Marco Island is most expensive beach destination in Florida

TripAdvisor traveler photo
TripAdvisor traveler photo

Marco Island Marriott. TripAdvisor traveler photo.

beach_maniac_blog_100pxMarco Island, located a few miles from the Florida Everglades and close to Naples, is the most expensive beach destination in Florida, according to the latest survey from

The survey specifically compared the hotel rates of 20 popular Floridian destinations for this year’s February and March time period, the high season for most beach destinations in the Sunshine State.

In Marco Island, travelers will have to spend an average of $302 per night for the most affordable double room. It bears pointing out that only hotels located close to the beach and with a positive average client rating were considered for the survey.

The following table lists the 10 most expensive beach destinations in Florida. The rates indicated reflect the average rate for the cheapest available double room (minimum: 3-star hotel) at each locale for the time period spanning February 1 through March 31, 2014. Although this survey comes from, I am linking out to TripAdvisor pages where you can compare prices from multiple sources for your specific vacation dates.

  1. Marco Island $302
  2. Sanibel Island $287
  3. Key West $254
  4. Delray Beach $253
  5. Fort Myers Beach $214
  6. Islamorada $198
  7. Anna Maria Island $197
  8. Key Largo $184
  9. Sarasota $183
  10. St. Pete Beach $181

For the full results of the survey, visit

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Gorgeous Maldives hotel tops new TripAdvisor list

TripAdvisor traveler photos

Gili Lancanfushi Maldives

beach_maniac_blog_100pxTripAdvisor has come out with its The Best Hotels of 2015 That Transport You to Other Worlds, and its top hotel is Gili Lankanfushi, a gorgeous resort on a tiny coral island in the Maldives. It’s a place where your villa sits on stilts above the water “and your days are spent gazing at blue as far as the eye can see.”

And travelers love this hotel, giving it a near perfect traveler rating, with comments such as this: “This place exceeded our expectations. Everything about it is just incredible. The villas, staff, food is exceptional. We would go back in a heart beat. It’s a world class resort. You won’t find better.”

Of course, you have to have deep pockets to stay at a hotel like this. A quick search on Expedia for dates in late March reveals prices of $1,484 per night. And that’s not including the flight to the Indian Ocean islands, which will cost you $1,200 to $4,195 per person roundtrip from Chicago.

But hey, we can dream, right?

TripAdvisor traveler photos


TripAdvisor traveler photo

TripAdvisor traveler photos

Find out more about the amazing Maldives Islands

Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

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Singing animals lure overworked Americans to Costa Rica beaches



beach_maniac_blog_100pxWhich is more of a jungle – the lush tropical woods of Costa Rica or the stressful concrete jungle of the Big City in the United States? Costa Rica tourism officials pose that very question in a clever and entertaining new video with singing sloths, turtles and parrots.

Using the catchy tune from the classic The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the video is part of a campaign titled Save the Americans, designed to bring Americans to the relaxing jungles and beaches of Costa Rica.

“Forced to work long hours in stressful environments, increasingly estranged from their natural habitat, the American worker grows more endangered every day,” they say. “As resident animals of Costa Rica, we happily offer our country as sanctuary. If you or someone you know is endangered, we can help.”

Check out this fun new video:

The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

Find out more about Costa Rica on TripAdvisor

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Kaua’i Marriott Resort offers Room & Breakfast in Paradise Package

Kaua'i Marriott Resort

Kaua'i Marriott Resort

The Kaua’i Marriott Resort is inviting travelers to trade the snow for the sea and get back to a summer state-of-mind.

beach_maniac_blog_100pxWhether spending time with family, escaping work with friends or spurring a romantic getaway, visitors will discover the warm vacation they’ve been longing for when retreating to one of the premier luxury resorts in Kaua’i, Hawaii. Infamous for its warm island hospitality, idyllic location on the Garden Isle and exceptional service, Kaua’i Marriott Resort inspires relaxation as well as adventure with newly renovated guest rooms, suites and restaurants.

