Extending from the Gulf of Mexico across Scenic Hwy 30A on 158 acres, Alys Beach is designated in the tradition of English and Spanish architecture, specifically of Bermuda and Antigua, Guatemala. Whitewashed masonry and stucco typical of the style possess an uncomplicated, organic beauty. Homes have courtyards and rooftop terraces. The resort promises to have the soul of a European Resort.
Amenities include or will include a 22 acre nature park with walking trails, Alys Beach Club, several swimming pools throughout the resort, tennis courts, fitness center, an amphitheatre, a Town Center that has an international news stand and press, restaurants, bistros, retail boutique shops, ocean plazas, and Alys Beach Market. Three story mixed use buildings will line a waterfront plaza, which will serve as a gathering place in the community. They will feature arcades and cafes at ground level and apartments above, all of which are presently under construction.
“Mountain” is somewhat of a misnomer for a Florida landscape that is only 345 feet above sea level at its highest point (northern Walton County), but the first European settlers may have mistaken the Blue Mountain area’s towering dunes for mountains after being at sea for months! They may also have been impressed by the lush vegetation covering the dunes, especially the spiky shape of the Gulf Coast Blue Lupine, which lives in the dune scrub and exists in only eight coastal counties in Florida’s Panhandle. With its fuzzy blue leaves and purplish blue flowers that look like tiny sweet peas, it is easy to speculate that blue flowers covering tall dunes gave the area its unusual name.
Blue Mountain also marks the beginning of the Eastern Lake Hike/Bike Trail, which ambles through the rest of South Walton’s beach communities.
Grayton Beach was the first community established in South Walton, some time in the late 19th century. By 1919, it was nearly abandoned, due to the fact that there were no good roads leading to it. Today’s Grayton Beach is a historic district, with many of the old cottages nicely restored. Here you’ll find a strange and wonderful eclectic community.
Today Grayton Beach is best known for its incomparable natural beauty in Grayton Beach State Park, which spans the Gulf of Mexico and most of Western Lake. Bring your RV, tents or campers here, or try some of the cabins, also part of the state park. The hiking trail is fairly short, but one of the most scenic in the area, circling beach dunes, skirting the coastal lake, and cutting right through a dense scrub hammock. The area shops are worth your time to get a sense of the area’s wonderful blend of local art, antiques and unusual gift items.
With calm gulf waters, soothing rays of sunshine and silky sand beaches, Rosemary Beach, Florida is a great place to unwind and soak up the scenery. Rosemary Beach’s unique architecture is what first captures your attention, with its Dutch and West Indies-inspired homes and commercial buildings.
Building palettes in Rosemary Beach run to colors found in nature-mostly shades of rust, tan, green and brown, with Bermuda shutters, wide second floor porches, and arched garage doors. Gates and fences open with a latchkey, with steps leading to entrances on the second floor. Walls line both sides of the solid entryway steps, a feature right out of the Caribbean. Footpaths and boardwalks lead to large decks over the dunes and, of course, to Rosemary Beach below. The result is something completely different, classical, and inspiring.
The town, established in 1995 and named for the dune rosemary, is still growing, adding not only homes, but also new places to shop and dine in the Town Center.
There is no place else like Sandestin! I am continually amazed at the loyalty people have to Sandestin. It is the only resort in the Destin area that covers both the beach and the bay with lots of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment in between. Sandestin Golf Beach Resort is rated the “Best Resort” in Destin by Destin Magazine, and the “Best Resort of the Emerald Coast” by the readers of Emerald Coast Magazine.
Located on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast in Destin, Florida, Sandestin is a 2,400-acre premier destination resort located between Pensacola and Panama City. Sandestin invites guests to enter its world of 30 charming village neighborhoods featuring condominiums, villas, townhomes, and single family homes. Some of these properties offer vacation rentals and others are rental-restricted. Condo prices start in the low $100s and Home prices in Sandestin range from the $200s – $5 million+.
The Sandestin Beach Resort boasts more than seven miles of sugar-white sand beach and bayfront property, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 113-slip marina, marina dockage facilities, water sports, children’s programs, a fitness center and spa, 65,000 square feet of meeting space for weddings, family reunions, corporate meetings, retreats and more, and a pedestrian village complete with shopping, restaurants, ice skating, zip lining, and vibrant nightlife.
SANTA ROSA BEACH
Seacrest Beach begins after the big bend in the road on Scenic Highway 30-A. The road still follows the gulf here, and passes through areas with an up-close view of just how wild and dense the coastal scrub can get. Suddenly, rising out of the dunes, is the residential community of Seacrest. Camp Creek Lake is one outstanding feature of the area, as is the area golf club with its marshlands, perfect for wading birds, plantings of more than 200 live oaks, and its challenging landscape.
Back in the 1940s and 1950s, families came to Seagrove Beach to rent modest one-story cottages with paddle fans instead of air conditioning and wide screened porches (perfect for sleeping). The same families returned year after year, and now second and third generations make the journey. Many of those cottages still exist, although they’ve been updated for today’s travelers and are now thoroughly shaded by mature scrub trees and plants.
Swimming and sandcastle building were once the popular pastimes, since there weren’t many commercial ventures in the Seagrove area. Now visitors have numerous options for recreation as well as dining. Just up the road are art galleries and antique stores. Eastern and Deer Lakes make wonderful spots for quiet reflection, or put in a canoe or kayak.
The neighborhoods of WaterColor, one of the newer of 30-A’s beach communities, are a testimony to southern coastal architecture, defined by color palette and architectural style. Five public parks welcome residents and guests to relax outside, while a large outdoor amphitheater will serve as the setting for concerts and festivals on Western Lake. Three restaurants for casual or elegant dining, a gourmet market, pools, a boathouse, and a traditional southern cutting garden create an inviting atmosphere. Except for the cutting garden in Cerulean Park, all landscaping at WaterColor is native to Florida’s Panhandle, and homeowners are encouraged to continue the tradition.
256 acres of rolling dunes situated along Scenic Hwy 30A, Watersound Beach offers a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. The beauty of the emerald green waters on the Gulf of Mexico, the distinctive flora and fauna that surrounds Camp Creek Coastal Dune Lake and the sugar white sand beaches and dunes are exquisite in this charming beach community which is accented by wooden pathways and bridges that wander through these natural surroundings. Nearby you’ll find restaurants, specialty shops and art galleries for which this stretch of the Gulf Coast has become known.