​The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to do in Rosemary Beach

Have you seen the stunning pictures of the Rosemary Beach community and wondered if it’s worth a trip? Do you need to know all the hype surrounding the area? Let me help you plan your next beach vacation to 30A. I’ll share the best things to do in Rosemary Beach to help decrease the stress around trip planning.

30A is a stretch of beaches between Panama City Beach and Destin, Florida. 30A is a county road in South Walton with unique beach communities dotting the landscape. Rosemary is on the eastern side and is one of the most popular beaches in the state. 

My family and I have been vacationing on 30A for 15+ years, and I’m thrilled to share my expertise with you, including my thoughts on staying in Rosemary Beach and the best activities in the area. Follow along for helpful tips and insights from a 30A veteran!

The Ultimate Beach Packing List

Rosemary's Eastern Green is one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach

Rosemary is a newer planned community in South Walton, part of Florida’s panhandle. Nearby Panama City and Destin are massive beach developments with high rises, outlet malls, entertainment, and flashy restaurants. 

On the other hand, Rosemary is a quiet retreat tucked off busy Hwy 98. Once you park your car, you have everything at your fingertips—the beach, pools, bike rentals, local shops, and some of the best restaurants in the region. You never have to leave—although I think you should! The other beach communities on 30A are just as neat, and they have wonderful dining options, too! 

Best Lodging Options in Rosemary
🏨The Pearl Hotel
🏨Rosemary Beach Inn
🛏️Rosemary House Rental
🛏️Rosemary Condo

Weather in Rosemary

Rosemary community

Summer in Florida can be miserable if you aren’t accustomed to the heat. Rosemary is no different. On the beach, you can experience a pleasant and cool breeze from the water most days. Even late spring and early Fall can have 90-degree weather, so avoid these times if you don’t prefer heat. 

Spring & Fall can have terrific weather- warm days with plenty of sunshine. In the Fall, the ocean is still warm, while in the spring, it is still a bit cooler. 

Late Fall into winter brings lower temperatures, with some warm days popping up. We’ve visited several times in the winter. Once, the temps stayed in the 50s, which was perfect with a light jacket, and another vacation granted us days in the low 70s. Check the weather before you leave, and pack layers!

Best Activities in Rosemary

The Beach

going to the beach is one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach

Growing up, I spent my summer vacation on the Florida Gulf Coast. I love sitting under an umbrella, reading a book, playing on the white sand beaches with my daughter, or swimming in the turquoise waters of the gulf. I love to spend the entire day here, and the beach holds some of my favorite moments with my family. 

Rosemary’s Beaches offers chair service for an additional fee. We usually bring our own chairs, but lately, we have started renting umbrellas and beach chairs for the ease of it. The beaches are gated, so there’s no public beach access in Rosemary. Your rental property will provide the gate code when you arrive.

 At the center of town, there are bathrooms next to the beach access point and ramps if you use wagons to carry your beach supplies down. While on the beach, you can walk to nearby High Pointe Resort (go west down the beach) and enjoy a frozen drink. There are also numerous access points for public beaches all along the scenic highway of 30A. 

a winter sunset in Rosemary Beach

a Rosemary Sunset

Regardless of the season, you must spend some time on the beach. If it’s cooler, try on a sweatshirt and watch the sunset. You won’t be disappointed as it is an epic sunset over the water. Remember to grab your camera!

Pools

Rosemary offers four different pools for their guests and requires gate access. Your rental will include instructions on how to enter the pool. 

Rosemary Pools

  • Coquina Pool- beacheside 
  • Barbados Pool- French West Indies-style pool
  • Sky Pool- heated pool open year-round (covered in winter months)
  • Cabana Pool- family-friendly option with children’s pool
Rosemary Town Hall

Dining

Every beach community on 30A has a handful of restaurants, however, Rosemary stands out for their exquisite options. For instance, Restaurant Paradis, Pescado Seafood Grill & Rooftop, La Crema and Havana Beach & Grill are some of the most popular spots on 30A for dining. 

