30A South Walton Alys Beach Architecture Alys Beach

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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30A South Walton blue mountain lupine 580x480 300x248 Blue Mountain Beach

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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30A South Walton Gulf Place Shopping Dining Gulf Place

Photo: Ocean Jewel’s Images

With wonderful restaurants, a coffee shop, and numerous boutiques, there’s something for just about everyone at Gulf Place.

And with a sparkling beach just across Scenic Highway 30A, there’s also 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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30A South Walton grayton beach jeep 300x257 Grayton Beach

“Sunday Fundays” are a popular local tradition

If Seaside is the heart of Scenic Highway 30A, then Grayton Beach is her soul. In fact, in these parts, Grayton is where vacationing first began, with early travelers arriving by horse and buggy to these sugar-white shores.

Populated with historic cottages, twisting oak trees, quaint shops and galleries, and fun and quirky residents.

The community’s unofficial slogan is “Nice Dogs, Strange People”

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30A South Walton Sandestin Golf Sandestin

Golfing in Sandestin, Florida

A massive (2,400-acre) golf and beach resort located just a few miles west of Scenic Highway 30A, Sandestin is home to 30 distinct neighborhoods, including pockets of beautiful villas, town homes, condos, resort homes and hotels. The lushly landscaped resort boasts seven miles of Gulf beaches and bay-front property, four championship golf courses, 15 tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 98-slip marina, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, fitness centers, a spa and 65,000 square feet of convention space. It’s big.

And yet, Sandestin somehow retains an authentic aura of community, with each of its beautiful neighborhoods possessing a unique charm.

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30A South Walton bay boating Santa Rosa Beach

South Walton’s Choctawhatchee Bay

The boundaries of Santa Rosa Beach can be a little hard to define. Technically, Santa Rosa Beach encompasses a large part of South Walton, including the smaller neighborhoods of Seaside, WaterColorGrayton Beach and Blue Mountain Beach.

Basically, anything with a 32459 zip code is considered to be part of Santa Rosa Beach, although each of Santa Rosa Beach’s sub-communities strives to keep its identity distinct and unique.

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30A South Walton WaterColor Inn 300x257 WaterColor Inn & 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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30A South Walton Girls beach bikinis Miramar Beach

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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