The 16 Best Small Towns in Florida

Florida's small towns offer so much charm.

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The Sunshine State is known for the glitzy metropolis of Miami, but it's also home to tons of charming small towns. Escape to one of these destinations for a laid-back Florida vibe.

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Apalachicola


This in Florida's panhandle is the place for fresh catch. Book a room at a charming inn and learn about the local oyster, timber, and fishing history or relax on miles of unspoiled beaches in nearby St. George's Island.

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Anna Maria Island


Step back in time on this barrier island where strict regulations govern the type of buildings and businesses allowed. Situated between the Gulf of Mexico and Florida's main peninsula, features seven miles of white-sand beach. Its sleepy downtown offers antique retailers, galleries, and high-quality seafood restaurants. Hop on the free trolley or stroll the wooden City Pier dating back to 1911.

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Captiva


Sister to nearby Sanibel, this on Florida's southwest coast offers biking, sailing, birding, and a variety of water activities. Its tropical topography of giant cacti and bougainvillea vines is a picturesque backdrop for the already stunning sunsets that attract visitors from far and wide.

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Cedar Key


About an hour southwest of Gainesville, is known for its restaurants and shops perched on stilts above the Gulf of Mexico. The old-fashioned vibe invites visitors to wander through art and souvenir shops in downtown where you can pause for a tasty bowl of clam chowder or the catch of the day.

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Crystal River


Swim with manatees at this beloved by nature-seekers. The springs flow at a constant 72 degrees creating an ideal home for the gentle giants when the temperature drops in the Gulf of Mexico. For golf and fine dining, visit the , a 50-year-old, 232-acre eco-friendly resort.

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DeFuniak Springs


This between Pensacola and Tallahassee was established as a railroad stop in the 1880s. Boasting the oldest library still serving the public, it's also home to a retro hotel and Victorian homes surrounding Lake DeFuniak—one of only two naturally circular bodies of water in the world.

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Dunedin


One of the oldest towns on Florida's west coast, features a walkable downtown, four miles of waterfront, and popular craft breweries. The town's annual Scottish celebrations honor its heritage and history as once one of Florida's chief seaport and trading centers.

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Fernandina Beach


This on Florida's northeastern border boasts 13 miles of pristine beaches. Visit during the May's or year-round for top-notch golf, upscale resorts, and quaint bed and breakfasts. A walkable downtown is popular for boutiques and a variety of restaurants.

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Islamorada


Known as the "Sport Fishing Capital of the World," this sits 90 minutes south of Miami in the Florida Keys. Enjoy views of the aqua blue waters from its various bridges and fresh seafood at its many waterfront restaurants.

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Matlacha


Part fishing village and part artists' enclave, this over the bridge from Pine Island is quintessential old Florida. Enjoy the bohemian charm by visiting shops, galleries, seafood markets, or hanging out at the community park.

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Micanopy


Just 15 minutes south of Gainesville, this features dozens of antique vendors on oak-lined Cholokka Boulevard. The annual brings out music and crafts, but you can also escape the crowds in nearby Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park and watch wildlife from a 50-foot-high observation tower.

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Mount Dora


Set on the shores of Lake Dora, an hour from Orlando, this "" offers a more than 100-year-old historic village and a myriad of annual festivals. Book a room at a country inn or bed and breakfast and spend the day antiquing in the city center.

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Tarpon Springs


Enjoy 51 miles of waterfront and a National Register of Historic Places downtown 45 minutes north of St. Petersburg. Named for its fish-abundant waters, is also the "sponge capital of the world" and has the largest percentage of Greek Americans of any U.S. city. Explore the brick-streets lined with art galleries and businesses in buildings from the late 1800s.

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best small towns in FL
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Seaside


Leave the car behind at this walkable and bike-friendly in northwest Florida. The setting for The Truman Show, its orderly streets and downtown offer quaint cafes and food vendors in airstream trailers just a stone's throw from the sugar-white sand beach.

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Sebring


In the center of the Florida peninsula, this city's historic downtown is designed in a circle with boutiques and galleries for perusing. It's also home to a variety of parks and lakes and the .

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Winter Park


North of Orlando, this offers a small town feel outside Disney's hometown. The location of Rollins College and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Natural Art, its walkable downtown is packed with restaurants, upscale shopping, and parks that play host to various events throughout the year.

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