Founded in 1910, Santa Rosa Beach, also called South Walton, has a rich history. This long-standing vacation destination remains a hotspot for visitors years later — in fact, Santa Rosa Beach was recently named as one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 5 Favorite Towns in America. Santa Rosa Beach’s sugar-white sand and turquoise water draw in vacationers from around the world; retreats like Point Washington State Forest attract those searching for an all-natural escape. Delicious dining, boutique shopping, and family-friendly attractions round out this lively beach neighborhood. Continue to read out Santa Rosa Beach Tourism guide, to get everything you need to know to plan your next vacation here. Visit the area beaches in Santa Rosa Beach and along the Emerald Coast.
Santa Rosa Beach Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Santa Rosa Beach is between mid-September and October when both spring breakers and family vacationers have departed the city, leaving the beaches, attractions and restaurants devoid of peak season crowds. The weather is still moderate this time of year, and the risk of hurricanes wanes, too. The late fall and winter months of November through February are considered low season, with dropping temperatures and room rates. Heavy crowds of students and families swarm the city and its beaches in peak season’s early spring and summer to take advantage of the prime beach weather.
Santa Rosa Beach Attractions
Eden Gardens State Park
In a setting of moss-draped live oaks, the 1897 mansion recalls a prosperous era before the virgin forests of long leaf pine and cypress were exhausted in this part of the state. In 1963, Lois Maxon bought and renovated the home, creating a showplace for her family heirlooms and antiques. Visitors can come and enjoy a guided tour of the Wesley House, meander through the gardens, bring a picnic or go fishing off the dock in Tucker Bayou.
Grayton Beach State Park
Grayton Beach State Park is one of the the most popular parks in Florida, with massive dunes, winding trails, abundant wildlife, and shimmering Western Lake, one of many coastal dune lakes gracing Scenic Highway 30A along South Walton Beaches.
Topsail Beach State Preserve
Topsail Hill offers a wide variety of natural resources including 3.2 miles of secluded, white sand beaches with majestic dunes over 25 feet tall. Three rare coastal dune lakes provide excellent freshwater fishing. Although boats are not allowed, fishing from the shoreline yields bass, bream, pan fish, and catfish. Lakes, pristine beaches, old-growth long leaf pines, sand pine scrub, and a variety of wetlands offer a bird-watching and hiking paradise. Visitors may bike, walk, or enjoy a quick ride to the beach on our timely tram service to swim, fish, sunbath, or beach comb.
Camp Helen State Park
The park is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico and by Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in Florida. This 180-acre park is for day use only. Activities include swimming, beach combing, nature study, hiking and both freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Blue Mountain Beach
Named after the area’s brilliant blue lupine flower, Blue Mountain is an unforgettable sight. Enjoy gorgeous views of turquoise water from the top of this beach neighborhood, which sits at a slight incline compared to the rest of South Walton. From cozy beach cottages to luxurious new homes, Blue Mountain offers a variety of accommodations for beach-goers to choose.
Things To Do in Santa Rosa Beach
Rent Gear Here
Simply call or search their selection of bike rentals, beach rentals, baby rentals, surf lessons, eco tours and more! All you have to do is sit down and relax at your computer in the comfort of your own home, and let them do the rest for you! Their friendly staff will then deliver, for FREE, all of your vacation gear when you arrive and then pick it up the day you leave. It is as simple as that! Telephone: 1 888-750-7606 Web: Rent Gear Here
Emerald Coast Pedal Tours
There is nothing quite like cruising around town on a pedal bike, having some drinks and exploring the area, all by the side of your family and friends. From beer festival booths, family reunions, and bachelorette parties to picnics, charity fund raisers, pub crawls, parades, and 5K races. Their party bike can add an exciting element to any event or any day! Book online today to start your pedal tour journey. Telephone: 850-231-0397 Web: Emerald Coast Pedal Tours.
