10 Things to Do in Santa Rosa Beach FL – 2024 Ultimate Guide

Table of Contents

Welcome

Welcome to Santa Rosa Beach, FL, a hidden gem along the stunning Emerald Coast of Florida. This charming beach town offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and a laid-back coastal vibe that attracts travelers seeking a relaxing getaway. From pristine white sandy beaches to vibrant local shops and restaurants, there are endless things to do in Santa Rosa Beach FL that cater to every type of traveler. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun, explore nature trails, indulge in fresh seafood, or simply unwind by the turquoise waters, Santa Rosa Beach promises a memorable vacation experience. Join us as we uncover the top attractions and activities that make Santa Rosa Beach a must-visit destination for your next travel adventure.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Grayton Beach State Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
– Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – Sunset, 365 days a year
– Fee: $5 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, beach enthusiasts, families

Overview

Grayton Beach State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a pristine coastal gem that offers visitors a chance to unwind in a natural setting. With its sugar-white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, this state park is a must-see destination for those seeking a relaxing day by the sea. The park’s diverse ecosystem provides ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as swimming, sunbathing, picnicking, and hiking along the scenic trails.

One of the main draws of Grayton Beach State Park is its unspoiled beauty and tranquil atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beach or explore the coastal dune lakes, this park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Birdwatchers will also appreciate the park’s rich birdlife, with opportunities to spot a variety of species in their natural habitat.

Overall, Grayton Beach State Park is a hidden paradise along the Gulf Coast that promises a day of relaxation and rejuvenation amidst nature’s beauty. Whether you’re a solo traveler, a couple looking for a romantic getaway, or a family seeking outdoor fun, this state park has something for everyone to enjoy.

Seaside:

Essential Information

– Address: Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Opening Hours: 24/7
– Fee: Free to visit
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Families, couples, solo travelers

Overview

Seaside in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a must-see destination for those seeking a quintessential beach town experience along the Gulf Coast. With its charming pastel-colored cottages, pristine white sandy beaches, and vibrant town center, Seaside offers a picture-perfect setting for a relaxing getaway. Visitors can stroll along the iconic Seaside Boardwalk, lined with unique shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes, perfect for leisurely browsing and enjoying local treats.

One of the highlights of Seaside is its lively atmosphere, especially during the summer months when outdoor concerts and events take place in the amphitheater. The town’s architectural design, inspired by traditional New Urbanism principles, creates a pedestrian-friendly environment that encourages exploration on foot or by bike. Whether you’re looking to unwind on the beach, savor fresh seafood at a waterfront restaurant, or simply soak in the laid-back vibe of this coastal community, Seaside offers something for every traveler seeking a relaxing seaside escape.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
– Opening Hours: 8:00 am – sunset daily
– Fee: $6 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, birdwatchers

Overview

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a hidden gem along the Gulf Coast that offers a serene escape for nature enthusiasts. With its pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and diverse ecosystems, this park is a must-see destination for those seeking a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you’re looking to hike through pine forests, spot rare coastal dune lakes, or simply relax on the white sandy shores, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has something for everyone.

The park’s extensive trail system provides ample opportunities for outdoor exploration, with options ranging from leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes. Birdwatchers will delight in the chance to spot a variety of avian species, while wildlife enthusiasts may encounter deer, foxes, and other native animals along the way. Additionally, the park’s educational programs and guided tours offer valuable insights into the area’s rich natural history, making it a perfect destination for families and solo travelers alike.

In conclusion, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park stands out as a tranquil haven where visitors can reconnect with nature and unwind in a picturesque setting. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply a moment of peace, this park is sure to leave a lasting impression and create unforgettable memories for all who venture to its shores.

Eden Gardens State Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 181 Eden Gardens Road, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
– Opening Hours: 8:00 am – sunset, daily
– Fee: $4 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, history enthusiasts

Overview

Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This historic site offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike. The park’s main attraction is the beautifully preserved Wesley House, a two-story mansion that dates back to the late 1800s. Visitors can step back in time as they wander through the elegant rooms filled with period furnishings and learn about the fascinating history of the area.

