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Why This Lesser Known Florida Destination Was Named Top Coastal Town In The U.S.

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While everyone talks about going somewhere tropical and remote this summer, we forget to stop and take a look at the many, many dreamy coastal towns that lie right under our noses.

Don’t get me wrong, buzzing hubs like Cancun and Punta Cana will always have a well-deserved spot on every traveler’s bucket list, but there’s just something about spending those hot summer days someplace charming and quiet that gives your holidays a whole different (and frankly, far more relaxing) vibe.

Aerial view of Stuart, Florida

With so many gorgeous places scattered across the U.S. coastline, though, you might have a hard time deciding just where, exactly, to go.

That’s where the newly released ranking by USA Today on the best small coastal towns in America can come in handy.

Nominated by a panel of experts and voted by travelers, this criminally underrated Florida town was named the best of the best.

Stuart, Florida

There’s More To Stuart, Florida Than What Meets The Eye

The town in question is none other than Stuart, a place that reels visitors in with its quiet facade and leaves them stunned with its treasure trove of fantastic attractions and year-round events.

Between the impressive Roosevelt Bridge up north, gorgeous Flagler Park, and the fascinating Stuart Heritage Museum, this unassuming Florida town is actually a fully-fledged tourism hub with something to offer to every single type of traveler.

Golf course in Stuart, Florida

Even city trippers will love the restaurant-lined downtown area, where you’ll not only get to try some of the incredible local delicacies but also look over St. Lucie River and take in the views of oyster beds (as well as the occasional manatee).

Every Sunday morning, there’s also a bustling Farmer’s Market where you’ll find everything from souvenirs to candy, and if you’re ever in Stuart, it’s truly not to be missed.

Those of you looking for a fun event to attend won’t be disappointed, either.

Fireworks over Roosevelt bridge in Stuart, Florida

The town’s calendar is filled to the brim with festivals, barbecues, and summer sales, so make sure to check it out.

A Sunny, Beachy Haven

We severely underestimate how fun and dreamy a beach getaway right here in the U.S. can be, and Stuart is the perfect example of that.

With its pristine 69-mile (111-kilometer) coastline kissed by the warm waters of the Atlantic, this small Florida town is home to some of the most picture-perfect beaches in the entire nation.

From the energetic Stuart Beach Park to the more laid-back Bathtub, travelers are guaranteed to find a place that scratches that summertime itch.

Aerial view of Stuart, Florida

Here, you can spend your days soaking up the Florida sun and your nights taking barefoot strolls along the beach – if that’s not your dream holiday, I don’t know what is!

Exquisite Seafood

Take a small seaside town and combine it with a rich, authentic culture, and what do you get? 

A food haven where even the pickiest eaters will find a dish to fall in love with.

Grilled fish on a plate

Obviously, seafood is Stuart’s No. 1 delicacy – the fish is caught fresh every morning and served right to your plate, either grilled to perfection, fried to a golden crisp, or raw and succulent – all you have to do is choose.

Better yet, get your own fish and produce at Sprouts Farmers Market and enjoy a sunset picnic at the beach.

View from a Farmers Market

Want To Go Dolphin Watching?

If you haven’t been convinced to book those Stuart tickets just yet (though that’s hard to believe), what I’m about to say might just be the final push you need.

This is one of the only places in North America where you can actually go dolphin-watching.

How, you might ask?

Two dolphins swimming

All you need to do is set sail into the waters of the Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River.

Just make sure to get a knowledgeable guide with you to lead you every step of the way and, most importantly, get the timing right.

Honu Boat Charters, for example, specializes in these types of excursions and has great reviews, so if this all sounds like something you’d be into, definitely check it out.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.