Ensuring travelers get the most out of their dream getaway, the Kaua’i beach resort is offering the Room & Breakfast in Paradise Package. Guests can experience all the islands have to offer while enjoying luxury accommodations and a lavish buffet breakfast for two at the resort’s restaurant. With rates from just $299, this special deal is the perfect excuse to experience paradise up close and personal.

Travelers will be shedding their winter coats as they soak up the sun in style at the Kaua’i resort. Boasting one of the largest family friendly pools in Hawaii, a wide variety of recreational experiences and a superior beach experience on Kalapaki Bay, Marriott has everything guests need to relax and explore.

Golf lovers can hit the links at the adjacent Kaua’i Lagoon Golf Club featuring 18 holes of Jack Nicklaus-designed championship golf...

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Baha Mar opening is game-changer in the Bahamas



beach_maniac_blog_100pxWatch out Atlantis, there’s a new luxury resort in town. The long-anticipated Baha Mar Casino & Hotel Rosewood at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar will begin hosting paid guests on March 27, 2015, and it’s a game-changer for the Bahamas tourism industry.

Baha Mar will feature 2,200 luxury guest rooms across four hotels – Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar – along with the Caribbean’s largest casino, a 100,000 square foot masterpiece featuring a full array of the latest slots and table games. In addition, the resort’s TPC at Baha Mar Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, ESPA spa, pools, beach experiences, and many restaurants and luxury shops will be part of the highly anticipated resort experience upon opening.

Baha Mar also recently launched a new digital campaign with its short-film, ‘The Voyage,’ that debuted on an updated website ( on January 5.

After years of planning and building, it is not surprising that Baha Mar has a series of opening celebrations, including a Ribbon Cutting Gala and a Grand Opening Event scheduled for April and May 2015, respectively. Baha Mar will also kick off Riviera Summer, a four-month celebration with entertainment events from Memorial Day weekend to late September.

Baha Mar is set on 3,000 feet of white sandy beach just 10 minutes from Nassau’s fully renovated and expanded international airport...

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Exploring Key West


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beach_maniac_blog_180pxAh, yes, Key West Florida. What better place to get away from the hectic life on the mainland, sit back and relax, sip a Margarita, listen to live music, walk the beaches or just get out and explore.

My adult son, Ryan, and I just got back from a few days on the island and enjoyed every minute. Here are a few insights from our trip:

Southernmost Hotel: This was our headquarters for the week, and it was perfect. The location at the quiet end of Duval Street allowed us a break from the busy shops and bars (and cruise ship crowds) but left us close enough (half mile to one mile) to enjoy them any time we chose. The hotel is adjacent to a modest but well-kept beach, a great café overlooking the water, three great pools among the two properties, ping pong, foosball, bean bag toss, and an evening sunset celebration with live music. The staff are friendly and helpful but not intrusive. We got a room with a balcony to enjoy the great Key West weather even while relaxing in our room. Not only did we have wi-fi in our room but it was available in the outdoor game room, with tables, on the beach (a perfect spot for us to relax in paradise while keeping up with our online work and hobbies).

Biking: The first thing we did when we checked into the Southernmost was re...

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TripAdvisor names 10 Breathtaking Beaches



beach_maniac_blog_100pxFrom Australia to Hawaii to the Caribbean, TripAdvisor has searched for those special beaches that leave you in awe from the moment you arrive to the moment you have to leave. With the help of its traveler-reviewers, the site has compiled a list of 10 Breathtaking Beaches that every beach lover should add to his or her own wish list. For all you beach maniacs who live in the United States, there are several nearby beaches that you can reach in short order and make your own – at least for a while – at an affordable cost. One of those is pictured above: Grace Bay in the Turks & Caicos, a beach that repeatedly makes lists of the best in the world. Others nearby include Pink Sands Beach in the Bahamas and Siesta Key Beach in Florida.