Big Fish Bike Rentals
A Wonderful Scenic Bike Trail Stretches The Entire 18 Mile Length of Highway 30-A. You have access to Seaside, Alyse Beach, Watercolor, Rosemary Beach, Watersound, Seagrove, Seacrest, Blue Mountain, Dune Allen, Grayton, Deer Lake state park, Grayton Beach state park, And all the other beautiful sights Hwy 30A has to Offer. So if you are considering making a cottage rental on Hwy 30A or Carillon, Be sure to do the next best thing to the beach. Telephone: 850-231-1343 Web: Big Fish Bike Rentals
Surf Sup Paddle Board Rentals
Surf Sup Paddle Board Rentals is a mobile Stand Up Paddle ( SUP ) Board rental service that operates in Destin, 30-A, and Panama City Beach FL. They carry high quality SUP ATX paddleboards, which are designed for all skill levels and all sizes of paddlers. Whether you are looking to SUP Surf the emerald coast, or just cruise by the shore, they have the perfect board at an excellent price for your ultimate SUP experience! Telephone: 850-888-0382 Web: Surf Sup Paddle Board Rentals.
Fishy Booty Charters
Fishy Booty Charters is your answer to accessing activities out on the Gulf of Mexico without spending your precious & valuable vacation time stuck in traffic traveling to Destin or Panama City for a day on the water. Play and stay on 30A! Charters depart twice daily directly from the beach in Grayton. Whether it’s bottom fishing for red snapper, grouper, and sharks or trolling for mackerel, to scuba diving a truly blessed area of natural bottom, Captain Mark Thompson can take you there accommodating all your needs. Telephone: 850-586-0807 Web: Fishy Booty Charters.
Best Santa Rosa Beach Restaurants
Café Thirty-A $31 – 50
Café Thirty-A is a casual fine-dining restaurant featuring grilled & fire-roasted seafood, organic meats & poultry, wood-oven pizza, vegetarian fare & hedonistic, “architectural” desserts. The menu changes daily according to availability of ingredients. Fine wines & cocktails including a creative menu of the “best martinis in the area” complement the meal. Telephone: 850-502-5001 Web: Café Thirty-A.
Basmati’s Asian Cuisine $11 – 30
They specialize in Asian-inspired Classical Cuisine and Sushi. Creative use of Asian influences to fresh, local seafood, beef, lamb and duck. As well as, the areas best sushi, rolled to order using only the freshest of seafood and vegetables. They are a small, intimate fine dining restaurant featuring an interesting, but affordable wine list, with a full bar featuring a creative Martini Menu. Telephone: 850-267-3028 Web: Basmati’s Asian Cuisine.
Trebeaché $31 – 60
From the creative team that brought you great restaurants such as Stinky’s Fish Camp and The Lakeplace, they proudly present Trebeaché- South Walton and 30A’s newest, exceptional restaurant and event venue. Perfectly located in the heart of Blue Mountain Beach, Trebeaché boasts an elegant yet resort casual restaurant offering a menu featuring classic to contemporary fare with a variety of ethnic flares. Telephone: 850-937-7793 Web: Trebeaché.
Chanticleer Eatery $11 – 30
Chanticleer specializes in fresh, made from scratch, real good food! They bake all of their breads fresh in house, smoke their own meat, make their sauces and utilize the best quality ingredients possible. At lunch they serve: amazing sandwiches and salads, pasta, chops and some down south good cooking like shrimp & grits, chicken & rice and jambalaya! Don’t leave without getting some dessert. Their cookies and key lime pie are their specialty! Telephone: 850-213-9065 Web: Chanticleer Eatery.
The Red Bar $11 – 30
The Red Bar is South Walton’s most popular indoor destination. It’s the place for fun with friends and family while taking in all of the eclectic decor, listening to great live music and enjoying great food and cocktails. The simple but varied menu includes pasta with crawfish and shrimp, panné chicken and mashed potatoes, stuffed eggplant, crab cakes and fish of the day. Oh, and don’t forget about the salad – it is the best anywhere on the Emerald Coast! Telephone: 850-231-1008 Web: The Red Bar.
