The 6 Most Charming Small Towns in Florida
We’re all for a quick escape from Miami, especially when it involves a visit to one of Florida’s quaint small towns. Many of them revolve around a beach, and all of them will guarantee you a few days filled with sunshine, charm and relaxation. Here, our six favorite small towns in Florida.
1. St. Augustine
Established more than 450 years, this northern Florida town is as charming as it is old (we mean that as a compliment). Located on the Matanzas River, St. Augustine is brimming with history intertwined with European flair and Southern hospitality. Roam cobblestone streets lined with palm trees and take in the Spanish Renaissance Revival–style architecture.
The upscale resort town on the Gulf of Mexico feels like another world entirely, complete with serene beaches, top-notch dining and some of the most gorgeous sunsets we’ve ever seen. If you go, make it a point to visit the Naples Pier, which offers striking views of the ocean, and pop into Jane’s Café on 3rd for a mimosa, gluten-free avocado toast and a stack of sweet pancakes.
At just over a mile long, Micanopy is Florida’s self-proclaimed antiques capital. It’s known as a rural, sleepy town just south of Gainesville, which is why it earned the nickname of “the little town that time forgot.” With a population of about 600, the busiest road, Cholokka Boulevard, is lined with typical Florida architecture, old oak trees covered in Spanish moss and antique storefronts.
We’re not sure what we love most about Lakeland: the architecture by the legendary Frank Lloyd Wright, the award-winning bread by Lakeland’s own Born & Bread Bakehouse or the beauty that is Hollis Garden (home to some 10,000 flowers). In any case, we’re pretty sure it’s one of the quaintest spots in the entire state.
5. Sanibel Island
It’s impossible to say which Florida town is the prettiest (there are just too many to count), but Sanibel is definitely a top contender. Just off Florida’s peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico, this place is a perfect seaside vacation spot, replete with miles of crystal-clear waters for boating, fishing and snorkeling—plus thousands of patterned seashells waiting to be collected.
6. Key Largo
Hop in the car and drive to Key Largo. This oceanfront spot is a welcome change of pace from Miami, offering picturesque sunsets, charming restaurants and quiet hotels (we love Playa Largo Resort & Spa’s private beachfront homes). Bring a couple of bathing suits (and lots of sunscreen) and get ready to spend a few days on the water, whether that means fishing, sailing, Jet Skiing or swimming.