Luckily, most of these are within walking distance of your rental. Each one is a great spot for a date night.

Pro tip- make reservations in advance! I always try to do it in the weeks leading up to our trip, and very rarely can I find something. Don’t wait!

one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach is to grab donuts from Donut Hole

Donut Hole

Lastly, I have to share that our favorite donut spot is just a short drive or bike ride away. If you love donuts, go to Donut Hole in Inlet Beach. If you visit during the busy season, go early in the morning because the line will be out the door, and you may miss out on your favorite donut. 

Shopping

I love browsing through small local shops while on vacation. When we stay in Rosemary, my kids love grabbing candy or ice cream at Sugar Shak. They also love picking out a new book from the Hidden Lantern Bookstore. 

I can’t help myself, but I love poking around the Rosemary Beach Trading Company for a new tee shirt for the kids or a sweatshirt for myself. My sisters and I love looking at the gourmet food items at CK’s Feed & Supply and picking up some cold beverages to enjoy on the beach.  Lastly, Bombora Sun & Surf is another fun place to browse. 

Rosemary Amenities

Besides the four captivating pools, the community offers exciting amenities for its guests. Guests enjoy access to the fitness center or pay a small fee for the racquet club. Some rentals cover the cost, so check before you book!

You can organize a beach bonfire through the community or enjoy weekly concerts in the Spring & summer months. In addition, there are activities for the kids. You can schedule a sandcastle-building class or play in the splash pad. 

Eastern Green in Rosemary Beach

Eastern Green

Rosemary has two beautiful lawn areas where kids can run, play, or enjoy a picnic. Our boys enjoyed playing football with other kids one night. All ages enjoy the St. Augustine Green in the back of the neighborhood or the Eastern Green bordering the beach. 

Bike Ride

biking in Rosemary

One of my favorite pastimes on 30A is bike riding. Many vacation rentals include bike rentals at no additional cost, and I always try to look for those. However, there are companies scattered along 30A. On our last Rosemary stay, we were in a condo that didn’t include bikes, so we walked to nearby Seacrest (a 5-10 minute walk) to rent bikes. 

Every day, I enjoyed riding through the streets of Rosemary to see the gorgeous homes up close. We also enjoyed biking to other beach towns such as Seacrest Beach and Alys Beach for a picnic one afternoon. Many guests will bike to the beach if their rental is further from beach access. Either way, biking is a common activity, and I highly recommend it!

Bike Rental Companies

  • Bamboo Bicycle Company in Rosemary
  • Peddlers 30A Bike Rentals in Seacrest (we’ve used them several times)

Farmer’s Market

Rosemary's entrance

Every Sunday, Rosemary hosts a farmer’s market from 9-1. Visitors can buy fresh produce, flowers, and gifts from local artisans. If you are in town on Sundays, I highly recommend visiting as it is a great way to immerse yourself in the community spirit of Rosemary. You could enjoy a lovely brunch in town before a bit of shopping to support the local economy.

State Parks

Grayton Beach State Park

South Walton County boasts some remarkable state parks, all within a short distance of Rosemary. These state parks are home to rare coastal dune lakes, and it’s worth checking out these magnificent wonders. Each park has a small entrance fee.

The last time we stayed in Rosemary, we explored Camp Helen State Park to the east in neighboring Panama City. Camp Helen’s highlights include a walking trail to the beach that borders Lake Powell. Once you arrive at the beach, you are rewarded with pristine natural beaches. You can see the old homes that once hosted retreats for the Alabama textile mill company that owned the property near the parking lot.

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park is considered the crown jewel of 30A state parks. Located directly on the beach, guests can be on the white sandy beaches in minutes. You can also rent kayaks, go hiking, birding, or have a picnic!

Deer Lake State Park has some of the largest coastal dune lakes in the area. Guests can use the boardwalk to explore the park on their way to the beach. Deer Lake is the best way to see a coastal dune lake!

