There’s something about checking into a hotel that defies description.
Clean sheets tucked neatly. A comfortable bed. Fresh towels. Perhaps a pool or a hot tub.
It’s your private temporary haven where you can lock out the world, unwind, and relax. If you’re Florida-bound on your motorcycle tour, here are five hotels that deserve consideration.
Located on Jacksonville Beach, this Best Western just steps from the Atlantic has welcomed guests to its beachfront location since 2010. There’s safe, secure private parking and a pool for an after-ride dip.
Each room offers free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and complimentary breakfast, as well as coffee makers to get you on your way in the morning. The Oceanfront is close to golfing and 23 miles from the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
If you’re going two-up, you’ll be happy to know that couples rated it 9.3/10 for two-person trips.
Several restaurants are within a few hundred feet—Riptides Beach Bar & Grill, Hoptinger, and the Shim Sham Room. Also close by are the Seawalk Pavilion, Latham Plaza, and the Beaches Museum & History Park. The Kingsley Plantation State Historical Site, the Ribault Monument, the Fort Caroline National Memorial, and the Fort George Island Cultural State Park are also within 10 miles.
There’s plenty of riding nearby, including SR 13, a quick 38-mile ride that cuts through oak glens and forest following the St. Johns River. The Coastal Run takes you on a 180-mile sojourn that starts north of Jacksonville and skirts the coast south through 6,000 acres of Atlantic wetlands all the way to famed Daytona Beach. Or, if you’d like to take a dip in Alexander Springs where the water is a steady 72 degrees, hit up the 63-mile Ocala National Forest Cruise.
Situated on a beach in the small island city of Cedar Key, Beach Front Motel is halfway between Tampa and Tallahassee on the Gulf Coast. Beachcomb with the inviting warm waters of the Gulf or enjoy the motel’s outdoor pool.
Motorcyclists will appreciate the private parking and the in-room coffee makers to ensure you get a proper start to your riding day. There’s saltwater fishing on site.
Popular nearby attractions include the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge, which covers a small grouping of islands with trails that put you in the middle of rich tapestry of bird life. Cedar Key Museum State Park offers a nature trail and has information and artifacts from the town’s history, along with Civil War items. Also nearby are Lil Shark Park and Cemetery Point Boardwalk.
There are several restaurants and cafes nearby, such as Cedar Key Pizza and Subs and Holey Moley Donuts.
Florida SR 24 is a favorite local ride, which ends at the Beach Front Motel, making directions easy. The short hop from the mainland is scenic, sweeping over the water and several small islands to land you at Cedar Key.
Located in Florida’s panhandle, the Buccaneer Inn sits on St. George Island, which you can reach on the Bryant Patton Bridge. The road from the mainland delivers you to the secluded island over the waterway.
The hotel features a sun terrace and year-round pool, while it is also within easy steps of the warm waters and sunny beaches of the Gulf. Always important to motorcyclists, the hotel has private parking for guests.
More of a destination than a riding route, this island stay puts you in close proximity to Saint George Lighthouse Park and one mile from the Apalachicola Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. If you’re a pickleball enthusiast, Sea Pine Courts are only two miles away.
Back on the mainland, there are several parks. Located within a few hundred feet of the hotel are several eateries, inluding Weber’s Little Donut Shop, BJ’s Pizza & Subs, and the Beach Pit restaurant.
If your motorcycle travel plans take you through central Florida on the Gulf side, the Island House Resort Hotel in North Redington Beach, between St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach, was created to serve beach bums and sunseekers. Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, it is a great stopover with a pool (in addition to having beaches at its door), barbecue facilities, and a sundeck.
The rooms have flat-screen TVs and coffee makers, as well as free Wi-Fi. There is plenty of on-site parking.
Twelve miles away, in the heart of St. Petersburg, is the Dali Museum, which has a collection of more than 2,400 works of art by the surrealist painter Salvador Dali. For entertaining children, visit the Great Explorations Children’s Museum.
Florida Botanical Gardens covers a sprawling 150 acres and includes the daylily, bromeliad, butterfly, and tropical gardens. The nearby city of Clearwater has the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which is home to rescued animals including dolphins, sea turtles, and otters.
Downtown St. Petersburg is only a short ride away. There you’ll find plenty of choices on dining. If you want to stay close with the bike(s) parked, you can find KC Sunshine Grill, the Mangos Restaurant & Tiki Bar, and, for casual fare, Coastal Pizza Kitchen, within easy walking distance of the hotel.
A colorful, bright and cheery hotel loaded with character, the South Beach Inn is right on the water’s edge on the famous Cocoa Beach. It sits just a short distance from the legendary Cape Canaveral.
With a strong beach vibe, the Inn has a serious penchant for leisure. Facing east on the eastern seaboard, you get to be the first to greet the sun.
Suggested rides for motorcycles include taking the A1A on the outer banks for a full day of exploring. Smooth roads, with a few turns but mostly straights, let you admire the ocean scenery.
The route can easily have you logging some serious miles, depending how far south you wish to go. For a change of views on the return, get back onto the mainland and go north on US 1, crossing back over to South Beach Inn at Cocoa Village.
With Cape Canaveral just a few miles to the north, it’s worth allotting a day to take a tour of the famous NASA base and launch center. Some of the massive rockets and boosters that have gone into space are on display. There’s the famous assembly building and a host of demonstrations and science-related exhibits indoors at the science center.
Brevard Veterans Memorial Museum Military Museum is also nearby.
For dining, route A1A is packed with quaint eateries, as is the mainland nearby. For dining that keeps you close to South Beach Inn, there’s Squid Lips, the Fat Snook, and Taco City, representing a range of tastes.