Florida

Drift the Day Away: 8 Lazy Rivers in Florida Hotels

Kick back and soak up the sun at these hotels in Florida with lazy rivers. What a way to enjoy the day in the Sunshine State!

Waterparks are loads of fun, yet visiting one is an hours-long production that involves transportation, ticket counters and crowds. That’s why hotels with lazy rivers are such an immense pleasure. I can stroll from my room to the pool area, hop onto a tube and float blissfully for two minutes or two hours. No wait, no fee, no hassle … just tranquil time with refreshing water beneath me and, in Florida, the sun beaming its healing rays overhead. Palm trees frequently provide scenery and shade.

What’s more, when I’m with my kids, I can relax while they frolic. Most Florida hotel lazy rivers are small enough that I can keep tabs on the family from the comfort of my lounge chair. A rum punch, an umbrella and a birds-eye view of the action … perfection.

The manmade aquatic loops featured here are often parts of water complexes, together with glistening swimming pools, trickling fountains and/or steep slides. Together or alone, the recreational facilities are so escapist that even a single-weekend visit to a Florida hotel with a lazy river will feel like a true getaway.

Float on, friends. Let a tube take you on a lusciously lazy journey.

Lazy Days on a Lazy River - Plus a Marina

For a hotel with only 85 rooms, Naples Bay Resort & Marina has a whole lot going on—starting with its lazy river. This freeform oval is dotted with lush tropical trees. Step into an inflated tube and set off; you’ll meander in circles as long as you please, effortlessly.

The lazy river is part of a water wonderland that encompasses five swimming pools, including a 5,000-square-foot family pool with a dramatic stone waterfall and an infinity-edge version for laps. You’ll also find a pool bar and private cabanas in which to unwind on dry land.

That’s just the start. Naples Bay Resort has a marina with easy access to Naples Bay, and rental boats to get you aboard. Many of the amenities are part of the Naples Bay Club, and your room rate gets you access. Six tennis courts, a full-service spa, rental bicycles and several restaurants are also on the premises. The hotel itself has a formal Old World feel in the lobby and in the guest rooms.

Naples Bay Resort

Top rated
Naples
9.1 Excellent (1817 reviews)

A Lazy River Steps from the Sand

You’ll be quick to dig your toes into the soft white sand of Pensacola Beach when staying at the Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach. You’ll also get to enjoy a view of the shoreline from your perch on an inflated tube. This mid-price hotel’s lazy river is just a few feet away from the beach and the Gulf of Mexico. The 250-foot winding 8-shaped area, heated in chilly weather, snakes off the main swimming area and around a lush green center oasis. Shaded lounge chairs provide seating on all sides, and two heated whirlpool spas beckon.

Despite its moderate price point, the Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach offers enticing extras. Each of its 206 rooms has views of either the Gulf or the Santa Rosa Sound, and a balcony or terrace from which to take in the vistas in privacy.

In addition to a restaurant and an outdoor tiki bar, you’ll find an abundance of features for families, like free meals for children 11 and under. In high season, Dive Inn movies are screened by the pool regularly, and mermaids and pirates star in interactive activities.

Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach Gulf Front

Top rated
Pensacola Beach
8.9 Excellent (8247 reviews)

Aquatic Antics at a Luxury Hotel

The JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa has an entire waterpark. It’s called Tidal Cove, and hotel guests can play in this outdoor amusement arena for free.

A lazy river winds its way around part of the complex. While floating effortlessly along, you’ll hear squeals of joy from folks zooming down 60 feet from seven water slides, surfing in place on the FlowRider, and frolicking in the 4,000-square-foot swimming pool—one of two pools there. The lazy river itself is heated, as the pools are, and towels are provided. Reclined in your tube, you’ll pass some of the 25 private cabanas. Each has its own flat-screen TV, mini fridge and locker. Tots will love the Kids Cove section, which has slides sized for them plus plenty of places for splashing.

Opened in mid-2019, Tidal Cove and its lazy river enhanced a long-time Mediterranean-style Aventura hotel that has five decades of history—plus a graceful century-old banyan tree. Those visiting this Miami-area facility can play golf on two courses and receive treatments in a full-service spa. Celebrity chef Michael Mina has a restaurant called Bourbon here, and other dining outlets are available, including two within Tidal Cove.

JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa

Top rated
Aventura
8.7 Excellent (1737 reviews)

A "Universally" Appealing Lazy River Hotel

With its 1950s-’60s vibe and family-friendly attitude, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort caters to everyone from preschoolers to grandparents.

The lazy river is attached to a large pool with a zero-entry sand beach, and the 600-foot rubberband-shaped expanse looks upon the towering volcano that’s the icon of the nearby Volcano Bay waterpark. Lively music plays all day as guests float around three waterfalls and several water canons. About a third of the loop is shaded by trees and lush vegetation. What a grand way to recuperate after a day at the Univeral Orlando theme parks, which are on the same property.