Seasonal Events

Depending on when you visit, you may catch one of the unique activities in Rosemary. I included the list in case you planned a vacation around a holiday, as these fun activities will enhance your experience. 

  • Spring
    • Easter Celebration & Egg Hunt 
  • Summer
    • Rosemary Beach Summer Concert Series 
    • July 4th celebration (bike parade, concert & fireworks)
  • Fall 
    • Oktoberfest at Havana Beach Rooftop Bar
    • Monstrous Halloween Bash
    • Rosemary Beach Uncorked (food & wine festival) 
    • Thanksgiving Fun Run (1 mile, 5k & 10k)
  • Winter
    • Breakfast with Santa
    • Rosemary Beach Foundation Holiday Tour of Homes
    • Rosemary Beach Holiday Market 

30A Excursions

You don’t have to limit yourself to staying in Rosemary. The other beach communities have great restaurants and fun environments. You can enjoy live music at several places, including the Red Bar in Grayton Beach. Seaside also has a farmer’s market on the weekend and a fabulous community to spend some time. We love walking the trails through the Watercolor community and dining at Fish out of Water.

charming Seaside

Seaside

In nearby Panama City, you can shop, eat, and have fun at Pier Park. Although it is a much further drive (2+ hours), the spectacular Blue Angels air shows are there. Check the calendar to see availability.

If you want to be on the water, consider booking a fishing charter, dolphin, or sunset cruise out of Panama City (closer than driving to Destin). You can always rent a boat for the day to explore Crab Island.

Check out my review on the best tours in 30A HERE!

Watercolor community

Watercolor

FAQ: Visiting Rosemary Beach

⛱️What is Rosemary Beach, FL known for?

Rosemary is a trendy beach community on the eastern end of 30A. Known for its iconic Pearl Hotel and beautiful community, beachgoers flock to Rosemary for both the beach and the town. 

⛱️Is Seaside or Rosemary Beach better?

Seaside and Rosemary, the two most sought-after beach communities on 30A, offer a plethora of great restaurants, charming lodging, and delightful shops. However, the decision ultimately boils down to the community’s vibe, look, and feel.

Seaside exudes a more beachy atmosphere with its bright or white colored homes, while Rosemary carries a distinct old European feel. In this comparison, I find myself leaning towards the unique decor of Rosemary, a personal preference that might resonate with you. 

⛱️Is Rosemary Beach worth it?

Rosemary is pricey- I’m not going to lie. If you want to go over spring break or the summer months, expect to shell out some money for a rental. Going in the off-season is a great way to save money or rent a condo further from the beach or a carriage house. You can always stay in neighboring Seacrest to save money, and it’s walkable to Rosemary.

Check out my guide on visiting 30A on a budget!

⛱️What is the best month to visit Rosemary Beach FL?

We really the shoulder seasons of late spring and early fall. The weather is warm but not extremely hot, and the crowds are lower. I suggest avoiding early spring (late March or April) as many Southern schools have Spring Break then, and the area will be packed. We love visiting in the Fall and enjoy a winter break there too.

In Conclusion: ​The Ultimate Guide to the Best Things to do in Rosemary Beach

I hope my guide to the best things to do in Rosemary Beach helps you plan your next great adventure. Rosemary is the ideal vacation with a good mix of relaxation in the sun & sand, activities, and delicious food. Once you visit, you will be planning your next trip!

30A Resources
Best 30A Beaches
Best 30A Tours
Breakfast in 30A
Ice cream in 30A
Best Seafood on 30A
30A State Parks
30A Winter
30A Fall
Christmas in 30A
Spring Break on 30A
How to Vacation at 30A on a Budget
Vacation Rentals on 30A for Families
Beach Packing List for Families
The Best Review of Seaside vs Watercolor, Florida
Ultimate Guide to Watercolor, Florida
Is Watercolor, Florida, Worth it? 12 Reasons why I love it
Best Things to do in Rosemary Beach