If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of Miami and Orlando, these small beach towns in Florida are perfect for you!
There are plenty of small beach towns located all throughout the state that offer visitors a more laid-back and relaxed vacation experience.
These quiet beach towns in Florida provide a more authentic experience of life in the Sunshine State away from all chaos of the big cities.
The best part about these laid-back towns is that they offer a wide variety of activities, gorgeous scenery, and small-town charm that makes for the perfect getaway.
So, if you’re looking for a quiet beach town to explore on your next vacation, look no further than these 12 best small beach towns in Florida!
In This Post:
The Best Small Beach Towns in Florida
Whether you’re looking for a USA trip or a longer vacation retreat, there’s no shortage of amazing small beach towns in Florida.
From sleepy fishing villages on the Gulf Coast to lively coastal towns dotted with bustling bars and cute boutiques, these 12 spots are sure to meet all your beachy needs.
As a matter of fact, these small beach towns in Florida are actually home to some of the best beaches in the USA!
Siesta Key is a small barrier island off the coast of Sarasota, and it’s one of the best small beach towns in Florida.
The whole island has a laid-back vibe with plenty of things to do, making it perfect for a USA weekend trip or an extended trip.
The three main beaches in Siesta Key Siesta are Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.
If you want to explore beyond the beaches, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy in Siesta Key.
Siesta Key Village is the main area of town, and it’s full of small shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants.
You can also hop aboard the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley for free to explore all of the best things to do in Siesta Key.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Sarasota is a luxury small city that’s just a 20-minute drive away. It’s perfect for visitors who want to experience both the small beach town and big city vibes during their trip to Florida.
Sanibel Island is one of the prettiest small beach towns in Florida for families and couples.
The small island is located off the southwest coast of Florida and is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing shelling.
Sanibel Island has over 12 miles of beaches, and it’s one of the best places to go shelling in Florida because of the variety of shells you can find.
The island is also home to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which is a great place to see alligators, birds, and other wildlife.
The best beaches on Sanibel Island are Blind Pass Beach, Bowman’s Beach, Lighthouse Beach Park, and Causeway Islands Park.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Naples is a great day trip from Sanibel Island, which is about an hour and fifteen-minute drive.
Islamorada is a small village located in the Florida Keys, and it’s one of the best small beach towns in Florida for both relaxing and adventure.
It’s also one of the best stops on a Miami to Key West drive.
The village comprises five small inhabited islands, and it’s known for its clear turquoise waters and beautiful coral reefs.
Islamorada, known as the “Sport Fishing Capital of the World,” is a great place to go diving or snorkeling, and there are plenty of charter companies that offer fishing trips.
Some of the coolest attractions in Islamorada include Theater of the Sea where you can learn about marine life, the History of Diving Museum where you can learn about all things diving, and the Florida Keys History & Discovery Center, where you’ll learn about the Florida Keys in detail.
The top-rated Islamorada beaches are Anne’s Beach, Holiday Isle Beach, Founders Park, Long Key State Park, Sea Oats Beach, and Islamorada Library Beach.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Key West is a popular tourist destination about an hour and forty-five-minute drive from Islamorada. Key Largo and Marathon are also nearby.
Anna Maria Island
Anna Maria Island is a small island off the coast of Bradenton on the mainland, and it’s one of the best small beach towns in Florida for a quiet and relaxing vacation.
The small island is only seven miles long, but it’s packed with things to do.
The island has three main towns — the City of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach, and each town has its own unique personality.
Anna Maria is the quietest and most laid-back of the three towns, Holmes Beach is a bit more lively with plenty of shops and restaurants, and Bradenton Beach is the perfect mix of both.
The beaches on Anna Maria Island are some of the best in Florida, and they include Manatee Public Beach, Coquina Beach, Cortez Beach, and Bean Point.
⛵️ What’s nearby: St. Petersburg is a popular tourist destination that’s about an hour’s drive from Anna Maria Island.
Seaside is one of the best beaches in the Florida Panhandle and one of the best small beach towns in Florida.
Seaside is located on the Gulf of Mexico and is known for its white-sand beaches and clear turquoise waters.
