Rosemary Beach is the perfect place for a family vacation. With its beautiful beaches and gorgeous architecture, it is easy to disconnect and relax. Today’s post includes everything you need to do know about a family vacation to Rosemary Beach and the 30 A area!
Rosemary Beach, Florida
Rosemary Beach, Florida is located in the panhandle along the 30 A highway. It is situated in between Panama City (to its east) and Destin (to its west). Rosemary Beach was built in 1995 as a planned community. There are several other little communities near Rosemary Beach including Seaside, Alys Beach and Watercolor. Each of these communities has its own personality and style.
The homes are gorgeous in Rosemary Beach! Each house has it’s own look but they all have some similar features. All the houses have gaslight lanterns on their porches. I have to admit that I came home and googled how to add a gaslight light lantern to our house:)
Rosemary Beach is a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of activities for families. It is a peaceful area that does not have bars and nightclubs, so you can feel comfortable taking your kids to this Florida spot!
Where to Stay in Rosemary Beach
Rosemary Beach is filled with large homes and adjoining carriage houses (for most of each of the homes). There are also some condos in the center of town. The only big hotel option in Rosemary Beach is the beautiful Pearl Hotel. You can not miss this hotel as it is in the center of town.
We searched for our accommodations through VRBO. As a family five, we typically prefer to stay in a condo or a home. We like the ability to cook plus we appreciate a little more room to spread out. We found a carriage house that seemed like a perfect fit for our family.
Our place was adorable and it was in a great location. But I will say that it was a little small for our crew. Now that we are more familiar with the area, we would look for a different place next time.
Tips on Choosing a Place to Stay in Rosemary
One big tip to know about choosing a place to stay in Rosemary is that the community is small and very walkable. Anywhere you would pick to stay will be at most a 10 minute or less walk from the beach. We opted for a spot really close to the beach because we were worried about a long walk. But, now that we know that everything is so close by, we would be willing to stay a little farther from the beach. You can get more for your money by staying a few minutes extra walk from the beach!
Also, you can find better deals on lodging when you contact the rental agency directly instead of through VRBO. I searched for properties through VRBO but then I reached out to the rental companies directly as I had some questions on the properties. The rental agencies all offered deals if I booked directly through them instead of through VRBO.
Family Friendly Dining in Rosemary Beach
There are so many options when it comes to eating in Rosemary! You will not find any fast food or restaurant chains here! Everything is local and fresh! You know you are on vacation when your biggest dilemma of the day is where to eat dinner:) Most restaurants in Rosemary Beach do not take reservations. We opted for going to dinner around 5 o’clock most nights and we did not have to wait on table anywhere. Almost all of the restaurants are small and there are not a lot of tables. So, I can see how you could have to wait for tables during peak seasons.
The restaurants are small in size and it also seemed like the tables were small. Most times, our family was crowded around a table for 4. Fortunately, there are a lot of green spaces in town for the kids to run around. So sometimes, when we were waiting for our food, the kids would run to the green spaces and play ball.
Some of the top family friendly places to eat in Rosemary Beach include:
- Southside Pizza— Casual and family friendly atmosphere.You can order pizza by the slice or whole. They have really big and yummy salads. We actually ate Southside for two of our meals. One of those times, we ordered our meal to go and ate it at home.
- Cowgirl Kitchen— Also a casual atmosphere with indoor and outdoor seating options. Big menu with a focus on tacos, burritos and nachos. The nachos are so good!
- Summer Kitchen Cafe–The best food! Only open for breakfast and lunch. We ate here on our last day and if I would have how good the food was earlier in the trip, we would have eaten here multiple times. Very fresh and unique food options. The Key Lime Pie is AMAZING!
- Donut Hole–Located just a little on the edge of Rosemary Beach, you could bike or drive here. You can pick up donuts or sit in their restaurant for a full service breakfast. The donuts are so good!
- Amavida Coffee— The main coffee shop in town, this place also offers baked goods and smoothies. A perfect place to pick up a quick breakfast to take back home or to sit at one of the outdoor tables to enjoy!
Casual dinner at Southside Pizza.
Yummy treats and coffee available at Amavida Coffee shop!
We picked up donuts for breakfast at the Donut Hole on our last morning in Rosemary Beach!
The Summer Kitchen Cafe was one of our favorite restaurants! Do not miss the house made Key Lime Pie!
Rosemary Beach Attractions
There is really something for everyone in Rosemary Beach (and the 30 A area)! The best part is that you really do not need to use your car! In fact, the only time we got in our car the whole week was for a quick trip to the grocery store and to have dinner in Seaside.
There are four pools in the Rosemary Beach community. If you are staying in the community, you can use any of the pools. There is one indoor pool which is perfect if it is raining. We did notice that the indoor pool is adult only early in the morning and also for a few hours in the evening.
One particular late afternoon, we had the pool to ourselves. It was a little chilly but the kids did not mind!
Of course, you come to the 30 A to spend time at the beach! The beaches are so pretty and the sand is so soft! See my Rosemary Beach tips below for what you need to know about the beaches in Rosemary.
