for beginners

Little kids being prepared by adults to try snowboarding
(photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Keystone is a family-friendly resort that’s not far from Denver. It has plenty of free gear wagons to cart kids and stuff around, deals on gear and lessons, and a Kidtopia play area. Keystone’s night skiing goes until 8 pm on weekends and holidays. The resort also has beginner and intermediate runs scattered throughout so beginners have plenty of choices. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October (as soon as weather permits)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  225 inches/ 571 cm
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,280 feet / 2,829 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

🏔️ Pro Tip: I-70, the main thoroughfare for many resorts in Colorado, is notorious for its ski traffic. To improve your chances, ski during the week, leave really early in the morning or very late the night before, and always check the weather.

Telluride Ski Resort

⛷️ World-class resort with every amenity

The Alpine skiing in Telluride, Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Telluride is hard to reach (it’s a 6+ hour drive from Denver!), but once you’re there it has everything you’ll need for a winter vacation. The mountain views are legendary, and the resort has a variety of beginner-advanced runs. There’s a free gondola in town, and an adventure park, and other winter fun.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  280 inches/ 711 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,750 feet / 2,667 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,150 feet/ 4,008 meters 

Steamboat Resort

⛷️Best  “Champagne Powder”

The Gondola building can be seen from afar in Steamboat Resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Steamboat Resort trademarked their snow. 

It’s the only place in the world where you can ski on official “Champagne Powder,” and the pillowy, fluffy snow is a whole lot of fun. The mountain is lower than most others, so if you struggle with altitude sickness, this could be a good option. Steamboat also has great runs for tree skiing. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  336 inches/ 853 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,900 feet / 2,103 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,568 feet/ 3,221 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Winter Park

⛷️ Great for families

View of skiers and snowboarders in Winter Park in Colorado
(photo: LanaG / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Winter Park is another popular place for Denver-area locals, as it makes for an easy winter day trip. Winter Park is just 90 minutes from Denver, and there is a wide variety of trails for beginners to expert skiers and boarders. There’s plenty of lodging nearby, along with shops and restaurants, plus tubing and other activities for kids. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  327 inches/ 831 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,000 feet / 2,743 meters  
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,060 feet/ 3,676 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: Ski helmets can (literally) be a lifesaver, even if you’ve been skiing a long time. REI has some great options

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

⛷️Local skiing for intermediates and beyond

View of skiers riding a lift in Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
(photo: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Thanks to its close proximity and the fact that there’s no on-site lodging, A-Basin is popular with locals and less so with tourists. The slopes are more challenging here, and there aren’t a ton of options for beginning skiers. For more fun, picnic at “The Beach” – a section of the parking lot where people tailgate. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,780 feet / 3,286 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,408 feet/ 3,782 meters
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Copper Mountain

⛷️Popular overnight resort for locals

View of people waiting in line for a ski lift in Copper Mountain
(photo: Steve Boice / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

When locals want to get away for a weekend of skiing, many of them head to Copper Mountain. It has the amenities of upscale resorts like Vail, plus quick freeway access makes for an easy drive. It’s family-friendly with plenty of runs for every level, plus tubing, ice skating, and other activities. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  305 inches/ 774 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,712 feet / 2,946 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,441 feet/ 3,792 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

❄️ Don’t Forget to Pack: You’ll want heavy, waterproof gloves for skiing and snowboarding, but these cable-knit gloves are great for wearing around town after the slopes (and you can text with them on!).

Loveland Ski Area

⛷️ Best for a quick day trip

The ski area in Loveland Pass in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Loveland and A-Basin are two of the most popular local ski areas, but Loveland Valley is much easier for less-experienced skiers. Loveland Basin has more challenging runs. Loveland also offers free snowcat skiing for a unique experience.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 31 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  422 inches/ 1,072 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,800 feet / 3,292 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,010 feet/ 3,965 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

📚 Related Reading: Hanging out in Denver for a while? Check out this complete list of things to do in Denver!

Beaver Creek Resort

⛷️Less crowded upscale resort

Skiers posing for a picture in Beaver Creek Resort
(photo:  jweller / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Beaver Creek is in the same general area as Vail, but doesn’t have an entire town built around it so it attracts fewer crowds. It does have a famous World Cup run, plus plenty of beginner through advanced runs. When I skied there, helpful guides at the top of the lifts suggested runs based on my ability.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  325 inches/ 826 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,100 feet / 2,469 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,440 feet/ 3,488 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Purgatory Resort

⛷️Jaw-dropping scenery, budget price

View of a snowy mountain in Purgatory Resort

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Purgatory is a great southwestern Colorado resort for families. It’s mostly visited by locals and while there are plenty of beginning and intermediate runs, advanced skiers will find stuff for them, too. The price is low, too. Durango is the closest town, about a 20 minute drive away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 23 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm  
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,793 feet / 2,680 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,822 feet/ 3,299 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$$

Silverton Mountain

⛷️ Expert backcountry skiing

View from a skier in Silverton Mountain

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Silverton is unique in that there’s one double chairlift that drops you off at a spot where you then have plenty of options to hike to ski. If that’s not your style…you can also heli-ski. Every skier on the mountain is required to carry avalanche gear, and nothing is groomed – it’s all untouched snow. Guides are available, or you can go your own way.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  400 inches/ 1,016 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,400 feet / 3,170 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 13,487 feet/ 4,111 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$-$$$$

Wolf Creek Ski Area

⛷️ Best for early skiing

View of snowy mountains in Wolf Creek

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Wolf Creek brags they’re the resort with the most snow in Colorado. There’s a good range of beginner and intermediate runs, and almost half the runs are advanced. There’s no town or lodgings at the resort, but Pagosa Springs is just over half an hour away – and a good hot spring to soak after a day on the slopes! 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: October 16
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  430 inches/ 1,092 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,300 feet / 3,139 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,904 feet/ 3,628 meters 
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Crested Butte

⛷️ Best real Colorado ski town

View of Crested Butte in Colorado

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Crested Butte prides itself on being a “real Colorado ski town” with no high rises, or even traffic lights. The mountain has a terrain park and plenty of runs for all levels. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 24
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  234 inches/ 594 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,375 feet / 2,856 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 12,162 feet/ 3,707 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

Eldora Mountain

⛷️ Best for Boulder locals

View of the Eldora Mountain and Ski Resort from afar

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Eldora Mountain is less than an hour from Boulder and has plenty of skiing for all levels. It’s laid back and the children’s center makes it family-friendly. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 19
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  300 inches/ 762 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,200 feet / 2,804 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,600 feet/ 3,231 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$$

📚 Related Reading: Staying in Boulder for a while? Be sure to check out my extensive list of things to do in Boulder!

Ski Cooper 

⛷️ Best family budget ski area

The author's kids having fun skiing in Ski Cooper

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

As evidenced above, Ski Cooper is one of our family favorites. Here’s why: it’s not crowded. It’s cheap. It’s small enough that older kids who want to ski on their own aren’t going to get lost. It’s not built up or fancy. 

One drawback: the drive is close to two hours, although you can stay in Leadville about half an hour away. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 8 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  260 inches/ 660 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,500 feet / 3,200 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,700 feet/ 3,566 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Powderhorn Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best Western Slope skiing

View of ski lift and runs in Powderhorn Mountain Resort
(photo: Linda Armstrong / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Powderhorn is known for their awesome tree skiing, but they also have great options for beginners. If you don’t want to downhill ski, they have cross-country skiing or snowmobiling. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 16 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,200 feet / 2,499 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,850 feet/ 3,002 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Sunlight Mountain Resort

⛷️ Best uncrowded ski area

The view of Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort from top

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Sunlight is off the beaten path, and is a budget-friendly, family-friendly resort without a lot of fancy amenities. There’s skiing and boarding for all abilities, along with snowmobile tours. You can also soak in Glenwood’s famous hot springs after a day of hard work on the mountain!

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 10
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  250 inches/ 635 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 7,880 feet / 2,402 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,895 feet/ 3,016 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

Monarch Mountain 

⛷️ Best hidden gem

The Monarch Mountain sign in Colorado
(photo: Cascade Creatives / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Monarch is west of Salida, and is a lesser-known resort with amazing views. If you want to branch out from the 64 trails, you can also go snowcat skiing.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 25 (estimated)
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  350 inches/ 889 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,790 feet / 3,289 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 11,952 feet/ 3,643 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$ 

Granby Ranch 

⛷️ Best place to learn to ski

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Granby is a family-friendly resort that’s one of the best places in the state to learn to ski. It also offers night skiing and boarding. It’s about an hour and a half from Denver, so you can make it a long day or stay nearby.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 11
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  120 inches/ 305 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 8,202 feet / 2,500 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,202 feet/ 2,805 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $$

Echo Mountain 

⛷️  Closest to Denver

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Echo Mountain is one of Colorado’s newest resorts, and the closest to Denver. It has night skiing and boarding, and a terrain park, although if you’re a beginning skier you may find there aren’t many runs for you here. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: TBD
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  275 inches/ 699 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 10,050 feet / 3,063 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 10,650 feet/ 3,246 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $ 

📚 Related Reading: If you’re staying in Denver, be sure to check out some of our favorite hotels!

Howelsen Hill

⛷️  Best long jumps 

View of a little girl learning how to ski
(photo: arinahabich / 123RF)

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs is the oldest ski resort in Colorado. It has also produced the most Olympic skiers. Howelsen has great night skiing and is cheaper than Steamboat Ski Resort. 

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: November 27
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  170 inches/ 432 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 6,696 feet / 2,041 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 7,136 feet/ 2,175 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

Kendall Mountain Ski Area

⛷️  Best tiny community ski spot

📍 Google Maps | Website | 👉 Book Your Stay on Booking

Kendall Mountain was a resort that closed in the 80s. The city of Silverton then bought and opened it for the community. It isn’t fancy, it has one lift, a terrain park, and four trails. But it’s a great spot for families who want to do a little skiing for barely more than it costs to go to the movies.

  • 📅 2021-2022 Opening Date: December 17
  • ❄️ Average Annual Snowfall:  200 inches/ 508 cm 
  • 🎿 Elevation at Base: 9,313 feet / 2,839 meters 
  • 🏔️ Elevation at Summit: 9,596 feet/ 2,925 meters  
  • 🚠 Lift Ticket Cost: $

FAQ

How many ski resorts are in Colorado?

There are 32 ski resorts in the state of Colorado. 

