The Emerald Coast of northern Florida is a slice of paradise. Santa Rosa Beach is a beautiful island in the Florida Panhandle and is a top choice for tourists coming to soak in the sun and dip in the beautiful emerald and turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico. The island is situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay and offers a large variety of activities for those visiting. It is simply a breath of fresh air and a welcome escape from your busy schedule. There is no need to travel to far off places when you have a piece of paradise right here in your own backyard.
This beautiful stretch between Destin and Panama City is spectacular with pristine beaches, clear turquoise and emerald colored water and unbelievably soft powder white sand. Who could ask for more? Sitting on the beach and soaking it all in, you would think you are on a tropical island somewhere in the Caribbean, but you are right here in the sunshine state of Florida.
The 30a Coastal Highway stretches from Dune Allen Beach to Rosemary Beach. Choose your beach and they all have a different style and vibe. Over the next few blogs, we will be covering the various beaches and exciting things to do on your next vacation to the Santa Rosa Beach area, but today we will be covering the Dune Allen and Fort Panic beach areas on the western side of 30a Coastal Highway. The Coastal Dune Lakes are spectacular and only occur in a few places worldwide like Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar. These mostly freshwater lakes next to the Gulf of Mexico, were formed thousands of years ago from winds and sand that created these basins. With 15 dune lakes around the 30a, there is plenty to explore. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a great place to explore the dune lakes with scenic nature trails and pristine beaches. It’s ideal for nature and beach lovers. The park boasts three miles of gorgeous beach, more than 15 miles of trails to explore and a variety of activities for everyone. If you like birdwatching, this is your spot! There are many different types of birds to see in this area including shouldered hawks, piping plovers, red cardinals, ospreys, eastern bluebirds and many more. You can rent a bike and enjoy a ride along the bike path to Campbell Lake or the beach. You can also rent a kayak, canoe or SUP at the park store as well.
Dune Allen and Fort Panic Beaches are our favorite public beaches in the area. They are less crowded and located next to the dune lakes. If it is dining you are looking for, Stinky’s Fish Camp, opposite Dune Allen Beach is one of the casual local restaurants in the area and features fresh local seafood dishes and more options. Another popular restaurant in the area is Elmo’s Grill. They specialize in fresh seafood and steak and have live music Monday through Saturday. Get there early or be prepared to wait in line for these restaurants during the season! If you are looking for a more formal waterfront dining setting in the area, we recommend Vue on 30a. It is one of the few waterfront restaurants in the area and has a spectacular Gulf view. There is no better place in the area to share a Gulf sunset while having a romantic dinner.
As the sun sets, one of the favorite evening activities in the area is to have a beach bonfire. Dune Allen and Fort Panic are less crowded beaches and are ideal locations for your bonfire. There is something really special about enjoying a bonfire on the beach with your family and friends as you look out over the beautiful Emerald Coast, feeling the subtle ocean breeze and soak it all in. What a special evening of bonding as you share a sunset, transitioning into the evening, cuddled around the bonfire and roasting marshmallows over an open fire. These are the moments that create a life-time memory with your family and friends. Let us help you make a memory that will last a lifetime. Book now and we will see you on the beach!
Give us a call at (850) 308-1013