The entire purpose of the Florida shore holiday would be to relax. During peak season, the most famous shore towns bring tens of a huge number of sunshine seekers, all seeming to relax, which surely can make the feeling decidedly restful. Luckily Florida has about 1,350 miles of shoreline — east, west, north and south — much of it lined with sandy shores. The South Beach in Miami gets all the press and, there is nothing like it in case you’d like a lovely shore full of wonderful folks. But if your dreams are more about reading a great novel, doing a small body surfing and detoxing from that crazy last quarter on the job, there are dozens of smaller shore towns that additionally serve up amazing sunshine and sand — and keep you out of bumper to bumper traffic too.
Florida shore towns are generally linear, with one municipality combining into its neighbors on both sides, so town names are used by Floridians as places that are general, however they are frequently talking about a region that is grand.
Element of a shore town’s allure is the fact that it’s overly imperfect. A few of these towns are “perfect,” with nary a blade of grass out of place, but others have some somewhat down-at-the-heels storefronts, pubs that bring the breakfast bunch and that pervading live and let live vibe at which you will never feel underdressed in flip flops as well as a wrapping.
To provide you with a close up look in the shores its neighbors, the state partnered with Google back to have men taking backpack mounted variants of its own road cams all the way across the coastline of the state. In case you locate an area you are interested in, you may use Google Maps to zoom in and “walk” the beachfront prior to deciding.
South Walton County
Florida beachiness is the Panhandle in the event you are driving from north of the edge, the closest spot to get a few of that brand. The soft, sugar-white sand that wraps the west shore of the peninsula stretches along the Gulf land all the way to Mobile. Tropical Floridians used to refer to this as the Redneck Riviera while the place continues to be the southernmost point of the Deep South — development has slowly rounded off a number of the ethnic borders. The region is currently home to greatly planned upscale New Urban communities, while keeping distinguishing hallmarks like Stinky’s Fish Camp.
The shores here, particularly Grayton Beach, perennially top national top ten lists, but you do not have to visit the “named” (and occasionally packed) areas: There are 30 miles of shore with room for a whole lot of lounge chairs.
US Highway 98/FL Hwy 30 is the main street of the strip of shore but it is a couple miles inland. Collateral branches lead south toward the Gulf. County Road 30A runs closer to only west of Alligator Lake to the ocean from Inlet Beach and along it are the planned New Urban communities — Rosemary Beach, Watercolor, Alys Beach as well as Beachfront the first,. Any of them are a great option in the event you are looking carefully controlled and for manicured — Seaside was the setting for The Truman Show. It’s possible for you to let cottages or condos in these communities or walk to the shore.
West the beachside of Watercolor, is more modest conventional dwellings interspersed with expanses of state park and a checkerboard of upscale condominiums. You walk out to the shore and can roost in a resort or condominium, or Point Washington State Forest adjoins Grayton Beach State Park and offers added shore entry, should you not mind driving a few minutes. A couple of miles west Topsail Hill State Park has several big parking areas with boardwalks that lead to shores that are entirely undeveloped.
Typical daily temperatures for February: Low – 40o F – 65o F
Typical daily temperatures for July: Low – 71o F – 91o F
Airports: Northwest Florida Beaches Airport (ECP), Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport (PNS), Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS).
Visualize a place about midway between West Palm Beach and Cape Canaveral. That is Vero. The key section of the town is west of the Indian River Lagoon while the beaches are on the barrier island that fronts the Atlantic Ocean.
The Atlantic shores in Florida are suntan, not white, the sand is less fine as well as the waves a little rougher — in other words, actual ocean shores.
Ground zero is Beach Boulevard, which crosses the lagoon and heads due east, finishing in Sexton Plaza, a parking area that dominates the Atlantic. Radiating out from the plaza are little stores offering decor, everyday clothing and shore supplies, along with more eateries and restaurants.
The shore in front of the plaza is great, but might get packed. Do not stress; there is plenty of room. Florida will not permit private property owners to obtain title to the shore itself. The strands that pass behind mega-million-dollar mansions are open to everyone.
At the north end of the barrier island, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge was the first national wildlife refuge in the U.S., created by Teddy Roosevelt in 1903. It adjoins Treasure Beach State Park, which has undeveloped beachfront and plentiful parking.
The park is nicely-named: remains of the very first Spanish treasure fleet seen in modern times are scattered along the shore of the barrier island and one, the “Cabin Wreck” was only off this shore. Only last year, 48 coins were located by hunters in the surf 100 feet from shoreline. It’s possible for you to see a number of the treasure at the McLarty Museum.
Wabasso Beach also has open littoral and ample parking. The beachfront south of there’s lined with resorts and houses, but it is all fair game for the sunshine seeker.
Along with beachfront and off-shore resorts, there are bungalows and condominiums for rent through the region. For the maximum in benefit, pay a little extra and get something on the beachside within walking distance of some sand. You may decide to drive several miles north or south for a view that is different, but in case you get sluggish one day, you can simply wander to the ocean.
