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 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 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 09 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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30A South Walton Seaside Girls Laying Out Houses 960 Seaside

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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30A South Walton miramar beach tiki bar Seascape

A Tiki Bar in Miramar Beach

With towering penthouse condos that offer the highest perspectives in all of South Walton, Seascape Resort offers a dramatically different experience than the sleepier beach towns along Scenic Highway 30A, just a few miles to the east.

In addition to its bustling beachfront (an idyllic spot for people-watching), Seascape has over 300 acres of lush greens and lakes, an 18-hole championship golf course (as well as a sister course nearby), eight lit tennis courts, several swimming pools, bike rentals, water sports, and the Whale’s Tail, a fun beach bar and grill that’s directly on the sand.

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30A South Walton rosemary gulf lawn2 Rosemary Beach

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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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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