The only thing better than a small town is a small town with a beautiful beach. Our beach towns are Florida’s crown jewels, but the larger ones are often taken over by hoards of tourists. Visit one of these smaller coastal towns to discover all of the art, history, dining, shopping, wildlife, and natural beauty that make them pretty close to paradise.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach is a little, free-spirited beach village in Northwest Florida. Its unofficial motto is "Nice dogs, strange people." Grayton Beach has been named one of the most beautiful beaches in America, and you won't regret a single day spent here. After you've seen the beach and explored the town, check out Grayton Beach State Park.
2. Marco Island
Whether you go to South Marco or Tigertail, you will not be disappointed with the natural beauty of Marco Island's beaches. Start your day with a hearty breakfast at Doreen's Cup of Joe.
3. Fernandina Beach
We're sure those of you in Northeast Florida already know and love Fernandina Beach, located on Amelia Island. Of course, the beach is always lovely, but the historic downtown area with upscale shops and dining really steals the show.
4. Anna Maria Island
Though it's perhaps not as secret as it used to be, this barrier island in Manatee County still has a lot of charm, excellent seafood, and seven miles of jaw-dropping beaches.
Beautiful beaches, fine dining and boutique shops are a large part of the appeal of this town in southwest Florida. If you're up for something a little more adventurous, explore Florida's wildlife at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary or Collier-Seminole State Park.
6 & 7. Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Located near Fort Myers, these sister islands are celebrated for beautiful shells and unspoiled beaches. For an unforgettable dining experience, stop by The Bubble Room on Captiva Island.
Most of our beach towns are celebrated for a somewhat rustic charm, with weathered boardwalks and seafood shacks. Still, there's something undeniably charming about this master-planned community in Walton County. Rent a bike and explore the pastel perfection of this lovely beach town.
9. St. Augustine
Because we live in the coolest place ever, the nation's oldest city also happens to have some really stunning beaches. Reserve a campsite at Anastasia State Park or head over to Cap's on the Water, for delicious food located on a lovely stretch of Vilano Beach.
If you're near St. Pete Beach, this adorable tiny town is an absolute must. Check out the historic homes and cute shops and restaurants before watching the sunset on one of the best beaches in the area.
11. St. George Island
St. George Island is prized for having some of the best unspoiled beaches in the country. You won't find any chain stores or towering condos here, just the perfect vacation spot. Make sure to try some oysters from nearby Apalachicola while you're on the island, some of the best oysters money can buy.
12. Deerfield Beach
Just because you love the beach doesn't mean you love the crowds. Check out this charming town in South Florida perfect for folks who love the outdoors. Fish from the impressive pier or spend the night under the stars at Quiet Waters Park. When you get hungry, head to Charm City for the best burgers in town.
You will love strolling through Venice's charming downtown, lined with buildings reminiscent of the Italian city for which the town is named. Keep an eye out on the beach, the beaches here are famous for having lots of shark's teeth.
Dunedin in Pinellas County might be the perfect small town. From the Scottish roots which the town still honors to its popular Mardi Gras celebration, there's always something fun to do. Plus, it's home to an historic Jazz Age hot spot, the Fenway Hotel, and Florida's oldest microbrewery, Dunedin Brewery. As if that weren't enough, Honeymoon Island is the perfect spot for a romantic sunset.
Have you visited any of these wonderful towns? What’s your favorite Florida beach town?