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- With beautiful beaches and sunsets, Florida’s Gulf Coast is a top pick for a beach getaway.
- The Gulf Coast also tends to be less crowded (and expensive) than South Florida’s east coast.
- The top Gulf Coast Airbnbs include vacation rentals and beach cottages, all under $318 per night.
Florida’s Gulf Coast is the state’s unsung hero with miles of pristine beaches and waterways. It lacks the flash and sizzle of South Florida beach towns like Miami and Fort Lauderdale but makes up for it with the softest sand, clearest waters, and some of the best nature trails and fishing in the state. There are also legendary sunsets.
As a Florida transplant of over 15 years, I’ve spent significant time along the Gulf Coast. While there are many glossy hotels and resorts, the best way to soak up the Gulf Coast is to spend a bit more time in town and book a vacation rental, like those found on Airbnb.
From posh Naples and Bonita Springs to laid-back Sanibel and Captiva Islands, the Gulf Coast is peppered with some of the best Airbnbs in Florida, from beachfront homes to Airbnbs with private pools, and much more.
Browse all the best vacation rentals on the Gulf Coast of Florida below, or jump directly to a specific area here:
- Best Airbnbs on Florida’s Gulf Coast
- FAQ: Gulf Coast vacation rentals
- More of the best Airbnbs in Florida
These are the best Airbnb vacation rentals on the Gulf Coast, sorted by price.
Located in the Estero Beach and Tennis Club, this one-bedroom condo directly faces the bright blue waters of the Gulf. Enjoy a large pool, tennis courts, or make the one-minute walk to a quiet stretch of Fort Myers beach. The Little Estero Island Critical Wildlife Area is also a short stroll, but most folks look to this area for the pristine, uncrowded beaches and legendary sunsets.
Inside, the first-floor condo is modern with a nautical navy blue and white design scheme. There is an attractive balcony for al fresco dining or morning coffee. The modern kitchen is fully equipped and the building has laundry facilities, too. The bedroom is nicely furnished with a Queen bed, while the living room has a fold-out couch for two more guests.
Beach towels, chairs, and coolers are available, and local favorite Fish Tails restaurant is across the street. The local trolley is also easily accessible and convenient for heading to town.
Remodeled Key West-style villa in Naples
This laid-back retreat is made for outdoor living, with a large balcony overlooking the yard and a rear patio with hammocks and a BBQ grill. There are beach cruiser bikes too, and the beach is roughly a mile away. The house is also pet-friendly with a large fenced backyard.
The apartment occupies the entire second floor of the house and consists of an open kitchen/living area plus two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The apartment is done up in soothing white and beige tones with a master bedroom with a Queen bed and a second bedroom that has a double and single bed.
This newly-remodeled house is also close to Naples’ downtown 5th Avenue shopping and restaurant strip.
Coastal studio with bicycles and a deck in Naples
Make your way past a seashell-strewn private parking area to discover this pastel-colored cottage-style studio, situated halfway between downtown Naples and Vanderbilt Beach. It includes bicycles, beach chairs, and an umbrella, and the beach is just a short seven-minute bike ride away.
The petite apartment is best for a couple as there is no divider between the sleeping area. It’s decorated in soothing ocean colors of teal and white with starfish and seashells accents, and the modern kitchenette is done up in seafoam blue and white tile with a coffee maker and a full supply of pots and dishware. There’s also a small dining nook and a memory foam Queen-size bed with a whitewashed headboard.
Plenty of natural light filters through the windows and the pullout couch provides a comfortable reading nook or extra sleep space. One of the true standout features, however, is the spacious deck for outdoor dining, entertaining, and savoring warm breezes.
Pet-friendly home with tennis and beach access in Sanibel Island
Savor tropical vibes in this large, breezy sun-filled home on scenic Sanibel Island. The house is located in a quiet neighborhood lined with lush trees and staying here comes with access to a community pool and tennis courts. It’s also a quick bike ride or walk to Bowman’s Beach and many of Sanibel’s natural attractions. This property is also pet-friendly.
Inside, double-height ceilings and terra cotta tile give the living room an airy feel, while floor-to-ceiling patio doors allow daylight to spill through the room. There’s a well-appointed kitchen and breakfast area, and a screened-in porch with a table and chairs for dining or entertaining.
The master bedroom is spacious with a spa-like ensuite bathroom that has double vanity sinks, a large soaking tub, and a separate shower. If you’re traveling with kids or a group, there are two other bedrooms, including one that opens up to a screened balcony on the second floor.
A swanky condo on Siesta Key Beach
The beach on Siesta Key was voted a top beach in the U.S. by Trip Advisor, and this gorgeous condo is directly across the street from it and the accompanying sparkling Gulf Coast waters.
