Where to Eat, Stay and Play in WaterColor, Florida - 30A


Where to Eat, Stay and Play in WaterColor, Florida

By: Susan Vallee | Posted May 18, 2022

WaterColor community offers a bit of everything for the 30A visitor. Nestled in-between Seaside and Western Lake, WaterColor’s 500-acres weaves luxe accommodations with elaborately planned parks, trails that lap the edges of 30A’s rare coastal dune lake and Gulf views that never fail to take your breath.

It’s a fantastic place for extended families or large groups to stay because anything and everything you might need is located on the property.

There are cottages that sleep 18 and cottages that sleep four. Some are equipped with lavish swimming pools, fountains, hot tubs, and outdoor fire pits while others keep it simple with a wide porch and comfortable rocking chairs.

Nine swimming pools, each unique, are spread throughout the community so the kids are never far from a pool. The lakefront Boat House offers stand up paddleboards and canoes for rent and the Tennis facility has not one, not two, but five Har-Tru HydroCourts to play on. In the middle of all of this is Camp WaterColor, a place for kids to escape to, or for families to come together at. Camp WaterColor’s field, basketball court and playground area are a bit overshadowed by the lazy river pool, water slides and zero-entry pools. There’s also a restaurant on site.

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If renting a home sounds like too much work, the award-winning WaterColor Inn will gladly spoil you rotten. Guests will enjoy upscale hospitality throughout their stay, from complimentary valet parking, house-made biscotti and assorted fruits upon arrival, to nightly turn-down service (with cookies!), Guest Floor Treat Suites, a provided beach bag, and even a departure gift at the end of your stay. These are just a few examples of the little touches that go a long way toward making your stay at the WaterColor Inn unforgettable.

The 67-room Inn is also home to the famed FOOW restaurant, Gather Kitchen + Bar, a media room, outdoor gathering spots, a family-friendly pool and rooms with either a dune or Gulf View, or multi-room family suites on the first floor.

The WaterColor Beach Club offers three-tiered pool decks so the view of emerald green and aquamarine waters meeting the horizon is clear from each of its three swimming pools. And, of course, there’s the dune walkover and white sand beaches.

Hugging each side of 30A is the resort’s shopping area, complete with clothing boutiques and a rental office. Old Florida Outfitters is the place to go if you need gear and have a fishing trip in mind.

30A’s new Beach Happy Cafe, located at the main intersection in WaterColor, Florida, directly on the south side of Scenic Highway 30A, is an excellent stop for beachgoers. The cafe serves healthy wraps and sandwiches, fresh pastries by Blue Mountain Bakery, plant-based options by NaturBaker, locally roasted 30A Coffee by Amavida, 30A Craft Beer by Grayton Beer, premium 30A Wine curated from Oregon by industry legend Chan Cox of Wine World, and a new line of 30A Gelato, handcrafted by G.S. Gelato in Fort Walton. Visitors can also shop 30A apparel made from recycled plastic bottles and other 30A-brand products, including hatsdrinkwaresuncare products, and more.

The Candy Bar has any type of sugary confection a child could want and Chan’s Wine World sits between the two — offering outdoor seating, a huge wine list and lunch and dinner options. At the WaterColor Store and the brand-new WaterColor Kids store, guests will find an assortment of curated lifestyle products by popular Southern retailers, including jewelry, vacation-essential products and cosmetics – all in addition to the WaterColor Store’s WaterColor-branded merchandise.

Behind this shopping area is WaterColor’s crown jewel: Cerulean Park. A cascading fountain runs the length of the park and is surrounded by Sand Live Oaks and an ever-changing rainbow of blooms. There is room to picnic on the grass or throw a ball around. It’s beautiful to walk through in the morning, or at night as you work your way towards one of the restaurants.

A footbridge crosses Western Lake north of the park and at night the mouth-blown, stained glass tips of sculpted reeds helps guide the way across. From the footbridge, you can connect to the nature trail and discover lakefront gazebos, wooden stages, and a winding footbridge that crosses a small sea of water lilies and reeds crowded by the chorus of croaking frogs and nesting birds.

Even the street lamps are designed to evoke a smile with shades dotted with little holes, recalling memories of lightning bugs captured in mason jars.

It’s a comfortable place to spend your time and you’ll be hard-pressed to run out of things to do, and if you do, bike next door to Seaside or Grayton Beach.



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Susan Vallee is an award-winning journalist who has spent the past 20 years writing about the 30A area. She’s the author of the popular guidebook, “Meet Me on 30A,” a content creator, a published fiction writer and an editorial reader for the Peauxdunque Review, a literary magazine. She’s currently working on a few short fictional stories and a book proposal. You can follow her writing exploits on her occasionally-updated blog at susanvallee.com