Spanning both Charlotte and Sarasota Counties, Englewood is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. Stunning natural beauty, welcoming communities, and unique local shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues make this area a must-visit for vacationers. Whether you’re digging for seashells and shark’s teeth in the white sand of Blind Pass Beach or beating the heat in the cool, crystalline waves of Englewood Beach, you’re sure to fall in love with the picturesque local beaches scattered throughout the area. Take an eco-tour of Lemon Bay, where you’ll see dolphins, manatees, and other marine creatures. With so many fantastic neighborhoods, towns, and cities in Southwest Florida, choosing a spot to find vacation rentals can be tough. Here are 10 of the best places to find a vacation rental near Englewood.

1. Sarasota

botanical garden
Source: Flickr / Walter

Located just a little over a half hour’s drive from Englewood, Sarasota is one of Florida’s premier vacation cities. Known for its world-class beaches, shopping, and restaurants, this community-oriented city is truly a piece of paradise. Browse the shops at St. Armand’s Circle, and then stroll over to the coast nearby for a relaxing day in the sun. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art has a wide variety of circus-themed exhibits, including old costumes and wagons, as well as the world’s biggest miniature circus. Don’t forget to stop by the Sarasota Jungle Gardens to see exotic wildlife, including the iconic Florida flamingos, and then explore gorgeous plant life at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

2. Manasota Key

seaside viewed from the house
Source: Flickr / valerialaura

If you’re chasing that classic, laid-back Old Florida vibe, Manasota Key is a great place to look for vacation rentals. It’s also just a quick drive from Englewood. If you look in the northern half of Manasota Key, you should be able to find upscale luxury rentals. The southern half, while still gorgeous, is a little bit more budget-friendly. The area is known for its scenic nature, so be sure to do some exploring. Paddle boarding, boating, and parasailing are all awesome aquatic activities that are readily available in the Manasota Key area.

3. Fort Myers

palm trees near the pier
Source: Flickr / Roger W

Fort Myers is a popular Florida vacation destination, and for good reason. Plenty of activities is available for people of all ages and interests. The Imaginarium Science Center is a top-notch science museum with hands-on exhibits, as well as an aquarium. If you’d prefer to enjoy Fort Myers’ beautiful weather, head to the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, where you and the family can enjoy three nature trails, a museum, a planetarium, bird and butterfly aviaries, picnic areas, and a gift shop. The area has excellent fishing, so make sure you find a vacation rental with a big enough kitchen to make a fresh seafood feast at least one night while you’re in town.

4. Bradenton

town house by the lake
Source: Flickr / psyberartist

If you plan on exploring Florida’s west coast, Bradenton is an excellent place to hang your hat. It has a family-friendly, small-town feel, but it’s also just a quick drive from two major cities: St. Petersburg and Tampa. While you’re in Bradenton, be sure to check out The Riverwalk, a scenic riverside park with benches for relaxing and a playground for the kids. Rainy day? Spend the day at the South Florida Museum learning about the history of Florida’s gulf coast. The facility also boasts a planetarium and an aquarium.

5. Holmes Beach

green water beach
Source: Flickr / Travis Isaacs

Holmes Beach is a lovely community located in central Anna Maria Island between Anna Maria to the north and Bradenton Beach to the south. The Anna Maria Island Boardwalk is a charming place to take a stroll with wonderful views of lush greenery and the aquamarine ocean. If you’re up for something a little bit more fast-paced, rent some jet skis to take a ride on the Gulf of Mexico. Segway tours are popular in the Holmes Beach area, or you could explore the waters on a paddleboard, kayak, or traditional boat.

6. Bradenton Beach

setting sun
Source: Flickr / psyberartist

Nestled right by Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach is another fantastic place to look for vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island. The area is known for its beaches with clear, turquoise waters and sugar-white sand. As you might imagine, water sports are very popular in Bradenton Beach. Whether you’re fishing, snorkeling, water skiing, or boating, you’re going to enjoy an unforgettable experience. The beach also has a fun strip with quaint shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

7. Siesta Key

meadow near the beach
Source: Flickr / r chelseth

Siesta Key is classic Florida at its finest. The 8-mile island is just a quick drive from Englewood, Sarasota, Bradenton, and plenty of other fantastic areas. Siesta Public Beach is one of the best beaches on Florida’s western coast, and there are plenty of eclectic shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues within walking distance of the beach (and hopefully your vacation rental, too). While you’re in Siesta Key, treat yourself and the kids to a day at Livingston’s Amusement Center, a family-friendly, sprawling amusement center complete with go-karts, arcades, bazooka ball, pool tables, and more. It even has a bar with a regular happy hour for the grown-ups.

8. Punta Gorda

colorful pier lights
Source: Flickr / sandy Poore

Punta Gorda offers that classic, mellow Old Florida vibe. This waterfront community is known for its iconic tin-roofed homes with wide verandas that really scream vintage Florida. At the same time, this historic area has plenty of modern amenities, giving you the best of both worlds. The Fishermen’s Village is a great area to check out, featuring a wide range of one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, and even a military heritage museum. If you feel like cooling off, bring the whole family to Ponce De Leon Park, where you’ll find a quaint water park, as well as an animal refuge with exotic birds.

9. Venice

bottom of the sea port
Source: Flickr / Michael Dorausch

Venice is a charming city with a unique downtown area that’s separated from the rest of the city by a man-made canal. Whether you’re sifting through the sugar-white sand for shark’s teeth and shells, fishing on the Gulf of Mexico, or body surfing on the crystalline waves, you’re going to fall in love with this one-of-a-kind city. The gorgeous downtown area is architecturally inspired by Northern Italy, and it’s full of tantalizing restaurants and specialty shops. Whether you enjoy fishing or not, the Venice Fishing Pier is a landmark you shouldn’t miss.

10. St. Petersburg

beautiful sky over the waterpark
Source: Flickr / CityofStPete

Less than an hour’s drive from Englewood is St. Petersburg, also known as “Sunshine City” due to its year-round sunny weather. It’s the perfect city for art enthusiasts, as it hosts both The Dali Museum, a gallery dedicated to Salvador Dalí, and the Museum of Fine Arts. Spend the day at Maximo Park enjoying the waterfront view, picnic areas, a wilderness area, a beach, a covered playground, shoreline fishing, and even a disc golf course. If you want to explore the area’s stunning flora, head to the Sunken Gardens for a serene experience.