The third-floor apartment is part of an amenity-filled building with a heated pool, game room, private parking, and laundry. The gleaming kitchen is outfitted with a grey stone island with bar stools and stainless steel appliances. Take your meal into the posh dining room, which feels reminiscent of a designer Hamptons beach home.
A screened-in porch overlooking the water has red Adirondack chairs for witnessing those famous Gulf Coast sunsets.
Waterfront home with kayaks and boats near Fort Myers
This house in St. James City on Pine Island is not on the beach side, but is a must book for anyone who wants to stay among ample nature and water. Take a ride along a bike trail that runs the full 18-mile length of the island, or go for a hike within the many nature preserves. Or, simply take advantage of all the outdoor offerings within the home.
Dubbed the “Salty Retreat,” this waterfront home comes with a dock, kayaks, and paddleboards, as well as boats that guests can rent for the day or charter for personalized fishing trips. Sit and fish off the dock and watch dolphins swim by, or try and spot manatees in one of the nearby canals.
The home itself is a treat with a glass-enclosed sun room with floor-to-ceiling windows that frame water views. Two modestly-sized bedrooms come with Queen beds, and there is a pull-out lazy boy couch for additional guests. A small but functional kitchen rounds out the offerings.
Fort Myers Beach is an hour’s drive away and the barrier island beaches of North Captiva and Cayo Costa are accessible via car or boat. The house also includes fat tire bikes which make rides on the sand a breeze.
Chic apartment in Tampa
Hardwood floors, a gorgeous kitchen, and minimalist lighting — you might want to live here.
This apartment fit for four is sophisticated and includes a lovely balcony, community pool, gym, and grill. The host recently noted that the pool and gym are now open for guests.
It’s also a quick five-minute drive to downtown Tampa. If this home gets snatched up, the Superhost also lists some other beautiful properties around Tampa.
Bayside apartment on the water in Clearwater
This listing, ideal for a couple, comes with a waterfront view right from the bed. Beach chairs, and the option to rent jet skis and paddleboards are also on offer. Clearwater’s beaches are close and stunning, and the waters are, as the name implies, impossibly clear.
Time spent on land will also be positive thanks to the studio’s clean, cheery, and cozy demeanor. The studio has a minimalist aesthetic with a statement wood wall behind the bed, a midcentury modern style armchair, and wall sconce light fixtures.
This home is also quite close to Clearwater’s shops and restaurants.
Condo with pool and access to one of Marco Island’s best beaches
Marco Island’s JW Marriott resort is located on what locals know to be the best spot on the island. It’s across the street from the resort and gives you access to the exact same public beach that hotel guests pay top dollar for, along with other amenities, specific to this apartment.
The condo features a simple color palette of beige, pale yellow, and blue, and includes a large couch in the living room, a small white round table and chairs for dining, and a full kitchen with stainless steel appliances. The bedroom’s King-size bed is flanked by whitewashed dressers and a vanity, while a covered balcony offers a private shaded spot for morning coffee or settling in with a good book.
The beach is 200 feet away and the apartment has all the supplies you’ll need including beach chairs, a cooler, pool noodles, and two beach cruiser bikes. Additional perks include private parking, laundry, and access to a shared large pool and tennis courts.
Beachfront condo in Treasure Island
Take refuge in this cozy condo with a light blue interior that complements the picturesque beach right at your window. This beachfront home is ideal for families as it is located in a quiet and private neighborhood on Sunset Beach.
The shared balcony has an unobstructed 180 degree of scenic clear waters and staying here comes with access to a family-friendly community pool. The open kitchen is great for dinners at home as it is equipped with modern appliances, a four-seat dining table, and a breakfast bar for additional seating.
This condo has a modestly sized master bedroom with a King bed and a Queen sleeper sofa in the living room. If you’re traveling with kids or have guests, there is a Twin size air mattress and a Pack n’ Play crib provided as well. Keep in mind that there is a 10% discount for stays of seven days or more.
A resort-like home in Captiva Island
Captiva Island is more off the beaten path than its sister Sanibel Island with its quiet neighborhoods and gorgeous beaches.
One of the most popular spots on the island is the South Seas Island Resort, which attracts a fair share of visitors. Many of the resort condos are individually owned and rented out, including this one-bedroom condo, located in a private residential complex called Bayside Villas. Enjoy the comforts of a home while still taking full use of the sprawling resort’s multiple beach areas, pools, hot tubs, BBQ grills, restaurants, free on-site parking, and marina.
The apartment features a nice-sized porch that overlooks the pool, and the condo was fully renovated with a sleek subway-tile open kitchen and a master bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and King size bed. The living room also includes a fold-out couch.
Beautiful beaches are within walking distance and the owners provided all the gear you might need — even shelling rakes to make collecting easier. Guests are also encouraged to rent golf carts to make it around the island and explore its various beaches and trails.
