Moving to the coast is pretty much living the dream. These 20 truly remarkable small towns, big cities, colorful islands, cozy communities, and exotic international destinations make it the dream of a lifetime.
Photo: Courtesy of Alys Beach/Tommy Crow
It all starts here with sheer beauty: bone-white beaches and the turquoise Gulf of Mexico play off bright-white buildings with exotic lines in courtyard-based layouts, plus a gorgeous community swimming pool that feels like something out of Marrakesh. But there’s more to the newest community to be crafted along Florida’s Highway 30a—a state road that connects a bracelet of New Urbanism oases including Seaside, the one that launched the movement 20 years ago. Alys Beach’s explicitly green design features narrow streets of permeable pavers to reduce storm water runoff and that run perpendicular to the Gulf to invite cooling breezes inland, and is landscaped with largely drought-resistant plants to reduce water consumption. Alys is also the home of some of the coolest arts and food festivals along this stretch of coast, lending sophistication to its barefoot lifestyle. And with the more developed Seaside and Rosemary Beach within an easy bike ride, life here feels practically car-free.