The typical Florida vacation spots are well-trod ground and overdone – so today we want to tip our caps to the risers, the climbers, and the dreamers who have exploded onto the scene in 2019. Fantastic eateries, fascinating history, beautiful views, pristine beaches, and of course, incredible vacation rentals set these places apart and aid their growth.
So here are the dirty details on the data: we looked at the web traffic to all of our available locations on FloridaRentals.com and these were some of the hottest, most in-demand vacation destinations in the first half of 2019 vs the same time period in 2018. You should immediately add them to your “Must Visit” list.
So without further ado, here are the rising stars of Florida, the year on year growth percentage, and a bit about each location.
Florida’s Most Popular Locations By Growth Rate
Daytona Beach Shores (+364%)
What’s there not to love about Daytona Beach Shores? It has everything vacationers want. Quiet beaches, family-friendly activities, and close proximity to the coast — it’s no wonder Daytona Beach Shores is extremely popular this year. Although driving a car is the most convenient way to get around town, families staying in Daytona Beach Shores rentals might be happy to learn that the town is also bicycle-friendly.
Daytona Beach Shores is a small beach town that stretches 5.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean, offering several family-friendly beachfront parks along the way. McElroy Park is a large, 3-acre park with a baseball field, playground, tennis and basketball courts, picnic tables, and plenty of facilities. Frank Rendon Park is great for kids because it offers a large playground with a padded floor. It also has grills and picnic areas, outdoor showers, and a beach walkway and observation deck.
Bring your rod. Fishing is plentiful in Daytona Beach Shores, too. Charter boats are available for rent through several local businesses, or fish off the pier at many local beaches. Wildlife tours are available to learn about sea turtles, manatees, eagles, pelicans, and other waterfowl.
Once known solely for its fishing trade, Englewood has grown into so much more. There’s a bustling art community and authentic beach town atmosphere that appeals to all. Sun soaked, sugar sands, and an abundance of aquatic activities make Englewood a clear top destination along the Gulf of Mexico.
Englewood is divided into 9 neighborhoods, each with its own personality. The nine Englewood neighborhoods are Englewood, Olde Englewood, Englewood Isles, Englewood East, Lemon Bay, Overbrook, Grove City, the private community Boca Royale, and Manasota Key, where the community is located on a stretch of private beach.
Breathtaking seaside views, water sports, quaint shops, and exploring some of Florida’s most notable cultural and artistic events are what put Englewood on the map. The courageous may enjoy spending the day parasailing over the Gulf of Mexico, while the adventurous may visit one of Englewood’s many biking and hiking trails. The Lemon Bay Playhouse, located on historic Dearborn Street, provides live community theater year-round. And numerous eateries offer Florida seafood and fine southern cuisine.
There is no question that Englewood’s main allure is its beaches. Manasota Key is home to four beaches that are accessible by two bridges: Tom Adams Bridge and Manasota Beach Road Bridge. Visitors may take in the Gulf of Mexico’s serene beauty at Englewood Beach, Manasota Beach, Stump Pass Beach, or Blind Pass Beach. Each beach is wild and protected by the state of Florida, ensuring that the pristine white sands and natural habitats are in top shape year-round. Visitors from May to October may be delighted to see a nest of sea turtles make their way to the Gulf or watch a school of dolphins frolicking in the water.
Hollywood Beach, Florida is family-friendly, fun, and fabulous. With pristine beaches and one of America’s best boardwalks to explore, you’ll find plenty to do and see here. Nestled between Fort Lauderdale and Miami in Broward County, Hollywood is the best of both worlds: sunny days in the sand mixed with adventure attractions.
Hollywood’s famous Boardwalk was named one of “America’s Best by Travel + Leisure magazine” and it’s among the first beaches in Florida to be designated as a Blue Wave Beach That means it’s among the nation’s cleanest, safest, and most user-friendly beaches. What are you waiting for? Book now!
When planning your trip to the Florida Keys, you may want to consider the city of Marathon. This ten-mile-long island community has a rich fishing heritage, and the charming atmosphere reflects the old-world lifestyle of the locals.
Want to get up close and personal with dolphins or sea turtles? This city is the place for marine life encounters and marine-based environmental programs. If you’d rather catch some fish than swim with them, the surrounding waters are teeming with spectacular tuna, billfish and other species that are sure to delight any angler.
Some of the more popular destinations in this family-friendly island paradise include Crane Point, Pigeon Key, and Sombrero Reef. Crane Point offers visitors the opportunity to see an early settlers’ historic home and hike through an ancient hardwood grove, whereas the tiny island of Pigeon Key is also rich with local history. Sombrero Reef is part of the nations’ only living coral barrier reef, and it is the place to go if you want to participate in some one-of-a-kind wreck diving.
