By Jill Martin

This is the most romantic getaway in Florida – and beyond.

Little Palm Island. Remember the name. This place will seriously change your life for the better. First, let me tell you this – the only way to get here is either by boat or seaplane. And that is just the beginning of your exemplary, romantic journey.

Little Palm Island is a five-acre islet off the Lower Keys that has everything you could wish for in a romantic Florida getaway: thatched-roof bungalows (like you see in Fiji brochures), exquisite dining by the sea (with your feet in the sand if you like), remarkable ocean views, wandering key deer, lush trails that meander, oodles of privacy and unmatched five-star service. You will, undoubtedly, think you have discovered the most romantic spot on Earth, and I think you’d be right.

No telephones. No TVs. No distractions. There is truly nothing like it.

If you were here in person listening to me rave about Little Palm Island, you would definitely see my eyes light up as I describe the tropical, thatched roof bungalows. There are only 30 on the island. Each offers plenty of room with a king-sized bed (draped in butterfly netting), a separate living room, indoor and outdoor showers, and a private verandah. The outside shower is splendid! You can see a million stars at night as the warm water washes over you. Divine!

Since I tend to talk with my hands when I’m excited, you’d probably have to duck a few times if you were here, as I’d definitely be excited as I told you about the key deer that roam freely, grazing on flowers. Michael and I would admire these dainty creatures late each afternoon, as they gingerly walked right below our verandah (where we’d share coffee each morning in our plush robes). The key deer would also wander onto the tranquil pool deck where we’d lie in comfy chaise loungers beneath the rustling palm fronds.

Ready to pack up and head to Little Palm Island? Here’s how to get here: Drive south to mile marker 28.5 in the lower Florida Keys and there you’ll find Little Palm Island’s Welcome Station, oceanside.  Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a Gumby Slumber, a refreshing cocktail with a kick, made with fresh juices, topped with toasted coconut. Delish. The attentive bellman will take care of your luggage (pack light, as you won’t need much on an island). Then, each hour (on the bottom of the hour), board a shuttle launch for a twenty-minute boat ride to this hidden paradise. Keep an eye open for dolphins as they love to play in the wake of the boat.

Now, as you arrive, take a moment to realize where you are. On an island in Florida! You’re certain to already be impressed, but now you’ll be escorted to your bungalow and given a quick tour along the way so you can find the facilities: a spa, fitness room, restaurant, pool bar, salon, marina and dive shop, life-size chess set, the game room, and the phone booth.

Forget counting calories. You’ll savor every bite.

The restaurant at Little Palm Island offers an array of fresh, succulent ingredients for every meal. How about Crab Cakes Benedict in the morning? Or, buttery spiny lobster tails in the evening? Each course is a masterpiece of presentation and taste, and the fact that your table is merely inches from the water, and your toes are in the sand, well, that just adds to the surreal experience. After dinner, you might want to mosey over to the firepit and watch shooting stars over the Atlantic.

Do it all or nothing at all.

As you’re on an island, dive trips are an easy excursion. They’ll arrange everything for your excursion to Looe Key, a barrier reef teeming with vibrant marine life. You can also use their kayaks for free or a 13’ Boston Whaler. Just be back before sunset. And you’ll want to be back because watching that magnificent, orange, glowing ball slowly sink into the shimmering water (from an islet!) will render you speechless.

Do yourself, and the one you love, a big favor and plan the most romantic escape of your life to Little Palm Island. No kids under 16 are allowed so line up a sitter for at least two nights. And bring a box of Kleenex because when it’s time to board the shuttle launch back to reality, you will cry! Or, just do like I did, and extend your stay a little longer.

It’s true what they say, “Once you sleep on an island, you’ll never be the same.” You’ll see.

To make your reservations, call Little Palm Island at 800-3-GET LOST (800-343-8567) or log on to their website to view package deals and specials.