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Florida: Two honeymoons in one

There's more to Florida than theme parks and the east coast is the perfect choice for fun-loving honeymooners looking for excitement, adventure and glamour

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Strolling along the rustic wooden pier at Cocoa Beach it seems impossible to believe that you’re just an hour away from Disney World. With its casual restaurants, souvenir shops and fishermen reeling in their catch of the day, it oozes old-world charm. Cars cruise lazily down the sand-strewn main street with surf boards fixed to the roof racks and rocking chairs creak gently in the salty breeze on balconies of the small motels that occupy each inch of beach front along this stretch of Florida’s
Atlantic coast.

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This is a side to Florida that many visitors don’t ever get to see. The main draw is its long stretch of sun-baked sand and warm ocean, which attracts surfers from all over the world, giving the town a young and trendy vibe. Make like the locals and get yourselves kitted out at Ron Jon’s surf emporium, before booking yourselves in to The Craig Caroll Surfing School. When the sun sets and the beach empties for the day, check yourselves in to The Inn at Cocoa Beach with its kitsch décor. Book a deluxe room, and you can throw open your balcony doors each morning and watch the sun rise over the sand dunes.

The beach isn’t the only draw for honeymooners who like to mess around on the water – and no trip to Florida is complete without exploring the Intracoastal Waterway, which stretches as far north as Boston and south to Miami. This is the place where the rich come to play. Speedboats rip through the calm water dragging waterskiers in their wakes while glamorous locals pose aboard their sparkling motor cruisers. To soak up the atmosphere at a gentler pace, your can hire canoes and paddle through the tranquil inky-blue backwaters.

Come nightfall the place to hang out is Boca Raton Resort & Club (pictured). This millionaire’s playground has welcomed a long list of A-list celebs, among them Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Brooke Shields, Jessica Simpson and John Travolta.

This sprawling resort is unmistakable for its marshmallow-pink facade, inspired by the Florida sunset, and is such a feature that the colour has been trademarked Boca Pink. When the hotel first opened in 1926 with 100 rooms it was the most expensive hotel of its size ever to be built and over the years it has grown to offer more than 1000 rooms.

For movie-star glamour and views to die for, ask for a corner suite in the Tower, which soars an impressive 27 storeys towards to the clear blue sky. These rooms have separate sitting rooms and dining areas while the spacious bathrooms have his and hers sinks and honey-scented Boca Resort own-brand toiletries. The wraparound views take in the ocean and the resort’s own marina. A trip up the high-speed elevators to 27 Ocean Blue on the top floor is a must for a gourmet dining fest.

The decadent Spa Palazzo offers a host of indulgent detoxing, rejuvenating and relaxing treatments, including couples massage. There are also six swimming pools and a beach club with its own half-mile stretch of private beach. For sheer glamour, live like the A list and hire a beach cabana, which comes with your own butler who will serve you champagne and keep your sun-warmed bodies cool with ice-cold flannels and refreshing face sprays.

A short drive takes you to Palm Beach where you can shop for designer goodies on trendy Worth Avenue. Shops lining this elegant street include Cartier, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co and Jimmy Choo.

To ensure that the high-octane glamour continues even after you leave Boca Raton, the hotel can arrange a thrilling high-speed transfer by speedboat to Miami airport – a fitting departure from a hotel whose slogan is "an elegant place to play".


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Getting there: British Airways Holidays (0870 243 3407, www.baholidays.com) offers seven nights room only at the five-star Boca Raton from £2032 per person, including Club World flights and car hire. The Inn at Cocoa Beach (www.theinnatcocoabeach.com) costs from $135 (about £75) per night. Flying time: 9 hours 35 minutes. Climate: The east coast of Florida enjoys a tropical year-round climate with average temperature of 23°C in winter and 28°C in summer. The rainy season lasts from June to October. For more information about Florida log on to www.visitflorida.com or call 0870 770 1177 for a free Florida vacation guide.