Seagrove Villas Motel

Seagrove

Families have been making the pilgrimage to Seagrove Beach’s soothing shores since the 1940s, and the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those early pioneers still return to relax in some of the very same cinder-block cottages of their youth.

That could be because, when you’re in Seagrove Beach, you’re arguably “in the middle of it all.” Seaside, WaterColor and Grayton are just a mile or two to the west, while the newer planned communities of WaterSound, SeacrestAlys Beach and Rosemary Beach are just a few miles east.

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Seaside Florida Girls and House

Photo: Ocean Jewel’s Images

Hailed by Time magazine as perhaps “the most astounding design achievement of its era,” Seaside is credited with founding a global town-planning movement known as New Urbanism.

Founded by Robert and Daryl Davis in 1979, Seaside’s innovative “small town” design was carefully planned by architects Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. With its nine unique beach pavilions, cobblestone streets, quaint cottages, white picket fences, and picture-perfect parks and storefronts, it’s no wonder that The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey was filmed here. Indeed, as Newsweek once proclaimed:

“with its cozy, narrow streets and its jumble of pastel-colored homes, Seaside is probably the most influential resort community since Versailles.”

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WaterColor Inn and Resort

WaterColor Inn & Resort

One of the Gulf Coast’s most luxurious resorts, WaterColor is a wonderland of activities for families, including expansive nature preserves, bike trails, lakes, shopping, fitness facilities, a spa, parks, award-winning dining and nearby award-winning golf courses. (And, of course, the Gulf of Mexico’s sugar-white beaches.)

Hailed as Northwest Florida’s Only Four-Diamond AAA Hotel, the resort’s WaterColor Inn was also recently honored with a “World’s Best” award from Travel+Leisure magazine.

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Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach, Florida

One of 30A’s planned New Urbanist communities, Rosemary Beach is an architectural treasure trove, boasting influences from the West Indies, New Orleans, Charleston and St. Augustine, among others.

The grand homes (many with adjoining carriage houses that are just as extraordinary) are interconnected by a discreet network of pedestrian paths and boardwalks, which become even more charming at night, basked in the soft flicker of gas-lit lanterns.

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Camp Helen Inlet Beach Pier

On Old Pier, Just East of Inlet Beach

Inlet Beach is just about as authentic ‘Old Florida’ as you’ll find in South Walton, and perhaps anywhere. Quite quiet and bordered by 13-acres of protected dunes, this pristine beach neighborhood feels as if time somehow forgot it.

Most homes here are classic Florida cottages.

Think A-Frame with a front porch, concrete block cottages and homes raised high on stilts.

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Alys Beach Architecture

Alys Beach, Florida

Scenic Highway 30A’s most visually striking community features architecture influenced by the brilliant-white, traditional homes of Bermuda. When complete, the 158-acre resort town of Alys Beach will be twice the size of nearby Seaside and will consist of some 900 custom villas and courtyard homes.

As you enter Alys Beach, the first architectural features you’ll notice are the white “butteries” that stand like centurions at the property’s edge. Before refrigeration (and even before ice was manufactured), homeowners in Bermuda’s hot island climate often maintained butteries, which were unattached minaret-shaped structures designed to make, store and preserve butter, milk and other perishable foods.

But the four white butteries perched along 30A in Alys Beach preserve something quite different: Sixteen unique mosaic murals depicting scenes of the region’s history and heritage. Concetta Rothwell Morales, a highly talented and well-recognized mosaic muralist, created the murals. The butteries are open to the public.

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