30A is a scenic highway in the Florida panhandle between Destin and Panama City. It’s also used to describe a cluster of small beach towns that are located along 30A. They’re all located pretty close together and you can get between each beach town easily. But even though the beach towns in 30A are close together, each town couldn’t be more different than the next.
I recommend checking out at least a few of the other beach towns in 30A. But Rosemary Beach is one of my favorite spots to explore in 30A.
So here is my ultimate Rosemary Beach travel guide with the best things to do in Rosemary Beach, where to eat, and more.
What is Rosemary Beach Like?
The reason Rosemary Beach is one of my favorite towns in 30A is because it’s so scenic. It’s right on the Gulf of Mexico but it feels like you’re in Europe with cobblestone streets, gas lanterns, and walkable streets. There are no high rise chains here lining the beaches.
Rosemary Beach is so walkable because it is designed with New Urbanism. New Urbanism is a design that creates walkable neighborhoods. It also promotes environmentally friendly places to live since you can walk so many places without having to drive.
Rosemary Beach is divided by 30A into a north and south side but don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s a huge area. I find Rosemary Beach to be small (in a good, quaint way) and easy to see it all since everything is just a short walk away. The north side has a large grass park surrounded by oak trees.Then around the park are plenty of boutiques, restaurants, and other locally owned shops. They’re really picturesque because the shops form a U-shape around the park.
South of 30A is what feels kind of like a small town main street. Small shops, boutiques, and restaurants line the street which ultimately leads to another grass park in front of the Pearl. The Pearl is a well known hotel and if you’ve ever seen pictures of Rosemary Beach then you’ve probably seen pictures of the Pearl. Beyond the park is the beach (which is private).
There is an air of sophistication in Rosemary Beach, though not as much as in Aly’s Beach. Rosemary Beach can be good for a family trip and for any group size regardless of age. But this would definitely where I would stay for a romantic couples trip.
Best Things to do in Rosemary Beach
There is plenty to do in Rosemary Beach without there being so much to do that you feel overwhelmed trying to fit it all in. You can easily spend just a day here or an entire week (or even longer). Here are some of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach, Florida:
Coffee in Rosemary Beach
I always like to start my morning with coffee. If you’re there for multiple days, I recommend trying both Amavida Coffee Roasters and 3rd Cup. Amavida has a couple other locations in 30A as well.
Go to the Beach
One of the biggest draws to 30A is for a Florida beach vacation. The beach is everything you could hope for with white sand and stunning blue water. It’s a great place to have a beach day!
But before you go, know that most of the beaches in 30A are private. If going to the beach is important to you, make sure that your accommodations give you beach access. As a Tampa Bay local, where beaches are public, this is a little over my head but this article on private vs public beaches in 30A sums it up very well.
Renting beach chairs is your best bet for enjoying the beach but can be kind of pricy. If you bring your own chairs, they will have designated sections for this. They may ask you to move your chairs if they are in the way of the designated rental beach chair areas.
If you do not have beach access, the closest public access to Rosemary Beach is located at 438 S Orange St Center in Inlet Beach.
Rosemary Beach has a farmers market on Sundays from 9-1. It’s a cool way to explore small business owners and support them. They had spices, fresh products, smoothies, flowers, and more when we visited. It’s also located below these gorgeous sweeping trees.
Taking a bike ride is a popular activity in 30A and it’s probably the best way to really experience all that 30A has to offer. Each community in 30A is bikable and there is also a bike trail along the highway that connects the towns. There are plenty of places to rent bikes from in Rosemary Beach as well as plenty of availability. Several vacation rentals also include them in your rental. Similarly, renting golf carts is popular as well.
Explore the Other 30A Beach Communities
One of my favorite things to do in 30A is wander between the different beach communities. Rosemary Beach is a great spot for this since it is close to Alys Beach, one of my other favorite towns in 30A. You can easily walk or bike there.
From West to East, here are some of the 30A beach towns you can explore between Destin and Panama City Beach:
- Miramar Beach
- Dune Allen
- Santa Rosa Beach
- Blue Mountain Beach
- Grayton Beach
- Seagrove Beach
- Watersound Beach
- Alys Beach
- Rosemary Beach
- Inlet Beach
Shopping in Rosemary Beach
Disco – this was my favorite place to shop in Rosemary Beach – I love the energy of this store. It’s a boutique selling really fun clothes, shoes, and accessories. Think bright colors, glitz and glamor, and plenty of items with sparkles!
Hidden Lantern Bookstore – I’m a sucker for a cute bookstore, especially on vacation. It would be a fun place to grab a book to read for the entirety of your vacation while you lounge on the beach.
Rosemary Beach Trading Company is the official provider and only store allowed to sell the registered trademark Rosemary Beach® logo. The store sells both souvenirs and decor items.
Bombara Sun and Surf is a fun surf shop with beach-friendly items such as clothing and accessories. My husband picked up a hat here that he loves and we also really appreciated that it was one of the few stores that was truly stroller friendly.
Enjoy Local Restaurants in Rosemary Beach
If I’m being honest, “touristy beach towns” (sorry, I just don’t know what else to call them) can make it tough to find good food. A lot of the time, I find that each restaurant serves the same mediocre food that tends to be overpriced but with a good view.
This is not the case in Rosemary Beach. There are so many amazing places to eat in Rosemary Beach. I was more excited about the restaurants in Rosemary Beach than I was about the other 30A beach communities and the food was really, really good.
I go into more detail in the next category to give you more options on where to eat in Rosemary Beach.
Where to Eat in Rosemary Beach
Cowgirl Kitchen – southwestern food in a casual, family friendly environment. One of the more “affordable” dining options in 30A. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
La Crema – Spanish-influenced food, La Crema tapas are amazing! They also have a good wine selection and fun desserts. Seriously, save room for dessert. The Spanish were the first to discover chocolate and since La Crema is Spanish-influenced, they serve several amazing options.
Paradis – the most upscale restaurant (and most expensive) on this list, best for a special night out. It’s a seafood restaurant with carefully sourced food. The menu changes with the season but the Oysters Rockefeller appetizer is a favorite. Children are welcome but they do not carry high chairs or booster seats in the store so you need to bring your own if you need one.
Pescado – casual fine dining with a rooftop bar that offers stunning water views. Their paella is famous and they also have good tapas.
Havana Beach – inside The Pearl Hotel inspired by Hemingway’s favorite cocktail bar in Havana. They have great views.
Where to Stay in Rosemary Beach
The Pearl is Rosemary Beach’s famous hotel. It’s the center of many pictures, and it’s easy to see why. It’s also adults only.
Probably the easiest, and most common, accommodations are to use VRBO or Airbnb. There are so many vacation rentals throughout 30A that it can honestly be a bit overwhelming. We haven’t stayed in Rosemary Beach yet, so I can’t personally recommend a specific place there. But like choosing a vacation rental anywhere, if you read through reviews you should be ok. As long as you are in Rosemary Beach, you will be walking distance to all of the attractions.
How to Get to Rosemary Beach
There are two airports that make Rosemary Beach easily accessible. Panama City airport is around 30 minutes away and the Destin airport isn’t much further. Rosemary Beach is also around 5 hours from Atlanta.
Rosemary Beach on 30A is more than just a destination; it’s a vivid experience wrapped in the serene beauty of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Whether you’re strolling along its cobblestone streets, indulging in good food, or soaking up the sun on its pristine beaches, Rosemary Beach offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Hopefully this Rosemary Beach travel guide helped you feel more confident in planning your time here!