Florida calls to mind Walt Disney, beaches, retirement, and holidays. And to be sure, it is all those things. But it’s also a state with wonderful natural beauty, exciting cities, and fantastic small town living.
Many of Florida’s small towns offer something special that no other place does. Many are coastal towns, but not all. If you find you’re about to be one of the 80 million people who visit the state each year, be sure to check out these fantastic small towns to visit in Florida:
1. Cedar Key
During the low-season, Cedar Key’s population shrinks to about 900, making it the definition of ‘off the beaten path.’ Locals refer to it as ‘old Florida,’ or ‘before Disney Florida.’ Just an hour from Gainesville, this is a charming and old-fashioned enclave that offers fishing, nature preserves, and great beaches. If you’re looking for low key, start here. There are dirt roads to ramble down, oaks trees at least a century old, kayaking and other water sports, and a small downtown with boutique shops and cafes.
When you’re ready for an incredible sunset, join the flocks of spoonbills that come each evening, just in time to watch the sun sink. Many of the houses and shops are built on stilts, the police drive suped-up golf carts, and everyone is ready with a smile.