This quaint, coastal town feels has a luxurious vibe and feels a lot like Malibu, except it’s more laid back.
Seaside has plenty of small shops and restaurants, as well as art galleries and cute cafes.
Some of the best things to do in Seaside include visiting the Truman Show House, hanging out at Central Square, and going on a bike ride around the town.
The top-rated beaches in Seaside are Seaside Beach, Grayton Beach State Park, and Seagrove Beach.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Destin is a popular tourist destination that’s about a forty-five-minute drive from Seaside. Panama City Beach is also an hour away.
Vero Beach is a small town located on the east coast of Florida, and it’s one of the best small beach towns in Florida for a quiet and relaxing vacation.
Vero Beach is known for its beautiful beaches, elegant small-town feel, and luxury resorts. It’s a pure Florida wonderland.
Known as the Hamptons of Florida, Vero Beach has plenty of upscale boutiques and wine bars, as well as art galleries and museums.
Some of the best things to do in Vero Beach include visiting the McKee Botanical Garden, exploring Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, and wandering around the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
The prettiest beaches in Vero Beach are South Beach, Sexton Plaza Beach, Jaycee Park, and Turtle Trail Beach.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Vero Beach is around an hour and a half drive to West Palm Beach and Orlando.
Located off the coast of Jacksonville, Amelia Island is known for its pristine beaches, world-class resorts, and golf courses.
It’s one of the best islands in the USA and one of the best small beach towns in Florida for a luxury vacation.
Amelia Island lies on a chain of barrier islands that extend from Florida to South Carolina and is thirteen miles long and four miles wide.
While on Amelia Island, explore the waterways via kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. You’ll be able to spot all sorts of marine life like dolphins, turtles, and manatees.
When on Amelia Island, check out Fort Clinch State Park, Amelia Island Historic District, Amelia Island Museum of History, Little Talbot Island State Park, and Timucuan Ecological and Historical Preserve.
The beaches on Amelia Island are some of the best in Florida, and they include Fernandina Beach, Little Talbot Island State Park, Burney Park, and Peters Point Beachfront Park.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Jacksonville is a 45-minute drive away and St. Augustine is an hour and a half away.
Juno Beach is a blissful and quiet beach town in Florida. Located on a barrier island, the coastline is unspoiled.
From May through October, Juno Beach is in full turtle season swing. This is when loggerhead sea turtles return to Juno Beach to lay their eggs.
Juno Beach is home to the world’s largest concentration of sea turtle nests during this period.
June Beach is also a haven for nature lovers and has serene blue waters, which are famous for fishing.
The best things to do in Juno Beach include going to Loggerhead Marinelife Center, bird-watching at Juno Dunes Natural Area, and hiking at Frenchman’s Forest Natural Area.
Two of the best beaches in Juno Beach are Juno Beach Park and Loggerhead Park.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Jupiter is only a 15-minute drive away, and West Palm Beach is 30 minutes away.
Madeira Beach is a cute town located on the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent to St. Petersburg.
The pretty two-mile white sand beaches and the Gulf of Mexico’s emerald waters make it a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing.
It’s important to note that Madeira Beach isn’t crawling with things to do. The main attraction here is the beach itself.
The pain area of the town is John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, a historic fishing village that has now been transformed into a touristy village with over 100 small shops and restaurants.
Other than that, there’s little else to do in Madeira Beach except relax on the beach.
Madeira Beach, Archibald Memorial Beach Park, and John’s Pass Park are the best beaches in Madeira Beach.
⛵️ What’s nearby: St. Petersburg is a 15-minute drive away and Tampa is about an hour away.
Sandwiched between Daytona Beach and St. Augustine, Flagler Beach is a small, cozy beach town.
Flagler Beach has a vintage and retro feel with its old-fashioned main street that’s lined with mom and pop shops, cafes, and restaurants.
You’ll be greeted by long stretches of beach and a huge pier that’s great for fishing.
The best things to do in Flagler Beach include going to the Flagler Beach Historical Museum, perusing the artwork at the Gallery of Local Art, enjoying a drink at Flagler Beachfront Winery, and visiting the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park.