What months are best to ski in Colorado?

January and February are the best months to ski in Colorado. All resorts – even the late-starting ones – are open by then, and there has been time for snow to accumulate. Just remember that these months can be very cold, and also get busy on weekends.

What are the major ski areas in Colorado?

Colorado has several major ski areas. Many resorts are along I-70 as it winds through the mountains, including Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Copper Mountain, Vail, and Beaver Creek. There are several resorts in southwestern Colorado as well, like Telluride, Purgatory, and Silverton. Aspen has four resorts. Finally, there are some smaller resorts near Denver like Echo Mountain and Eldora.

What is the oldest ski area in Colorado?

Howelsen Hill is the oldest ski area in Colorado. It opened in 1914 and has been in operation for more than 100 years. It has also produced more Olympians than any other ski area in the U.S.

What is the prettiest ski resort in Colorado?

Telluride is considered the prettiest ski resort in Colorado by many. The remote location means fewer people crowd the slopes and streets of Telluride, and the jaw-dropping scenery is one-of-a-kind.

Which Colorado ski resorts stay open the longest?

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is known for staying open the longest – usually into June each year. Loveland and Winter Park both tend to stay open until May.

Which is the biggest ski resort in Colorado?

Vail is the largest ski resort in Colorado, based on skiable acreage. It has 5,317 skiable (or boardable) acres – 2,000 acres more than the next resort on the list.

Is skiing better in Utah or Colorado?

The consensus seems to be that skiing is better in Utah than Colorado. Utah resorts get more snow overall, and it’s easier to predict when that snow will land. However, Colorado does have more – and higher – resorts than Utah. The altitude can produce fluffier, lighter snow but Colorado just doesn’t have as much of it. 

***

👉 Read Next: The Best Things to Do in Colorado

Thanks to Colorado’s variety of smaller, family-friendly resorts, it’s still topsin my book, however!

Hopefully, you found a resort (or several!) to suit your plans here. Colorado in winter and snowy spring is truly a magical place. 

]]>
13 Best Beaches in Fort Lauderdale (By a Local) https://travellemming.com/fort-lauderdale-beaches/ Wed, 27 Oct 2021 17:50:17 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=31437

Fort Lauderdale is a growing destination for travelers seeking a tropical, beachside getaway right within the confines of the United States. And after living here for four years, I completely understand why.

Our beaches are gorgeous – the water is turquoise blue, crystal clear, and warm year-round. The sandy shores are soft and white while offering an immense amount of amenities right from your beach chair. In fact, our beaches are consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches in Florida!

But don’t just take my word for it. Scroll below to see for yourself. Better yet, use this helpful guide to plan your next beach day while visiting the Ft Lauderdale area! Enjoy!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

13 Best Beaches In Greater Fort Lauderdale

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area encompasses all of Broward County and its 24 miles of sandy shores. Fort Lauderdale Beach is the epicenter for beachgoers but the surrounding cities offer some of the more popular beaches in the area.

North Ocean Park

Hillsboro Beach

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Parking Lot, limited space, $3 – 6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Royal Flamingo Villas

Thanks to the scenic Hillsboro Lighthouse, North Ocean Park in Hillsboro Beach is amongst the prettiest beaches in Fort Lauderdale. Ocean views are accompanied by the sheer entertainment boaters provide as they depart the choppy waters of Hillsboro Inlet. However, nothing compares to the serenity the glistening Atlantic Ocean provides as you relax underneath the swaying palm trees.

🚨 Visit the Hillsboro Lighthouse: Only accessible by boat, tours depart from nearby Sands Dock on the hour, 7 times a day to reach the climbable lighthouse.

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

Fort Lauderdale

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Parking Lot, $3 – 6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: The Lago Mar Beach Resort

The largest public beach in Fort Lauderdale features all the amenities you might ask for: basketball and volleyball courts, picnic tables, charcoal grills, restrooms, playgrounds, freshwater showers, and water sport rentals. 

To top it off, Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is conveniently located across the street from the Bahia Mar Marina, the city’s top destination for boat tours including the Water Taxi, Jungle Queen, glass-bottom snorkeling, and fishing charters.

📚 Related Reading: If you’re looking for fun things to do, Fort Lauderdale offers some excellent boating and water activities that make our list!

Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park

Dania Beach

📍 Google Maps | Website | State Park entrance fees, $2 – $8 depending on the mode of transportation and amount of people

Just south of Port Everglades in Dania Beach is Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, a testament to habitat conservation in the midst of a major metropolitan area. Despite the nearby port, pristine beach conditions remain resembling a natural barrier island from the past. 

Additionally, the mangrove-lined waterways winding through Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park are excellent for water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating.

🦞 Looking for fresh seafood? After your day at the park, grab a bite to eat at the nearby Quarterdeck on Dania Beach Pier for the fresh catch of the day.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Lot & Street Parking, $4 – $6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Beach Aqualina Apartments

With mid-century modern architecture spread throughout its shores, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a picturesque South Florida destination for family getaways and one of the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale

The small beach town offers a beautiful beach canopied with lush palms, a vibrant town square, restaurants serving up fresh seafood, and even a pristine coral reef accessible via snorkeling right from shore.

Vista Park

Fort Lauderdale

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Parking Lot, extremely limited space, $2 – $3 per hour

Along Fort Lauderdale’s Galt Mile is Vista Park, a reclusive beach in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The beach is popular for local scuba divers looking to explore the marine life in the shallow coral reef right offshore. In fact, because of the thriving reef, it’s common for sea turtles to climb ashore at night in Vista Park to lay their eggs.

🌴 Local Tip: Loggerhead Park and Earl-Lifshey Ocean Park are two other beaches nearby if parking happens to be full at Vista Park.

South City Beach Park

Hallandale Beach

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered parking lot, $3 – $6 per hour 

If you’re staying in southern Broward County, add South City Beach Park in Hallandale Beach to your itinerary. This modern park, completed in 2015, has a volleyball court, beachside cafe, and playground along the sandy beach. Parking goes quick, so head to North City Beach Park up the road if need be.

📚 Related Reading: head a little further south and you’ll end up in Miami Beach, one of the best day trips from Fort Lauderdale during your stay.

Hollywood Beach

Hollywood

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Street & Lot Parking, $3 – $6 per hour  | Best Nearby Hotel: Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, a pedestrian-only roadway paralleled to the Atlantic Ocean, is the main attraction along the shores of Hollywood Beach. 

The strip is lined with beach bars and seafood restaurants while being traversed by beachgoers, cyclers, and joggers. It’s an exciting atmosphere, and one you should make time for if staying in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Fort Lauderdale

📍 Google Maps | Website | State Park entrance fees, $2 – $8 depending on the method of transportation and amount of people | Best Nearby Hotel: Tropical Oasis Condos

On the corner of Sunrise Blvd and the A1A is Fort Lauderdale’s very own central park, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. The scenic barrier island is ripe with outdoor adventures including paddling, hiking, and fishing along the Intracoastal Waterway. With all-day parking included in the entrance fee, the park offers the cheapest parking in Fort Lauderdale for a beach day.

📚 Related Reading: Just across the street is the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens – the former estate to two world-renowned artists. Today, it’s a fascinating museum tucked away in a natural coastal setting and one of our favorite places to visit in South Florida.

Deerfield Beach

Deerfield Beach

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered street & lot parking, $3 – $6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Vistalmar Beach Resort

Deerfield Beach is the northernmost city in Greater Fort Lauderdale before entering Palm Beach County. It’s a quaint area giving visitors a different change of pace from the beaches surrounding Fort Lauderdale Beach. 

The fishing pier provides scenic views and the massive outdoor pavilion serves as an excellent gathering point for a family get-together or BBQ with friends.

Pompano Beach Park

Pompano Beach

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Lot & Street Parking, $3 – $6 / hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Wave Beach Vacation Rentals

A once forgotten corner of Broward County, this newly renovated district is one of the best beaches in Greater Fort Lauderdale. 

The city of Pompano Beach has done an excellent job building the scene with new bars, restaurants, exclusive shops, playgrounds, a fishing pier, and clean facilities. Lucky Fish Pompano Beach, in particular, is a good beachside tiki bar serving up Caribbean-style cuisine for an affordable price.

Hollywood North Beach Park

Hollywood

📍 Google Maps | Website | $10 All Day Parking or nearby metered street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: Villa Sinclair Beach Suites and Spa

For a more reclusive beach experience, check out Hollywood North Beach Park. Although still accessible to the hot spots of Hollywood Beach, the park is just far north enough to avoid the crowds of the Broadwalk. 

Plus, the park has many amenities you’d need for a full beach day including a cafe, bathroom facilities, a playground, and a nearby walkway.

🚗 LOCAL TIP: if parking is full, head north to the side streets of Green Street or Pershing Street. Parking is a bit more expensive but the beach is beautiful and even less crowded than North Beach Park.

Las Olas Beach

Fort Lauderdale

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered lot & street parking, $3 – $6 per hour  

From downtown Fort Lauderdale head straight east on Las Olas Blvd to find the most popular beach in the city. You won’t find a lack of activity as the oceanfront is paralleled with beachside restaurants, dive bars, taquerias, and surf shops. In fact, there are so many activities on Las Olas that it even made our list of the best stuff to do in South Florida!

Across the street, at the newly renovated oceanside park, you’ll discover events like the Friday Night Sound Waves and a local Farmer’s Market on Saturdays!

📱Protect Your Phone at the Beach: As a boat Captain and avid beach bum, I use a Pelican Case to store my phone during all my ocean adventures. It’s a great thing to have if you plan to spend a lot of time along the shore.

Fort Lauderdale Jetties

Fort Lauderdale

📍 Google Maps | Metered Street Parking, $3 – $6 per hour 

This secret stretch of sand next to Port Everglades is an excellent spot to bring your fishing pole along the rocky surface as you watch the freighters, cruise ships, and sport fishing charters motor in after a long day at sea. Parking may be difficult, but a quiet day at the jetties is well worth the challenge.

FAQs about Beaches in Fort Lauderdale

Does Fort Lauderdale have good beaches?

The beaches in Fort Lauderdale consistently rank among the best Florida beaches. Top beaches in the area include Hillsboro Beach, Pompano Beach, Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, and Hollywood Beach, which are some of the highest rated beaches in the state.

Is the water clear in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

The water in Fort Lauderdale is typically crystal clear. This is due to the nearby Gulf Stream, a major ocean current which brings warm blue water from the Gulf of Mexico close to Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Are Fort Lauderdale beaches safe to swim in?

