If you’re sick of the crowded beaches and high prices of Florida’s huge winter vacation towns you might consider spending some time this season in some of Florida’s smaller beach communities. They are quieter and less expensive but they offer enough activities and restaurants to serve all tastes.
Here are our favorites:
* NEW SMYRNA BEACH has the same beach as Daytona Beach across the inlet, but a nice condensed beach downtown, the historic RIVERVIEW INN (see pic), and enough activities.
* ISLAMORADA is our choice of the small villages of the Upper Keys. Better for boating and diving than swimming, the island town has great charm and friendliness.
* ENGLEWOOD BEACH, near expensive Boca Grande, has a better beach, a mainland village, and low prices compared to the region. Walk down the state park beach to Stump Pass with your picnic stuff.
* LAUDERDALE BY THE SEA is surrounded by larger beach towns, but if you rent a motel or condo near the pier, once you park the auto you’ll be surprised at the selection of quality restaurants (see pic) and nightspots within walking distance.
* DESTIN is our choice for a Panhandle vacation that is not packed with snowbirds or college students. Great restaurants and resort/motel choices.
* DUNEDIN‘s beaches are out Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island (via ferry), but the incredible downtown restaurants and shops and activities put this town on our list.
* VERO BEACH on the Treasure Coast has the right blend of small town personality, good beach, and fine tourist facilities.
* VENICE has only a few beachfront motels but they are at the end of a great little downtown with an active theater life.