Aside from the historic house, Eden Gardens State Park boasts stunning gardens filled with azaleas, camellias, and towering oak trees draped in Spanish moss. A leisurely stroll through the lush grounds provides a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Picnic areas are available for those looking to enjoy a relaxing meal surrounded by nature’s beauty.

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil spot for a leisurely walk, a glimpse into the past, or simply a place to unwind and connect with nature, Eden Gardens State Park offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages. Don’t miss the chance to explore this charming destination on your next trip to Santa Rosa Beach.

Deer Lake State Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 6350 E County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
– Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – Sunset, daily
– Fee: $3 per vehicle
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, bird watchers, hikers

Overview

Nestled along the pristine shores of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, Deer Lake State Park is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. This coastal dune lake park offers a unique blend of natural beauty and outdoor adventure, making it a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts. With its diverse ecosystem of pine forests, sand dunes, and rare coastal dune lakes, Deer Lake State Park provides a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Visitors to Deer Lake State Park can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking along scenic trails to bird watching and wildlife spotting. The park’s secluded beaches offer the perfect setting for a relaxing day by the water, while the observation deck provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an active outdoor adventure, Deer Lake State Park has something for everyone to enjoy. So pack your hiking boots, grab your binoculars, and discover the natural wonders of this hidden oasis on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Point Washington State Forest:

Essential Information

– Address: Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
– Fee: Free admission
– Visit Duration: 2-4 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, hikers, birdwatchers

Overview

With its pristine natural beauty and diverse ecosystems, Point Washington State Forest in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a must-see destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Spanning over 15,000 acres, this hidden gem offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Visitors can explore a network of hiking and biking trails that wind through pine flatwoods, wet prairies, and coastal scrub habitats.

The forest is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, making it a paradise for nature lovers and birdwatchers. Keep an eye out for native wildlife such as deer, foxes, and a wide array of bird species. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an active adventure, Point Washington State Forest provides the perfect setting for a day of exploration and discovery in the heart of Florida’s natural beauty.

Santa Rosa Beach:

Essential Information

– Address: Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Opening Hours: 24/7
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full day
– Ideal for: Beach lovers, families, outdoor enthusiasts

Overview

Santa Rosa Beach in Florida is a pristine stretch of coastline that offers visitors a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. With its powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters, this beach is a haven for sun-seekers and water sports enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re looking to relax under the sun, take a refreshing dip in the Gulf of Mexico, or try your hand at paddleboarding or kayaking, Santa Rosa Beach has something for everyone.

Apart from its stunning beachfront, Santa Rosa Beach also boasts charming coastal communities, boutique shops, and delicious dining options. Visitors can explore the nearby state parks for hiking and biking trails, or simply unwind with a leisurely stroll along the shore. With its laid-back atmosphere and picturesque surroundings, Santa Rosa Beach is a must-see destination for those seeking a quintessential Florida beach experience.

Seagrove Beach:

Essential Information

– Address: Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Opening Hours: Sunrise to Sunset
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full-day
– Ideal for: Families, couples, nature lovers

Overview

Seagrove Beach in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, offers a serene escape for those seeking a laid-back coastal experience. With its pristine white sands and crystal-clear waters, this beach is a haven for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts alike. The gentle waves provide the perfect backdrop for swimming, paddleboarding, or simply relaxing under the warm Florida sun.

Visitors to Seagrove Beach can also explore the nearby coastal dune lakes, unique natural wonders that are a rare sight along the Gulf Coast. These coastal dune lakes offer a tranquil setting for birdwatching, picnicking, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an active day by the sea, Seagrove Beach has something for everyone to enjoy.

Gulf Place:

Essential Information

– Address: 95 Laura Hamilton Blvd, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
– Fee: Free to visit
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Families, beach lovers, art enthusiasts

Overview

Gulf Place in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a vibrant hub of activity that offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the pristine beaches of the Gulf Coast, explore local art galleries, or indulge in delicious coastal cuisine, Gulf Place has it all. The laid-back atmosphere and stunning ocean views make it a must-see destination for visitors to the area.

