Summer? Autumn? Winter? Doesn't matter when you are headed to Florida, the weather is always great. However, why head all that way just to find yourself in another big city? The following five small towns pack a big punch when it comes to top-notch resorts and breathtaking beaches.
While Saint Augustine most definitely is not the first city that comes to mind when you think about Florida, it should be. This modest city of less than 15,000 people was founded in 1565, making Saint Augustine the oldest city in the United States. People visit not only for the beaches but also for the stunning Spanish colonial architecture. Travelers who value style and comfort above all else will want to make the Bayfront Westcott House B&B their home away from home.
Located just 25 miles from Tampa is Clearwater Beach, a popular year-round destination for anyone who needs a quick escape from the city stress, or who is in urgent need of the closest beach from the Tampa airport. The town has several times been named one of the top ten beach destinations in Florida, and for good reason. The pristine white sand beaches and bright blue cloudless days are the stuff you usually only find in movies. Beyond just water-based activities, the town also boasts several amusement parks, museums, and other family-friendly destinations.
For anyone planning to visit northwestern Florida, Panama City can be found just west of Tallahassee and has year-round perfect weather. Rather than simply having one Gulf coastline, Panama City is actually nestled slightly inland and surrounded on three sides by a large collection of rivers and bays. As one might guess, this makes the city a favorite of visitors because of the easy access to water. Trivia fact: When the Panama Canal was first constructed, the closest American port was in a town called Harrison, so the town changed its name to Panama City.
Sanibel Island is an elongated island that acts as a barrier island to Cape Coral and Fort Myers. The island is beloved not only for its massive wildlife refuges (the largest being a whopping 5,200 acres!) but also its shell-covered beaches. Combine that with its easy access via bridge to the metropolitan area, and it's no surprise that the island is perfect for families on vacation. There is also no shortage of resorts catering to both couples and families. One of the most highly reviewed is the Sanibel Island Inn, thanks to its immaculate beaches and landscaping, not to mention its amazing amenities.
West Palm Beach
The biggest, and arguably the best, destination saved for last on this list is West Palm Beach. With a population of around 100,000, the city boasts enough diverse sights, activities, restaurants, and shopping for travelers of all types and ages. Some of the favorite attractions that you must visit at least once include the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservatory and, of course, McCarthy's Wildlife Sanctuary.
Featured image via Martial Arts Nomad