Why You Should Honeymoon Here: Beach towns are known for their sunsets. But Sarasota’s sunset view is so spectacular, it’s worth syncing your schedule up with as the dusk sky swirls like cotton candy, casting an amethyst glow. On Siesta Key, there’s even a Sunday night drum circle to celebrate the sunset. By day, honeymooners can enjoy sugary white sand beaches. By night, there’s an arts and culture scene to sample, with ballets, a Circus Arts Conservatory featuring world-class performers, Broadway shows, jazz concerts and theatrical performances.
Go Here Instead Of: The Mediterranean. You can even get your paella and sangria fix at Columbia Restaurant.
Average Nightly Hotel Price: $162
Where to Stay: The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota is perched on the bay, has a storied rose garden on site and an exclusive beach club with a tiki bar. Couples massages here come with a soak in a tub with rose petals.
What to Pack: Anything Lilly Pulitzer-esque. (Think: punchy, bold floral prints and resort wear). The fashion — and way of life — here is far more laid-back than Miami.
Romantic Date Night Spot: Indigenous, a cozy restaurant housed inside a restored home, with a focus on sustainable and seasonal seafood. Request a table on the front porch or in the wine cottage.
Can't-Miss Experience: A trip to The Ringling, a 66-acre bay-front property that houses European art, a secret garden, an elegant 1920s Ca’d’Zan mansion that John and Mable Ringling entertained in and, for fun, the Circus Museum, where you can safely walk a wire or try squeezing into a clown car.
Sweet Spot: The dessert menus at Jack Dusty inside the Ritz-Carlton are delivered like a message in the bottle. You can’t go wrong here as the hotel’s executive pastry chef Lyndsy McDonald won Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship.