Vacation in Florida is all about fun in the sun, but driving from place to place and finding parking is a hassle that doesn’t allow you to get to know a place. Sunshine State’s coastal cities are known about big distances and not that famous for being pedestrian-friendly, but surprisingly there are a lot of areas where you don’t need to rent a car or use public transport to have a good time. Here we feature the 10 best walkable beach towns in Florida where exploring by foot is not a problem.
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New Smyrna Beach
Just south of Daytona, New Smyrna Beach sits on Florida’s east coast and is widely considered one of the most pedestrian friendly Florida beach towns. The historic downtown area features palm-lined streets, art galleries, and unique restaurants, while the coast features not only pretty beaches, but it offers extra sand-based fun with Smyrna Dunes Park.
Although both sides of New Smyrna are easily walkable, Indian River North divides them. Visitors usually need to take the Causeway to cross from the beach to the museums and attractions to the west.
That doesn’t mean, however, they have to rent a car or suffer long taxi rides, making New Smyrna an affordable Florida beach town. There is so much to do and so many great places to eat, however, that visitors can stay on the barrier island half of town and enjoy a lovely vacation.
In addition to the most relaxing beaches in Florida Atlantic coast, Jacksonville offers music festivals and other seasonal attractions. Arts and crafts events pop up along the coast, and the town’s water-park and museums make the coastal resort, Jacksonville Beach very family-friendly.
The town only goes a little over a mile inland, so guests can walk to most attractions without driving. Golf clubs and tennis centers attract those seeking to sharpen their game over vacation within a long walk by the sea, too.
If you to stay in a quiet beach town within daytrip distance of big adventures, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea may be your dream come true. Just over 33 miles outside Miami, this village is still in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami Metropolitan area.
Best known for offering superb scuba diving and snorkeling in Florida, the town draws many visitors interested in its beautiful reefs and historic shipwreck. Loggerhead sea turtles also frequent the area. Guests hoping to spot a nesting turtle (which it is illegal to disturb) should visit between March and October.
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is an excellent Florida beach town for foodies with many cafes and local eateries within walking distance to the main attractions.
St Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach is a resort town built on a barrier island about 20 miles outside of Tampa. Situated on Florida’s west coast, guests enjoy the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Although narrow, the island is fairly long. It’s a great choice for anyone hoping to add some jogging to their trip or long walks along the ocean.
It’s easy to stay in St. Pete Beach for a full, relaxing trip, but adventurous souls have more options. Boats take tourists to visit the several island natural preserves in the area, and those who prefer to keep their toes in the sand can watch for dolphins from Upham Beach Park.
Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach has a little bit of everything making it a tempting Florida beach vacation destination for families. In addition to clear water from the Gulf of Mexico and a white sandy coastline, the area has several nature preserves, drawing eco-tourists.
A shopping trail, called Décor by the Shore, encourages window shopping with unique boutiques and antique shops. Pier Park, an outdoor shopping venue, features over a million square feet of stores.
Offering also a variety of seafood markets and bars, Panama City Beach is a varied destination that caters to customers eager to soak up as much sun as possible.
Admired by tourists and locals alike, St. Augustine is one-of-a-kind. Reportedly the oldest city in America, it’s packed with history, and its heart follows layouts from another era, when pedestrians were favored over vehicles.
St. George Street is pedestrian’s only, and it’s packed with a great sampling of the city. Look for great food, nifty antiques, and historical buildings here.
St. Augustine Beach, Mission Nombre de Dios, Aviles Street, and the entire Bayfront area are fantastic places for casual strolls, afternoons out, and surprising adventures.
Sanibel is a small city on Sanibel Island, a barrier island just off the southwest coast, and it’s easily one of the best walkable beach towns in Florida. It’s quietly quirky with restaurants like The Mad Hatter and Pinocchio Original Italian Ice Cream Shop.
That blend of charm and relaxation exemplify the area. Small and set away from the busy lifestyle of Fort Myers, it serves the vacationer looking to unwind by the ocean very well.
One of the most popular activities on the island is shelling – searching the tide line for seashells. The marsh boardwalk is also worth visiting for a break from the sand a glimpse into Florida’s incredibly varied ecosystem.
For those looking for small, walkable beach towns with plenty of luxury options, Naples is the place to be. With miles of fine white sand and golf courses, it balances the highlife and the quiet life.
Settled on the west coast, the town’s beaches line the Gulf of Mexico while parks and country clubs take advantage of the tropical atmosphere farther inland. Trails zig-zag around town and through the many parks. It’s a town full of opportunities for beautiful jogs in the early morning with the view of the city’s symbol, Naples Pier and quiet strolls under a wide-brimmed hat in the sun.
Delray Beach has one of the top shopping districts in America while also serving as one of the best walkable towns in Florida. The downtown is a busy scene with quaint shops, luxury boutiques, and fine dining venues all rubbing elbows and it’s exceptionally pedestrian-friendly.
Delray has much more than shopping to offer, though. The arts thrive here. In addition to the local arts college and museum, there are galleries and public works of art scattered all over town.
For a cross-cultural experience close to nature, visitors can visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. It’s a fine place to stroll, and the museum offers tea ceremonies and calligraphy workshops.
The list of the best walkable beach towns of Florida cannot be complete without the famous Miami Beach! Set on a barrier island just outside Miami, it is a condensed version of all the things that make Florida great.
It’s far from a small town, equipped with tall buildings and all the popular comforts of a big city, but it’s still pedestrian friendly. Moreover, Miami Beach is also one of the best wheelchair accessible beaches in Florida.
Palm-lined boulevards welcome shoppers, and beaches practically line the island. It’s easy to walk to Instagram-famous places like Pubbelly Sushi, The Alley, and Mama’s Tacos after lounging by the waves.
A day in town may include a trip to a nature preserve, some jet ski fun, and dinner at a starred rooftop restaurant. Excursions across the bridges and into Miami make easy daytrips, and Miami offers plenty of walkable neighborhoods for an active day away from home base.
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When it comes a beach vacation, Vic is the person who certainly has tips on where to go and what to do no matter it is a luxury tropical holiday, peaceful seaside getaway or a family trip to the ocean. She enjoys exploring new places, trying out various water sports and most of all, loves sharing her tips with those seek out their next adventure.