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Small Town America Travel Guide: Top 20 Places You Need to Visit


Flagler Beach, Florida

They’re places where everyone knows each other’s names, partially because they’re small enough to make “community” more conducive. In many of them, quality of life is also better than their big city counterparts.

And many of these small towns are also friendly and more than accommodating to tourists who want to visit and take in the culture. Yes, America is full of small towns. And even if you weren’t born in a small town, that doesn’t mean that you can’t pay a visit to them. Here’s a look at the top 20 that you need to pay a visit to at some point in your life:

1. Flagler Beach, Florida

Located about 20 miles north of Daytona Beach, this small town couldn’t be more different than the party-heavy city to the south of it. In fact, if you’re into aquatic wildlife, it’s a great area to see right whales and sea turtles in their natural habitats – as Flagler Beach is a favorite hangout for these cool creatures. But according to Visit Florida, the coastal town located between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway has much more than just picturesque beaches – you will find open-air restaurants, beachside shopping, lots of great fishing (whether you’re out on the water or casting a line from the town’s fishing pier) and a laid-back lifestyle.

Oh, and the beaches are grand too – Visit Florida states that the town has roughly six miles of beaches, all of which are largely uncrowded, which cannot be said about the town’s neighbor to the south in the tourist-heavy Daytona Beach. Flagler is described as a “retro town,” as it is a cozy area with incredibly friendly locals. And there’s plenty to do in this small town of about 4,600 people (according to estimates from City-Data) – there’s its Fabulous Forth Festival, which annually celebrates the Independence Day holiday, First Fridays and the Flagler Fine Art Festival.

In fact, according to Budget Magazine, Flagler Beach was a finalist in 2013 for the publication’s “Coolest Small Town Contest.” So the next time you’re in Florida, don’t just go to the top tourist spots, take a side trip to Flagler Beach and see what local charm is really like. From cool shopping spots like the ukulele-selling Grampa’s Uke Joint to the unique dishes that High Tides and Snap Jack serve up on a daily basis, there is a little bit of something for everyone – from beaches to shopping to dining – going on in Flagler Beach.

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