The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are very safe to swim in. With minimal current, exceptional water quality, typically calm sea conditions, shy marine life inhabiting the nearby coral reefs, and professional lifeguards stationed above, visitors find safe swimming conditions at the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale.

***

Sun worshippers flock to Ft Lauderdale to sink their toes in our white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. It’s a great destination with some of our spots even making our list of the Best Florida Beaches

We can’t wait for you to make the trip to South Florida and see for yourself!

Fort Lauderdale is a growing destination for travelers seeking a tropical, beachside getaway right within the confines of the United States. And after living here for four years, I completely understand why.

Our beaches are gorgeous – the water is turquoise blue, crystal clear, and warm year-round. The sandy shores are soft and white while offering an immense amount of amenities right from your beach chair. In fact, our beaches are consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches in Florida!

But don’t just take my word for it. Scroll below to see for yourself. Better yet, use this helpful guide to plan your next beach day while visiting the Ft Lauderdale area! Enjoy!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

13 Best Beaches In Greater Fort Lauderdale

The Greater Fort Lauderdale area encompasses all of Broward County and its 24 miles of sandy shores. Fort Lauderdale Beach is the epicenter for beachgoers but the surrounding cities offer some of the more popular beaches in the area.

North Ocean Park

Hillsboro Beach

View of the Hillsboro Lighthouse in North Ocean Park from afar
Hillsboro Lighthouse from North Ocean Park in Hillsboro Beach.

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Parking Lot, limited space, $3 – 6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Royal Flamingo Villas

Thanks to the scenic Hillsboro Lighthouse, North Ocean Park in Hillsboro Beach is amongst the prettiest beaches in Fort Lauderdale. Ocean views are accompanied by the sheer entertainment boaters provide as they depart the choppy waters of Hillsboro Inlet. However, nothing compares to the serenity the glistening Atlantic Ocean provides as you relax underneath the swaying palm trees.

🚨 Visit the Hillsboro Lighthouse: Only accessible by boat, tours depart from nearby Sands Dock on the hour, 7 times a day to reach the climbable lighthouse.

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

Fort Lauderdale

View of people doing different activities in Fort Lauderdale Beach Park
The beach park is a great place to gather for a beach day. (photo: Serenethos / Shutterstock.)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Parking Lot, $3 – 6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: The Lago Mar Beach Resort

The largest public beach in Fort Lauderdale features all the amenities you might ask for: basketball and volleyball courts, picnic tables, charcoal grills, restrooms, playgrounds, freshwater showers, and water sport rentals. 

To top it off, Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is conveniently located across the street from the Bahia Mar Marina, the city’s top destination for boat tours including the Water Taxi, Jungle Queen, glass-bottom snorkeling, and fishing charters.

📚 Related Reading: If you’re looking for fun things to do, Fort Lauderdale offers some excellent boating and water activities that make our list!

Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park

Dania Beach

View of a pathway to Dania Beach in Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park
Pathway to the secluded beach within the park.

📍 Google Maps | Website | State Park entrance fees, $2 – $8 depending on the mode of transportation and amount of people

Just south of Port Everglades in Dania Beach is Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, a testament to habitat conservation in the midst of a major metropolitan area. Despite the nearby port, pristine beach conditions remain resembling a natural barrier island from the past. 

Additionally, the mangrove-lined waterways winding through Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park are excellent for water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating.

🦞 Looking for fresh seafood? After your day at the park, grab a bite to eat at the nearby Quarterdeck on Dania Beach Pier for the fresh catch of the day.

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Beach

Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

View of a walkway in a beachfront town center and colorful seats and umbrellas along it
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has a colorful downtown to explore.

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Lot & Street Parking, $4 – $6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Beach Aqualina Apartments

With mid-century modern architecture spread throughout its shores, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a picturesque South Florida destination for family getaways and one of the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale

The small beach town offers a beautiful beach canopied with lush palms, a vibrant town square, restaurants serving up fresh seafood, and even a pristine coral reef accessible via snorkeling right from shore.

Vista Park

Fort Lauderdale

View of the residential area in Vista Park and the Galt Ocean Mile Condos
Vista Park is hidden within a residential, oceanfront neighborhood

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Parking Lot, extremely limited space, $2 – $3 per hour

Along Fort Lauderdale’s Galt Mile is Vista Park, a reclusive beach in the middle of a residential neighborhood. The beach is popular for local scuba divers looking to explore the marine life in the shallow coral reef right offshore. In fact, because of the thriving reef, it’s common for sea turtles to climb ashore at night in Vista Park to lay their eggs.

🌴 Local Tip: Loggerhead Park and Earl-Lifshey Ocean Park are two other beaches nearby if parking happens to be full at Vista Park.

South City Beach Park

Hallandale Beach

View of two beach ball sculpture and a lifeguard tower in Hallandale Beach
Hallandale Beach has invested in its oceanfront public spaces. (photo: Malgosia S / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered parking lot, $3 – $6 per hour 

If you’re staying in southern Broward County, add South City Beach Park in Hallandale Beach to your itinerary. This modern park, completed in 2015, has a volleyball court, beachside cafe, and playground along the sandy beach. Parking goes quick, so head to North City Beach Park up the road if need be.

📚 Related Reading: head a little further south and you’ll end up in Miami Beach, one of the best day trips from Fort Lauderdale during your stay.

Hollywood Beach

Hollywood

View of people walking and a woman biking along the Hollywood Beach
The Broadwalk in Hollywood Beach is a popular spot for beachgoers. (photo: Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Street & Lot Parking, $3 – $6 per hour  | Best Nearby Hotel: Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

The Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, a pedestrian-only roadway paralleled to the Atlantic Ocean, is the main attraction along the shores of Hollywood Beach. 

The strip is lined with beach bars and seafood restaurants while being traversed by beachgoers, cyclers, and joggers. It’s an exciting atmosphere, and one you should make time for if staying in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Fort Lauderdale

The Hugh Taylor Birch State Park sign on a sunny day
The beachfront park is a local’s favorite with its affordable beach parking. (photo: Serenethos / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | State Park entrance fees, $2 – $8 depending on the method of transportation and amount of people | Best Nearby Hotel: Tropical Oasis Condos

On the corner of Sunrise Blvd and the A1A is Fort Lauderdale’s very own central park, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. The scenic barrier island is ripe with outdoor adventures including paddling, hiking, and fishing along the Intracoastal Waterway. With all-day parking included in the entrance fee, the park offers the cheapest parking in Fort Lauderdale for a beach day.

📚 Related Reading: Just across the street is the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens – the former estate to two world-renowned artists. Today, it’s a fascinating museum tucked away in a natural coastal setting and one of our favorite places to visit in South Florida.

Deerfield Beach

Deerfield Beach

People playing volleyball in Deerfield Beach
Get into a volleyball game in Deerfield Beach

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered street & lot parking, $3 – $6 per hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Vistalmar Beach Resort

Deerfield Beach is the northernmost city in Greater Fort Lauderdale before entering Palm Beach County. It’s a quaint area giving visitors a different change of pace from the beaches surrounding Fort Lauderdale Beach. 

The fishing pier provides scenic views and the massive outdoor pavilion serves as an excellent gathering point for a family get-together or BBQ with friends.

Pompano Beach Park

Pompano Beach

View of people walking on the boardwalk of the Pompano Beach Public Pier
The fishing pier in Pompano Beach is newly renovated. (photo: Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered Lot & Street Parking, $3 – $6 / hour | Best Nearby Hotel: Wave Beach Vacation Rentals

A once forgotten corner of Broward County, this newly renovated district is one of the best beaches in Greater Fort Lauderdale. 

The city of Pompano Beach has done an excellent job building the scene with new bars, restaurants, exclusive shops, playgrounds, a fishing pier, and clean facilities. Lucky Fish Pompano Beach, in particular, is a good beachside tiki bar serving up Caribbean-style cuisine for an affordable price.

Hollywood North Beach Park

Hollywood

View of the Hollywood North Beach Park sign and trees around it
The backside of Hollywood North Beach Park has views of the Intracoastal Waterway. (photo: Serenethos / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Website | $10 All Day Parking or nearby metered street parking | Best Nearby Hotel: Villa Sinclair Beach Suites and Spa

For a more reclusive beach experience, check out Hollywood North Beach Park. Although still accessible to the hot spots of Hollywood Beach, the park is just far north enough to avoid the crowds of the Broadwalk. 

Plus, the park has many amenities you’d need for a full beach day including a cafe, bathroom facilities, a playground, and a nearby walkway.

🚗 LOCAL TIP: if parking is full, head north to the side streets of Green Street or Pershing Street. Parking is a bit more expensive but the beach is beautiful and even less crowded than North Beach Park.

Las Olas Beach

Fort Lauderdale

View of the clear blue sky and palm trees in Las Olas Beach
The blue wave sea wall along Fort Lauderdale Beach.

📍 Google Maps | Website | Metered lot & street parking, $3 – $6 per hour  

From downtown Fort Lauderdale head straight east on Las Olas Blvd to find the most popular beach in the city. You won’t find a lack of activity as the oceanfront is paralleled with beachside restaurants, dive bars, taquerias, and surf shops. In fact, there are so many activities on Las Olas that it even made our list of the best stuff to do in South Florida!

Across the street, at the newly renovated oceanside park, you’ll discover events like the Friday Night Sound Waves and a local Farmer’s Market on Saturdays!

📱Protect Your Phone at the Beach: As a boat Captain and avid beach bum, I use a Pelican Case to store my phone during all my ocean adventures. It’s a great thing to have if you plan to spend a lot of time along the shore.

Fort Lauderdale Jetties

Fort Lauderdale

Aerial view of the Fort Lauderdale Beach
The Fort Lauderdale Jetties are a great place to watch the boats go in and out of the port.

📍 Google Maps | Metered Street Parking, $3 – $6 per hour 

This secret stretch of sand next to Port Everglades is an excellent spot to bring your fishing pole along the rocky surface as you watch the freighters, cruise ships, and sport fishing charters motor in after a long day at sea. Parking may be difficult, but a quiet day at the jetties is well worth the challenge.

FAQs about Beaches in Fort Lauderdale

Does Fort Lauderdale have good beaches?

