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11 Best Small Beach Towns In Florida To Visit

Florida is a great place to visit because it has some of the best small beach towns in the world that are located on both the Atlantic Coast and the Gulf of Mexico.

The warm, paradise state has pristine beaches, fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities, and perfect weather.

Florida has many well-known cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, but there are some fantastic small beach towns in Florida as well.

These small beach towns in Florida offer a more casual and authentic experience. You can often get around on foot or bike, and there are just as many great activities, restaurants, and shops.

After living in Florida for the last two years, I can attest to the fact that sometimes it is nice to avoid the crowds and enjoy the quieter side of Florida.

So if the party scene is not your vibe consider visiting one of these spots on your next trip to Florida and find out what all the hype is about.  

Best Small Beach Towns In Florida

Boardwalk in Hollywood, Florida

1. Hollywood, Florida

Hollywood is located on Floridas east coast and isnt to be confused with Hollywood, California, which is notorious for its star-studded streets. It is one of the best small beach towns in Florida that is hard not to fall in love with.

Hollywood, Florida, has a 2.5-mile beach boardwalk lined with palm trees which is iconic to the spot. Its also known for its street art and pristine beaches.

Hollywood has a thriving community nestled between larger cities, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

It has beaches that are just as nice as the town’s larger, nearby neighbors, but with the added benefit of not being too busy or congested.

The vibrant yet chill town is perfect for your Florida vacation if you dont want to be in too large of a city, but you still want many options of things to do.

Check out the fantastic downtown murals, relax on the beach, partake in water sports, and explore the Arts and Culture Center, which are just some of your options in Hollywood.

Arguably the best thing to do in Hollywood is to stroll along the extensive boardwalk that lines the beach. It’s a great way to get in some exercise and enjoy the top-notch views.

A red lighthouse in Jupiter, Florida on a cloudy gloomy day.

2. Jupiter

Jupiter is one of those small beach towns in Florida that you will want to come back to every year.

On the southeastern coast of Florida, Jupiter is a town on the Loxahatchee River. From Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse built in 1860, you can enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views and marvel at the historic structure.

It is one of the best lighthouses in the state of Florida, so worth checking out. It also has one of the prettiest beaches in Florida.

What makes Jupiter so great is visitors can enjoy both the river and the ocean, offering water views from almost all directions because the river runs right through town and Jupiter is on the coast.

Jupiter is a historical place, but it’s also tropical and lively.

Enjoy the many parks and beaches and get in some exercise at the Jupiter Waterway Trail, which is almost 40 miles long and includes rivers, beaches, and inlets.

The Loxahatchee River has mangrove swamps you can kayak through and Riverbend Park even has horse trails and hiking through Indian historic sites. Jupiter has it all and would be an excellent place to visit. 

Life Guard town in Delray, Florida

3. Delray

On Florida’s southeast coast, Delray is one of those small beach towns in Florida you will never want to leave. USA Today once even named it the Most Fun Small Town in the USA.”

It has excellent beaches, a lively art culture, and many things to do. Delray’s Atlantic Avenue runs from downtown to the beach and is the longest main street in Florida, perfect for strolling through town!

Along the avenue are tons of restaurants, shops, bars, and cafes boasting great places to stop for a bit to eat or some window browsing.

The Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a fantastic place to observe and explore. You may spot tons of different animals and you can also enjoy the lush flora and fauna all over the park.

You should also check out the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, a unique museum of Japanese artifacts.

Altogether, Delray has a ton to offer and would make for a great Florida vacation. 

Restaurant on the water in Vero, Florida

4. Vero Beach

Vero Beach is on the east coast of Florida on a barrier island in the Indian River Lagoon. The small town is known for its natural beauty.

It is only an hour and a half drive to Orlando giving you a nice small beach town vibe with still having the benefits of Orlando close.

Make sure to check out Mckee Botanical Garden, which is full of tropical and native plants and streams of water with lilies.

There is a ton of land area in the park to explore, perfect for getting in a bit of exercise and enjoying the views.

Vero Beach is also home to the Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge, which cares for brown pelicans. This beach town is hard not to love.

It has a fabulous downtown beside the gorgeous beaches, long coastlines, and fantastic hiking and biking trails.

The historic main street is full of little cafes, restaurants, and shops worth exploring. There are even spots listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Vero Beach has a weekly gallery and vintage market and is a cultural and creative hub of Florida.

The Vero Beach Museum of Art is one of the best art museums in the area, with pieces from state and national artists. This is why its considered one of the best small beach towns in Florida.

White Sand beach in Destin

5. Destin

Destin is located in northwest Florida on the panhandle along the Gulf of Mexico. Crab Island is a favorite activity of Destin.

It’s a sand bar where boats anchor and spend the day. You can also partake in any water sport imaginable if that interests you.

Destin has arguably some of the most beautiful powder white sand in all of Florida and some of the best beaches in the world.

The pristine, fine sand is alluring and perfect for spending a day relaxing on the beach. 

Harborwalk Village is an excellent central area with shops, restaurants, water sport rentals, nightlife, and more right along the water.

It can definitely keep you busy for a day of wandering around. Deep-sea fishing is also prevalent and Destin has even been called the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village.

There are tons of species you can catch in the Gulf and there are often fishing tournaments that bring people to the beach town.

Destin is the perfect Florida vacation spot if youre hoping to hang out by the beach and enjoy the views. 

