It’s hard to believe it’s already been a week since we’ve been back from our long weekend trip to Rosemary Beach! My in-laws were renting down there for an extended stay so we knew coming during the long weekend over President’s Day would be the perfect much needed warm weather escape. I blogged about two outfits here and here but I haven’t gone into detail yet on what we did and what we thought of the area. Both Brett and I had never been before so we were excited to come down as we love exploring new places. It turns out we got pretty lucky with the weather overall so we were able to soak in as much sun and local culture as possible.
Overall, we loved Rosemary Beach! I think the only downside to our trip was we had to connect in Atlanta from DC and drive about an hour from the Destin airport. There is an airport in Panama City but it was cheaper to fly into Destin. It is certainly a great place to frequent if you live in Louisiana/ Alabama/Georgia. Anywho – there were many highlights to our trip so I came up with 6 reasons to plan a trip to Rosemary Beach with friends or family!
#1 The White Sand and Turquoise Water: There really is nothing like the gorgeous beaches of the gulf coast (sorry east coast beaches). The sand is white as can be and the water is an enticing shade of turquoise blue. Another plus about being in this particular part of the gulf, is you pretty much get 100% sun in front of you over top of the water so you never need to turn your back from the water to get rays. There is also plenty of beach to set up camp and go for long walks.
#2 A Pristine Town Filled with Shops and Restaurants: The Rosemary Beach community is known as a planned urban community which is the concept of a place that is more tightly knit together than your average suburban subdivision. The upscale homes are each architecturally unique and inspired from a mix of places – from the Dutch West Indies, Bermuda, New Orleans, Charleston, and St. Augustine. There is a Main Street which contains shops and restaurants to enjoy. The town mostly consists of a variety of large to medium sized homes, town-homes, cottages and flats. So there are plenty of places to stay whether you’re staying with your significant other or a larger group. If hotel life is more your speed, there is an upscale hotel called The Pearl located right in the center of things and a short walk to the beach. It also has a restaurant, pool, and rooftop bar.
#3 A Friendly Southern Atmosphere: Perhaps what was most unique to me was the extreme sense of southern culture you feel there. I have visited many parts of Florida like Miami, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Naples to name a few but none of them felt very “southern”. It is a quick drive from Alabama and 45 min flight from Atlanta so that would explain why you feel like you’re in the deep south. Everyone is very friendly and laid back too!
#4 Being Able to Bike to Various Other Towns: The whole community is very walk-able but if you want to check out a town nearby, cruising on a bike is the way to go. On our second day we explored Sea Side which is a community similar to Rosemary Beach but just a little larger, older, and there are more shops and restaurants. I didn’t do extensive shopping but I my favorite is Perspicasity which was an open air outdoor/indoor shop with a lot of pretty bohemian pieces. I also liked Willow and Deja Vu which are both cute clothing stores. We went to Bud and Alley’s Rooftop Bar for some really great bloodies and later when to their taco bar which was also very good. On our last day we biked to Aly’s Beach, a newer development filled with pristine Bermuda inspired bright white architecture and Guatemalan inspired courtyards. It’s a really cool town to see! We ate at a restaurant called George’s in Aly’s one night and while it is a nice atmosphere, the food and service was just ‘ok’.
#5 Fresh Local Seafood: We had our fair share of delicious seafood when we were there! A lot of gulf shrimp and fresh grouper. On our first night we went to AJ’s for happy hour and OMG the oysters alone were worth the trip! It is a little far from Rosemary but with the great oysters, draft beer, and some live music if was a fantastic time. It is a little dive-y but I’ll go anywhere that has oysters on special. After that we went to Old Florida Fish House which also had live music and a great dining experience. This is about a 10-15 minute drive from Rosemary Beach. We also cooked in one night and had local shrimp from the seafood store next to the Old Florida Fish House restaurant. The shrimp were amazing and I highly recommend getting some if you ever find yourself on the gulf coast.
#6 Great for Families and a Group of Low-Key Friend (or even a Destination Wedding!): There were plenty of young families, young and old couples, and even a big wedding crowd while we were there that weekend. The overall atmosphere is quiet, friendly, and very relaxing. It is also very upscale and the community is very well kept if that is something you look for in a vacation. You’ll spend a lot of time exploring the town, relaxing in the sun, and either cooking in or heading out to a local restaurant. It is not a party town. Most bars and restaurants pretty much shut down around 9PM. So if you’re looking for a party scene, then Panama City Beach might be more your speed (I’ve never been). If you’ve outgrown that part of your life then Rosemary Beach is a lovely choice for a relaxing vacation by a gorgeous beach in an upscale community.
Hope this helps you if you are ever considering Rosemary Beach for a vacation one day!