The beaches in Fort Lauderdale consistently rank among the best Florida beaches. Top beaches in the area include Hillsboro Beach, Pompano Beach, Dania Beach, Hallandale Beach, and Hollywood Beach, which are some of the highest rated beaches in the state.

Is the water clear in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

The water in Fort Lauderdale is typically crystal clear. This is due to the nearby Gulf Stream, a major ocean current which brings warm blue water from the Gulf of Mexico close to Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Are Fort Lauderdale beaches safe to swim in?

The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are very safe to swim in. With minimal current, exceptional water quality, typically calm sea conditions, shy marine life inhabiting the nearby coral reefs, and professional lifeguards stationed above, visitors find safe swimming conditions at the beautiful beaches of Fort Lauderdale.

***

Sun worshippers flock to Ft Lauderdale to sink their toes in our white sand beaches and crystal blue waters. It’s a great destination with some of our spots even making our list of the Best Florida Beaches

We can’t wait for you to make the trip to South Florida and see for yourself!

]]>
25 Things to Do in Central Florida (A Local’s Picks) https://travellemming.com/things-to-do-in-central-florida/ Tue, 26 Oct 2021 16:23:25 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=30693

Central Florida spans the middle of the Sunshine State from Tampa to Daytona Beach. While a majority of tourists will visit Orlando, there are tons more things to see and do when you venture out into the Central Florida area too!

As a native of Central Florida, I’ve spent years exploring the natural beauty and attractions that the region has to offer. 

To help you explore the best of the region, I’ve put together my list of the best things to do in Central Florida.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

👉 Jump to: Best Things | For Adults | Family Friendly | Cheap Things | Hidden Gems | Animals & Outdoors

Best Things to Do in Central Florida

Theme Parks

Thrill rides and family attractions

Walt Disney World | Universal Orlando | Busch Gardens | SeaWorld | LEGOLAND

When visiting Central Florida, you can create an entire vacation itinerary around Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and Busch Gardens. Orlando, home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, is the theme park capital of the world. There is an endless number of attractions at Disney World and Universal, including miniature golf courses, Disney Springs restaurants, and theme park rides. 

Kennedy Space Center

Blast off to outer space

📍 Map It: Google Maps | Phone: (855) 433-4210 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: starting at $57 for adults | 👉 Browse Space Center Tours on Viator

Visiting the Kennedy Space Center is an easy day trip from Orlando. The whole family will be able to learn about the history of space travel while exploring the Visitor’s Complex. Plan for a full-day visit because there are so many exhibits to see. You can even meet a real astronaut! 

📚 Related Reading: Check out my other recommendations for where to take a day trip from Orlando

Kayaking, Canoeing, and Paddleboarding

Paddle through crystal clear waters

Paddle Florida Website | 👉 Browse Orlando Kayaking Tours on Viator

I think the best way to experience the magic of wild Florida is from the water. Whether you prefer to stand or sit while you paddle through the water, there is a place for you to meander under sunny skies and view the local wildlife. 

Some of my favorite places to paddle are Three Sisters Springs/Crystal River to see manatees, the Space Coast for bioluminescence, the spring runs for crystal clear water, and Winter Park for stunning homes. Who needs a water park when you have so many natural waterways to enjoy? 

ZooTampa

Go wild with exotic animal encounters

📍 Map It: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604 | Phone: (813) 935-8552 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $43 ages 12+, $33 ages 3-11 | 👉 ZooTampa Admission Tickets

Florida is home to plenty of zoos, but ZooTampa is one of the best. As a former zookeeper, I hold animal facilities to high standards and I love visiting ZooTampa. 

Not only is the zoo clean and easy to navigate, but it offers lots of up-close encounters with the animals. I recommend walking through the lory aviary and stopping by the giraffe feeding station.

👉 Pro Tip: ZooTampa has earned the highest accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so you’ll be happy to know that their animals receive top-quality care! 

Museum of Science and Industry “MOSI”

Investigate interactive exhibits

📍 Map It: 4801 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33617 | Phone: (813) 987-6000 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $13 adults, $8 ages 12 and under | 👉 MOSI Admission Tickets

MOSI is more than just a museum. It is a place for kids (and grown-up kids) to explore through interactive exhibits. In addition to regular admission, you can add-on experiences at the ropes course and the planetarium. Check out their event calendar for special offerings because there are always fun things for the family to participate in. 

For Adults

Brewery Tours

Sip new flavors

There are too many fantastic breweries in Central Florida, so I won’t even try to list them all. The great news is that no matter where you are planning to visit, you will be able to enjoy some local, craft brews. 

Most breweries offer a tasting room or even a restaurant. Beer connoisseurs will enjoy touring the facilities, where you can see how each brewery makes its beverages. 

🍺Need a Recommendation? I love visiting Orlando Brewing in Downtown Orlando. They have live music, free tours, and a fun taproom. It’s the oldest brewery in Central Florida, and the only organic one in the state! 

JC Newman Cigar Company

Learn traditional cigar rolling

📍 Map It: 2701 N 16th St, Tampa, FL 33605 | Phone: (813) 248-2124 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm weekdays, closed weekends | Tour: $15 

The Cuban influence in Tampa is easy to feel as soon as you arrive. Even in this big city, you find a warm community in Ybor City. In its heyday, Ybor City was home to many cigar factories.

The area is still home to the JC Newman Cigar Company. You can tour the factory and see how cigars are made by hand and by antique machinery. This is a unique experience in the “Cigar City.”

👉 Hungry For More?: Head a few blocks south to Historic Ybor City to find some authentic Cuban food and a locally brewed beer. 

The Dali 

Art with a surreal perspective

📍 Map It: 1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 | Phone: (727) 823-3767 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Friday-Wednesday, 10 am – 8 pm Thursday | Entrance: $25 adults, $18 ages 13-17, $10 ages 6-12

The Dali is located on sparkling Tampa Bay in the art-loving city of St Petersburg. The museum houses an unmatched collection of over 2,400 pieces by Salvador Dali and features additional rotating exhibits. 

You should plan on grabbing lunch at the Cafe Gala in the museum. The cafe offers Spanish-style tapas and it is the best museum food I’ve ever had. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up a surrealist souvenir.

📚 Related Reading: Check out this list of the top things do in the state of Florida, which includes The Dali and other great attractions!

Family-Friendly

The Wheel at ICON Park

Aerial views of Orlando

📍 Map It: 8375 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819 | Phone: (407) 601-7907 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 10 pm Mon – Fri, 12 pm – 11 pm Sat – Sun | 👉 Tickets on Viator

The Wheel is located in ICON Park on International Drive. The kids will love taking in the sights from above and you can even control the music inside your air-conditioned cabin!

The Wheel is just one activity of the many attractions, restaurants, and mini-golf courses located on International Drive. You can spend a whole day at ICON Park and nearby Pointe Orlando. 

📚 Related Reading: For more family fun on I-Drive, check out my list of things to do in Orlando. If you need to book accommodation still, see my guide to the best areas to stay in Orlando.

Dinosaur World

See prehistoric creatures up close

📍 Map It: 5145 Harvey Tew Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 | Phone: (813) 717-9865 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $20 adults, $15 under 13

If you ask locals, Dinosaur World is either a joke or a cult favorite. The park is located between Orlando and Tampa, so it is a ways away from most other destinations.

However, kids love Dinosaur World! If you have a child that can name every dinosaur and tell you fun facts about them, this park is a can’t miss destination. The whole family will enjoy wandering the trails, seeing lifesize dinosaurs, and learning about prehistoric times. 

Glazer Children’s Museum

Learn through play

📍 Map It: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602 | Phone: (813) 443-3861 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 1 pm – 6 pm Sunday, Closed Monday | Entrance: $15 adults, $13 kids ages 1-12

Museums might not be at the top of the list for families traveling with children, but Glazer Children’s Museum is an exception. This museum allows children to learn through play. 

For families staying in Tampa or on the Gulf Coast, this is the perfect rainy day activity. The museum also offers special events throughout the year, so feel free to check out their calendar before your visit. 

Lost Pearl Pirate Ship

Conquer the high seas

📍 Map It: 333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602 | Phone: (813) 223-7999 | Website | Hours: 2 pm – 10 pm Friday and Sunday, 11 am – 10 pm Saturday | Entrance: $30 adults, $25 under 13

Tampa loves to celebrate their pirate history (don’t tell the locals that most of it is just a myth). A cruise on the Lost Pearl allows the entire family to live out a pirate adventure!

Youngsters will learn how to load and fire the (water) cannons while pirates teach them all the lingo needed to work on a ship. Pirates ages 21 and up can enjoy complimentary wine and beer while they pillage Tampa Bay.

Airboat Tour

Fly over land and water

Visit Florida’s Airboat Website | 👉 Browse Airboat Tours on Viator

Airboat rides are fun adventures for the family to explore the abundant wildlife of the Florida Everglades. Most people don’t realize that the headwaters of the Everglades actually begins in Central Florida at Lake Kissimmee. 

The whirr of the fan will take your boat gliding over water, marshes, and even land. Airboat rides are great for a family that loves adrenaline but has children that are too small to ride roller coasters. 

Cheap Things To Do

Visit the Beaches

Enjoy the white sand beaches

📍 Map It: St. Pete Beach | Clearwater Beach | Cocoa Beach | Daytona Beach

The main beaches in Central Florida are St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach, on the Gulf Coast, and Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach, on the Atlantic Coast. Even traveling from Orlando in the middle of the state, visits to the Central Florida beaches are easy day trips. 

The west coast of the state offers unbelievable sunsets and sugar sand beaches. The east coast is known for surfing and endless beaches along most of the coast. 

📚 Related Reading: Want more beach recommendations? Check out our article on the most beautiful beaches in Florida, a list put together by locals!

Bok Tower Gardens

Listen to carillon bells

📍 Map It: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853 | Phone: (863) 676-1408 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $16 adults, $5 under 13

Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that is best known for its iconic singing tower. Enjoy the carillon music that plays throughout the day while you wander through endless gardens. In addition to native plants, you can see citrus groves, endangered plants, and the edible garden. 

🚗 Need Directions? The gardens are located southeast of Lakeland/Winter Haven in Lake Wales (Polk County), which is between Orlando and Tampa. To explore all of Central Florida, you’ll need a rental car to get around. Discover Cars Orlando is a great search engine for comparing agencies to find the best price.

State Parks

See the real Florida

Phone: (850) 245-2157 | Website | Entrance: up to $13 per adult 

Florida is home to 175 state parks. Visiting these parks gives you a chance to experience the natural side of Central Florida. The parks are also a great budget destination because they usually cost less than $10 per vehicle. 

