For some things, modernization is arguably a positive development. New methods and technologies can make our lives run more smoothly. But for other things, sometimes less is more. Such is arguably the case for some Floridians when it comes to development around Florida's beaches. Some would prefer to keep this area unspoiled, pared down, and feeling like "old Florida."
Cape San Blas: If you're looking for a destination with an award-winning beach off the beaten path and plenty to do for nature lovers, you may like Cape San Blas in Gulf County, which is in the panhandle. St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was previously named the best beach in America by Dr. Beach. In addition to enjoying the sun at the beach itself, there's the Cape San Blas Lighthouse and the ability to fish, scallop, horseback ride on the beach, and swim or enjoy paddling activities Cape San Blas is also a very pet-friendly destination.
Key Largo: Heading down to south Florida, we now approach the first option in the Florida Keys, Key Largo, where the pace of life may feel a little slower by design. You're almost as far south as you can go without leaving the country. According to Florida for Boomers, Key Largo is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world, as there are plenty of ancient shipwrecks to explore. Although there are many beaches to enjoy in Key Largo, Far Beach is arguably the most popular and has warm, shallow waters surrounded by palm trees.
Melbourne Beach: Visit Florida calls Melbourne Beach Brevard county's oldest beach community. This barrier island outside the busier Cocoa Beach is home to the largest sea turtle nesting area in the western hemisphere, and there is plenty to do for those who love nature, such as a visit to Spessard Holland South Beach Park and Coconut Point Sanctuary for some outdoor activities. If you need a break from the outdoors, this destination has a historic downtown, as well as shops and restaurants.
New Smyrna Beach: Florida for Boomers called this community an hour east of Orlando "laid back." As this location is in proximity to both Orlando and Daytona Beach, you are close to bigger cities without all the congestion. There are 13 miles of beaches here with a vibrant surfing scene. History lovers can check out the Sugar Mill Ruins, and there's also a very vibrant art community.
Fernandina Beach: Both Visit Florida and Florida for Boomers had this destination on their "old Florida" lists. Although this location can be seen as a little more upscale and known for its golfing, it is still home to the oldest bar in Florida - the Palace Saloon. There are also bustling shopping and art scenes. Amelia Island itself has over 13 miles of beachfront, as well as Amelia Island and Fort Clinch State Parks.
Jensen Beach: According to Visit Florida, there are no parking meters or high-rises in Jensen Beach, which is located in Martin County, Florida. Instead, you'll find buildings with Caribbean colors, picket fences, quaint businesses, and plenty of beaches. This destination has historical significance, as it was named the pineapple capital of the world as far back as 1895. Those who enjoy being outside and want something different than the beach can explore Indian River Lagoon, where you might see dolphins or manatees.