Ultimate Guide to Watercolor, Florida

The Ultimate Guide to Watercolor, Florida, 2024

Are you considering a Watercolor Resort vacation on 30A and needing help deciding what to do? Great news- you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been vacationing on 30A for 15+ years and love this region! I’m excited to share my fantastic guide to Watercolor, Florida.

Watercolor is a picturesque community in the heart of 30A. If you aren’t familiar with the area, 30A is a scenic highway that stretches between Panama City Beach and Destin on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico. Scattered along 30A are adorable beach towns like Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Seaside, and Santa Rosa Beach. The Watercolor community is a great place for your next family vacation. 

Growing up in Georgia, we always vacationed on the panhandle. I love the crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and adorable towns along 30A. Over the last 15 years, I’ve vacationed in numerous communities along this scenic highway.

Of all the beach communities, Watercolor is one of my favorite places for a family vacation. We recently spent our winter break in the community of Watercolor and had the most fantastic time. Our group included my three kids, my sister, and my parents. There was something for everyone! We enjoyed exploring the nature trails, beautiful pools, and the short walking distance to the beach and Seaside. 

Cerulean Park

Cerulean Park

Things to do in Watercolor

Watercolor offers so many exciting opportunities and activities for guests of all ages. Whether you prefer lounging by the pool, building sandcastles, paddle boarding, walking, or shopping, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in 30A.

Guests at Watercolor will receive wristbands that are required for entry to the pools, beach access and some other points along Western Lake.

Watercolor Beach Club

Watercolor Beach Club

Watercolor Beach Club

One of our favorite spots in the community is the Watercolor Beach Club. Situated directly on the gulf, guests can choose from 3 different pools, including kids and adults-only pools. The main pool deck has large bathrooms with showers and a bar for drinks and food orders. My kids had the best time at the beach club.

The Gulf views are my favorite part of the Beach Club if you are on some of the higher layers. The kiddie pool has views of the dunes, which is still scenic. There’s also a separate food counter at the kiddie pool, so parents don’t have to go far to order a burger or milkshake. 

Perks of the Beach Club-

  • Complimentary towels for each guest
  • Heated pools in the winter months 
  • Direct access to the beach
  • Scenic views of the gulf 
  • Bar & grill options for meals & drinks
Watercolor Beach Club

Adult-only Pool at Watercolor Beach Club

Pools

Besides the beach club, Watercolor offers several pools for guests. Camp Watercolor is a large complex in the community with three separate pools. One includes a lazy river, which my kids loved, and 2 of the pools have a zero-entry beach, which is great for toddlers. 

Camp Watercolor’s pools are also heated, which is fantastic for visits in the winter, one of my favorite times due to the low crowds. The pools also include two water slides- one for toddlers and another for older kids. Besides the two large pool complexes, three smaller pools are scattered throughout the neighborhood.

Camp watercolor

Camp Watercolor

Beach

One of my favorite activities on 30A is spending a glorious day on the white sand beaches and swimming in the turquoise waters. Watercolor grants guests several entry points to the beach if they have their wristbands with them (the gates have scanners for your wrist band). 

For an additional fee, you can set up beach chairs & umbrellas each day or even schedule a beach bonfire at night. If you forget beach toys, the shops in watercolor and at the Beach Club sell them. 

You will want to catch at least one sunset during our trip, so check the sunset times, park yourself on the beach with a chair, and drink to soak in the most gorgeous sight. 

catching a sunset is in my ultimate guide to Watercolor, Florida

a Watercolor Sunset

Tip: If you plan on eating out every night but still want to see the sunset, go early to Watercolor’s restaurant, Fish out of Water. The restaurant sits directly on the Gulf and offers patio dining. You can enjoy a beautiful sunset with a cocktail and appetizer. Go early as these tables are very popular! We learned the hard way on our last trip and missed out on the patio.

Town Center

Watercolor is divided by 30A. Most of the property lies north of the scenic highway, but the town center is off 30A. In this area, you will find local shops and dining options just a short walk away from the Beach Club.

Ultimate Guide to Watercolor, Florida

If you enjoy shopping, check out one of our favorite places, Old Florida Outfitters. They sell their branded shirts & hats, as well as a great collection of beach wear and sandals. The Wine Bar is a few steps away and offers an extensive wine list. 

Fish out of Water is an excellent restaurant for brunch, lunch, and dinner directly on the water. If you love breakfast like I do, check out Scratch Biscuit Kitchen. We thoroughly enjoyed a casual and delicious breakfast here one morning.

Scratch is a great breakfast place in my ultimate guide of Watercolor, Florida

Tennis

For guests who love tennis, schedule some time to check out Watercolor’s tennis courts. Located in the heart of the community, you can walk, bike, or take your golf cart to the courts.

Biking

biking trails

Many guests rent bikes for their stay as you can bike to the pools, beaches, town center, seaside, and other amenities. The terrain is relatively flat, and a pretty easy bike ride. Many rentals come with free bikes, but if not, you can easily rent them near the boathouse. 