Many of the parks (and my favorite ones) are home to natural springs and waterways. I recommend visiting Wekiwa Springs State Park, Silver Springs State Park, and Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. 

📚 Related Reading: For more cheap activities in the Central Florida region, check out my tips to do Orlando on a budget.

Hidden Gems

Silvermoon Drive-In Theater

Old-school entertainment

📍 Map It: 4100 New Tampa Hwy, Lakeland, FL 33815 | Phone: (863) 682-0849 | Website | Hours: evenings | Entrance: $7 ages 10+, $3 ages 4-9 

If you want an evening of good old-fashioned nostalgia, pull the car up to the Silvermoon Drive-In. Every night offers a double-feature of current movies and the selection rotates each week. You can even enjoy classic movie treats from the snack bar. 

Westgate River Ranch

Glamping meets rodeo

Map It: 3200 River Ranch Blvd, River Ranch, FL 33867 | Phone: (863) 692-1321 | Website | 👉 Browse Accommodations on Booking 

Westgate River Ranch is a resort that offers glamping, teepee and wagon camping, and cabin accommodations. However, you don’t need to be staying at the resort to partake in their activity offerings.

This is a great place to get outside and live a cowboy life. Go horseback riding, clay shooting, and ride a mechanical bull. Don’t forget about the rodeo every Saturday night. If traditional entertainment is more your speed, there is also miniature golf, tennis courts, and a pool.

Florida’s Natural Grove House

Learn the secrets of citrus

📍 Map It: 20160 US-27, Lake Wales, FL 33853 | Phone: (863) 679-4110 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Monday-Friday

Old Florida is all about citrus groves and producing top-quality fruit juices. By visiting Florida’s Natural Grove House, you can see that history for yourself. After learning about Central Florida’s citrus industry, take a walk through the groves and enjoy the fresh smell of blossoms and fruit. 

Devil’s Den 

Make a splash underground

📍 Map It: 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696 | Phone: (352) 528-3344 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Mon-Thurs, 8 am – 5 pm Fri – Sun | Entrance: starting at $15/person

Devil’s Den is just another ordinary natural spring. Well, I guess it’s not that ordinary since it is located underground. To snorkel or scuba dive in Devil’s Den, you have to make your way down a set of stairs and onto a platform in the middle of the water.

There is an enchanting but eerie glow in the cave since only a small opening lets sunlight in. This one-of-a-kind destination should definitely make your Central Florida bucket list.

Animals & Outdoors

West Orange Trail

Miles to ride

📍 Map It: Google Maps | Website | Entrance: Free

The West Orange Trail runs 22 miles from Oakland to Apopka. This is one of my favorite family activities because the trail is wide enough for everyone to ride, skate, or run. A portion of the trail is even horse-friendly.

👉 Pro Tip: For those visiting the area, bike rentals are available at the Killarney Station and the Winter Garden Station. 

Florida Aquarium

Under the sea fun

📍 Map It: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602 | Phone: (813) 273-4000 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | 👉 Aquarium Tickets on Viator

The Florida Aquarium is located on the water in Tampa. You can enjoy seeing local aquatic life and exotic fish. I recommend checking out the great Pacific octopus which can be seen breaking into shellfish and squeezing into grooves in the coral. 

🍔 Getting Hungry? Walk next door to Sparkman Wharf, where you can find plenty of food and drink vendors. 

Circle B Bar Reserve

Nature and recreation

📍 Map It: 4399 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland, FL 33803 | Phone: (863) 668-4673 | Website | Hours: 5:30 am – 8 pm daily | Entrance: Free

Located an hour outside Orlando, Circle B Bar Reserve is a pristine example of Central Florida wilderness. This is the perfect location for bird-watching and seeing native animals, like wild turkey and white-tailed deer. 

👉 Safety Tip: I don’t consider this a dangerous area to hike, but visitors should be mindful of the native wildlife. Bobcats, alligators, and feral pigs are regularly seen crossing the trails. Believe it or not, the pigs tend to be the most aggressive in that group. 

TECO Manatee Viewing Center

Conserve the gentle giants

📍 Map It: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572 | Phone: (813) 228-4289 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: Free, Donations Welcome

TECO is a local electric plant that realized manatees were congregating where the plant released clean, warm water into the bay. The company funded the creation of the Manatee Viewing Center so visitors could observe the large herds of sea cows.

The Manatee Viewing Center is open from November 1 to April 15, because the manatees come to the area during the cooler months. 

Safari Wilderness 

Drive-through safaris

📍 Map It: 10850 Moore Rd, Lakeland, FL 33809 | Phone: (813) 382-2120 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily 

Safari Wilderness Ranch is a safari park where guests can see exotic animals up close. You can choose from a drive-thru safari in your own vehicle or a guided tour in one of their covered trucks.

To make the experience even more memorable, add on a feeding experience to enjoy a personal encounter with the animals. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to get up close and personal with an eland or water buffalo. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions in Central Florida?

The top attractions in Central Florida include the numerous theme parks: Disney World, Universal, Seaworld, Busch Gardens, and LEGOLAND. 

What are the best outdoor activities in Central Florida? 

The best outdoor activities in Central Florida are relaxing at Clearwater Beach, tubing down Rock Springs, and hiking through Circle B Bar Reserve.

Is there a beach in Orlando?

There are no beaches in Orlando. The closest Florida beach to the Orlando area is Cocoa Beach, which is located one hour away from Orlando.

Is Clearwater or Cocoa Beach better?

Clearwater Beach has a large beach with warm water and white, sugar sand. Cocoa Beach is an amazing place for surfing.

What is there to do in Central Florida besides the theme parks?

There are several museums, smaller attractions, outdoor activities, and more throughout Central Florida. It is easy to have a fun-filled vacation without visiting the theme parks. 

***

👉 Keep Reading: The Best Things to Do in Florida (By Locals!)

Whether you are heading to Daytona Beach, Orlando, or Tampa, make sure you get out and explore the rest of Central Florida. Let us know in the comments where you’re most excited to visit!

Central Florida spans the middle of the Sunshine State from Tampa to Daytona Beach. While a majority of tourists will visit Orlando, there are tons more things to see and do when you venture out into the Central Florida area too!

As a native of Central Florida, I’ve spent years exploring the natural beauty and attractions that the region has to offer. 

To help you explore the best of the region, I’ve put together my list of the best things to do in Central Florida.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

👉 Jump to: Best Things | For Adults | Family Friendly | Cheap Things | Hidden Gems | Animals & Outdoors

Best Things to Do in Central Florida

Theme Parks

Thrill rides and family attractions

The author posing for a picture in Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Exploring Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park

Walt Disney World | Universal Orlando | Busch Gardens | SeaWorld | LEGOLAND

When visiting Central Florida, you can create an entire vacation itinerary around Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, LEGOLAND Florida Resort, and Busch Gardens. Orlando, home to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, is the theme park capital of the world. There is an endless number of attractions at Disney World and Universal, including miniature golf courses, Disney Springs restaurants, and theme park rides. 

Kennedy Space Center

Blast off to outer space

The Space Shuttle Atlantis in Kennedy Space Center
Space Shuttle Atlantis 

📍 Map It: Google Maps | Phone: (855) 433-4210 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: starting at $57 for adults | 👉 Browse Space Center Tours on Viator

Visiting the Kennedy Space Center is an easy day trip from Orlando. The whole family will be able to learn about the history of space travel while exploring the Visitor’s Complex. Plan for a full-day visit because there are so many exhibits to see. You can even meet a real astronaut! 

📚 Related Reading: Check out my other recommendations for where to take a day trip from Orlando

Kayaking, Canoeing, and Paddleboarding

Paddle through crystal clear waters

The author kayaking at Lake Louisa State Park
Kayaking at Lake Louisa State Park 

Paddle Florida Website | 👉 Browse Orlando Kayaking Tours on Viator

I think the best way to experience the magic of wild Florida is from the water. Whether you prefer to stand or sit while you paddle through the water, there is a place for you to meander under sunny skies and view the local wildlife. 

Some of my favorite places to paddle are Three Sisters Springs/Crystal River to see manatees, the Space Coast for bioluminescence, the spring runs for crystal clear water, and Winter Park for stunning homes. Who needs a water park when you have so many natural waterways to enjoy? 

ZooTampa

Go wild with exotic animal encounters

The author feeding the lories on her hand at ZooTampa
Feeding the lories at ZooTampa 

📍 Map It: 1101 W Sligh Ave, Tampa, FL 33604 | Phone: (813) 935-8552 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $43 ages 12+, $33 ages 3-11 | 👉 ZooTampa Admission Tickets

Florida is home to plenty of zoos, but ZooTampa is one of the best. As a former zookeeper, I hold animal facilities to high standards and I love visiting ZooTampa. 

Not only is the zoo clean and easy to navigate, but it offers lots of up-close encounters with the animals. I recommend walking through the lory aviary and stopping by the giraffe feeding station.

👉 Pro Tip: ZooTampa has earned the highest accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, so you’ll be happy to know that their animals receive top-quality care! 

Museum of Science and Industry “MOSI”

Investigate interactive exhibits

View of a little boy observing a light in a museum

📍 Map It: 4801 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33617 | Phone: (813) 987-6000 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $13 adults, $8 ages 12 and under | 👉 MOSI Admission Tickets

MOSI is more than just a museum. It is a place for kids (and grown-up kids) to explore through interactive exhibits. In addition to regular admission, you can add-on experiences at the ropes course and the planetarium. Check out their event calendar for special offerings because there are always fun things for the family to participate in. 

For Adults

Brewery Tours

Sip new flavors

View of the Crooked Can Brewery at Plant Street Market
Crooked Can Brewery in Winter Garden (photo: SR Productions / Shutterstock)

There are too many fantastic breweries in Central Florida, so I won’t even try to list them all. The great news is that no matter where you are planning to visit, you will be able to enjoy some local, craft brews. 

Most breweries offer a tasting room or even a restaurant. Beer connoisseurs will enjoy touring the facilities, where you can see how each brewery makes its beverages. 

🍺Need a Recommendation? I love visiting Orlando Brewing in Downtown Orlando. They have live music, free tours, and a fun taproom. It’s the oldest brewery in Central Florida, and the only organic one in the state! 

