Americans are eager to travel, but the price of gas makes it difficult to afford those hard earned vacations. That's why exploring your destination on foot seems like such a sensible idea. While AAA identified North America's top ten most walkable cities, I have identified Florida's top 10 most walkable cities. These vacation spots allow travelers to absorb the personality and essence of the city — all while exercising, conserving fuel and saving money on gas. Now THAT
© Brigitte Nelson
I couldn't agree more with AAA's decision to name St. Augustine one of America's most walkable cities. It is here that you can walk in the footsteps of those that have gone before and explore the history of this great city. As the oldest ongoing settlement in the United States, preserving history is paramount — from the spring Ponce de Leon hoped was the Fountain of Youth and the massive rock fortress Castillo de San Marcos to the narrow streets of beautifully restored houses and unique shops.
© Photographer Bob Krist/Florida Keys News Bureau
In Key West you'll discover a style that is unique – a blend of Spanish and Caribbean – old world and new – Hemingway and Buffet. Slip on your sandals and stroll the streets during the day to discover rich history that dates back several centuries and has been influenced by everyone from celebrities and the wealthy to the fishermen making a simple living. At night, every sunset is a celebration and a reason to slip on your dancing shoes to take in the on-the-wild-side local nightlife.
© 2006 Dawn Henthorn, licensed to About.com
Downtown Fernandina Beach, located on the petite Amelia Island in northeast Florida is the quintessential downtown. This once-vibrant, Victorian seaport village is now postcard perfect with rows of shops that house a treasure trove of antiques and collectibles, as well as an eclectic assortment of boutiques and restaurants. Grab a brochure for a self-guided walking tour of the lovingly restored Victorian houses or follow guides along a spirited day or nighttime walk.
While the heart of the city is the picturesque Lake Eola Park, Orlando's downtown commercial core is being reshaped with new residential condos that are just steps away from trendy restaurants, eclectic shops and even trendier night spots. Downtown also anchors the "Cultural Corridor" that stretches for blocks with theaters, galleries and performing arts venue, plus an eight-block area with about 60 historic buildings that provide a glimpse into this city's dynamic past.
Downtown St. Petersburg is a bustling business center that draws people of all ages. Six major museums, a number of art galleries, shops, restaurants and entertainment options, are situated in a charming waterfront setting. The icon of the downtown area, the Pier offers many entertainment and dining choices as well as stunning waterfront views. All of this is interconnected by a labyrinth of sidewalks perfect for sightseeing on foot.
Whether you explore art deco from the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District's varied guided walking tours or discover for yourself the treasures along Miami's waterfront
, you'll find beaches and boardwalks and miles of interesting architecture.
Pride and politics prevail in Tallahassee and more than 25 historic and cultural sites encompass the easy to navigate 10-square blocks surrounding the Capitol building and City Hall. Pick up a full-color brochure at The Museum of Florida History for a self-guided tour that will identify individual locations, guiding you from one site to the next.
Sarasota gets an A+ for walkability. Just steps from the scenic Bayfront Park is a unique artist colony and rows of art galleries and antique shops with a Selby Botanical Gardens providing a luscious surprise along the way. A short jaunt by car or taxi to nearby Lido Key where the upscale St. Armand’s Circle shopping district is a not-to-be-missed shopping experience that will have you going around in circles.
© Tampa Bay CVB
The drive that links downtown with South Tampa boasts over four miles of continuous sidewalk along Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard and skirts Tampa Bay providing a view of the stately historic homes and modern condominiums that line the drive. Downtown, Channelside, Ybor City and the new Riverwalk provide additional sightseeing opportunities that can be explored on foot.
It's 'big city meets the beach' along a three-mile stretch of pedestrian-friendly Fort Lauderdale. With cultural attractions at one end and a wide expanse of sand at the other, there are plenty of must-sees in between — fashionable shops and clubs, trendy restaurants, art galleries and a river walk.