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15 Most Picturesque Small Towns in Florida

Florida is known for its tourist-packed theme parks and white sand beaches, however, outside of these destinations lie quaint towns full of rich history, unique charm, and hidden gem beaches that are worth exploring. For a memorable off-the-beaten-path journey, check out some of these lesser-known picturesque towns you can visit in Florida.

Mount Dora Mount Dora

Mount Dora

One of the more popular small towns in Florida, Mount Dora boasts 19th-century clapboard houses and historic buildings amongst antique shops and outdoor cafes. Stroll along the quaint downtown shops and soak in a classic glimpse of Old Florida.

Amelia Island Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island
Credit: Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island by Madison Y Photo/shutterstock.com

Amelia Island

Spanish moss, quaint B&B’s, and pristine beaches make up this island on Florida’s northernmost eastern border. Full of southern charm, the historic downtown, delightful shops and restaurants, and beloved Fernandina Beach earns Amelia Island a spot on this list.

Apalachicola Apalachicola
Credit: Apalachicola by © Cateandstock/dreamstime.com

Apalachicola

A friendly little fishing town, Apalachicola is a Florida gem that boasts some of the best seafood and friendliest locals in the state. Visit the nearby St. George Island, go on a river cruise, or try your hand at fishing like the locals.

Anna Maria Island Anna Maria Island
Credit: Anna Maria Island by © Jimschw1 - Dreamstime.com

Anna Maria Island

With speed limits that never reach higher than 35 mph, this quaint 7-mile barrier island is full of cyclists, kayakers, and turquoise water views. Only 50 miles south of Tampa, visit Anna Maria for laid-back vibes and picturesque natural scenery.

St. Augustine St. Augustine, Florida
Credit: St. Augustine, Florida by bigstock.com

St. Augustine

While America’s oldest city has become quite popular throughout the years, it has continued to maintain its small-town vibe and historic authenticity. Explore the quaint Spanish colonial architecture, peaceful Crescent Beach, or visit the oldest masonry fort in the U.S.

Tarpon Springs Tarpon Springs
Credit: Tarpon Springs by © Julie Salesberry/dreamstime.com

Tarpon Springs

You will find old world charm in this small town near its bustling neighbor Tampa. Visitors love Tarpon Springs for its heavily influenced Greek culture, scenic waterfront, and eclectic mix of antique stores and art galleries.

Santa Rosa Beach Aerial View of Breaking Waves at Santa Rosa Beach Florida
Credit: Aerial View of Breaking Waves at Santa Rosa Beach Florida by © William Gibson | Dreamstime.com

Santa Rosa Beach

Situated on Florida’s Emerald Coast you will find 26 miles of white powdery sandy beaches, luxury beach houses, and pristine scenic landscapes. At this top beach destination in Florida’s Panhandle, you can visit Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, the unique artist colony Gulf Place, or Point Washington State Forest’s 15,000-acre preserve.

Destin Destin, Florida
Credit: Destin, Florida by bigstock.com

Destin

Breathtaking and scenic, Destin is the “world’s luckiest fishing village,” allowing fishermen to easily access the deepest waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and deep waters means a variety of fish species. After a day on the water, set up camp at Henderson Beach State Park, walk along the action-packed boardwalk, or visit historic Fort Pickens.

Sanibel Island Bowman's beach at Sanibel Island
Credit: Bowman's beach at Sanibel Island by Andriy Blokhin/shutterstock.com

Sanibel Island

Located along the Gulf of Mexico, Sanibel is an easy-going town popular for shelling, stunning sunsets, and laid-back vibes. Devoid of fast-food restaurants, street lights, and city noise, Sanibel maintains its cozy small-town vibe.

Brooksville Weeki Wachee

Brooksville

Brooksville is known for being both historic and charming, with moss-laden oak trees, canopy roads and rolling green hills. Home to the nearby pristine spring waters of Weeki Wachee and immaculate trails in Withlacoochee State Forest, Brooksville is a lesser-traveled vacation destination.

Grayton Beach Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach

A funky area with Hemingway-style wooden homes and paved streets with crushed oyster shells, Grayton beach is a small artsy town full of character with beaches that consistently rank among the most gorgeous in the U.S. It also consistently rates as one of the best hidden gems on the Gulf Coast.

St. George Island St. George Island State Park
Credit: St. George Island State Park by Arturo Donate via Flickr

St. George Island

Home to St. George Island State Park, St. George Island is a 28-mile-long barrier island that lacks chain restaurants and high-rise hotels. Kayaking, cycling, and paddleboard are popular outdoor activities, while the clear Gulf waters make for a great day of fishing. One of the last preserved barrier islands in Florida, head here to enjoy its soft sugary sands that pair well with charming waterfront cafes and sunset cruises.

Micanopy Micanopy
Credit: Micanopy by © Hblamb | Dreamstime.com

Micanopy

Nicknamed “The Little Town That Time Forgot”, Micanopy is one of Florida’s most charming small-town gems. Experience the beauty of Old Florida through its quaint mix of charming shops and beautiful natural wonders and meander along the downtown area past sidewalk cafes and boutiques. Afterward, make a pit stop at Pearl’s Country Store for some of the best barbecue in the state.

St. Marks St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge
Credit: St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge by Florida Fish and Wildlife via Flickr

St. Marks

One of the tiniest towns on our list, St. Marks has a population of just over 300. Don’t be fooled by its size, as it offers an abundance of alluring natural attractions. Just 20 miles south of Tallahassee, you can visit the archeological displays at San Marcos de Apalache Historic Park, explore salt marshes and natural habitats at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, and see St. Marks Lighthouse, the second oldest light station in Florida.

Mexico Beach Mexico Beach, Florida
Credit: Mexico Beach, Florida by wikimedia.org

Mexico Beach

Less than an hour from Panama City Beach, Mexico Beach sits on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico in Florida’s Panhandle. With a community that has been working hard after it got hit by Hurricane Michael, Mexico Beach is a great place to unplug and relax away from the city noise. The population here hovers around 1,200 residents, and while you won’t find high rises and traffic lights, you will encounter white sand beaches, welcoming locals, and plenty of opportunities for a day of swimming, kayaking, and shelling.

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