The beaches in Flagler Beach are small but beautiful. They include Flagler Beach and Flagler Beach Pier.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Daytona Beach is a 30-minute drive away and Orlando is about an hour and a half away.
Located in the Panhandle of Florida, Miramar Beach is a small beach town with extensive beaches.
The white sand beaches are definitely the highlight here, and they include Destin Beach, Henderson Beach State Park, and Miramar Beach.
Miramar Beach is undoubtedly one of the top beaches in Destin, with its emerald green water beckoning you to come in for a swim or just lay there and enjoy the sound of the waves crashing.
Miramar Beach is also home to charming small shops, cafes, art galleries, and boutiques. There are also a number of championship golf courses in Miramar Beach, if that’s your thing.
If you’re looking for things to do, you can try your hand at fishing, golfing, or shopping. Miramar Beach is as chill or as active as you want it to be.
For a fun day trip to soak up the sand and sun, head to Crab Island Destin. It’s a sandbar that offers a unique experience.
You can even go on a dolphin tour in Destin and get a closer look at these charming creatures in their own environment.
The best things to do in Miramar Beach include going to the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Destin Commons, and HarborWalk Village.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Destin is a 20-minute drive away and Panama City Beach is about an hour away.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is a small town near Miami with miles of beautiful beaches. Don’t worry — you won’t get the Miami crowd here!
The long stretch of sand and the turquoise waters are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. You can access the beaches at Laura Ward Washington Avenue Portal and El Prado Park.
One thing to note about Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is that it’s small — very small. But, what it lacks in size, it makes up for in its beauty and gorgeous beaches.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea has a number of small mom-and-pop shops, cafes, and restaurants.
The best things to do in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea include hanging out in Anglin’s Square, going fishing at Anglin’s Fishing Pier, touring Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, and hiking at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.
⛵️ What’s nearby: Fort Lauderdale is a 20-minute drive away and Miami is an hour away.
Best Small Beach Towns in Florida Checklist:
- Siesta Key
- Sanibel Island
- Anna Maria Island
- Vero Beach
- Amelia Island
- Juno Beach
- Madeira Beach
- Flagler Beach
- Miramar Beach
Other Small Beach Towns in Florida Not On This List:
These aren’t all the small beach towns in Florida. For the sake of this post, I focused on small beach towns that are lesser-known and off the beaten path.
But here are some other small beach towns in Florida that you might be interested in as well.
- Fernandina Beach
- Key Biscayne
- Gasparilla Island
- Grayton Beach
- Pass-A-Grille Beach
- Captiva Island
- Melbourne Beach
- Delray Beach
Map of the Best Small Beach Towns in Florida
Here’s a map so you can see where these small beach towns in Florida are located.
Final Thoughts About the Best Small Beach Towns in Florida
If you’re looking for charming small beach towns to visit in Florida, these are some of your best options.
From fishing to kayaking to sunbathing, these towns have something for everyone.
And with their hometown feel and beautiful scenery, you’ll be sure to enjoy your time there.
What are some of your favorite quiet beach towns in Florida? Let me know in the comments below!
Small Beach Towns in Florida Related Posts:
- Crab Island Destin: Complete Guide + 5 Fun Tours
- 11 Top Beaches in Destin Florida (+Best Beaches Nearby!)
- The Ultimate Florida Road Trip: 14 Epic Days!
- Miami to Key West Drive: 25+ Amazing Stops!
- 14 Best Beaches in the Florida Panhandle With Powdery Sand and Emerald Waters
- 18 Fun Things to Do in Seaside Florida
- 13 Best Sunset Cruises in Key West
- 8 Best Dolphin Tours in Destin, Florida
Disha Smith is the founder of Disha Discovers. She quit her job in 2017 to travel the world to explore new cultures and experience new adventures. She has since been to 95+ countries and counting and has lived in South Africa, Thailand, Croatia, and Australia. She has done all kinds of travel ranging from luxury to budget backpacking, and her mission is to inspire others to discover their own sense of adventure and to help them plan a life full of meaningful experiences through travel.