We love the city life, but everyone needs an escape from the hustle and bustle every now and then. If you’re in need of a relaxing day trip or a full weekend getaway, there are several quaint and picturesque spots within a couple of hours’ drive from Miami. These perfectly charming towns and villages offer a refreshing change of scenery if you need a break from colossal skyscrapers and beachfront crowds.
Here are five charming small towns located just a few hours away from Miami:
1. Delray Beach (1 hr)
Once named the “Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today, Delray Beach is a beachside escape perfect for a weekend getaway. Choose from unbeatable ocean views on the beach, refreshing nature walks through Morikami Museum or Wakodahatchee Wetlands, and the many restaurants and shops dotted along the vibrant Pineapple Grove Arts District.
2. Stuart (1 hr 51 min)
Technically a city that’s big on charm, Stuart is a Martin County escape with incredible sea life, historic buildings, and museums that’ll take you back in time. The Stuart Heritage Museum is not to be missed, where you’ll find a collection of local artifacts on display. History buffs will also appreciate the House of Refuge Museum, the oldest structure in the county and the only remaining of ten built in 1876. There’s also a brightly-colored downtown area with locally-owned shops, inviting restaurants, art galleries, and a performance theater.
If you want to take things a bit farther, Vero Beach also offers a small-town feel, and is located about 35 miles north of Stuart. It offers more beautiful beach sites, historic buildings, boutique shops and tropical landscapes like McKee Botanical Gardens!
3. Melbourne Beach (2 hr, 52 min)
If you’d like to spend a lot of time relaxing by the ocean, head to Brevard County’s oldest beach community, the Town of Melbourne Beach. It’s located south of Orlando and has a reputation for its family-friendly charm. Be sure to stroll down Historic Downtown Melbourne, admire the animals at Brevard Zoo, bike Sebastian Inlet State Park, and check out the annual Art Festival or Independent Filmmakers Festival.
4. Boca Grande (3 hr, 15 min)
Tucked away on Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande is a laid-back village that’s worth a visit on sunny days. And once you’re there, ditch the car for a bike or golf cart! It’s renowned for tarpon fishing, its sugar sand beaches, picturesque lighthouses, quaint homes and more. If it’s the views you’re after, spend some time at Cayo Costa State Park, accessible by boat or kayak. You can also spend time at Smart Studio Gallery, a family-owned gallery showcasing paintings, prints, photographs, antiques, jewelry and more.
5. Mount Dora (3 hr, 45 min)
We couldn’t end this list without Mount Dora, a lakefront city known to embody the charm of a New England town with a classic glimpse of Old Florida. It is situated 184 feet above sea level on Lake Dora and is shaded by live oak trees. Some popular spots include the Victorian-era Donnelly House; a downtown district lined with vintage shops, outdoor cafes, galleries, wineries and more; and an adorable 35-foot lighthouse at Grantham Pointe. Make sure to pay a trip during the Mount Dora Arts Festival, which is held the first weekend of February!