Read more on TripAdvisor:

10 breathtaking beaches

If you’re looking for a beach that will truly take your breath away, this list is for you.

The Beach Maniac Blog by Bill Hurley

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Kanhanamoku Beach at Waikiki is top beach for 2014, according to Dr. Beach



A relatively quiet stretch of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii, is the Number One beach in the United States, according to the 2014 ranking just released by Dr. Beach, a well-respected researcher who compiles the list annually.

Kanhanamoku Beach is located at the west end of Waikiki Beach, far from the large crowds elsewhere. It is widest beach on this stretch of famous sands and protected by an offshore coral reef, making it a good beach for families with children.

beach_maniac_blog_100pxThis is a safe beach with no known drownings. Official lifeguards are not present, but the beach and pool concessionaires have lifeguard training.

The nearby Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is also a favorite bathing and swimming spot. Public access is via Kalia Road and Pahoa Place. Surprising to most visitors, this beautiful beach where smoking is not permitted, was created more than half a century ago by dredging through the shallow reef and importing sand.

Dr. Beach is Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, professor and director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University. Dr. Beach has studied and evaluated America’s coastal beaches for more than 22 years, and issues an annual listing of the best, based on 50 factors that include sand softness, water quality, number of sunny days, water temperature, rip currents, amount of algea, seaweed, jellyfish, and much more.

This is Dr. Beach’s 2014 list of top beaches in the United States. Find out more about each beach location on TripAdvisor:

  1. Duke Kah...
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Atlantic City, Miami Beach top list of East Coast beach destinations for kids

Atlantic City

Atlantic City, New Jersey. Source: Wikipedia

Looking for a great beach location where the kids will be entertained by more than just the shells and the sand, while offering plenty for Mom and Dad too? ABC Travel Guides for Kids has named Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Miami Beach, Florida, the top East Coast beach destinations for 2014. Here is their Top 5 and their rationale:

beach_maniac_blog_100px1. Atlantic City, New Jersey – AC is within a day’s drive of 1/3 of the country’s population.   AC’s unique attractions include a Surf School and the country’s third tallest lighthouse.  Even transportation is unique: Jitneys and Rolling Chairs.  More adventurous? Consider a Helicopter or Parasailing adventure.   But this resort city offers so much more: Joe Holiday’s magic show, Steel Pier, Ripley’s Odditorium, a White House (famous for submarines), Tony’s and Gilchrist for breakfast.  Ready for the original salt water taffy and fudge?  It started here with Steel’s, James and Fralinger’s.  The Caesars Pier water show, Boardwalk Hall light show and the Waterfront Sculpture Walk are hidden treasures.  The AC Sheraton’s location (near the Tanger Outlets) is the perfect launching pad to DO AC.

2. Miami Beach, Florida – We love Miami in the summer because the water is so warm.  Miami is about great food and diverse culture.  Start with a Grace Della food tour to learn about Miami’s culinary history.  The Seaquarium and Jungle Island shows are exceptional, as is the new PA...

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Top 5 waterparks in the Caribbean

Leap of Faith
Leap of Faith

Leap of Faith is the signature ride at Aquaventure at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

If you love the beach, chances are you love waterparks too. And while we know there are plenty of awesome waterparks with incredible rides throughout the United States – even in Wisconsin Dells where Noah’s Ark boasts the nation’s largest waterpark – did you know there are some really good ones in the Caribbean as well? Yes, if a few days on the beach leaves you looking for something a little different, you can head to the waterpark. USA Today has culled the list of Caribbean waterparks down to the top five, where you can slide and splash your way to aqua overload.

beach_maniac_blog_100pxThe Top Five are:

  • Jamaica’s Kool Runnings in Negril.
  • Pirate’s Island at Beaches Turks & Caicos.
  • Aquaventure at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
  • Sirenis Aquagames in Punta Cana Dominican Republic.
  • CocoLand at Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa in St. Lucia.

Get wet at the top five water parks in the Caribbean

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