Clear green waters lapping onto crystalline sandy beaches have earned Florida’s Panhandle the nickname of “Emerald Coast.” That impressive moniker resonates with Inspirato Members, who stay in the club’s spacious, charming cottages in the communities of Rosemary Beach and WaterColor, located along the scenic Highway 30A. Much of this area was designed to hark back to the quiet, friendly beach communities of previous generations, making it ideal for family vacations full of sunshine, beach time, and biking through the beautiful scenery. It’s worth staying inside, as well, for the excellent dining and shopping.
Travelers in Rosemary Beach can cross one of nine iconic dune walkovers to reach the nearest water’s edge. There are a number of other stunning beaches, wildflower-strewn nature trails, and picnic areas along 30A, all a short walk – or bike ride, the locals’ preferred mode of transportation – from Inspirato’s comfortable residences.
The property had an amazing location. It's a short walk to the pool, steps from the beach and the green space in front of the house is perfect for the kids to play. Every night we were there (during the summer) tons of kids played soccer, kickball, football, Frisbee right outside the house until dark. The Rosemary Beach community is amazing. There are great shops and restaurants within walking/biking distance whether you want a fancy dinner, a sandwich, or an ice cream cone, it's all right there. We'll definitely come back to Rosemary Beach.Jonathan S.Inspirato Member
As members explain, there’s a lot to do here. Keep reading to find out Inspirato’s picks for things to do, see, eat, and explore in Rosemary Beach, WaterColor, and the other communities along the beautiful coast.
Things to Do
Florida’s state parks combine the best of the outdoors in one place, especially Grayton Beach State Park. Spanning the ocean and inland sides of Highway 30A, stroll the Hobbit Hole trail through scrub oaks and blue lupine to a scenic vista of the sea at the top of the dunes. On the opposite side of the highway, there’s a bike trail through the pine flatwoods. One of the largest dune lakes in the state, Western Lake is an ideal kayaking spot.
Right at the entrance to Choctawhatchee Bay lies Crab Island, an underwater sandbar at the edge of the Gulf. Rent a boat to dock in the harbor or try kayaking in for a workout. Floating food vendors sail over to you, selling ice cream and Southern-style boiled peanuts, and there’s an inflatable waterslide and obstacle course beside the stage where local bands play.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has grown in popularity on Florida’s Emerald Coast thanks to the lush dune lakes, curving rivers, and the expansive Gulf of Mexico. Sign up for lessons, take a SUP yoga class, or have your paddleboard outfitted with a rod holder for a SUP fishing excursion.
A day at the beach building sand castles is exactly what most parents picture doing with their kids on vacation. A former architect and his wife founded Beach Sand Sculptures to show families how to do just that. Traveling up and down the beaches, they help families build elaborate and creative sculptures. You can’t take it with you, but a sunny day on the water, building and playing with your family, is what memories are made of.
Stinky’s Fish Camp – The name might elicit giggles from little ones, but the food will leave everyone satisfied. Chef Jim Richard is known for Stinky’s Stew, made with fresh seafood, shellfish, and vegetables in a garlic and white wine broth, and the key lime pie he makes according to his grandmother’s recipe. Sit on the screened-in patio that looks out to the marshes, live music drifting out from the bar.
Restaurant Paradis – Offering a luxe wine country atmosphere with coastal flair, Restaurant Paradis will draw you in with its warm lounge and impressive wine list. Laidback luxury and understated elegance reign supreme within the establishment, which provides expertly cooked local seafood and martini specialties.
Café Thirty-A – Situated in a classic, Gulf-style house with high ceilings, a metal roof, and a wraparound veranda, the relaxed and sophisticated interior features exposed rafters alongside white linen tablecloths. You’ll feel like a true Southerner after trying the signature grilled Georgia quail served on a bed of creamy grits with sage fritters.
The Red Bar – A quirky bar and restaurant in the artsy town of Grayton Beach, Red Bar is described as part beach shack, part thrift store, and part retro club. Look for the featured menu items on the chalkboard out front, especially crab cakes on Friday and Saturday, which run out quickly.
Things to Know
Fly into Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) in Panama City. Many airlines offer direct service here. Taxis are available at the airport, but we recommend renting a car to get to the Inspirato Residences in this destination.
Rosemary Beach and the surrounding towns are very bike-friendly and Inspirato Members are encouraged to explore the town without a car. However, the greater 30A area is large and a rental car makes it easy to hop on the highway and visit neighboring communities.
Florida’s Panhandle is ideal for escaping cold winter weather or soaking up summer sunshine. Winter stays mild with temperatures in the 60s while summer is hot and humid in the 80s and 90s. Fall and winter are the driest seasons, but summer thunderstorms disappear as quickly as they appear.