Alys Beach, FL

2 Small Florida Towns Mentioned on Architectural Digest's List of Most Beautiful Small Towns in America

L. Cane

When one thinks of a beautiful destination in America, one might think of iconic cities like New York City or colorful, seaside communities like those in Cape Cod. There's no arguably no shame in being attracted to beautiful places. They can soothe and uplift us when we visit them.

Thankfully, cities and smaller towns in the south and even in Florida are considered aesthetically beautiful by authority websites. Architectural Digest has listed what it considers the most beautiful small towns in America, and two in Florida made that list.

What Were the Criteria?: Architectural Digest limited the list of towns to those with less than 10,000 residents and chose destinations that showcased beauty in the form of natural resources like lakes, beaches, forests, and also with "architectural splendor." The site specifically looked for locations with easy access to nature, historic districts, and appealing topography.

Which Florida Small Towns Were Chosen: Architectural Digest chose two waterfront towns on the Gulf of Mexico, both within the proximity of the Florida panhandle. The choices were Seaside and Alys Beach. The towns were listed in no particular order.

What Architectural Digest Liked About Seaside: The site called this destination "darling." Also noted was the location hugging the Gulf of Mexico and its New Urbanism aesthetic featured in the film The Truman Show. The Seaside Post Office is pictured at the top of this article.

Why Is Seaside Considered So Uniquely Pretty by Many: The town was specifically developed to have a distinctive, small-town feel. Many of the buildings are pastel in color, and many of the homes have picked fences and front porches. Walking or biking are the easiest ways to get around. The pastel buildings contrast dramatically with the area's bright white sand and the beach's blue waters. The town is also charming, with an indie bookstore, art galleries, and food trucks. Here's a video from Visit Florida that shows Seaside.

Reviews for Seaside: It's one thing to read about a place, it's another to hear from people who have actually visited. Seaside has an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp and 4.5 out of 5 stars on TripAdvisor. Most reviewers said that Seaside is lovely to look at, but some lamented about the price of parking and food, while others didn't enjoy the large crowds during the busy season.

What Architectural Digest Likes About Alys Beach: The site noted that, like Seaside, the design for Alys Beach is New Urbanism, which creates walkable neighborhoods. Unlike the pastels of Seaside, the buildings in Alys Beach appear to be whitewashed, and Architectural Digest called most of the Architecture "Bermuda-Style."

Why is Alys Beach Considered Lovely by Some? According to Styleblueprint, the design of this town marries both the structure and the landscape to form one united aesthetic. Visitors may see beauty in the architecture, courtyards, and fountains. The contrast between the white buildings and the turquoise water is also striking. The vibe of this town has been compared to that of Sartori, Greece, by Architectural Digest in the past.

Reviews for Alys Beach: Alys Beach has a Yelp rating of 4 out of 5 stars, and many people noted the beautiful architecture and gorgeous beach, but some complained about construction and prices.

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