blue mountain lupine

Blue Lupines likely gave Blue Mountain Beach its name.

Said to be the highest point anywhere on the Gulf of Mexico (at a whopping elevation of 64 feet), “Blue Mountain Beach” is hardly a mountain… but at least they got the beach part right. As for the blue? Folks say it likely originated from the blue lupine flowers that still flourish between the homes here. At one time, they blanketed these Gulf-side hills.

Today, Blue Mountain Beach consists mostly of private residences, but like the lupines, there are also a few funky local businesses sprinkled in for good measure. Don’t miss a chance to marvel at Justin Gaffrey’s Art Gallery (look for the colorful paintings that are frequently on display on dusty road on the north side of 30A).

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Spring Break in South Walton and 30A

Photo: Ocean Jewel’s Images

Cruise or stroll along Old Highway 98 (strolling is often faster), and you’ll discover some colorful shrimp shacks, t-shirt shops, condo high-rises, numerous golf courses, beach boardwalks, shoppingsurfing and more. Maybe Miramar Beach is no longer the sleepy little surf-side corridor that it once was, but the stunning turquoise waters and bustling beach life keep the die-hard regulars coming back year after year (after year).

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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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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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Seacrest Beach

Photo: Jack Gardner Photography

Tucked between Camp Creek Lake, Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach is a colorful and thriving beach community called Seacrest. Close to everything, and yet somehow quite relaxed, Seacrest is an ideal place to reconnect with friends and family. Bikes and flip-flops are the transportation of choice here, except for the occasional golf cart loaded up with kids, coolers, umbrellas and sand buckets.

The “town center” of Seacrest is arguably The Village of South Walton Beach, featuring several cute shops and restaurants, as well as a convenience store.

The bubbling fountains out front are a persistent hit with bare-footed kids and weary parents seeking a momentary diversion.

Known as Peddlers Pavilion, this is a fun spot where kids can splash around, vacationers can rent bikes, and all can enjoy a unique selection of food and shopping experiences – including Peddlers Pub, 30A Bagels & Coffee, The Sweet Peddler candy and ice cream, and more.

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Wonderful restaurants and numerous boutiques, including the first-ever 30A Store, there’s something for just about everyone at the colorful Gulf Place development.

With a sparkling beach just across Scenic Highway 30A, stop in at the 30A Store to load up on gear, but also grab a cold beer or cup of coffee and a treat from Sunrise Coffee, hang out at the hand-crafted bar or lounge in one of the beach chairs out front to enjoy that Gulf breeze.

The nearby beach also offers plenty of inspiration for The Artists at Gulf Place, a collection of colorful huts here that showcase a variety of local talents.

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