Florida Golf Vacation
As part of a two month golf vacation to Florida to escape the cold weather in Texas (which never came - January and February temperatures were in the 70s not the 20s!) we got to enjoy some fantastic Florida resorts and some of the best golf courses in Florida.
We started the Florida golf vacation with a week in Gulf Shores, Alabama and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of courses and the very reasonable rates. You'll find some great places to stay and play ranging from resort type accommodations, to very nice two to four bedroom condos, to a hotel on the beach. In addition to great courses and good accommodations, Gulf Shores is home to some great beach bars, excellent restaurants, fun attractions, and miles of white sand beaches. Click on our Golf Vacation to Gulf Shores article to learn more.
From Gulf Shores we headed to Orlando to stay at Reunion Resort just a few miles from Disney World. Wow, what an impressive resort with lots of great amenities, a fantastic 11th floor roof restaurant with a pool and panoramic views, and very comfortable 1 to 8 bedroom villas. And Reunion is home to three excellent award winning golf courses designed by some legends of the game - Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Tom Watson. Here is a link to our review of Reunion Resort which has links to the Reunion Resort golf courses. If you're staying at Reunion, you'll have plenty of choices for some other excellent Orlando golf courses to play - here is a list and reviews of some of the best Orlando golf courses.
From Orlando, we drove a short 80 miles east to Palm Coast and Hammock Beach Resort. Another Wow! The view from our upscale suite was outstanding - we could see a huge pool complex, pond and water fountains, a couple holes of the Ocean Course, and a stunning sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. As fantastic as Hammock Beach Resort is, the two courses are even better. One has several holes along the Atlantic Ocean and the other one is very different and very challenging. Read our review of Hammock Beach Resort and it's courses to learn why you should book a golf stay and play vacation here.
We hated to leave Hammock Beach Resort - we could have spent a couple more days in Palm Coast exploring the local area, playing the courses again, and taking advantage that all the Resort has to offer - but we were booked at Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills. A ninety mile drive just north west of Orlando took us to a very unique resort with two great golf courses. Mission Inn Resort has lots of amenities including tennis courts, a pool, volleyball, a marina and boat rental, bikes and trails, fitness center, skeet shooting, and a spa. In addition to the two great courses at Mission Inn, one of my favorites was the huge and outstanding breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets where I'm sure I gained 10 pounds! Here is the link to our review of Mission Inn Resort and their two courses.
Eight fantastic courses and three excellent resorts and we still had a couple more to go. Next up was Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa in Palm Harbor which is close to the Gulf of Mexico and just north of Tampa. We got there two days before the Transitions Tournament was going to be played on the Copperhead Golf Course and we were very surprised that we could still play Copperhead - wow, the conditions were immaculate and I felt very guilty taking a divot where the pros were going to play in two days. The three other courses at Innisbrook were also a blast to play and each one had it's own unique personality and characteristics. Innisbrook Golf Resort has fantastic dining options, tennis, racquetball, miniature golf, 6 pools, a spa, fitness center, and more. Our two bedroom fully equipped condo was huge and overlooked the green of one of the Copperhead holes. Read the review of Innisbrook Golf Resort & Spa to learn why we hated to leave Innisbrook and wished we could have played each of the courses again, and again, and maybe one more time!
By now my game hadn't gotten any better, I'd gone through 5 sleeves of golf balls, seen several alligators who I donated several golf balls to, traveled coast to coast and what seemed like half of Florida, was down to my last 5 Advils, and had gained 12 pounds from all that good resort food. But I was not anxious to head back to Texas and was excited about spending some time in Naples. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Naples and true to it's name, the Waldorf is home to excellent service, good food, and great amenities including three miles of sugar white sand beaches. And the private (or Waldorf Astoria guest play) Naples Grande Golf Club is a very exclusive course with perfect conditions, stunning well manicured and landscaped grounds, and some very fun holes. Check out our review of the Waldorf Astoria Naples to lean why we were depressed to leave and start our drive back up the Florida coast and on to Dallas.
What a fun trip.