By Susan Vallee
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.
If renting a home sounds like too much work, the award-winning WaterColor Inn will gladly spoil you rotten. Guests can get in touch with their nouveau Southern roots with complimentary house-made Black-Eyed Peas Hummus and Sweet Heat Pickles upon arrival. Nightly turn-down service (with cookies!) and a provided beach bag are little touches that go a long way after a day spent jumping waves.
The 60-room Inn is also home to the famed FOOW restaurant, a media room, outdoor gathering spots, an adults-only pool and rooms with either a dune or Gulf view.
New to the WaterColor community, 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, a fitness center and rental office. Old Florida Outfitters is the place to go if you need gear and have a fishing trip in mind. 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 brand-new Florida SweetTea Style, 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.