Best Santa Rosa Beach Bars & Nightlife
The Red Bar – My Personal Favorite!
The Red Bar is South Walton’s most popular indoor destination. It’s the place for fun with friends and family while taking in all of the eclectic decor, listening to great live music and enjoying great food and cocktails. The Red Bar Jazz Band plays almost nightly during dinner. The party gets cranked up a notch after the dinner crowd thins, creating a more funky atmosphere. Don’t be surprised to spot celebrities here late at night. But please be cool, everybody just wants to chill at The Red Bar. Telephone: 850-231-1008 Web: The Red Bar.
This brand new, open air restaurant is located directly on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and is the place to be all year long! The Surf Hut has a menu that goes far beyond your typical ‘beach fare’, with a little added surfer flare to a cuisine that includes Seafood, Oysters and St. Louis Style BBQ. They’ve got a custom game area on the beach where you can grab a game of corn hole while you watch the waves and sip a delicious signature frozen libation from our full bar! Telephone: 850-460-7750 Web: Surf Hut.
Louis Louis is very similar to The Red Bar, in decor and menu, but also has it’s own distinguished attributes. The family strives to deliver a fantastic meal, in a unique atmosphere, with great service. You can come to Louis Louis on a first date, to celebrate an occasion, or right after a fun day at the beach. They look forward to taking care of you, whether it is your first time with them, or whether you have become a regular customer. Telephone: 850-267-1500 Web: Louis Louis.
Hurricane Oyster Bar
Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill is a 30A original–Offering menu selections inspired by the Gulf Coast, Caribbean Islands, New Orleans and the Low Country. They are the perfect spot to grab an affordable meal for lunch or dinner. Their food, happy hour and atmosphere cannot be beat. Telephone: 850-231-0787 Web: Hurricane Oyster Bar.
Local Catch Bar & Grill
Local Catch Bar & Grill is located on the beautiful 30A serves the in coastal cuisine while adding a southern twist. Telephone: 850-622-2022 Web: Local Catch Bar & Grill.
Best Santa Rosa Beach Hotels
One of our top picks in Santa Rosa Beach. This property is a 10-minute walk from the beach. The 30A Suites are a 5-minute drive from the Top Sail Hill Preserve State Park and 1 miles from the beach. All units all have full kitchens and 2 flat-screen TVs. A washing machine and clothes dryer are provided in each unit of the 30A Suites. The kitchens are also fully equipped with an oven, refrigerator, and a dishwasher. Celebration Hall has meeting and banquet facilities and is located right across the street from this property. Restaurants featuring Italian, Japanese, and American Barbecue are a 5-minute drive away.
Hibiscus Coffee & Guest House
An old fashioned, romantic getaway, Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse, is just up the street from the sugar white sands of one of America’s most beautiful beaches. We have 13 distinctly different accommodations, all furnished and decorated with a vintage, Old Florida feel. All of our rooms have satellite TV, mini or full-sized refrigerator, microwave oven, coffee pot, iron and ironing board, private bath, a blow-dryer and WiFi. In addition to 3 pet friendly, three of our accommodations have full kitchens and two others share a kitchen. As always, your stay includes a wonderful breakfast every morning in the café.
This property is a 5-minute walk from the beach. Boasting a private beach, WaterColor Inn & Resort is in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Bordering the resort is Grayton Beach State Park, a 2,000-acre park with nature trails for hiking and bicycling as well as a Western Lake, where visitors can swim, fish, canoe, paddle board, and kayak. Guests can enjoy complimentary use of bicycles, kayaks, and canoes on site. A luxurious day spa with massage and body treatment services, and a state-of-the-art fitness center, complete with cardio machines, weights, and personal fitness coaches are available at WaterColor Resort. There are also supervised children’s activities at the Kids Camp.