JC Newman Cigar Company

Learn traditional cigar rolling

View of a woman manufacturing a Cuban cigars through rolling process

📍 Map It: 2701 N 16th St, Tampa, FL 33605 | Phone: (813) 248-2124 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5:30 pm weekdays, closed weekends | Tour: $15 

The Cuban influence in Tampa is easy to feel as soon as you arrive. Even in this big city, you find a warm community in Ybor City. In its heyday, Ybor City was home to many cigar factories.

The area is still home to the JC Newman Cigar Company. You can tour the factory and see how cigars are made by hand and by antique machinery. This is a unique experience in the “Cigar City.”

👉 Hungry For More?: Head a few blocks south to Historic Ybor City to find some authentic Cuban food and a locally brewed beer. 

The Dali 

Art with a surreal perspective

View of The Dali Museum and a line of palm trees across it
(photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock) 

📍 Map It: 1 Dali Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 | Phone: (727) 823-3767 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Friday-Wednesday, 10 am – 8 pm Thursday | Entrance: $25 adults, $18 ages 13-17, $10 ages 6-12

The Dali is located on sparkling Tampa Bay in the art-loving city of St Petersburg. The museum houses an unmatched collection of over 2,400 pieces by Salvador Dali and features additional rotating exhibits. 

You should plan on grabbing lunch at the Cafe Gala in the museum. The cafe offers Spanish-style tapas and it is the best museum food I’ve ever had. Don’t forget to stop by the gift shop to pick up a surrealist souvenir.

📚 Related Reading: Check out this list of the top things do in the state of Florida, which includes The Dali and other great attractions!

Family-Friendly

The Wheel at ICON Park

Aerial views of Orlando

Aerial view of The Wheel in Orlando illuminated with pink lights
Birds-eye view of The Wheel and International Drive

📍 Map It: 8375 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819 | Phone: (407) 601-7907 | Website | Hours: 12 pm – 10 pm Mon – Fri, 12 pm – 11 pm Sat – Sun | 👉 Tickets on Viator

The Wheel is located in ICON Park on International Drive. The kids will love taking in the sights from above and you can even control the music inside your air-conditioned cabin!

The Wheel is just one activity of the many attractions, restaurants, and mini-golf courses located on International Drive. You can spend a whole day at ICON Park and nearby Pointe Orlando. 

📚 Related Reading: For more family fun on I-Drive, check out my list of things to do in Orlando. If you need to book accommodation still, see my guide to the best areas to stay in Orlando.

Dinosaur World

See prehistoric creatures up close

View of dinosaur statue in Dinosaur World in Florida
(photo: Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 5145 Harvey Tew Rd, Plant City, FL 33565 | Phone: (813) 717-9865 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $20 adults, $15 under 13

If you ask locals, Dinosaur World is either a joke or a cult favorite. The park is located between Orlando and Tampa, so it is a ways away from most other destinations.

However, kids love Dinosaur World! If you have a child that can name every dinosaur and tell you fun facts about them, this park is a can’t miss destination. The whole family will enjoy wandering the trails, seeing lifesize dinosaurs, and learning about prehistoric times. 

Glazer Children’s Museum

Learn through play

View of the Glazer Children's Museum and the water fountains in front of it
(photo: Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 110 W Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa, FL 33602 | Phone: (813) 443-3861 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday-Saturday, 1 pm – 6 pm Sunday, Closed Monday | Entrance: $15 adults, $13 kids ages 1-12

Museums might not be at the top of the list for families traveling with children, but Glazer Children’s Museum is an exception. This museum allows children to learn through play. 

For families staying in Tampa or on the Gulf Coast, this is the perfect rainy day activity. The museum also offers special events throughout the year, so feel free to check out their calendar before your visit. 

Lost Pearl Pirate Ship

Conquer the high seas

View of the Lost Pearl Pirate Ship and the tourists on it
(photo: Noah Densmore / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 333 S Franklin St, Tampa, FL 33602 | Phone: (813) 223-7999 | Website | Hours: 2 pm – 10 pm Friday and Sunday, 11 am – 10 pm Saturday | Entrance: $30 adults, $25 under 13

Tampa loves to celebrate their pirate history (don’t tell the locals that most of it is just a myth). A cruise on the Lost Pearl allows the entire family to live out a pirate adventure!

Youngsters will learn how to load and fire the (water) cannons while pirates teach them all the lingo needed to work on a ship. Pirates ages 21 and up can enjoy complimentary wine and beer while they pillage Tampa Bay.

Airboat Tour

Fly over land and water

View of an airboat in Everglades

Visit Florida’s Airboat Website | 👉 Browse Airboat Tours on Viator

Airboat rides are fun adventures for the family to explore the abundant wildlife of the Florida Everglades. Most people don’t realize that the headwaters of the Everglades actually begins in Central Florida at Lake Kissimmee. 

The whirr of the fan will take your boat gliding over water, marshes, and even land. Airboat rides are great for a family that loves adrenaline but has children that are too small to ride roller coasters. 

Cheap Things To Do

Visit the Beaches

Enjoy the white sand beaches

View of a beach in Florida and the clear blue sky

📍 Map It: St. Pete Beach | Clearwater Beach | Cocoa Beach | Daytona Beach

The main beaches in Central Florida are St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach, on the Gulf Coast, and Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach, on the Atlantic Coast. Even traveling from Orlando in the middle of the state, visits to the Central Florida beaches are easy day trips. 

The west coast of the state offers unbelievable sunsets and sugar sand beaches. The east coast is known for surfing and endless beaches along most of the coast. 

📚 Related Reading: Want more beach recommendations? Check out our article on the most beautiful beaches in Florida, a list put together by locals!

Bok Tower Gardens

Listen to carillon bells

View of the Bok Tower Gardens and the trees around it

📍 Map It: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853 | Phone: (863) 676-1408 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 6 pm daily | Entrance: $16 adults, $5 under 13

Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark that is best known for its iconic singing tower. Enjoy the carillon music that plays throughout the day while you wander through endless gardens. In addition to native plants, you can see citrus groves, endangered plants, and the edible garden. 

🚗 Need Directions? The gardens are located southeast of Lakeland/Winter Haven in Lake Wales (Polk County), which is between Orlando and Tampa. To explore all of Central Florida, you’ll need a rental car to get around. Discover Cars Orlando is a great search engine for comparing agencies to find the best price.

State Parks

See the real Florida

The author cooking pancakes in Old Spanish Sugar Mill
Making pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill in De Leon Springs State Park 

Phone: (850) 245-2157 | Website | Entrance: up to $13 per adult 

Florida is home to 175 state parks. Visiting these parks gives you a chance to experience the natural side of Central Florida. The parks are also a great budget destination because they usually cost less than $10 per vehicle. 

Many of the parks (and my favorite ones) are home to natural springs and waterways. I recommend visiting Wekiwa Springs State Park, Silver Springs State Park, and Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. 

📚 Related Reading: For more cheap activities in the Central Florida region, check out my tips to do Orlando on a budget.

Hidden Gems

Silvermoon Drive-In Theater

Old-school entertainment

The Silvermoon Drive-In Theater sign on the entrance
(photo: Logan Bush / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 4100 New Tampa Hwy, Lakeland, FL 33815 | Phone: (863) 682-0849 | Website | Hours: evenings | Entrance: $7 ages 10+, $3 ages 4-9 

If you want an evening of good old-fashioned nostalgia, pull the car up to the Silvermoon Drive-In. Every night offers a double-feature of current movies and the selection rotates each week. You can even enjoy classic movie treats from the snack bar. 

Westgate River Ranch

Glamping meets rodeo

Map It: 3200 River Ranch Blvd, River Ranch, FL 33867 | Phone: (863) 692-1321 | Website | 👉 Browse Accommodations on Booking 

Westgate River Ranch is a resort that offers glamping, teepee and wagon camping, and cabin accommodations. However, you don’t need to be staying at the resort to partake in their activity offerings.

This is a great place to get outside and live a cowboy life. Go horseback riding, clay shooting, and ride a mechanical bull. Don’t forget about the rodeo every Saturday night. If traditional entertainment is more your speed, there is also miniature golf, tennis courts, and a pool.

Florida’s Natural Grove House

Learn the secrets of citrus

View of an old man and a woman in a citrus farm

📍 Map It: 20160 US-27, Lake Wales, FL 33853 | Phone: (863) 679-4110 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Monday-Friday

Old Florida is all about citrus groves and producing top-quality fruit juices. By visiting Florida’s Natural Grove House, you can see that history for yourself. After learning about Central Florida’s citrus industry, take a walk through the groves and enjoy the fresh smell of blossoms and fruit. 

Devil’s Den 

Make a splash underground

View of a wooden stairs going to the Devil's Den

📍 Map It: 5390 NE 180th Ave, Williston, FL 32696 | Phone: (352) 528-3344 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Mon-Thurs, 8 am – 5 pm Fri – Sun | Entrance: starting at $15/person

Devil’s Den is just another ordinary natural spring. Well, I guess it’s not that ordinary since it is located underground. To snorkel or scuba dive in Devil’s Den, you have to make your way down a set of stairs and onto a platform in the middle of the water.

There is an enchanting but eerie glow in the cave since only a small opening lets sunlight in. This one-of-a-kind destination should definitely make your Central Florida bucket list.

Animals & Outdoors

West Orange Trail

Miles to ride

View of the West Orange Trail and its signage on the entrance

📍 Map It: Google Maps | Website | Entrance: Free

The West Orange Trail runs 22 miles from Oakland to Apopka. This is one of my favorite family activities because the trail is wide enough for everyone to ride, skate, or run. A portion of the trail is even horse-friendly.

👉 Pro Tip: For those visiting the area, bike rentals are available at the Killarney Station and the Winter Garden Station. 

Florida Aquarium

Under the sea fun

View of The Florida Aquarium from the outside
(photo: Nick Fox / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 701 Channelside Dr, Tampa, FL 33602 | Phone: (813) 273-4000 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | 👉 Aquarium Tickets on Viator

The Florida Aquarium is located on the water in Tampa. You can enjoy seeing local aquatic life and exotic fish. I recommend checking out the great Pacific octopus which can be seen breaking into shellfish and squeezing into grooves in the coral. 

🍔 Getting Hungry? Walk next door to Sparkman Wharf, where you can find plenty of food and drink vendors. 