Typical daily temperatures for February: Low – 54o F – 70o F
Typical daily temperatures for July: Low – 74o F – 89o F
Airports: Melbourne International Airport (MLB), 35 miles away.
Fernandina is around as far north as. The town is old; the site was inhabited by men and women of the Timucuan tribe at least as early as 1000 A.D. The French arrived in 1562, followed by the Spanish in 1565, the exact same year that St. Augustine was founded. The modern city is chockablock with magnificent Victorian mansions and dates to the early 19th century. This is because straightforward: When Florida belonged to Spain, Fernandina was the closest seaport to the U.S., making it a prime place for retailers of both legal and illegal opinions. President Monroe called Fernandina “festering fleshpot” due to its citizenry of smugglers and pirates, and the bordellos that catered to the seagoing bunch.
The town sits on the inland side of Amelia Island, facing a safe anchorage in Nassau Sound. The downtown streets are lined with charming brick-front buildings that house the estimated number of pubs and boutiques, including what is promised to be Florida’s oldest continuously running public house, The Palace Saloon.
The Palace is only one of many laid back pubs and restaurants. Decide one that seems great — the Green Turtle, Hammerhead, Dog Star and simply wander down the road, you will have not a problem .
There are affordable chain hotels in town along with grand resorts, including a Ritz Carlton, stretching to the south on the beach side. Amelia Island Plantation is an older, quite refined, planned development that includes both resorts and hundreds of condominiums, a lot of which are accessible for rent. Do not look out on the B&Bs of the town, many studded with stained glass and in historical mansions swaddled in turrets.
There are 13 miles of shoreline, most of it shore. Whether you elect to package your kit and hike to one of many abandoned shores west of the Fort Clinch Fishing Pier (the shore right in the point is enormous, and needs almost no walking) or simply amble out the rear of a beachfront condominium and fall on the shore, you will get the entire sand-and-sun encounter.
Typical daily temperatures for February: Low – 47o F – 66o F
Typical daily temperatures for July: Low – 75o F – 91o F
Airports: Jacksonville International (JAX), 26 miles away.
The expanse of the Gulf coast from Englewood up to Siesta Key in Florida is a welcome respite from the hustle (and high costs) of Sarasota. Not that there is anything wrong with Sarasota. The compact downtown has a great museum, art galleries, eateries, stores and bookstores. Only through the causeway is St. Armand’s Circle with its high-priced stores and restaurants.
For a much more comfortable take on head south shore tradition,. Merely on the opposite side of the inlet Siesta Key lives up to its name in an assortment of condominiums, vacation homes as well as a little commercial area full of stores and restaurants. Most visitors only pedal to the shore and rent a number of bikes and a condominium.
The following stop is Venice, which has a whole downtown bunched round the junction of Harbor Drive and Venice Avenue. There are many allusions to the Old Country — Cassariano Italian restaurant and Ciao Gelato are both remarkable — but this is laid back tropics all the way. It’s possible for you to spend an afternoon wandering and grazing, in the event you are feeling flush, perhaps purchase a fresh pair of flip flops or some Steve Madden strappy sandals.
There are many beaches to simply soak up that golden sun, also. The road divides into two one ways, each side lined with Mediterranean design houses roofed with red barrel tiles, ideal for a lazy bike ride and protected by overhanging oaks. At the ending is the municipal beach, a park which has a few facilities and lots of parking should you’re feeling the demand for motorized transportation. There are beachfront resorts, starting together with the Inn in the Shore right next to the park.
Venice itself may not be as historical as Fernandina, however there is a lot of history in the sand. Even a casual sweep will turn shark’s teeth, maybe some of them up from Carcharias megalodon. This man was a 60-footer while a Great White and died out eons past, that looked like a bigger and badder version of them, their teeth are normally located here. Committed hunters have discovered fossil remains of ancient three-toed horses, other goodies and dugong ribs.
To the south of Venice, Caspersen Beach is just another abundant fossil hunting ground and fronts the Gulf. There is a lot of parking and undeveloped beachfront stretches up past the Venice Municipal Airport.
Typical daily temperatures for February: Low – 54o F – 73o F
Typical daily temperatures for July: Low – 74o F – 91o F
Airports: Sarasota Bradenton (SRQ), 29 miles away. Tampa International (TPA), 75 miles away. Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), 38 miles away.
New Smyrna/Ponce Inlet
Daytona Beach could be NASCAR season, a zoo summer or winter, and particularly during Spring Break or some of the bike occasions. But only just a little bit south are two little shore towns offering accessibility to all the restaurants and activities of Daytona and its inland neighbor, Orlando, with fewer crowds and less craziness. Ponce Inlet sits at the south end of the barrier island. Just through the inlet is New Smyrna Beach.
