Sunshine State’s most searched tiny towns revealed

The 10 most popular Florida small towns searched for online by Americans in the last year


Florida has always been a favorite destination in summer for people across America, flocking to big cities like Miami, Orlando, Tampa.. but what about the small towns? With travel restrictions lifting and becoming more clear, the desire to travel has skyrocketed, Americans are now planning their next vacations. In the past year, travel within the US has been booming and this year we expect it to hold strong especially with small towns. But where in Florida do people want to travel? What will be the most popular destination in 2021? 

Holidu, the search engine for vacation rentals, decided to carry out a study to determine which small Florida towns and cities Americans have been looking for in the last twelve months. To accomplish this, 500 Florida towns were evaluated, and all with less than 20,000 inhabitants were considered for this study. The ranking was drawn up using the average number of monthly searches on Google for these towns with the terms “what to do” and “what to see” to determine the most popular Florida small towns with vacationers.

1. St. Augustine, Florida | 21,740 searches per month

The winner of this ranking is the stunning ocean side town of St. Augustine. This centuries-old city is located in northeastern Florida just below Jacksonville. Nestled on the expansive Atlantic coast its white-sand beaches are perfect for a day of relaxing by the waves. Dripping in Spanish architecture, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously settled city in the United States. To this day, its streets are still filled with horse-drawn carriages ready for visitors to explore its rich history. This gorgeous town is a regular family favorite, especially in summer. Its inviting beaches and charming streets make this town the perfect destination for travelers of all ages and interests. With an average of 21,740 searches per month, it is no wonder this city ranked at the top of our list as the most searched small town by travelers this year. 

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Colonial Quarter
  2. St. Augustine City Hall
  3. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum


Vacation Rentals in St. Augustine


2. Panama City Beach, Florida | 10,990 searches per month

Moving on to second place, our next must visit tiny town is Panama City Beach, and it’s easy to understand why. Find this southern waterfront gem in northwestern Florida on the warm water shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Renowned for its sugar white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters, its coastline stretches for 27 breathtaking miles. Filled with vibrant shopping, a plethora of water sports, and lively nightlife it is no wonder why Panama City Beach, is such a well-loved vacation destination in Florida. Don’t miss out on this second most searched tiny town!

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Pier Park
  2. Shell Island
  3. St. Andrews State Park


Vacation Rentals in Panama City Beach


Image: Panama City Beach credit dconvertini via Flickr

3. Key Largo, Florida | 9,700 searches per month

Claiming third place with 9,700 searches per month is the much-loved Florida Key, the island of Key Largo. Discover this island paradise at the southernmost tip of Florida. Key Largo is famous for being home to the world’s largest artificial reef. Snorkel with sea turtles through underwater galleries and shipwrecks. Or unwind on powdery white sand beaches soaking in the warm sun or enjoy the day boating around the islands impeccably clear waters. Whether you are into lounging, adventure, or sports you won’t be short of things to do in Key Largos.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Spiegel Grove Shipwreck
  2. Harry Harris Park and Beach
  3. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park


Vacation Rentals in Key Largo


4. Destin, Florida | 7,190 searches per month

Once a small fishing village, Destin is now a bustling summer destination for many Southerners and has secured a spot on our top 10 list. Located along Florida’s sprawling Gulf Coast, in the Panhandle, this tiny town is renowned for its emerald green waters, and crystal white sand. Named the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” Destins rich heritage has made it home to world-famous fishing, housing the largest fishing fleet in the state. Also offering dining, shopping, and a wide range of water sports, Destin makes the perfect vacation spot for the whole family.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Crab Island
  2. Crystal Sands Beach
  3. Destin Harbor Boardwalk


Vacation Rentals in Destin


5. Marco Island, Florida | 6,700 searches per month

The largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is located in southwest Florida tucked into the Gulf of Mexico coast, just south of Naples. With a network of inland waterways, you can send your days kayaking through lagoons, wading through clear waters, and even exploring abandon pieces of history. As the third destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast to secure a space in the top 10, Marco Island received an average of 6,700 searches per month. Home to sandy beaches, bustling marinas, and grassy golf courses, Marco Island is the ideal destination for a summer break.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Tigertail Beach
  2. Cape Romano Dome House
  3. Marco Island Historical Museum


