America's Best Little Beach Towns
Peter Horree / Alamy
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
This northwestern Florida beach town was once a turpentine mecca, back when you needed the distilled sap to build ships. Today, it prides itself on its hiking and biking trails, as well as its Caribbean-style artists’ colony.
Stay: Architect David Rockwell designed the airy-looking WaterColor Inn & Resort, where you get free use of bicycles, fishing gear, and kayaks that you can paddle around its on-site dune lake.
Eat: Stop in for a cappuccino, ice cream, an “outrageous cinnamon roll,” or even just a beer at Miss Lucille’s Gossip Parlor. If you don’t have anything to pass along to Miss Lucille herself, you can just watch the beachgoers stroll by, or check your e-mail on one of her coffeehouse’s computers.
—Katrina Brown Hunt