Destin is busy and full of restaurants, hotels, and shops, while Santa Rosa has a much more sleepy feel, mostly beach homes and vacations. I have stayed in both and spent considerable time in both, and what you prefer will probably depend largely on the type of experience you are looking for. Best for beach lovers, golfers and history buffs. Did you know that Santa Rosa Beach is one of Florida's best-kept secrets? In fact, this beautiful beach community is one of the top destinations in the state, especially in 30A.
If you dream of a quaint and relaxed family vacation, look no further than Santa Rosa Beach. There, you can relax on the beach, build sandcastles with your little ones and eat at some of the best restaurants in the 30A. Cafe Thirty-A is one of our all-time favorites and offers a large selection of seafood in a homey and elegant setting. Do you love playing golf in your spare time? You'll be delighted to know that Santa Rosa beach is also home to some of the most beautiful courses on the 30A.
The Emerald Bay Golf Club is one of the most prestigious in existence and offers a peaceful atmosphere while you swing the ball with views of the bay in the distance. The name 30A comes from an actual highway in South Walton County (County Road 30A) that stretches approximately 20 miles along the coast of Florida's Panhandle. The area is located in the middle of the stretch between Destin and Panama City. Within this area, you'll find the beach communities of Rosemary Beach, Seaside, Aly's, and Santa Rosa, to name a few.
The Santa Rosa Beach community offers luxury beach homes, upscale restaurants and the unique artist colony known as Gulf Place. Located along a 26-mile stretch of northwest Florida's famous Emerald Coast, Santa Rosa Beach is one of 16 distinct beach neighborhoods in South Walton County, each with its own unique traditions, charm, and visual style. Santa Rosa Beach offers several entrances to Point Washington State Forest, a 15,000-acre reserve with more than 10 natural communities. There are public beaches in Santa Rosa with free parking, along with bike lanes and many street-ready golf carts available for rent.
On Rosemary Beach, pan-Caribbean-style homes line shady streets connected by hidden parks and wooden walkways leading to the beach, while Seaside is a pastel-colored dreamy landscape that houses small beach huts with white fences. The clothing boutiques and home furnishings stores in Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach and Seaside, for example, are high-end, with no mall in sight. It didn't have a private pool like Santa Rosa's house had offered the previous year, but it came with a golf cart and you could walk to a neighborhood pool and very close to the central area with shops and restaurants. Some good places to eat in Santa Rosa include Goatfeathers (which also has a takeaway seafood market), Local Catch, and Cafe Tango.
But here you won't find the golf carts that are ubiquitous in Santa Rosa, although you'll see billions of bikes, so drive slowly when you get to the city. You will find many homes for rent in Santa Rosa on sites ranging from VRBO to Marriott Homes %26 Villas.