Pro tip: Try to find a rental that comes with bike rentals. For a family of 5, it would be $250 for two days of bikes. If you are driving, consider packing your bikes or at least the kids to save some $$.

Nature Trails

Watercolor Trail System

Walking trails weave throughout the community, granting guests an unlimited view of the natural beauty. The paths are color-coordinated and state the distance. You’ll notice posts with arrows pointing you toward the correct path as you walk. 

Every morning, we enjoyed short little walks with the kids. Choosing a new path each day was fun, and we enjoyed walking along Western Lake, smaller ponds with lily pads, and spotting deer in the forest. Although we opted for walking, others ran or rode bikes, too.

 my ultimate guide of Watercolor, Florida includes the numerous walking trails throughout the property

The Green Trail in Watercolor

Kids Activities

If you have active kids like I do, you want to stay in a place with many outdoor activities. My kids loved the pool, walking trails, playground, and basketball court. The court is located next to Camp Watercolor, which is ideal. While my youngest swam, my older two played basketball until they were ready to swim.

Check out my Stress-Free Beach Packing List!

Watercolor Boathouse

You can rent kayaks and paddle boards through the Watercolor Boathouse Paddle Club to explore Western Lake.

Ultimate guide to Watercolor, Florida

Watercolor Special Events

In early November, Watercolor hosts an annual film festival, Mountainfilm on Tour. The festival lasts for two nights and showcases the popular films shown earlier in the year at the Telluride Film Festival.

Activities near Watercolor

With its central location on 30A, Watercolor grants guests quick access to many fantastic sites within the Emerald Coast. Visitors can easily walk to Seaside or bike to Grayton Beach State Park.

Click HERE to read about the best tours near Watercolor!

Seaside

Seaside

Neighboring Seaside is another beautifully planned community and a short walk or bike ride (about ½ mile from the town center). Many guests love Watercolor’s proximity to Seaside because they can easily shop, eat, and dine there without staying there. The crowds can be intense during the busy spring break and the summer season.

Pro tip: If visiting during busy season, go to Seaside in the morning before the crowds hit. If you are staying in the back section of Watercolor and need to drive, there is paid parking behind the town center. It is easier to find parking in the morning than afternoon.

***Also, if you want to eat in one of their restaurants like Bud & Alley’s, book reservations in advance, as some of their restaurants are wildly popular.

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park is a gem among Florida’s state parks. It is commonly rated the most beautiful park in the state. On our last trip to Watercolor, we spent a lovely afternoon exploring the park. 

There are walking trails, birding, paddleboarding, and camping options. I suggest parking in the lot closest to the beach and admiring the dunes before heading to the water. The park offers picnic tables, clean bathrooms, and water faucets to rinse off those sandy feet. 

I highly recommend spending some time here- it is gorgeous!

FYI- there’s a $5 entry fee!

Point Washington State Forest

Point Washington is an official state forest rather than a state park. Situated in the central area of South Walton, it boasts multiple entry points close to 30A.

The Eastern Lake Trail System is a favored path among forest visitors, catering to hikers and cyclists. Depending on your availability, you have three route choices: a 3.5-mile loop, a 5-mile loop, or a 10-mile loop.

Where to stay in Watercolor

There are two options for staying in Watercolor. First, there’s the Watercolor Inn, which sits directly on the beach. They offer classic hotel rooms and recently added 1-2 bedroom options. You can access the community amenities, bikes, and a pool for hotel guests. This is ideal for a short trip and for someone who wants to be on the beach.

Watercolor Inn

Stay the Watercolor Inn for easy Beach Access

Click HERE to book your next vacation at the Watercolor Inn!

I prefer a vacation rental for the extra space when going to the beach. I like having a kitchen, living space, additional bedrooms for the kids, and a washing machine! A rental is also ideal for large families. You can find smaller condos and houses with 3+ bedrooms in the community. 

We recently rented a two-bedroom condo with a bunk room for our break right off the town center in Watercolor. The condo was across from Cerulean Park and a short walk to the beach club. I highly recommend it!

Check out our favorite condo HERE!

FAQ: Visiting Watercolor

The Beach Club at Watercolor

🏖️Is Watercolor walkable?

Yes, there are walking trails throughout the community.

🏖️What is the difference between Seaside & Watercolor?

They are two separate communities directly next to one another. Seaside is typically more crowded, but both offer shops, ice cream, and dining.

🏖️What’s the best time to visit?

Spring break and Summer are the busy seasons for this region as visitors flock to the beach for a warm weather retreat. We typically vacation in September when our kids have fall break. We love this season because the weather is amazing with fewer crowds. Lately, I’ve been enjoying visiting during our winter break as its a relaxing break and an escape from the cold. All seasons have their perks and downfalls.

🏖️What is Watercolor known for?

Watercolor is a beautifully planned community in the heart of 30A.

In Conclusion: The Ultimate Guide to Watercolor, Florida

I hope my guide to the Watercolor, Florida, helps you plan your next great beach adventure.

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