One of the highlights of Gulf Place is the array of unique shops and boutiques where you can find one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts to take home. Art lovers will appreciate the local galleries showcasing the work of talented artists inspired by the beauty of the Gulf Coast. After a day of shopping and sightseeing, visitors can unwind at one of the beachfront restaurants and enjoy fresh seafood dishes while taking in the breathtaking sunset.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, Gulf Place offers the perfect blend of coastal charm and modern amenities that make it a beloved destination for travelers seeking a quintessential Florida beach experience.

Blue Mountain Beach:

Essential Information

– Address: Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, FL
– Opening Hours: Daily from sunrise to sunset
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature lovers, beach enthusiasts

Overview

Blue Mountain Beach in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a hidden gem along the Gulf Coast that offers a serene and picturesque escape for visitors. With its pristine white sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Blue Mountain Beach is a must-see destination for those seeking a relaxing beach getaway. The laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty of the area make it an ideal spot for families, nature lovers, and beach enthusiasts alike.

Visitors to Blue Mountain Beach can enjoy a variety of activities, from sunbathing and swimming to paddleboarding and kayaking. The beach is also known for its stunning sunsets, making it the perfect place to unwind and take in the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. Whether you’re looking to relax on the sand, explore the nearby hiking trails, or simply soak up the sun, Blue Mountain Beach offers something for everyone. Don’t miss the chance to experience this tranquil oasis on your next visit to Santa Rosa Beach.

Food and Cuisine

Grouper Sandwich

Why is it so special:

The Grouper Sandwich is a local favorite in Santa Rosa Beach due to its fresh and flaky grouper fillet, lightly breaded and fried to perfection. Served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato, and a side of tartar sauce, this dish perfectly captures the essence of coastal Florida cuisine. The combination of crispy exterior and tender fish inside, along with the tangy sauce, creates a delightful flavor profile that keeps visitors coming back for more.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic experience, head to local seafood shacks like Stinky’s Fish Camp or The Red Bar. If you prefer a more upscale setting, visit Vue on 30A or The Bay for a gourmet twist on this classic dish.

Key Lime Pie

Why is it so special:

Key Lime Pie is a quintessential dessert in Florida, known for its tangy and refreshing flavor. Made with key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and a graham cracker crust, this pie strikes the perfect balance between sweet and sour. The creamy texture and zesty taste make it a must-try treat for anyone visiting Santa Rosa Beach.

Where to Try It:

Indulge in a slice of Key Lime Pie at local bakeries like Donut Hole Bakery Cafe or Dawson’s Yogurt & Fudge Works. For a more upscale experience, dine at Fish Out of Water or Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood where they serve a decadent version of this classic dessert.

Events and Festivals

30A Songwriters Festival

The 30A Songwriters Festival is a popular annual event in Santa Rosa Beach that showcases talented songwriters from around the country. Visitors can enjoy live performances in intimate settings at various venues along scenic Highway 30A. The festival typically takes place in January and attracts music lovers of all ages.

South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival

The South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival is a premier culinary event that takes place in April each year. Attendees can sample a wide variety of wines and gourmet foods from local and national vendors. The festival also features cooking demonstrations, live music, and special tasting events for wine enthusiasts.

30A Wine Festival

The 30A Wine Festival is a must-visit event for wine connoisseurs held in February. Guests can indulge in tastings of fine wines from around the world, attend educational seminars led by industry experts, and enjoy gourmet food pairings. The festival offers a sophisticated and relaxing atmosphere perfect for wine lovers looking to expand their palate.

Interesting Facts

– Santa Rosa Beach in Florida is home to one of the rare coastal dune lakes in the world, where freshwater and saltwater mix to create a unique ecosystem.
– The area is known for its stunning white sand beaches that are composed of pure quartz crystal, making them some of the most beautiful and pristine in the world.
– Santa Rosa Beach is part of the famous Emerald Coast, named for its clear emerald-green waters that attract visitors looking for a picturesque seaside escape.

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