Circle B Bar Reserve

Nature and recreation

The Circle B Bar Reserve in Florida during a sunny day

📍 Map It: 4399 Winter Lake Rd, Lakeland, FL 33803 | Phone: (863) 668-4673 | Website | Hours: 5:30 am – 8 pm daily | Entrance: Free

Located an hour outside Orlando, Circle B Bar Reserve is a pristine example of Central Florida wilderness. This is the perfect location for bird-watching and seeing native animals, like wild turkey and white-tailed deer. 

👉 Safety Tip: I don’t consider this a dangerous area to hike, but visitors should be mindful of the native wildlife. Bobcats, alligators, and feral pigs are regularly seen crossing the trails. Believe it or not, the pigs tend to be the most aggressive in that group. 

TECO Manatee Viewing Center

Conserve the gentle giants

The people on the viewing platform of the Manatee Viewing Area
(photo: quiggyt4 / Shutterstock)

📍 Map It: 6990 Dickman Rd, Apollo Beach, FL 33572 | Phone: (813) 228-4289 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: Free, Donations Welcome

TECO is a local electric plant that realized manatees were congregating where the plant released clean, warm water into the bay. The company funded the creation of the Manatee Viewing Center so visitors could observe the large herds of sea cows.

The Manatee Viewing Center is open from November 1 to April 15, because the manatees come to the area during the cooler months. 

Safari Wilderness 

Drive-through safaris

📍 Map It: 10850 Moore Rd, Lakeland, FL 33809 | Phone: (813) 382-2120 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily 

Safari Wilderness Ranch is a safari park where guests can see exotic animals up close. You can choose from a drive-thru safari in your own vehicle or a guided tour in one of their covered trucks.

To make the experience even more memorable, add on a feeding experience to enjoy a personal encounter with the animals. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to get up close and personal with an eland or water buffalo. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top attractions in Central Florida?

The top attractions in Central Florida include the numerous theme parks: Disney World, Universal, Seaworld, Busch Gardens, and LEGOLAND. 

What are the best outdoor activities in Central Florida? 

The best outdoor activities in Central Florida are relaxing at Clearwater Beach, tubing down Rock Springs, and hiking through Circle B Bar Reserve.

Is there a beach in Orlando?

There are no beaches in Orlando. The closest Florida beach to the Orlando area is Cocoa Beach, which is located one hour away from Orlando.

Is Clearwater or Cocoa Beach better?

Clearwater Beach has a large beach with warm water and white, sugar sand. Cocoa Beach is an amazing place for surfing.

What is there to do in Central Florida besides the theme parks?

There are several museums, smaller attractions, outdoor activities, and more throughout Central Florida. It is easy to have a fun-filled vacation without visiting the theme parks. 

***

👉 Keep Reading: The Best Things to Do in Florida (By Locals!)

Whether you are heading to Daytona Beach, Orlando, or Tampa, make sure you get out and explore the rest of Central Florida. Let us know in the comments where you’re most excited to visit!

]]>
11 Best Beaches in San Juan (By a Local) https://travellemming.com/beaches-san-juan-pr/ Mon, 25 Oct 2021 22:14:02 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=30874

If you’re planning to stay in San Juan, then you’re probably wondering about the best beaches close to the capital city.

Lucky for you, you can find some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico without the need to travel far from San Juan. 

I live close to San Juan and I’ve personally been to all of these beaches. I can promise you they will be the best part of your vacation!

Here are 11 beautiful San Juan beaches to spend your day beach bumming in San Juan.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

11 Best Beaches In/Near San Juan

Escambron Beach

San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $5 | Best Nearby Hotel: El San Geronimo Hotel

Escambron Beach is at the entrance of San Juan. This beach sports two sides, one perfect for swimming and another side for snorkeling and scuba diving, where you might even see sea turtles. The beach is one of the local’s favorites for its nice tide and dozens of palm trees to get shade. Escambron Beach also sports facilities like bathrooms and showers.

👉 Looking for more things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in and around San Juan!

Condado Beach

San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Also in San Juan, Condado Beach sports a prime location all along the Condado hotel district, which is one of the best areas to stay in San Juan.

Condado Beache’s prime location means visitors have endless options for food. You can also rent umbrellas, beach chairs, and equipment for watersports. This popular San Juan beach is great to spend the day beach bumming, but it lacks public shower facilities, bathrooms, and lifeguards.

👉 Local Tip: The current in Condado Beach is strong, especially during the winter season. Visitors should check the local weather or use this website to know beforehand the conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. If the conditions aren’t favorable, then visit Playita del Condado instead, for a safer beach day.

La Playita del Condado

San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Located right at the end of Puente Dos Hermanos and next to Condado Plaza Hilton, this natural pool is a great way to spend the day with your kids if Condado Beach tides are too strong. You can rent umbrellas and chairs and relax while your kids enjoy a peaceful swim. There aren’t any showers or bathrooms, and the closest parking lot is a few minutes away.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: If you’re planning a day trip to one of Puerto Rico beaches, then don’t forget to pack your sunblock. Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen provides an SPF 50 protection and it’s water-resistant, exactly what you need during your beach day.

Ocean Park Beach

San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: across the street around Barbosa park, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Numero Uno Beach House

Ocean Park Beach is an urban Miami Beach waterfront style close to Condado Beach, but less crowded. It sports a wide space to sunbathe and really fine sand you can easily walk on. 

If you are planning to drive a rental car, Ocean Park Beach is also very easy to access, as you just have to park across the street for free. There are a few showers facilities along the beach and you can also find chair rental spots. Since this San Juan beach is windy, you will see people practicing windsurfing.

📚 Bookmark for later: Top Places to Go in Puerto Rico

Playa Peña

San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: around the streets of San Juan and close to the capitol, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel

If you’re looking to get your feet on the water and scenic views, head over to Playa Peña. This beach, also known as Puerta de Tierra Beach is the closest beach to any hotel in Old San Juan, and you can reach it through the stairs in front of the Capitol. But, the beach does have really strong rip currents, so you should stick to the shore. 

Condado Lagoon

San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: O:Live Boutique Hotel, A Small Luxury Hotel of the World 

Condado Lagoon is the body of water you will see to your right side when entering Condado and it’s the best place to go if you want to practice kayaking or paddleboard, for its calm waters. While not many people swim in the lagoon, some visitors dip their feet in on the side of the lagoon that connects with Miramar. If you choose to visit the lagoon, you might get to see manatees.

Alambique Beach

Carolina

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde

Alambique Beach actually forms part of Isla Verde Beach. El Alambique Beach is the first beach from west to east and it’s a beach resort area, so visitors have many options to eat close by. Just make sure to use sunblock or rent an umbrella, as the sun is strong and there aren’t many places that provide shade.

👉 Did you know? Isla Verde is a great area to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re looking for a central location while staying close to the beach and the airport. Check out my list of the best neighborhoods to stay in Puerto Rico to learn more about other places.

Pine Grove Beach

Carolina

📍 Google Maps | Parking: around the streets, no yellow line, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Pine Grove is the second beach that forms part of Isla Verde Beach. Pine Grove sports stronger waves and so you will see people surfing. You can also take surfing classes on this beach or rent a jet ski. This area is right in front of multiple apartment buildings and beach resorts. There aren’t any showers or bathrooms, but you can rent chairs and umbrellas. 

Carolina Beach

Carolina

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $5 | Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Carolina Public Beach, or Balneario de Carolina, is the last part of Isla Verde Beach before reaching Piñones and it’s the preferred one by locals because it sports showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and even a small water park where kids can play. The tide is usually calmer than in Pine Grove or Alambique Beach and the parking lot is wide. You can rent chairs, umbrellas and water sports equipment. 

Pocita de Piñones

Loíza

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Just 30 minutes away from San Juan and a few minutes from Carolina Beach you’ll find La Pocita de Piñones. This small natural pool formed by a natural reef is one of the local’s favorites for its safety and its prime location close to Piñones beachfront restaurants. You will find chair and umbrella rentals on the beach but there aren’t showers or bathrooms.

👉 Local Tip: Piñones is a great day trip from San Juan. Besides the beach, you can also visit the Piñones kiosks to enjoy Puerto Rico’s cuisine and ride a bike on Piñones beachfront boardwalk. Check out my full guide to the best day trips from San Juan if you want to explore other parts of the island.

Isla de Cabras

Toa Baja

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $4 

Twenty five minutes driving from San Juan, you’ll find Isla de Cabras beach. Located in an islet, Isla de Cabras sports two sides for swimming. The left side is open to the sea, and even if it’s usually tranquil, the tide can get high when the weather isn’t good. The right side is home to a natural beach pool ideal for a family day. The park is also home to a small historical fort that protected the bay.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: Isla de Cabra’ Beach is a little bit rocky and might be uncomfortable for some people, which is why you should use water shoes. If you don’t have any yet, check out VIFUUR water shoes, so you can enjoy the day and avoid any injuries.

FAQs About the Best Beaches of San Juan

Does San Juan have good beaches?

San Juan sports great beaches for visitors to refresh themselves like Condado Beach, Escambron Beach, and Isla Verde Beach, but visitors should be aware of rip currents and avoid getting into the water if waves are too strong.

What beach is closest to Old San Juan?

The closest beaches to Old San Juan are Playa Peña and Escambron Beach, which visitors can reach within walking distance. Other beaches like Playita del Condado, Condado Beach and Isla Verde are reachable with a short car ride.

Are San Juan beaches public?

All beaches in San Juan and Puerto Rico are public by constitutional law, except for Caribe Hilton’s beach. The fee charged at the gate of some beaches is usually for parking or maintenance.

***

Whether you’re looking for a beach with scenic views, or a beach to enjoy with your family, you can find it in one of San Juan’s popular beaches!

If you’re a beach lover and you’ve got time to explore the rest of the island, then make sure to check out the rest of Puerto Rico beaches, so you find out what the hype is all about.

If you’re planning to stay in San Juan, then you’re probably wondering about the best beaches close to the capital city.

Lucky for you, you can find some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico without the need to travel far from San Juan. 

I live close to San Juan and I’ve personally been to all of these beaches. I can promise you they will be the best part of your vacation!

Here are 11 beautiful San Juan beaches to spend your day beach bumming in San Juan.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

11 Best Beaches In/Near San Juan

Escambron Beach

San Juan

Aerial view of Escambron Beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $5 | Best Nearby Hotel: El San Geronimo Hotel

Escambron Beach is at the entrance of San Juan. This beach sports two sides, one perfect for swimming and another side for snorkeling and scuba diving, where you might even see sea turtles. The beach is one of the local’s favorites for its nice tide and dozens of palm trees to get shade. Escambron Beach also sports facilities like bathrooms and showers.

