Move to a small town?

One question I get asked at book signings, maybe more than any other question, is, “What’s the best Florida small town to live in?” And I always try to answer, first, by explaining that my book is a travel guide to visiting small towns in Florida, not a guide to moving to them. I tell them that every person has different needs and therefore, different criteria for deciding where to live. It’s a very personal decision, and not to be taken lightly. Then, after my explanation, the next question they invariably ask is, “So, what’s the best Florida small town to live in?” I know that people have used my “Visiting Small Town Florida” books to help them look for a town to live in. Certainly visiting is a good first step toward choosing. So, after several years of regularly getting this question I finally gave in and started telling them, “OK. If I were going to move to a Florida small town here’s what I would look for. Mind you, these are just my personal criteria for my own small town livability needs. As the standard disclaimer goes: Your requirements and results may vary. It would have to be a town that understands the importance of, and embraces, its history. It would also have to be one that encourages the maintenance and restoration of its historic structures and neighborhoods. It would have to be a town that promotes itself as a destination for visitors interested in a historic place—that is the economic life-blood of nearly every successful Florida small town. It would have to be a vital, enthusiastic, friendly community of people who work hard to keep it that way. And one more thing—gotta have good restaurants! Here are five that ring all those bells: Apalachicola, up in the panhandle where the Apalachicola River spills into the Gulf; Fernandina Beach, on the north tip of Amelia Island; Mount Dora, in Central Florida’s hills-and-lakes country; Anna Maria, just south of the entrance to Tampa Bay; and Boca Grande, on Gasparilla Island on the southwest coast.”

Bruce Hunt

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Move to a small town?

  1. Leslie Poole

    And, I would add, a small town that is near some sort of college or university, so you can take advantage of art, athletics, and guest speakers and events! And medical facilities……

  2. Beth Duncan

    Or, perhaps, St. Augustine where you recently saw Pat Conroy speak at Flagler College.

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