This Tiny Florida Island Town has No Traffic Lights, and it Was Just Named One of the Best Small Towns in America

L. Cane

Many people love small towns. And that sentiment can be true of both native Floridians and visitors to Florida. A Gallup poll indicated that half of the respondents would prefer to live in a rural area or small town over a bigger city.

It makes sense, then, that travel websites like would attempt to determine the best small towns in each state of the nation. And although "best" is certainly a subjective term, Thrillist gave its best argument for each "best small town" it chose across America. These choices will hopefully give readers some ideas about quaint places to visit in their own states or for trips they might take.

Why Did Thrillist Choose Captiva Island as the Best Small Town in Florida? Thrillist listed many reasons that Captiva Island, a small island about 30 minutes from Ft. Myers) stood out from other candidates. I will list them below, but please know that Captiva Island was affected by Ian. It is rebuilding, but it would be prudent to contact any place you plan to visit to make sure amenities are available. The city has social media that is often updated with information.

"Kitschy" with No Stop Lights or High Rises: Thrillist loved the unique "kitschy" vibe of Captiva Island, which it compared to a smaller version of Key West. It also loved that the island is spare, with no traffic lights, just a few stop signs, no high rises, and little crowding.

The "Green Flash": Many people believe there is a natural phenomenon that happens at sunset on Captiva Island. It's a quick flash of green color as the sun sets below the horizon. There's even a popular restaurant in town named after the flash.

Excellent Shelling: Although Captiva's next-door neighbor Sanibel Island is best known for its shelling, Captiva offers excellent shelling as well. Turner Beach is said to be an excellent choice for shelling, since it's not crowded and therefore, gives you more shells to shift through and a better chance to find rare shells.

Cayo Costa State Park: This nearby state park screams "old Florida," although it is only accessible by boat. It's delightfully remote and is a wonderful place to swim, shell, and fish.

Additional Things to Do on Captiva Island: Captiva Beach is probably the most popular destination on the island, but you can also visit the History Gallery to learn about the history of the island, check out 2 Island's Gallery to view art, pamper yourself at Kay Casperson Spa, or check out the farmer's market.

If you'd like to spend time outside, you might choose to charter a fishing boat, play a game of tennis, kayak, or take a dolphin sightseeing cruise. Again, reach out before you go to make sure what you want to see is available.

You can be as busy or as unplugged as you'd like to be on Captiva Island but you might get an experience that is a bit different from your typical Florida "tourist attraction." And for many Floridians and visitors, that is exactly the point.

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