👉 Looking for more things to do? Check out my guide to the top activities in and around San Juan!

Condado Beach

San Juan

View of the Condado Beach and the buildings along it

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

Also in San Juan, Condado Beach sports a prime location all along the Condado hotel district, which is one of the best areas to stay in San Juan.

Condado Beache’s prime location means visitors have endless options for food. You can also rent umbrellas, beach chairs, and equipment for watersports. This popular San Juan beach is great to spend the day beach bumming, but it lacks public shower facilities, bathrooms, and lifeguards.

👉 Local Tip: The current in Condado Beach is strong, especially during the winter season. Visitors should check the local weather or use this website to know beforehand the conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. If the conditions aren’t favorable, then visit Playita del Condado instead, for a safer beach day.

La Playita del Condado

San Juan

View of a man enjoying in La Playita del Condado

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Located right at the end of Puente Dos Hermanos and next to Condado Plaza Hilton, this natural pool is a great way to spend the day with your kids if Condado Beach tides are too strong. You can rent umbrellas and chairs and relax while your kids enjoy a peaceful swim. There aren’t any showers or bathrooms, and the closest parking lot is a few minutes away.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: If you’re planning a day trip to one of Puerto Rico beaches, then don’t forget to pack your sunblock. Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunscreen provides an SPF 50 protection and it’s water-resistant, exactly what you need during your beach day.

Ocean Park Beach

San Juan

Aerial view of Ocean Park Beach and the people doing kite boarding

📍 Google Maps | Parking: across the street around Barbosa park, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Numero Uno Beach House

Ocean Park Beach is an urban Miami Beach waterfront style close to Condado Beach, but less crowded. It sports a wide space to sunbathe and really fine sand you can easily walk on. 

If you are planning to drive a rental car, Ocean Park Beach is also very easy to access, as you just have to park across the street for free. There are a few showers facilities along the beach and you can also find chair rental spots. Since this San Juan beach is windy, you will see people practicing windsurfing.

📚 Bookmark for later: Top Places to Go in Puerto Rico

Playa Peña

San Juan

View of the Puerto Rico Capitol and the rocky coastline in San Juan

📍 Google Maps | Parking: around the streets of San Juan and close to the capitol, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel

If you’re looking to get your feet on the water and scenic views, head over to Playa Peña. This beach, also known as Puerta de Tierra Beach is the closest beach to any hotel in Old San Juan, and you can reach it through the stairs in front of the Capitol. But, the beach does have really strong rip currents, so you should stick to the shore. 

Condado Lagoon

San Juan

People kayaking in the Condado Lagoon

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: O:Live Boutique Hotel, A Small Luxury Hotel of the World 

Condado Lagoon is the body of water you will see to your right side when entering Condado and it’s the best place to go if you want to practice kayaking or paddleboard, for its calm waters. While not many people swim in the lagoon, some visitors dip their feet in on the side of the lagoon that connects with Miramar. If you choose to visit the lagoon, you might get to see manatees.

Alambique Beach

Carolina

View of the quiet and empty Alambique Beach

📍 Google Maps | Parking: free along the streets or private parking, $9-$12 | Best Nearby Hotel: TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde

Alambique Beach actually forms part of Isla Verde Beach. El Alambique Beach is the first beach from west to east and it’s a beach resort area, so visitors have many options to eat close by. Just make sure to use sunblock or rent an umbrella, as the sun is strong and there aren’t many places that provide shade.

👉 Did you know? Isla Verde is a great area to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re looking for a central location while staying close to the beach and the airport. Check out my list of the best neighborhoods to stay in Puerto Rico to learn more about other places.

Pine Grove Beach

Carolina

View of the waves coming along the shoreline of Pine Grove Beach

📍 Google Maps | Parking: around the streets, no yellow line, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan

Pine Grove is the second beach that forms part of Isla Verde Beach. Pine Grove sports stronger waves and so you will see people surfing. You can also take surfing classes on this beach or rent a jet ski. This area is right in front of multiple apartment buildings and beach resorts. There aren’t any showers or bathrooms, but you can rent chairs and umbrellas. 

Carolina Beach

Carolina

View of people walking by the beach of Carolina Beach

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $5 | Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Carolina Public Beach, or Balneario de Carolina, is the last part of Isla Verde Beach before reaching Piñones and it’s the preferred one by locals because it sports showers, bathrooms, lifeguards, and even a small water park where kids can play. The tide is usually calmer than in Pine Grove or Alambique Beach and the parking lot is wide. You can rent chairs, umbrellas and water sports equipment. 

Pocita de Piñones

Loíza

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, free | Best Nearby Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Just 30 minutes away from San Juan and a few minutes from Carolina Beach you’ll find La Pocita de Piñones. This small natural pool formed by a natural reef is one of the local’s favorites for its safety and its prime location close to Piñones beachfront restaurants. You will find chair and umbrella rentals on the beach but there aren’t showers or bathrooms.

👉 Local Tip: Piñones is a great day trip from San Juan. Besides the beach, you can also visit the Piñones kiosks to enjoy Puerto Rico’s cuisine and ride a bike on Piñones beachfront boardwalk. Check out my full guide to the best day trips from San Juan if you want to explore other parts of the island.

Isla de Cabras

Toa Baja

View of people recreating a historical event in Isla de Cabras
Historical recreation in Fort in Isla de Cabras

📍 Google Maps | Parking: parking in front of the beach, $4 

Twenty five minutes driving from San Juan, you’ll find Isla de Cabras beach. Located in an islet, Isla de Cabras sports two sides for swimming. The left side is open to the sea, and even if it’s usually tranquil, the tide can get high when the weather isn’t good. The right side is home to a natural beach pool ideal for a family day. The park is also home to a small historical fort that protected the bay.

👉 Don’t Forget to Pack: Isla de Cabra’ Beach is a little bit rocky and might be uncomfortable for some people, which is why you should use water shoes. If you don’t have any yet, check out VIFUUR water shoes, so you can enjoy the day and avoid any injuries.

FAQs About the Best Beaches of San Juan

Does San Juan have good beaches?

San Juan sports great beaches for visitors to refresh themselves like Condado Beach, Escambron Beach, and Isla Verde Beach, but visitors should be aware of rip currents and avoid getting into the water if waves are too strong.

What beach is closest to Old San Juan?

The closest beaches to Old San Juan are Playa Peña and Escambron Beach, which visitors can reach within walking distance. Other beaches like Playita del Condado, Condado Beach and Isla Verde are reachable with a short car ride.

Are San Juan beaches public?

All beaches in San Juan and Puerto Rico are public by constitutional law, except for Caribe Hilton’s beach. The fee charged at the gate of some beaches is usually for parking or maintenance.

***

Whether you’re looking for a beach with scenic views, or a beach to enjoy with your family, you can find it in one of San Juan’s popular beaches!

If you’re a beach lover and you’ve got time to explore the rest of the island, then make sure to check out the rest of Puerto Rico beaches, so you find out what the hype is all about.

]]>
13 Best Waterfalls in Puerto Rico (Written by a Local) https://travellemming.com/puerto-rico-waterfalls/ Sun, 24 Oct 2021 17:47:00 +0000 https://travellemming.com/?p=30818

If you’re traveling to the island, you have to visit at least one of the beautiful waterfalls in Puerto Rico. 

Most of them are free so all you need is to put on your bathing suit and your water shoes. 

I am a Puerto Rico local, and I’m here to help you find the best ones. Here are the 13 best waterfalls to cool down during your vacation!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

13 Best Waterfalls In Puerto Rico

Gozalandia Falls

San Sebastian

Easy | 0.5 miles | Google Maps | 2h from San Juan | Cost: $5 for parking

Located in the west of the island, this waterfall is one of the easiest ones to visit in Puerto Rico. Gozalandia Falls is popular among locals for its easy access so it can get crowded. The 60-feet waterfall sports a deep pond at the bottom and a submerged cave you can swim in. There’s a paid parking lot and you can visit from 9 am to 6 pm.

👉 Want More Puerto Rico Activities? Check out my list of all the best stuff to do on the island.

Juan Diego Falls

El Yunque

Moderate | 0.125 mile | Google Maps | Website | 1h from San Juan | Cost: $2 for parking

Juan Diego Falls used to be one of the best-kept secrets of El Yunque since it’s not visible from the main road, but lately more people venture to visit this hidden gem, so visit early to avoid the crowds. You will find smaller waterfalls and natural pools before you reach the Juan Diego Falls where you can also cool down. 

👉 Local Tip: Walking through the different trails of El Yunque can be challenging if you’re alone, which is why accidents are not uncommon on the trails. Instead of going alone, you can browse Viator’s Top El Yunque Tours, to find a guided tour that walks you safely all around the rainforest.

La Mina Falls

El Yunque

Difficult | 0.7 miles | Google Maps | Website | 1h from San Juan | Cost: $2 for parking

Located in El Yunque National Forest, La Mina Falls is the most popular one of El Yunque. The hike to the fall takes around 45 minutes through a descending trail, also known as La Mina Trail, that sports steps and bridges in some parts. 

👉 Local Tip: Up to fall 2021, La Mina Trail is temporarily closed for repairs, but you can visit other waterfalls like La Coca Falls on El Yunque. You can monitor the USDA Forest Service website to keep updated about the trail news and remember to book your entrance ticket here.

La Coca Falls

El Yunque

Moderate | 0.03 miles | Google Maps | Website | 1h from San Juan | Cost: $2 for parking

Also in El Yunque, La Coca Falls is accessible through La Coca Trail, the main road. This waterfall is of easy access and you can see it just within minutes inside El Yunque. While it’s almost impossible not to get closer, the rocks in front of the fall are slippery, so you make sure your shoes have a good grip.

👉 My Favorite Gear: To get to most waterfalls in Puerto Rico you have to hike. Merrell’s hiking water shoes are great for both hiking and swimming, and they dry quickly after getting wet.

La Planta

Arecibo

Moderate | 0.5 miles | Google Maps | 1h from San Juan | Cost: free

La Planta River was once a hydroelectric plant, but it’s no longer in use. Nowadays, locals like to visit any of the three waterfalls the river sports. The second waterfall is a type of dam, with a small hole inside that you can use to stand behind the curtain of water. 

📚 Related Reading: