Yesterday I talked alot about all of the places to stay right in Destin. Now I’m going to move to the East of the City of Destin, but not as far as Panama City, but almost!
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is “the perfect solution for all the right reasons. Unlike a hotel, the 2,400 acre resort’s collection of over 1,250 vacation rentals includes studios to 4-bedroom units, condos, homes, villas, penthouses, and luxury rentals, giving you an enticing array of options. You also have four resort areas to choose from including Beachside, Bayside, Lakeside and the Village stretching from our postcard-perfect beach to tranquil Choctawhatchee Bay.” The area does include several hotels to choose from as well: Hyatt, Courtyard, Hilton & Residence Inn. These hotels are close to the Sandestin resort as well as close to The Shops at Grand Boulevard. This shopping area is fairly new, most are 5 years or less, and each year there are more and more new stores. Currently some of the stores are: Vineyard Vines, Peter Millar, Anthropologie, Lilly Pulitzer, Pottery Barn, & Williams Sonoma. There are also restaurants and a movie theater right there. If you like the resort way of vacationing, this is a great choice for you. Everything is right there for you, there are tons of activities; golf, kayaks, bikes, tennis, wave runners, putt putt golf just to name a few. This is a beautiful area, where you would never even have to leave the resort to have the time of your life!
SO many choices on 30a. Where to even begin! I’ll just move from west to east, and I won’t be able to cover them all.
Dune Allen is the first town on this road from the west. Dune Allen is described as “laid back Florida” a beautiful place to visit where the locals and tourists just seem to want to be left alone to dine, fish and maybe get a little sun. The condos at Gulf Place https://www.gulfplacefl.com/ are all located within easy walking distance of the public beach access, restaurants (stop in the Perfect Pig and try the parmesan crusted grilled cheese for lunch or the pork tenderloins for dinner.)
Blue Mountain Beach
Blue Mountain Beach has always seemed more ‘artsy’ to me, lots of little stop in shops (ice cream, massages, health food store) and restaurants, along with hiking and biking if that’s your thing. It’s a beautiful area with the rare coastal dune lakes and Point Washington State Forest right there. There is a lovely little neighborhood of homes here to rent with 2 pools: Old Florida Villages. https://www.beachguide.com/Highway30A/old-florida-village There are 75 rental homes in this little neighborhood, across the street from beach access, and many of them provide wagons or bikes or golf carts to make your trek easier!
Grayton Beach has one of my favorite public beaches. https://www.floridastateparks.org/graytonbeach The public beaches here are amazing, not only in their beauty but also in the great facilities they provide. Restroom/changing areas, picnic pavilions, outdoor showers and walkways over the dunes. You can also camp or rent cabins here. It also has the distinction of being the first town established along 30a. A don’t miss among the delicious restaurants here is the Black Bear Bread Company https://www.blackbearbreadco.com/…. breakfast, breakfast, breakfast…yum, yum, yum!
WaterColor is one of the planned “New Urban” communities along 30a. They have integrated the storefronts and the homes with the surrounding natural beauty! Although a little out of my price range, the WaterColor Resort https://www.watercolorresort.com/ is absolutely wonderful and stunning. Upscale Restaurants, AMAZING shopping, beautiful beaches and access to all those other 30a things (bike paths, walking paths, shops, quaints spots to eat, etc). If it’s in your budget, it’s a spectacular place to stay on 30a.
Probably my favorite, for a number of reason. To me, it’s like a southern version of the Hamptons. There are hundreds of bikes being peddled about, pretty little shops, food trucks, little restaurants, coffee shops and ice cream shops, dozens of young people out doing young people things. If you could dream up an idyllic place, it would look like Seaside. Oh wait, there was a movie about that (The Truman Show)! Seaside’s “walk to anywhere” design makes it easy to be here. Post Office, school, shops, restaurants all within walking distance. (They did just move the post office though to a different location, although still in walking distance). From Amavida Coffee & Tea (where the locals get their coffee) to Bud & Alley’s Taco Bar to Sundog Books to The Art of Simple, everything here is just pleasant. Rent a lovely little cottage with a white picket fence and walk or ride your bike to anything you might need!
Rosemary Beach, described at Dutch West Indies meets New Urbanism…. whatever that means, is close to the end of 30a where Panama City begins. This means that not only can you find anything you need with in walking distance, you can also find anything ELSE you might need by car! I did a work retreat with ladies to Rosemary Beach and it was a PERFECT venue for that. Whether it was cocktails in the rooftop bar of The Pearl, which would be a lovely place to stay as well, or having dinner at Le Crema, or morning walks along 30a in view of the gorgeous emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Rosemary Beach is a dream place to stay and visit. There are hundreds of vacation rentals either right on the beach or within a block walking distance to the beach! I have a strong affinity for Rosemary Beach because I’ve made such great memories here.
Good luck choosing between all of these fabulous places. If you stay along 30a, no matter which community you stay in, you can visit them all.