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Charming Southern Florida Small Towns You Need to Visit

"Tarpon Springs, Florida - boat dock at Christmas" by kthypryn is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

As the southernmost state of the continental United States, Florida is known as ‘The Sunshine State’ and is highly popular among tourists. Disney World and Miami’s perfect, sun-kissed beaches are just two of Florida’s incredible attractions and destinations.

As opposed to all the glamor and sparkle that Florida is known for, several small towns in the state are just as charming as they are fascinating. In one of Florida’s charming small towns, you may find just the right destination if you want to avoid the crowds in a city like Orlando or Miami. 

Whether you are looking for things to do in Key West Florida or ready to find a hidden gem of a beach, there are plenty of places with unique allures to explore. Let’s take a look at a few of the essential charming southern Florida small towns. 


The town of Stuart is located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, west of Fort Myers, and is popularly known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World.” There are many activities on offer in this coastal town, including boat tours, fishing, and sailing along Florida’s Treasure Coast. 

Several attractions make Stuart a trendy tourist destination, including the Road to Victory Military Museum and the Stuart Heritage Museum. Sunday mornings at the City Hall are filled with live events and the Stuart Green Market if you are in town.

Tarpon Springs

Located in South-Central Florida, Tarpon Springs is a typical old-worldly town heavily influenced by the Greek ethos and heritage. As a result, several antique shops, art galleries, and eateries on the waterfront are reminiscent of Greek culture. This is due to Greek sponge divers settling in town around the beginning of the 1900s. The Sponge Docks are an essential sight in this small town known as the “Sponge Capital of the World.”


Venice, a city on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is known as the World’s Shark Tooth Capital. Shark teeth are common at Caspersen Beach, one of Venice’s two beaches. A gorgeous coastline and the coral reef off Venice Beach make it a popular southern destination. With its Italian architecture dating back to 1925, the historic downtown has a lot of character. Venice has many recreational options for visitors, including fishing, swimming, and shark tooth hunting.

Fort Pierce

Since the 1900s, Fort Pierce has been a fishing village with a rich history. In addition to its natural reefs, this tiny town is also home to artificial reefs, making it an ideal diving spot. A fantastic waterfront is also present in Fort Pierce, where you can find restaurants that serve the freshest fish. It’s worth the trip to Fort Pierce to view the Indian River Lagoon, the largest estuary in the country and home to over 4,000 species of plants.


Known as the “Village of Islands,” this little town is spread across six Florida Keys and has many lovely beaches for you to swim, sunbathe, or stroll. With several annual fishing tournaments and excellent sail fishing and bone fishing opportunities, Islamorada is a great destination for water adventurers.

The Indian Key Historic State Park learning center also offers scuba diving lessons to explore shipwrecks. Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park offers dolphin shows for the whole family.


In addition to being one of Pine Island’s five communities, Matlacha is considered one of Florida’s most beautiful hidden gems. There are several colorful art galleries in Matlacha, historic Floridian cottages, and delicious seafood.

The opportunity to spot dolphins can also be enjoyed in addition to kayaking and paddle boarding. Visit the Museum of the Islands for a look at the town’s history with the whole family. 

Key West

Key West is the most southern town in the Continental United States and is a must-see destination for any Florida Visitor. Feel the flavor of the islands in Key West as it mimics life in the Caribbean. With its colorful architecture, supreme beaches, and historic attractions, Key West offers much to the whole family.

Cedar Key

Cedar Key boasts some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches and offers exceptional fishing, kayaking, and bird-watching opportunities. You must try Tony’s World Champion Clam Chowder if you’re a seafood lover. Cedar Key is referred to by the locals as the “before Disney Florida,” meaning that it avoids most of the traps of modern commercialism. One of the most popular attractions that can’t be missed is the Atsena Otie Old Cemetery.

Florida has so much to offer to visitors, especially if you enjoy exploring smaller towns. If you want to avoid the crowds of the larger Florida cities, you need to check out these charming southern Florida small towns.