♥ Coastal Living by Stanley Furniture ♥
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.
Talk about a place that has its priorities in order: At the heart of this fun-loving city of 61,231 are two miles of gloriously white-sand public beach. Sky blue cabanas and loungers stand ready for rental—a bit of Côte d’Azur meets Old Florida. But there’s nothing snooty about Delray. Enjoying the influences of tony Palm Beach 24 miles to the north and urbane Miami 50 miles to the south, the city has quietly grown its own sense of culture, including lively nightlife that parties on weekends, an up-and-coming arts district, a world-class tennis facility, beautiful Japanese gardens, and a seashell museum. Delray calls itself South Florida’s “Village by the Sea,” and it’s made good on the promise with the brick sidewalks of its main drag, Atlantic Avenue, lined with small, locally owned boutiques and cafés. What may most define Delray, though, is what it doesn’t have—high-rises. It’s an easy view across low dunes topped with bright green sea grape leaves to the sparkling Atlantic. Add to that the ribbon of Intracoastal Waterway that slices serenely through Delray’s length and it’s easy to see how good South Florida life can be.