Renting a car can eat up a significant chunk of your travel budget. By staying in one of these walkable towns, you’ll save money and see a whole lot more.
The Spanish didn’t have cars when they settled here in 1565, and you won’t need one, either. The Old City’s cobblestone streets were made for walkin’, as long as you’re equipped with sensible footwear. Strolling through the historic district allows you to photograph the architecture of Casa Monica Hotel (95 Cordova St.), explore the campus of Flagler College (74 King St.) -- and then reward all that cardio with a stop at Whetstone Chocolates (42 St. George Street). If you still insist on having wheels, try a horse-drawn carriage ride or take the Old Town Trolley Tour, which lets you hop on and off all weekend for one low price.
This laid-back town, about 5 miles north of Clearwater, was dubbed America’s “Most Walkable Small City” in a 2007 survey by RunThePlanet.com. Whether you’re running, speed-walking or just meandering, you’ll have an easy time navigating the pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly Pinellas Trail, which intersects Main Street. Browse the galleries, boutiques and restaurants, then pop into the Chamber of Commerce at 301 Main St. for postcards and more suggestions of places to go. For sustenance on your journey, grab a smoothie at the Green Market, which takes place Fridays through April 26 in downtown’s Pioneer Park.
A 2012 Rand McNally/USA Today poll declared Delray Beach, situated between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, “the Most Fun Small Town in America.” It’s also one of the most walkable. One enthusiast on my Facebook page described downtown Delray Beach this way: “Our downtown is walkable, sociable and dog friendly. Atlantic Ave has a mix of retail, restaurants and art walks from I-95 east to the beach! One of the few beach towns you can walk from downtown to the ocean!”
Lake Buena Vista
If you’re looking to log some miles on your pedometer, you can’t do much better than this Orlando-area town, which boasts the official address of the Walt Disney World theme parks. To see the parks in a hurry, sign up for a runDisney event. There’s something for everyone, from the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K to the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend. I like the sound of that.
When planning your trip to the Conch Republic, keep in mind these three pointers: Location, location, location. Key West’s Old Town is where all the action is, so by reserving your hotel or B&B in this historic district, you’ll spare yourself from having to rent a car or shell out cab fare as you check out the restaurants, bars and other attractions.