If you’re looking for a beach trip that won’t leave you exhausted, be sure to skip Miami and Tampa. Florida, The Sunshine State, has plenty of quaint beach towns dotted along its Atlantic and Gulf shores. Don’t worry about getting bored; small doesn’t mean uninteresting. Whether it’s a bustling seaside village or an arts and culture town, these are Florida’s top small beach towns.
Siesta Key is a lively little town that is known for its tropical beaches. In fact, many claim Siesta has “The World’s Finest Sand.” Locals are also proud of their rare bird community. It’s not uncommon to walk down the city’s streets and see a flock of resident parrots and pelicans flying overhead. Definitely stroll through Siesta Key village to admire the red, blue and green shops dotted along the seaside and street corners.
St. Pete Beach
The city of St. Pete is a barrier island community located just south of Treasure Island, and 20 miles from Clearwater Beach. This tiny town thrives off of tourism and people come to relax either at the beach or at one of the swanky resorts. There are 3,000 vacation rentals available, which seems like plenty but vacancy during peak season vanishes quickly. If you desire a younger crowd and bustling nightlife, head to Key West as St. Pete’s is quiet beach community.
Pensacola is another barrier island community located on Santa Rosa Island. Pensacola is the place to enjoy upscale living, arts and culture and primitive natural sceneries all located just footsteps away from the ocean. Known for its natural beach and world-class fishing opportunities, TripAdvisor rated Pensacola as one of the nation’s Top 10 beaches. Watch the sunset along the 1,471-foot Pensacola Pier or stroll the Portofino boardwalk to take a breath of the fresh and salty sea air. There’s no escaping beauty or luxury here.
If you enjoy the rustic Maine-like beachfront, visit Apalachicola. Different than Florida’s traditional white sand beaches, Apalachicola is a charming marine town that has no shortage of seafood restaurants. For old-world charm, stay at Gibson Inn, a 1907 blue and white Victorian-style hotel. This inn is a prime example of Florida’s “cracker” architecture and is a short walk away from the center of town.
Located on Florida’s Space Coast east of Orlando is Cocoa Beach, known as Florida’s “quintessential beach town.” Cocoa’s grand marketing campaign flaunts this beach’s “culture and coolness.” From the Kennedy Space Center to a deep-sea fishing tour, there is no shortage of explorations in this small town.
Believe it or not, Key West is the southernmost point in the United States. Key West is a 90-mile boat ride to Cuba and is the starting point for Florida’s Scenic Highway One. Small and lively, Key West has a reputation for its college-like nightlife, which also means partying is cheaper than in Miami. If you love the literary life, eat at the Sloppy Joe’s Bar, a favorite hangout spot of the notable writer Ernest Hemingway. In fact, visitors can learn more about this novelist at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.