30A Santa Rosa Beach Florida

Florida / Walton / Santa Rosa Beach

This Picture-Perfect Beach Community Is Florida's Best-Kept Secret

From east to west, the sixteen coastal towns of South Walton are Inlet Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seacrest, Alys Beach, Watersound, Seagrove, Seaside, WaterColor, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain, Santa Rosa Beach, Gulf Place, Dune Allen, Sandestin, Miramar Beach, and Seascape. The neighborhoods are connected by two highways, Country Road 30a (CR 30a), a scenic route that goes directly through several town centers (with the adjacent bike and pedestrian paths), and Highway 98, the faster, more direct way to get from point A to point B. Every town has something different to offer, But in general, the main points of interest are Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Seaside, Santa Rosa Beach, WaterColor, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain, and Gulf Place.

The Scene

South Walton is made up of sixteen planned towns built less than 30 years ago, affording regional planners and architects an opportunity most can only dream of: to construct entire towns from the ground up. South Walton’s blessing, and what makes it worth visiting, is that these charming, idealized, perfect towns (and they really are perfect: think white picket fences, building codes that require each home to have a courtyard, and beautiful, tanned residents with impeccable Southern manners) manage to retain a genuine spirit. Located between Panama City Beach and Pensacola, in the northwest part of the state, it serves as a popular vacation destination for visitors from neighboring Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. The main draw is the 26-mile stretch of white-sand beach along the Emerald Coast, named for the calm, turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico that lap South Walton’s shores. But that’s not all the area has to offer: You’ll find exceptional design, a variety of restaurants and shops, outdoor recreation, a thriving art scene, and daily events year-round, drawing families with children of all ages, couples young and old, honeymooners, and bachelorette parties alike.

If You Only Do One Thing

Go to the beach. They don't call this the Emerald Coast for nothing! There are eight public beach entry points in South Walton, but a stay in a rental property from www.mybeachhouserentals.com it will usually include access to that neighborhood’s own private beach. Public beaches are surveilled by lifeguards from mid-March through September, and a colored flag system at every beach monitors surf conditions. Gulf waters tend to be calmer than the ocean, but swimmers should always exercise caution.

What to Do

Explore the Towns

All of South Walton’s planned towns are unique in their design and overall feel, and there are a few in particular that are worth spending a day touring on a bike or on foot. Rosemary Beach and Seaside are the easiest to explore since both have pedestrian-friendly, lively downtown areas filled with shops and restaurants, as well as nearby residential streets that you could easily spend an afternoon wandering. In Rosemary Beach, pan-Caribbean-style homes line shaded streets connected by hidden pocket parks and wooden boardwalks that lead to the beach, while Seaside is a breezy, pastel-colored dreamscape home to little beach cottages with white picket fences. Alys Beach, South Walton’s newest community, is known for its glittering white stucco architecture that lends the town a polished, Mediterranean vibe. Grayton Beach, home to Grayton Beach State Park, the Shops of Grayton, and funky dives like The Red Bar and Hurricane Oyster Bar, is one of the more alternative towns in South Walton, with the (unofficial) motto, Nice dogs, weird people

Santa Rosa Beach is one of South Walton County’s sixteen distinct beach neighborhoods and its own unique charms and traditions, as well as numerous things to do. The area has even been named one of the "Best Beaches on Earth.” With art galleries, great dining, a brewery, theatre, state parks, and more, there’s a little bit of something for everyone in the town of Santa Rosa Beach. There are numerous outdoor recreation opportunities in the Point Washington State Forest and Grayton Beach State Park.