Vacation Rentals in Marco Island


Image: Marco Island credit Andy Morffew via Flickr

6. Cocoa Beach, Florida | 6,280 searches per month

At number six is Cocoa Beach, located southeast of Orlando right below Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, this tiny town is known for its beautiful beaches and its impressive surf breaks. Cocoa Beach is home to a plethora of unique activities. Try a nighttime kayaking tour to explore the bioluminescence in the Banana River, or take an eco tour on horse back through 2,000-acres of forest. With waterfront dining you are spoiled for choice, browse through some of the restaurants along its iconic Westgate pier or relax on the beach with a picnic and an ice-cold beer. Coming in with an average of 6,280 searches per month, you won’t regret a trip to this tiny beach town paradise.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Florida Surf Museum
  2. Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier
  3. Banana River Aquatic Preserve


Vacation Rentals in Cocoa Beach


7. Islamorada, Florida | 4,320 searches per month

Next up is the tropical wonder of Islamorada! Located at the southernmost tip of Florida this town encompasses 6 of the Florida Keys. This tiny village is bursting with charm, gaining it an average of 4,320 searches per month. Known for their stunning coral reefs, Islamorada is home to Windley Key Fossil Reef Geological State Park, making it the perfect destination for scuba and snorkeling enthusiast. This tiny town is studded with colorful cafés and restaurants, breathtaking beaches, and miles of ocean activities. Even get up close and personal with the wildlife and go to the docks to try hand feeding the tarpons. With its laid-back island vibes and beautiful beaches, it is no wonder Islamorada earned a spot on our top 10 list.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Anne’s Beach
  2. History of Diving Museum
  3. Morada Way Arts & Cultural District


Vacation Rentals in Islamorada


8. Siesta Key, Florida | 4,190 searches per month

Coming in a number eight is the bustling beach town of Siesta Key with an average of 4,190 searches per month. Laying between Roberts Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, this white quartz sand Florida Key is home to vibrant beach bars, quirky cafés, and professional sand sculptors. Take a Dolphin sightseeing tour, collect shells at the Point of Rocks, or even take to the skies with a parasail overlooking the shimmering blue waters. With the islands relaxed feel and limitless activities it makes it the perfect place to plan your next summer stay.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Point of Rocks
  2. Crescent Beach
  3. Siesta Key Drum Circle


Vacation Rentals in Siesta Key


9. Vero Beach, Florida | 2,880 searches per month

Vero Beach, with 2,880 searches per month, is the only one of our tiny towns to be located on Florida’s Treasure Coast. Vero Beach is well-known for its stunning Atlantic-facing beaches and is home to the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. With its low-key charm, Vero Beach is a nature haven, and has not yet touched by oversized resorts making it feel still like a traditional coastal village. Try kayaking or paddleboarding through the Indian River Lagoon or lose yourself in nature on one if its guided Eco Tours. Brimming with outdoor activities and a vibrant art scene, this quaint town is perfect for your next relaxing getaway.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. McKee Botanical Garden
  2. Sebastian Inlet State Park
  3. Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge


Vacation Rentals in Vero Beach


Image: Vero Beach credit dcwriterdawn via Flickr

10. St. Pete Beach, Florida | 2,660 searches per month

The tenth and final destination in this ranking is St. Pete Beach. The small town is located west of St. Petersburg and has an average of 2,660 searches per month. Known for its stunning beaches along the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, this tiny town has the longest stretch of undeveloped public beach in its area. With the addition of its wide range of extreme water sports including windsurfing and kite boarding, there is no shortage of things to do in this laid-back beach town. Breathtaking nature, bustling beach, and vibrant restaurants, make this your next vacation getaway.

Top 3 things you can’t miss:

  1. Shell Key Preserve
  2. Upham Beach Park
  3. Gulf Beaches Historical Museum


Vacation Rentals in St. Pete Beach


Image: St. Pete Beach credit CityofStPete via Flickr

Discover the rest of the ranking in the table below:



All Florida towns and cities with less than 20,000 inhabitants were considered for this study. The ranking was then drawn up using the average number of monthly searches on Google in the last 12 months for the terms “what to do in [town]” and “things to do in [town]” in order to determine which destinations were most popular with travelers.

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