In Marathon, there is plenty to keep your family occupied. Visit the adorable patients at The Turtle Hospital where you can feed, pet, and play (safely) with these majestic creatures. Kids LOVE this attraction as it is both educational and fun. Drive along Seven Mile Bridge for a scenic experience you won’t soon forget, stop along the way for pictures, and we guarantee you won’t be able to just drive it once.
The Villages (+117%)
When you’re heading for sunny, warm Florida, The Villages can be the perfect destination. Situated in central FL, The Villages boasts a location that is convenient to Orlando. The Villages is the largest gated over-55 community in the world. It holds more than 100,000 residents in an area bigger than Manhattan and everyone gets around via golf cart. Inside the gates, there is anything anyone would ever want including plenty of entertainment, a bank, TV and radio stations, and garbage collection.
There are over a hundred dining options in The Villages neighborhood, too. The Villages offers family pools throughout the city, perfect for fun in the sun with the youngsters. Some pools in the community are “adults only” to create quieter environments for adults.
Parks abound in The Villages. The Veterans Memorial Park proudly displays a memorial for all past and present U.S. veterans. Anglers in your family can enjoy plentiful fishing opportunities in The Villages lakes. Find beautiful areas to cast out a line in Lake Paradise, Silver Lake, Lake Chula Vista, Fishable Pond, and more.
Upscale, charming Naples serves as a perfect backdrop for a glitzy Florida vacation. This sophisticated beach destination is located right along the Gulf of Mexico, on southern Florida’s “Paradise Coast”. Miles of fine sand beaches, gentle turquoise waters, and friendly locals are synonymous with this area. Shoppers delight in searching for antiques, home furnishings, clothes and jewelry. With its beautiful neighborhoods and grand architecture, the atmosphere is elegant, yet relaxing. We have hundreds of Naples vacation rentals on our website, so you’ll be able to choose the perfect property for your group.
Snowbirds flock here during the winter as it’s popular among retirees and those looking to escape the harsh northern winters. World class dining and shopping draw wealthy travelers to the area. The turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico provide endless entertainment and relaxation, too. Hunt for seashells while you pack together sand for the perfect castle. Take a fan boat through the Everglades to experience southern Florida’s amazing ecosystem. Don’t forget to pack your clubs – this city is famous for its incredible golfing.
Inspired by the city of the same name in Italy, Venice, Florida uses strategic waterways and a breezy gulf coast setting to attract thousands of travelers each year. This town takes the phrase “easy living” to a whole new level. Named one of the “Happiest seaside towns in the USA,” by Coastal Living, this Sarasota County hot spot is known for its sandy beaches, relaxed attitude, and friendly locals. Originally a tarpon fishing village settled in the 1870s, it was revived after 1960, when it replaced Sarasota as the winter headquarters for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The beach is the star of the show here, as well as nearby Gulf of Mexico sister cities like Osprey and Nokomis. Those warm gulf waters make a day on the beach a must-do. Venice offers 14 miles of beaches from Casey Key to Manasota Key There are plenty of recreational opportunities too, including swimming, sunbathing, fishing and boating.
Sarasota, Florida has a reputation as the Grand Dame of the Gulf Coast, due in part to its history as a winter home to many wealthy notables of the 19th-20th century. Bask in the glorious weather of this chic resort town. Blending some of Florida’s most significant cultural attractions with spectacular barrier islands, the area is a wonderland of blindingly white sands, turquoise waters, and upscale shopping and dining. Encompassing areas like Lido Key, Longboat Key, and Siesta Key, the settings for Sarasota are picturesque and easily accessible to all beaches and attractions in the area.
Davenport offers a friendly alternative to nearby Orlando. This small town in Central Florida is situated near Lake Tohopekaliga and Lake Marion. The area’s peaceful setting is close to the theme parks and also the natural wonders of Central Florida. Temperatures can be very hot and humid in the summer, so consider visiting during shoulder season for cooler weather. Families flock here during school vacation weeks and throughout the summer months, too.
The majority of tourists staying in Davenport head to the Orlando area theme parks (only a 30 minute drive away) during the day. Famous attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld draw millions of visitors every year. The Davenport area also has its fair share of fun things to do, so don’t miss out! Pack your clubs. The town has two large, 18-hole golf courses, the Highlands Reserves Golf Club and Ridgewood Lakes Golf & Country Club.