Ten Small Florida Vacation Towns You Should Visit

Tired of a Florida vacation in an overcrowded, overpriced metropolis?  Perhaps you should spend some vacation time in some of Florida’s small towns, where they appreciate every visitor and offer personalized services

Here are ten of my favorite small town spots to visit and even spend a few days:

Matlacha –  There are no beaches on Pine Island but the people in the fishing village of Matlacha don’t seem to mind since this funky and arty community will rent you any kind of water vehicle you want to explore the beach-filled islands of Charlotte Harbor.


Matlacha’s Bridgewater Inn is Over The Water

Destin – There are only 12,000 residents on this man made island but in the summer months it seems like all five million tourists came at once. Amazing sand beaches, great seafood restaurants, and lots of water sports make Destin a Panhandle target to visit.


Destin Has A Lot Of Everything

Jupiter Island – This is the richest per capita town in Florida, but while the rich hide in their gated mansions, you get the beach, the lighthouse, and a lot of neat restaurants and recreational services.

Vero Beach – The Dodgers may have left but the Piper Aircraft Company and a beachside Disney Resort are still in this Treasure Coast classy town. There is a neat downtown on the mainland and on the island besides a great beach, a diversity of restaurants, and lots of parks.


The Oceanside Disney Resort in Vero Beach

Islamorada – The Florida Keys are laid back, but I like the friendliness of the 6,300 people who call this town home with its nice beach, great Plantation Yacht Center, and protected harbor.


Tourists Often Drive Right Past Islamorada – Dumb

DeFuniak Springs – People visit this Walton County Victorian town to see its Chautauqua Hall, historic churches and incredible mansions.  The village even has Florida’s oldest library.


The Chautaqua Hall of DeFuniak Springs

Everglades City – Surrounded by the Everglades, this town is for adventurers.  You can fish, hunt, and ride air-boats into the vast swamps of Florida.  The town bank is now an unusual hotel and the Rod and Gun Club is a famous hideaway for the rich.


The  River of Grass Surrounds Everglades City

Tarpon Springs – Few towns have as colorful attractions as this Tampa Bay village, with its Greek Sponge Docks, antique-centered downtown, and its bayous surrounded by Victorian mansions. There are famous resorts and quaint bed and breakfast spots not far from town.


At the Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs

Apalachicola – Famous for its oystering, this port city has a historic downtown, wonderful inns and waterfront restaurants, and access to the Panhandle’s best fishing grounds. The town does a great job of presenting its history.


The Historic and Delightful Gibson Inn, Apalachicola

Boca Grande – The pride of Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande welcomes the rich and exclusive in the winter months and the world’s best tarpon fishing in the summer. This is a bikers paradise.

Boca Grande Lighthouse aerial (horizontal)

At the southern tip of Boca Grande is the Lighthouse and Museum



About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as an Emeritus college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
This entry was posted in disney, florida history, Florida parks, florida vacations, Historic Buildings, Historic Hotels & Inns, Recreational Experiences, small towns, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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