October 10, 2021
Florida end of road towns such as Key West and Cedar Key seem to attract the nonconformist.
Maybe it's because once you get there you have no place else to go except the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico.
That place is literally the end of the road. There is no way out except back in the direction you came. People tend to learn to get along when they can't avoid each other.
Florida has at least 25 end of the road towns. These towns are shown on the map above.
Key West, of course, is the quintessential end of the road town, not just in Florida but maybe in the entire United States. But there are others that are fun to visit and that have a taste of that offbeat nonconformist ambiance.
Each of these towns offers a unique Florida back roads travel adventure.
This small settlement is on St. James Island on Florida's "Forgotten Coast" south of Bald Point State Park. There is a marina and the area is famous for its clam harvesting. The "End of the World" restaurant is at the marina.
ANNA MARIA ISLAND
Until 1921, the island was accessible only by boat. In that year, a bridge was built from Cortez out to the island. It is still Old Florida, more quiet and laid back than most beach towns. Good restaurants, great beach.
At one time this village on the southern end of Gasparilla Island was at the end of the railroad. Now it is at the end of the road. In the old days, fancy trains delivered the rich and famous to the elegant Gasparilla Inn.
This island village was at the western end of Florida's first railroad. The train connected Fernandina Beach on the Atlantic to Cedar Key on the Gulf. Still a quaint and quiet place to visit and has a few good seafood restaurants. Lots of peace and quiet.
Even though we also list Everglades City as a town at the end of the road, there is another even more remote place you can visit connected to the mainland by a long causeway. Chokoloskee is a favorite of fishermen (and fisherwomen) and of people who really want to get away.
Barron Collier made Everglades City the capitol of his newly created Collier County. It is still a quiet laid back place and provides access to Everglades National Park and the fishing village of Chokoloskee Island. Chokoloskee is the real end of the road town.
On the north end of Amelia Island, this small town is as far northeast as you can go in Florida. It is not quite an end of road town because you can enter and leave in two directions; but it still has the end of road feel that it originally had. Visit the Palace Saloon
Not much to see any more, but no Florida back road adventurer will want to miss seeing it. One time it was one of the roughest outlaw towns in Florida, full of poachers and drug runners. Today it is a ghost town at the end of a quiet road through the Everglades. There is an empty visitor center there and a RV campground.
This Pinellas County park has some of the best sand beaches in the world, and is just south of the busy Tampa/St Pete metro area. It's a great place to camp for the night and sit around the fire.
This is an end of the road fishing village just east of Marco Island. It is the home to Stan's Idle Hour, one of southwest Florida's favorite weekend hangouts.
HOMOSASSA (Old Homosassa)
This unincorporated community is at the end of the road about 3 miles west of US-19 on West Yulee Drive. The area around US-19 is known as Homosassa Springs. Old Homosassa has some nice dining and lodging choices, and is truly Old Florida at its best.
This tiny town on the Gulf of Mexico is 19 miles west of Cross City on County Road 351. Population is 169. The town has a marina and a couple of restaurants.
This is the place that rich people live to get that end of the road ambience. It is a quiet residential community in the shadow of busy Miami. A few good restaurants and a pleasant oasis.
The ultimate end of the road town. Odd characters, Sloppy Joe's, memories of Hemingway, sunset performances at Mallory Square, goofy parades, quaint cottages, a perpetual holiday feel. A very expensive place to live full time and not so cheap for a night or two either.
Marco is the modern island development created by the Mackle brothers, who also developed Key Biscayne. It is connected to Goodland, a true Old Florida fishing village noted for Stan's Idle Hour, an end of the road kind of tiki bar and dining establishment.
This fishing village is at the end of the road north of Jacksonville on the St. Johns River. There is a ferry you can take across the river, but the road definitely ends.
A small community in the marshes of Florida's Gulf coast between Crystal River and Homosassa. Some folks who live there don't want to be on this list; other travelers want to know about it.
PASS A GRILLE BEACH
The elegant Don Cesar Hotel anchors this historic little town on the end of the barrier island in the St Pete metro area. Lots of good little restaurants and bars squeezed between the Gulf and the bay.
Bokeelia, Pineland, and St. James City are the towns on this island. The sparsely populated island is connected to the mainland through the artsy village of Matlacha by way of Cape Coral across the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers.
This village is on the end of the road that runs south from the Daytona Beaches to Ponce Inlet. A wonderful old lighthouse and a couple of restaurants are the centerpieces of the quiet village.
These islands were finally connected to the mainland by a bridge in 1963. Go all the way to the end of the road. Captiva is a truly laid back end of the road Florida village.
Stein rhymes with mean in this case, but it is a pleasant little village on the Steinhatchee River just upstream from the Gulf of Mexico. Nice place to stay a few days and have some local seafood and enjoy the Old Florida feel.
ST. GEORGE ISLAND
This beautiful barrier island is on the Gulf of Mexico connected to the mainland by a bridge from Eastpoint near Apalachicola. The island offers plenty of lodging and dining opportunities.
One of Florida's oldest villages, it is located on the end of the road about 20 miles south of Tallahassee. One of the state's first seaports, it's a sleepy little place these days.
It's located on the mouth of the Suwannee River about 23 miles south of Old Town. A fishing town, it's quiet and laid back.
USSEPA ISLAND AND CABBAGE KEY
Useppa is a luxury resort island and Cabbage Key is nearby with an inn and restaurant. They are reached from a marina at the end of the road on Pine Island.
Almost at the end of the road on the Withlachoochee River. Try the Isaac Walton Lodge and its attached restaurant.