You’ll need to buy a tube at a designated hut unless you’d rather swim, but the options are adorable—a faux tire, say, or even a big ol’ classic beach ball. It’s a small price to pay given the accommodation’s value pricing.

Warm up at one of two fire pits when you emerge from the water. For more swimming, there is also another massive swimming pool with a water slide and rental cabanas offering fans and mini-fridges.

Nostalgia for the grown-ups’ childhoods pervades this upbeat getaway. You never know when Minions, Simpsons or other characters will pop in to say hi. Pretend you’re Kramdens (or Flintstones) at the 10-lane bowling alley, and burn off calories at the fitness center named for Jack LaLanne, whose TV exercise show ran for more than three decades.

The Mandara Spa offers a variety of massages and more. The 2,200 guest rooms feature the cheerful hues from early Mad Men episodes, yet modern extras like single-pod coffee machines and flat-screen TVs.

Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Top rated
Orlando
9.3 Excellent (27429 reviews)

Lazing by the Atlantic Ocean

“Fantasy Pool Complex” is a bold name, yet it’s fitting for the 91,000 square feet of swim, slide, float and lounge opportunities at the Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa.

A lazy river is a key part of this Fantasy, as it weaves and wanders near three heated pools, a sandy beach pool and a zero-entry kids pool. There’s also a water flume. Lazy river tubes are free, and the 10-minute loop is lined with multiple sprayers and partial shade thanks to palm trees. There’s also an indoor pool and a pair of heated whirlpool tubs at this vacation condo resort that includes a boutique hotel with 20 rooms and tailored styling.

Hammock Beach Resort is located along a beach with cinnamon-colored sand (shells create the intriguing hue) abutting the Atlantic Ocean, a short ride from St. Augustine and 90 minutes north of Walt Disney World.

Yachts dock in a marina with 200+ slips. Two golf courses and eight tennis courts offer sports options—you’ll see the Intracoastal Waterway, not to mention a sand volleyball court. After the swinging, spiking, putting and lazy river floating, visit the spa for a warm coconut stone massage.

Hammock Beach Resort

Top rated
Palm Coast
8.5 Excellent (1486 reviews)

The Suite Life with a Lazy River

The zero-entry swimming pool and the lazy river are two parts of the same structure at Springhill Suite Navarre Beach. Every guestroom is a suite; simply fold out the living area’s sofabed to sleep an extra person or two. It’s all part of the package at the Emerald Coast’s Navarre Beach hotel, a modern value-oriented beachfront property.

You’ll rarely want to leave that wandering water passage except for a dip in the Gulf of Mexico. When you do, head indoors and swim in the pool there, or visit the nearby fishing pier.

The 161-room property offers many extras such as private balconies, free daily breakfast, coffee in the lobby and on-site laundry facilities. The Beach House Bar and Grille and a minimart give you quick access to meals, snacks and craft beers.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Navarre Beach

Top rated
Navarre
9.1 Excellent (1385 reviews)

1,000 Feet of Drifting in this Lazy River

The Hyatt Residence Club Bonita Springs, Coconut Plantation has a whole lot of lazy river for a property with only 72 rooms. The upscale timeshare property with residential-style studios and suites—most with full kitchens—delivers on downtime via a 1,000-foot lazy river. Alongside, you’ll find two large pools with waterfalls, plus a lap pool—and a duo of hot tubs when you’re ready for a steamy soak.

Thirsty? The tiki bar by the pool is on-theme with a palapa roof and fruity cocktails. The Veranda serves lunch by the water and a market offers to-go foods.

Step onto your accommodation’s screened balcony to see an estuary or the Raptor Bay Golf Course. Also at this Southwest Florida getaway along the Gulf Coast: a fire pit for gathering once the sun sets, barbecue grills and a children’s camp.

Hyatt Coconut Plantation

Top rated
Bonita Springs
9.1 Excellent (422 reviews)

A Lazy River for Family Fun

Lazy rivers are usually the stuff of higher-end hotels, yet at Fantasy World Resort you can while away the hours in a faux inner tube without going over budget for your accommodations.

The lazy river runs parallel to the freeform swimming pool. They’re both part of a “water park” that includes a second pool, two water slides, a kiddie splash pad and three hot tubs. Cool, right?

Families are catered to here – not that couples and groups of adults won’t also get giddy about the trivia and bingo games, bocce ball and poolside Frisbee play-offs. Crafts, movie nights and board games are yours to enjoy.

This hotel south of Disney World has lit tennis courts, barbecue grills, mini-golf, weekly housekeeping and even a shuttle to a nearby outlet mall. The accommodations are two-story units that sleep six and include a kitchen and laundry machines.

Fantasy World Resort

Kissimmee
8.2 Very good (5201 reviews)