Billing itself as 'Where the tropics begin,' this bohemian community sits further east than any place in South Florida. Meanwhile, just offshore, the Gulf Stream flows further west than anywhere along the coast. This geographical good fortune means Lake Worth has warm weather year-round – but it also enjoys near-constant breezes, especially at night.
Just 13 miles from the Georgia border, this glorious sea island combines the moss-draped charm of the Deep South with the sun-'n'-fun beach culture of Florida.
Key Largo & Tavernier
Hollywood & Dania Beach
Two 'suburban Fort Lauderdale' communities have managed to make names for themselves. Hollywood, a bustling, varied waterfront town that positions itself as a gateway to Fort Lauderdale, has earned a sizable wedge of the Spring Break market since Lauderdale gave revelers the boot.
Melbourne & Indialantic
South from Cocoa Beach, Hwy A1A stretches along the barrier island 53 miles to Vero Beach, passing plenty of well-signed access to Atlantic beaches, state parks, small pockets of condos and long stretches of emptiness. Indialantic, a blink and you miss it beach town 16 miles south of Cocoa Beach, isn't expansive, but it sure feels homey.
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea & Deerfield Beach
Just north of Fort Lauderdale, the high-rises and mega-hotels thin out, giving way to these two sleepy, family-oriented vacation communities. If your idea of fun is less about clubbing and high-end dining, and more about chilling out on the beach with a picnic, this might be the spot for you.
Homestead to Flamingo Point
Stuart & Around
Often overlooked in favor of its more famous southern neighbors, Stuart has long been a hush-hush destination for sporty millionaires and their gleaming yachts. Fishing is tops here, which explains Stuart's nickname: 'Sailfish Capital of the World.
Dubbed 'zero beach' by action-hungry folks in Cocoa Beach, this carefully zoned coastal town, with lovely grassy parks, wide, white, lifeguarded beaches and a pedestrian-friendly downtown, feels like a step into the past.
Slow, mellow and perfectly preserved, Apalachicola is one of the Gulf's most irresistible villages. Perched on the edge of a broad bay, the oak-shaded town combines an old-fashioned fishing-based economy with a new wave of bistros, art galleries, eclectic boutiques, and B&Bs in renovated old mansions.
Beaches of South Walton
Sandwiched between Destin and Panama City along scenic Hwy 30A, this collection of 15 unincorporated communities makes up what is collectively known as Santa Rosa Beach, or the Beaches of South Walton. Each town has its own identity – some have a matchy-matchy country club vibe, while others are arty and funky.