Meet the winners of our annual search for the best coastal places to call home—for a weekend or a lifetime. (Check out the 2016 lineup and vote for your favorite here, through 11:59pm PST January 25th!)
Photo: James Schwabel/Alamy
What does it say about this town of 22,000 people on Florida’s Gulf Coast that it has a designated beach for dogs? Two things: Venice is a town with a big heart, and it has plenty of gorgeous, pearly-white beaches to spare (14 miles, in fact). Locals love Caspersen Beach, a 2-mile-long sandy playground with a short drop-off that draws ocean swimmers. Beachcombers flock to Venice Beach to seek shark teeth, for which the town is known.
On shore, the pleasures of Venice are equally beautiful. The lushly landscaped avenues of the historic district, designed in the 1920s as an homage to the town’s Italian namesake, are lined with Italian Renaissance–style buildings sporting elegant arches and red tile roofs that are home to more than 100 boutiques, restaurants, and small businesses.
The onetime winter encampment for The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Venice still enjoys its playtime. The Venetian Waterway Park runs for 10 miles on both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway, allowing everyone access to running and walking trails, not to mention constant water views. Dogs, meanwhile, just lead their masters to Broward Paw Park Beach, where they can run free.
Where to Stay: Across a slender street from the ocean, the Inn at the Beach has a charmingly old-fashioned courtyard pool, and its beach-view suites are perfect sunset-watching perches; 941-484-8471 or