This evocative pastel-colored village has become an iconic example of New Urbanism on the Gulf of Mexico. The brick-paved streets, white picket fences, and cozy tin-roofed cottages create a family-friendly escape where it’s easy to lose track of time as you enjoy the white-sand beaches, deep-sea fish, or bike along designated paths. Choose among more than 225 houses that range from one-bedroom hideaways to grand six-bedroom homes. Create a feast in the fully equipped kitchen, or dine out at Great Southern Café or Bud & Alley’s for innovative menus focused on fresh local seafood. Kids are totally spoiled in the Land Yacht District in the town center, where a collection of vintage Airstream trailers serves up everything from shaved ice to hot dogs.
DON'T MISS: the holiday cheer, starting Thanksgiving weekend with a parade and lighting of the town by Santa and Mrs. Claus. The festivities continue through New Year’s Eve with live music in the outdoor amphitheater, followed by fireworks over the Gulf of Mexico; 866/976-0533 or cottagerentalagency.com.
EXCLUSIVE DEAL: Receive 20% off the lowest rate of any rental in any category, plus free holiday dinner delivered to your house. Rates start at $200. Offer valid until January 1, 2012.