Great Places in Florida Award
AND THE FINALISTS ARE ...
Thank you to all the communities who nominated their favorite places. Our team of judges reviewed and scored these three places as the 2020 APA Florida Great Places People's Choice Award Finalists.
Please review all three places before voting. Voting ends on Sept. 25.
Places are listed in alphabetical order.
Historic Downtown Stuart
The appeal of Martin County’s Historic Downtown Stuart is simply undeniable. Overlooking the serene St. Lucie River, this enchanting (yet under-the-radar) district is marked by swaying palms, colorful boutiques, and signature attractions that effortlessly blend “Old Florida” charm with a laid-back coastal elegance. From waterfront restaurants to eclectic museums, theaters, and galleries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
The community bursts to life during the weekly Sunday Market, where visitors can find everything from seasonal produce to handcrafted jewelry while live musical acts unfold on the waterfront stage. Whether you’re strolling the picturesque streets or catching a ride on the free tram, you’re bound to be greeted by friendly smiles from the locals. After all, there’s a reason why Downtown Stuart was named “America’s Happiest Seaside Town” by Coastal Living Magazine, and one of the “60 Charming American Towns You Haven’t Heard of But Should Visit ASAP,” by Oprah Magazine.
Mill Lake Park Continuum
The Mill Lake Park Continuum is a multi-block walkway connecting four parks. Although the adjacent elements are not noticeably different from each other, the extremes are quite distinct. The walk starts with the rambunctiousness of toddlers at the Evelynn Durant Robinson Playground under the oaks, passes by the glide of skateboards at Colin’s Dream skate park, and then crosses the street to hear joy and laughter emanating from two splash pads.
After enjoying the serenity of Mill Lake Park and the trails through woods or along the sidewalk, the walk ends at a resting place in a gazebo surrounded by monarch butterflies perching on flowers. This half-mile stroll is in Orange City’s historic district, the heart of the city, and recently underwent a vast transformation with a streetscape completed in May 2020, bringing even more beauty to the area.
Warm Mineral Springs Park
As the only natural warm spring in the state, visitors to Warm Mineral Springs Park can take a step back into the past and experience vintage Florida.
With a consistent average temperature of 85 degrees year-round, Warm Mineral Springs Park provides visitors with several therapeutic and passive recreation options. The spring is rumored to have one of the highest mineral contents of any natural spring in the United States.
With anaerobic and highly mineralized properties, internationally known for its purported healing qualities, the park attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually.
The springs and the buildings are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Evidence of prehistoric man, saber-toothed tigers and giant sloths have been discovered here, and date back more than 10,000 years! The buildings were built to celebrate Florida’s Quadricentennial and were designed by architect Jack West, a leader of the Sarasota School of Architecture.