Sunrise on Fort Pierce Beach, Florida

6. Fort Pierce

Fort Pierce is an up-and-coming city but still rocks the small beach town in Florida that makes for the perfect vacation.  It’s got quaint and quirky shops and hosts small farmer’s markets every Saturday morning.

Located only an hour north of West Palm, you will feel like you are in a completely different part of Florida, and no longer in South Florida.

There is plenty to do here and it hosts a huge boating community, however, you can also fish, and surf and it is known for its bike-friendly community.

Stroll through the town on your bike and check out one of the many amazing restaurants.

Pro Tip:  Be sure to stay in Ocean Village when you are in Fort Pierce. Right on the beach with, pickleball courts, tennis courts, swimming pools and your own private golf course. 

Colorful Houses in Siesta Key

7. Siesta Key

Siesta Key is a small 8-mile barrier island off the coast of Sarasota in the Gulf of Mexico. Siesta Public Beach has been named America’s Number One beach multiple times because of its pure quartz sand and beautiful turquoise blue ocean views.

The beach also has a fantastic boardwalk and excellent facilities and parking for visitors to enjoy. 

Siesta Key Village is known for its excellent shopping, cafes, and restaurants. It also has a playground and tennis courts.

What makes Siesta Key so great is it completely caters to the public with parks, beaches, picnic tables, stores, playgrounds, and other things for people to enjoy.

It’s the ideal place for families and people traveling to Florida and would make a great stop on your Florida vacation. 

Islamorada, Florida

8. Islamorada, Florida Keys

Located in the Florida Keys, Islamorada is the halfway point of the keys. The village community includes 6 of the Florida Key islands.

Its known for its coral reefs, fabulous beaches, and fine coastal living. The Keys are known for their beauty, and Islamorada is no outlier to that fact. 

There are tons of quaint restaurants and cafes to explore and several breweries. Islamorada is one of the best places to go if you’re looking to relax and enjoy the moment.

With charming buildings, fantastic weather, and gorgeous sites, its no wonder it’s up there on people’s list of their favorite places in the world.

Of course, once youve been to the Keys, youll be itching to go back, especially to this small beach town.

Some of the most popular activities in Islamorada include backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly fishing.

Other great activities include scuba diving, relaxing on the beach and some of the best snorkeling in Florida.

White Sand Beach in Seaside, Florida

9. Seaside

On the Gulf of Mexico, Seaside is a small community in northwest Florida. Its full of pastel-colored buildings and quaint shops, restaurants, galleries, and cafes downtown.

The town has a funky, eclectic, and lively vibe. It’s easy to get around by foot or bicycle to truly enjoy beachside living, making it ideal if youre visiting and dont have a car.

The most interesting thing about Seaside is the town is an example of  New Urbanism. This means that there is a community full of schools, restaurants, shops, homes, entertainment, and more within a 10-minute walk which is great for tourists and locals.

Its truly the perfect little place to visit.

The small beach town center also hosts a weekly market, outdoor concerts, and other events bringing together the community and its guests.

Enjoy the crystal clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand, and perfect weather. Seaside is also a great place for families because the gentle waves allow people to swim at ease. 

So pack your bags for Florida, and get ready for a vacation of a lifetime.

Beach Front in Apalachicola best small beach town in Florida

10. Apalachicola

A small beach town on the panhandle of Florida, Apalachicola is a quaint beach town to consider visiting. Located on the Gulf of Mexico, the town has some of the best seafood and some fantastic restaurants.

The Gulfs waters are calm, which is perfect for water sports and swimming and the beaches are ideal for relaxing.

The Apalachicola National Forest and Tates Hell State Forest offer tons of hiking opportunities for those that are looking for outdoor activities. 

For those who love historic towns, Apalachicola has over 900 historic structures dating back as early as the 19th century.

In addition, Apalachicola has four museums in town that educate visitors on the fishing village’s history. This quaint town would make a great place to visit, especially if you love seafood, history, and the great outdoors. 

It is just one of the small Florida beach towns you won’t want to leave.

Mantee Swimming in Crystal River

11. Crystal River

In western Florida, Crystal River is a great place to visit. Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge is in Kings Bay, fed by springs. There is plenty to do in Crystal River.

Here youll find manatees all year long because of the water’s warm temperature. Its an awesome place to kayak with these sea cows and enjoy the views.

The crystal clear waters of Crystal River are famous for sighting sea cows” and other sea life like turtles and schools of fish. You can see as far down as 200 feet, making it the perfect snorkeling location!

Year-round, the water is 72 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s warm enough to swim anytime during the year. Crystal River is the ultimate place to swim and spot sea animals.

Crystal River Archaeological State Park is another great place to check out and it’s a National Historic Landmark that was once a pre-Columbian site.

Today, you can view the ruins, burial grounds, and the remains of structures from 2,500 years ago. 

Why Visit One of These Small Beach Towns in Florida?

There are plenty of beach towns in Florida worth exploring. While the large cities can be a ton of fun, small beach towns boast just as many things to do and have a great community feel.

Sometimes it is great to leave the hustle and bustle behind and have a truly relaxing and rejuvenating experience. These Florida beach towns help you do exactly that.

If youre visiting Florida, you should consider checking out a small beach town during your trip because theyre much easier to get around and offer almost as many things to do.

There are pros and cons to large and small cities, so consider checking them both out during your stay! 

Do you have a favorite small beach town in Florida that wasn’t mentioned on this list? Say so in the comments below.

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