Rosemary Beach

The splendor of azure blue waters along miles of glistening white sand is reason enough to visit Florida’s Gulf Coast. But equally appealing are a handful of upscale communities that redefine coastal living, among them the “New Urban-style” Rosemary Beach. Add West Indies flavor and European flair to this neo-traditional community with first-rate amenities, and you have a unique retreat.

Rosemary Beach residents and vacationers alike are attracted by the village-like character and understated charm as much as the area’s natural beauty and endless recreation. Established in 1995, and built by the same architect of nearby Seaside, Rosemary Beach offers a similar community feel but with an entirely different look. Here, luxury marries nostalgia, creating a tantalizing blend of architectural styles that incorporate green-living concepts and align with the natural habitat. A network of boardwalks and pathways connect Rosemary Beach’s town center and surrounding neighborhoods to green spaces, pools, tennis courts, playgrounds, a fitness center and the beach, all within a short walk or bike ride. Cars are better left parked, except for excursions down the scenic coastal Route 30-A.

Rental accommodations include studios, lofts, cottages and carriage houses nestled among tightly landscaped native flora. Guests may also choose the Pensione Inn, a newly refurbished contemporary European inn above the Italian-style Onano Cafe.

“Our residential designs vary greatly, but all adhere to strict covenants which keep the integrity of the community and protect the homeowners’ investment,” says Ken Gifford, president and COO of Rosemary Beach Holdings, Inc. “You have to like people and appreciate rules to live happily here.”

In addition to a congenial atmosphere, Rosemary offers plenty to do. Try morning yoga or a spin class, free for Rosemary Beach guests. Stroll through the community herb garden and butterfly park or jog the 2.3-mile fitness trail with exercise stations. Hop on a cruiser from the Bamboo Bicycle Company and ride the 30-A bike path to Deer Lake State Park, an 8-mile round trip to a rare coastal dune lake. Kayak along the Gulf shores or try stand-up paddling with YOLO (You Only Live Once) Board on Western Lake at nearby Watercolor. Enjoy a spa treatment, boutique shopping and a bit of indulgence at Rosemary Beach’s inviting outdoor cafes and choice restaurants.

Dreamy and romantic, Rosemary Beach is also a popular wedding venue and definitely feels like an escape to somewhere far away. No matter how you spend your time in Rosemary Beach, you won’t venture far from the mesmerizing views and alluring blue-green waters.