Contemporary waterfront condo in Marco Island
If you’re looking for something akin to a luxury getaway, this gorgeous condo offers the privacy, open spaces, and amenities of a resort.
The light and bright accommodations include a King bed in the master bedroom along with a sofa bed and air mattress in the living room. There are beautiful water views of the Marco River from nearly every room, as well as glimpses of the river and Jolley Bridge from the private screened-in lanai. The contemporary condo also has a washer and dryer in the unit and comes with beach and fishing equipment and other high-end finishes.
This condo is located in the Riverside Club housing complex with multiple pools, tennis courts, boat docks, fishing piers, and more. However, registration and a $30 fee are required to access these amenities.
Family-friendly home with private pool in Marco Island
This generously-spaced home is great for large families or a group of friends as there are several nice spaces for entertaining and to spread out. Though, you’re probably booking here for the backyard, which has a 23-foot heated private pool, as well as a large screened-in porch with canal views. If you’d rather hit the sand, the garage is stocked with a beach cart, beach chairs, sun tent, and four adult and two child-sized bicycles.
The sprawling first floor features an open kitchen with modern appliances as well as a built-in desk and writing area with a wireless printer. There are two living areas, each with plush couches, coffee tables, and beachy-chic decor that includes white wicker and pale blue accents. Two bedrooms feature King-size beds while a third has a bunk bed, single bed, and a crib.
Located on a waterway where fishing and kayaking are encouraged (the house has fishing poles and kayaks and life jackets for guests to use), the house is also just a 15-minute walk to Tigertail Beach and the JW Marriott on Marco Island.
Waterfront studio in Nokomis
This cute and cozy Nokomis home has all the makings of a tranquil couple’s weekend. Facing the Gulf of Mexico, the waterfront studio comes with relaxing perks like a deck dotted with beach chairs, beach gear, chaise lounges on the water, and even complimentary housekeeping, if you want it.
While it does have a full kitchen, the apartment is pretty small, so it’s best for couples or solo travelers who would rather stay right near the sand than pay more for a larger home further away.
Beachfront condo in Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach has long been the epicenter of spring break activity in Florida, but lately, it has turned its party reputation around and become a quieter destination for families, too.
In line with that, this picturesque beach house promises to be far more peaceful than you might expect of PC. Drink your morning coffee while gazing out at the ocean from the waterfront balcony, or grab an appropriately-spaced chair by the beach or pool.
With a King-sized bed and bunk beds, it accommodates up to six and would be great for families or small groups.
FAQ: Gulf Coast vacation rentals
Where should I stay on Florida’s Gulf Coast?
The Gulf Coast of Florida has a wide range of towns and villages, each with its own distinct style. Which one is the best for you is entirely dependent on your vacation needs.
Cities like Naples and Fort Myers have beaches as well as cosmopolitan downtown areas with shopping, high-end restaurants, and museums.
Smaller enclaves like Captiva and Sanibel Islands offer a quieter, more beachy and tropical vibe with village-style main streets and small mom-and-pop fish shacks and stores.
Marco Island has more of a resort town feel and is home to a JW Marriott, so expect a bit more action and visitors on that beach.
Siesta Key is situated centrally and attracts vacationers from northern Florida as well as Southern Florida.
How much does a Florida vacation rental cost on the Gulf Coast?
Plan to budget at least $100-$300 per night in low season for a spacious apartment or home on the Gulf Coast. There are a few around $100 deals to be had, but they tend to be studios or cottages and book up quickly. Also, expect prices to rise during high-occupancy periods such as spring break and holiday weekends.
Where is the cheapest place to rent a beach house on Florida’s Gulf Coast?
Overall, Fort Myers beach seems to be the most budget-friendly place to rent a house on the beach, as it’s less pricey than tony Naples to the south, and not as exclusive as the island rentals on Sanibel Captiva, or Marco Island.
What are the best times of year to visit the Florida Gulf Coast?
The Gulf Coast is an attractive beach destination year-round but if you want to avoid the heat and humidity of the summer months (and hurricane season), then try to visit from November to May, when temperatures are comfortable, humidity is low, and the chance of thunderstorms is much less than in the summer.
However, the summer months will see much cheaper rates than the peak winter months as there is less demand.
What are the best Gulf Coast beaches in Florida?
The best beaches in Florida on the Gulf Coast can arguably be found on Siesta Key (voted #1 by Trip Advisor). Unlike beaches elsewhere that are made up mostly of pulverized coral, Siesta Beach’s sand is 99% quartz, most of which comes from the Appalachian Mountains. This makes for a powder-soft toes-in-the-sand experience. The beach is within walking distance of the many shops and restaurants in Siesta Key Village. There’s also a Drum Circle held at Siesta Beach an hour before sunset every Sunday.
Is it safe to stay in an Airbnb during COVID?
The CDC says fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US.
More of the best Airbnbs in Florida