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How to Emerald Coast Like a Local

Here's your guide to eat, see, and play your way through Rosemary Beach and WaterColor—the Club’s newest beach vacation destinations in Florida's famed neighborhoods fondly known as "30A".

The scenic roadway of 30A stretches 18.5 miles along the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle, featuring a dozen communities—including WaterColor and Rosemary Beach, the locations of our three newest Exclusive Resorts residences.

The area is replete with natural beauty, including four state parks, 27 miles of greenways, 11 rare coastal dune lakes, and miles of pristine white-sand beaches. You’ll find a little something for everyone to explore along Florida’s gulf shores—think Airstream food trucks to fresh-seafood fine dining, high-end shopping and farmer’s markets, and a mix of sugar-sand beaches and coastal forests. Here are our top picks to see, sip, and savor like a local.

SAVOR

If there’s one restaurant hot spot you just can’t miss, it’s Fish Out of Water. Fondly known as FOOW, it’s a favorite of locals and visitors alike, truly embodying the Florida Panhandle spirit: coastal, fun, and unpretentious. Southern-inspired cuisine is served up alongside impeccable service and lovingly crafted cocktails.

If you’re a fan of margarita pizza AND margaritas, Amici 30A is sure to satisfy. This convivial Italian hot spot serves up pizzas, pasta, and small plates in rustic-chic digs with a full bar and daily happy hour. Nearby Cuvee 30A also boasts craft cocktails and a world-class wine list—their happy hour has been awarded “Best of Emerald Coast” by Emerald Coast Magazine.

Shunk Gulley is known for classic coastal cuisine and genuine Southern hospitality, but locals know it for the oysters and daily live music. Panoramic beach views delight just as much as the food and atmosphere.

George’s at Alys Beach is a more upscale (yet still beach-casual) option for finer dining, complete with a kids’ menu. Organic and locally sourced dishes like jerk- crusted gulf snapper and apple cider brined pork chop have our mouths already watering. George’s doesn’t accept reservations, but the wait—upstairs on the roof deck with sunset views and a drink in hand—is worth it.

Eat your way through family-friendly Airstream Row, a food-truck park in nearby Seaside featuring a variety of cuisine from melty grilled cheese sandwiches to BBQ and frosty shaved ice.

SIP

Whether it is coffee or wine you seek, Black Bear Bread Co & Bar Room has it all. Stop by for a latte and breakfast bites in the morning before transitioning to happy hour (and oysters!) at night. Their extensive wine list and knowledgeable bartenders make this cozy hideaway a hit with locals and visitors alike. Take a seat on the comfy couches and enjoy live local music most evenings.

A short bike ride from the Club’s WaterColor luxury residences, The Wine Bar is the ideal spot to enjoy wine and gourmet food in a sophisticated-yet-informal setting. Enjoy a casual lunch or an elegant dinner on the spacious patios or immaculate dining room. For a lighter bite, La Crema pours the wine alongside tapas and rich chocolatey delicacies.

Looking for something a bit livelier? The Roof Deck Bar’s boisterous beachfront watering hole is the perfect place for a social, see-and-be-seen happy hour. Watch the sun dip below the horizon from the deck as you’re bathed in a golden glow.

Hop to it! Grayton Beer Company is THE go-to local brewery, crafting hits such as the much-loved 30A Beach Blonde Ale. Stop by their taproom for tastings and tours.

SEE

Rent a beach cruiser bike and ride the Timpoochee Trail—a mostly flat, paved 18.6-mile path stretching along the 30A beach communities. Stop along the way for scenic beach selfies, quaint lunch spots, and happy hour drinks. Or explore by foot—hike through Topsail Hill Preserve State Park to see the 25-foot-tall sand dunes and catch a glimpse of local wildlife.

Secure the best beach spot with a chair setup in front of the WaterColor Resort. No need to schlep your own gear; they’ve got you covered with chairs and umbrellas. When you’re ready to take a break from beach lounging, you can parasail, jet ski, banana boat, and surf in the warm gulf waters.

Spend the day on the gulf with locally owned and family-friendly 30A Fishing Charters. Their expert guides will help you catch local fish during both in-shore and deep-sea fishing charters.

If you’re looking for fun (out of the sun), The Hub is where it’s at. With over ten different food vendors, a bar, local shops, and more, there truly is something for everyone. The Hub is the ultimate gathering place with a large, shaded lawn at the center—complete with picnic tables, plenty of room to BYO chairs or picnic blankets, and a main stage. Be sure to check out their events calendar for live music, yoga, sports broadcasts, and family movie nights.

SHOP

Whether you’re looking for beach-chic fashion finds for the whole family or gifts for the home, you’ll find local shops abound in all the nearby beach communities. Try Pish Posh Patchoulis for unique lotions and body care products; Hissyfits Boutique for jewelry, purses, apparel, and gifts for everyone; and Mercantile & Duckies and Disco for clothing and gifts.

Every Sunday, about 30 local vendors hock fresh produce, fine meats, sweets, and handmade and local gifts at the Rosemary Beach Farmers Market, held year-round from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

STAY

The Club’s three newest vacation residences in Rosemary Beach and WaterColor are the perfect gathering places for friends and family. Each luxurious home features 5–6 bedrooms, 5.5–6.5 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and spacious indoor and outdoor living spaces all outfitted in charming, beach-chic décor. Built-in bunk rooms are ideal for kids, giving them a place of their own. After a day in the sun, cool off in the private plunge pool. Each residence also has a carriage house, perfect for a single or couple seeking their own space.

The walkable, bikeable communities of Rosemary Beach and WaterColor all provide access to unparalleled amenities including an award-winning beach club, multiple pools, parks and green spaces, walking and biking trails, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and access to paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, bikes, and more.

With its crystal-clear gulf waters, world-class beaches, bounteous shopping and dining options, it’s clear what makes this luxurious yet laid-back Florida destination one for the bucket list.