Our daily three-minute walk to the beach!
At one point, we noticed everyone getting out of the water and we immediately pulled our kids out of the water without knowing what the commotion was about. It turns out there was a school of stingrays swimming around.
Besides the stingrays, we also saw dolphins (in the distance) and a close encounter with a sea turtle!!
We arrived to Rosemary Beach in the evening. We ate dinner and then the kids made a beeline to the beach! The sand is so soft!
Bikes are the main mode of transportation around town! Most houses and condos provide you with a few bikes. We needed to reserve bikes for the kids. You can do this in advance and your bikes will be delivered to your house prior to your arrival!
Parks and Green Spaces
Rosemary Beach has a lot of green space for families to enjoy. One afternoon, we spent several hours playing ball and running around one of the open green areas.
Bring balls and frisbees to use on the many green spaces throughout Rosemary Beach!
We also had a small playground near our house that we took advantage of several times throughout our trip.
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Shopping in Rosemary Beach
There are a ton of shopping options within Rosemary Beach and nearby communities. If your kids are looking for a cheap souvenir shop, you will not find one in town:) Most of the shops are upscale and a little on the pricey side. But it is certainly fun to window shop.
There are numerous clothing boutiques in Rosemary Beach!
Favorite shops in Rosemary Beach:
- The Hidden Lantern My daughter loved this charming bookstore! You will have no problem finding a book for the beach here–they offer a big selection of titles for all ages.
- Patchouli’s One of my daughter and my favorite stores as it offered tons of soaps, lotions and beauty products. We ended up in here a few times throughout the trip.
- Disco The name says it all. This clothing boutique is fun and energetic with a disco ball rotating throughout the store.
- Rosemary Beach Trading Company Probably offers the most Rosemary Beach souvenir options in town. You can find shirts, hats and other Rosemary Beach logo items.
- Gigi’s Toy Shop My kids’ favorite place in town. My six-year-old requested a visit here every day.
- Sugar Shak If you are in Rosemary Beach with kids, you are not going to get away without a visit or two to the Sugar Shak. The prices are high and the candy is plentiful, but the kids sure to love this place. Besides candy, the Sugar Shak also offers ice cream treats.
There are a bunch of fun clothing boutiques in Rosemary Beach and my daughter and I spent several hours going through every single one of them:)
Toys for kids of all ages at Gigi’s in Rosemary Beach!
Nearby Attractions on the 30 A: Alys Beach, Watercolor and Seaside
While there is certainly enough to keep your family busy in Rosemary Beach, part of the attraction of the area is that there are a bunch of other fun communities to check out close by.
Every day, we took a family bike ride and often times stopped in the other communities including Alys Beach and Watercolor. Each of these communities has its own set of shops and restaurants. Your bike ride will include a lot of views of gorgeous and HUGE beach homes. The 30 A bike path is a scenic trip!
Also, you must check out Seaside on your trip! It is about a 15 minute drive, so biking is not really an option to this town. Seaside has a unique personality with its brightly colored cottages and homes. There is a BIG town center that is the hub of all of the action.
The kids loved the big open space to run around in the town center of Seaside!
There is a big open air market in the center of town at Seaside! You’ll find home goods, clothing and jewelry.
What makes Seaside a unique spot is its lineup of Airstream Food Trucks! We had a great time coming here for dinner one night. Everyone could pick out what they wanted to eat and then we had a big picnic in the open green space.
My daughter ordered a delicious crepe from this Airsteam truck!
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Rosemary Beach Tips
There are a few things to know about when planning a trip to Rosemary Beach.
- Rosemary Beaches are private –so only residents staying within the community can use them. You are given a access code to get on the beaches.
- You need to reserve chairs and umbrellas IN ADVANCE of your trip for use at the beach. This is very important! I have heard that during peak seasons, you want to reserve up to 90 days in advance. You will be assigned an exact spot on the beach. So if you do not reserve early enough, you might not get a prime spot. Fortunately, we did not go during a busy week, so even though we only booked our trip one month out, we were able to get a front row spot. For our family of five, we reserved two umbrellas and two chairs. This worked out perfectly. Our kids rarely sat down, but it was nice to have an extra umbrella!
- Be sure to reserve your bikes (and helmets!).Your bikes will be delivered to your house. If you have kids who are not old enough (or skilled enough) to comfortably ride a bike without training wheels, but too old for a trailer attachment, consider a tandem bike. This worked out perfectly for our six year old.
- Rosemary Beach is a laid back and casual community, however, we did notice that most people dressed up a little for dinner. While you can get away with flip flops and shorts, I would say that most people dressed up a little nicer for a dinner in town.
- Publix is the nearest grocery store. It is VERY expensive to have your groceries delivered, so you will most likely be making a few trips to the store.
Our first trip to Rosemary Beach and the 30A was a success and we will sure to be back to visit. We loved the 30 A area because of the pretty beaches and laid back vibe. It is a perfect spot in Florida to take your kids! If you have any questions about Rosemary Beach or the 30 A, leave them below and I am happy to answer them!
Looking for more tips on traveling with kids? Check out this post:
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