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It’s easy to see why Florida is among the top-visited states in the US. From sun-soaked beaches to vibrant culture, Florida offers an escape to paradise. While major cities like Orlando and Miami are frequented by most travelers, some of Florida’s best vacation spots lie a little off the beaten path. Quaint towns in Florida like Islamorada, Matlacha, Seaside, Anna Maria Island and Mount Dora each have their own unique blend of relaxation, local flavor and unforgettable experiences.


The islands that make up Islamorada can be found in the northeastern part of the Florida Keys. Considered to be the sportfishing capital of the world, Islamorada’s history and culture are directly tied to its relationship with the ocean waters that surround it. A trip to a quiet Florida beach town wouldn’t be complete without hiring a fishing charter or diving into the lively dining scene. Resorts and boutique hotels line the coast and are within walking distance of pristine beaches and some of the best Florida cuisine available. Couples and families looking for activities nearby should check out the local diving museum, animal encounters and nearby state parks.


Matlacha is undoubtedly one of Florida’s most eye-catching places to visit. After local laws impacted the town’s fishing industry, the residents of this small island town took to painting their homes and businesses in vibrant colors to keep drawing in tourists. Their plan was a success, as Matlacha still brings in a steady stream of travelers eager to catch a glimpse of the town’s funky exteriors. Beyond the buildings, visitors should take a stroll to explore local art studios and galleries, grab a bite to eat at one of the many seafood shacks or rent kayaks to paddle around the Gulf.


This charming small town in Northwest Florida became famous as the location for the film “The Truman Show” starring Jim Carrey. Those familiar will recognize Seaside’s stunning pastel-colored cottages, gorgeous beachfront and pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets. Seaside is a haven for both relaxation and adventure. The town square, which is easily accessible on foot or by bike, boasts many shops, restaurants and farmers’ markets. Visitors have to stop by the iconic Airstream Row while in town, where streets are lined with decorated Airstream food trucks and vendors.

Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island embodies old Florida charm. Located right on the Gulf Coast, this small beach town is dotted with colorful bungalows, beach rentals, eateries and boutiques. All activities and sights are easily accessible thanks to the island’s free trolley system. Known as a quiet, low-key vacation spot, there’s plenty of beach to go around. Bean Point, found at the north tip of the island, offers stunning views of the Gulf as well as Florida’s famous sunrise and sunsets.

Mount Dora

Outdoor activities are in abundance in this endearing Orlando suburb. Nestled between rolling hills, old oaks and Lake Dora, Mount Dora is known for its natural beauty. The town has the best of both worlds; there’s a bustling downtown center with tree-lined streets and plenty of antique shops and restaurants, along with natural wonders filled with adventure along the town’s edge. Boating, kayaking, watersports and lakeside relaxation are all readily available for visitors. As a certified Trail Town, Mount Dora is connected through a top-notch trail network accessible by foot or bike.