Ponce is not hard to discover — only try to find the iconic 175-foot tall red brick lighthouse. Assembled in 1835, it is been renovated and there is an expansive view from the top of Daytona and New Smyrna. There is just a little commercial place with a few eateries close to the lighthouse alongside a regionally renowned waterfront tavern at Inlet Harbor Marina. Unlike Daytona, there is the place near the jetty that protects the inlet is frequently abandoned, as well as no driving allowed on the shore at Ponce. In the event you are daring, you can rent a pontoon boat and head around to Disappearing Island in the inlet. This sandbar goes and comes with the tide as well as on weekends that are warm, it is party central anchored around its periphery.
New Smyrna is a classic seashore town that is little. It’s a downtown with an assortment of one-story boutiques, restaurants and stores which cater to the bunch that is beachy. That bunch is nothing if not varied: vacationers taking a rest from the theme parks in Orlando, bikers, fishermen, well heeled company types. There is nothing pretentious or snooty going on here though it is common to see members of Orlando’s power elite here, a number of whom have houses in WIlbur by the Sea on the Ponce Inlet side.
The shores are extremely broad, wrap up to the point on the south side of the inlet and, at low tide and lined with hard-packed sand. The point itself is encompassed by Smyrna Dunes Park and is a favorite with surfers. At times during the year the point brings lots of little sharks chasing baitfish being flushed from the inlet on the outgoing tide. Surfers sometimes misfire and chomp back on a surfer; the sting-to-surfer ratio is really little but it is something to know about when the baitfish are running.
The more prevalent manner of getting harm here is by overindulging in margaritas or rumrunners in one of the various beachfront bars, so go easy on the refreshments and take pleasure in the surf and you will locate NSB a fantastic shore encounter.
Typical daily temperatures for February: Low – 51o F – 71o F
Typical daily temperatures for July: Low – 73o F – 89o F
Airports: Orlando International (MCO), 74 miles away. Daytona Beach International (DAB), 21 miles away. Orlando-Sanford International (SFB), 33 miles away.
Neptune Beach/Jacksonville Beach
With NSB’s skyscrapers and grand suburbs, the majority of folks do not think as a shore town of Jacksonville. But head east to the ocean and you will find among the best-kept secrets in the state. The strip upward to the Mayport Naval Station has everything you are searching for: divey pubs with live music Superb eateries, and miles and miles of sand.
Of the three towns — Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic Beach and Neptune Beach — Neptune has a sturdy shore town vibe and is the lowest. While it does meld seamlessly with Atlantic Beach to the north and Jacksonville Beach to the south, Neptune is defined by the bunch of stores and eateries from 3rd Street to the ocean in the blocks just north and south of Atlantic Boulevard: The North Shore Fish Camp, Mezza, Poe’s Pub as well as the Ragtime Tavern brewpub are all worth a visit.
The ultramodern One Ocean Resort is right on the shore in the conclusion of Atlantic Boulevard and from there it is possible to walk — to the shore, to a pub, to dinner or along the miles of tough-packed suntan sand.
With a car (or bike, the tough sand is very good to ride on) it is a simple foray down to the Jacksonville Beach Pier, a prime surfing area. There is a boardwalk along the ocean (well, really a brick walk) south and north of the pier that is home to a few of the tons of pubs, cafes and stores bunched along 2nd and 1st roads. You will also locate the historic Casa Marina Resort with its killer upper deck dining and Freebird Live, a concert hall and cafe that is an homage to local rock n roll legends Lynard Skynyard.
In the event you are seeking seclusion and raw, unvarnished nature, there are few beachfront parks in the state better than Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park between Neptune Beach as well as the Mayport Naval Station in the mouth of the St. Johns River. There is plentiful parking and crossovers to get you onto the shore. In the event you are fortunate, you see one of the grey women of the Navy gliding into port.
Typical daily temperatures for February: Low – 48o F – 66o F
Typical daily temperatures for July: Low – 74o F – 91o F
Airports: Jacksonville International (JAX), 26 miles away
Florida shore travel hints
There is a mid-peninsula climatological divide. North of the Tampa Bay-Cape Canaveral line high season is while winter is the season that is low. South of that line, it is the opposite, with shores and resorts while the crowds die down in the summertime, filling up with snowbirds during the winter. This also means there are off season reductions available almost year round, thus in the event you are trying to find a price on getting away from grey skies and bright-and-60 seems great, you can save plenty of money and prevent the crowds by selecting a destination in Central or North Florida during winter months. Conversely, in case you believe a terrarium has the ideal climate and you also are fine with mid-90s and humid, you will get deals in South Florida at the peak of the summertime. Besides assessing the wholesalers (Expedia, Orbitz et al), assess sites are owned by the resorts; many are making a joint attempt to take back control of their stock by offering reductions and best cost guarantees for booking direct.
The airlines practice demand pricing and both seasonal, which means you may locate the fares higher in winter and lower in summer or determined by your own destination. Your selection of airport issues a lot. The airports that are big (Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville) have the lowest fares, the most flights and, generally particularly from the important northern hearts. Nevertheless, reduction carriers for example Allegiant fly to some smaller airports including Punta Gorda (Venice) and Orlando Sanford (New Smyrna Beach) with low fares from second-tier cities.