This Little Underrated Florida Town Is The Perfect Spot For A Family-Friendly Beach Vacation

Florida's 30A beaches offer some of the most stunning coastal landscapes in the Southeastern United States and attract millions of tourists each year. Along the 24-mile corridor, you'll pass powdery white sand beaches, coastal dune lakes, lush pine forests, marshland, and an abundance of picturesque beach towns like Rosemary Beach.

Among the small coastal communities on the Florida Panhandle, Rosemary Beach stands out as a crown jewel, yet the quaint town remains a hidden gem. During your visit, you can escape the crowds of larger cities like Destin and Fort Walton for a vacation full of family-friendly fun and small-town charm. Rosemary Beach is known for its stunning architecture that gives it a European vibe. The community was developed in 1995 using New Urbanism concepts focusing on walkable streets, environmental sustainability, and plenty of green spaces.

Cobblestone sidewalks meander along streets with adorable shops, restaurants, and cafes. The town square is lively, with plenty of delicious restaurants. Kids will revel in building sand castles and splashing in the sparkling blue water, while adults will love relaxing on the soft sand with a good book. The whole family can enjoy exciting recreational activities and the Sunshine State's gorgeous weather — it's a must-visit family vacation destination in the U.S. for those of all ages. 

Fun for the whole family

The community of Rosemary Beach is very walkable, making it an excellent destination for families and groups to explore without needing to arrange transportation. Older kids will have the freedom to walk about town and visit ice cream shops and cafes, while adults can enjoy romantic date nights at a restaurant or wine bar.

Sandcastle building lessons offer a unique creative activity that is family-friendly. During the two-hour lesson, your instructors will meet you on the beach and teach you professional sand sculpting. By the end of the course, your family will have constructed an impressive 3-foot-tall castle. The lesson, offered through Beach Sand Sculptures, costs $419 for a group of up to five people.

If kids need a break from the salt and sand, head to St. Augustine Park. The expansive green space has a splash pad fountain for little ones to cool off and plenty of shaded benches for adults to relax. Throughout the year, there are also fun community events at the park, including musical performances.

For some outdoor recreation, consider renting bikes and exploring the village. Bamboo Bicycle Company is a great one-stop shop for the whole family. You can rent children's bicycles with training wheels, as well as adult single and tandem bikes. They even offer pull-behind trailers for small kids. Adult bike rentals start at $43 per day.Head to Topsail Hill State Park to rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards and explore a unique dune lake.

Planning your trip and finding the perfect place to stay

In addition to having one of Florida's best beaches, Rosemary Beach is conveniently close to a few major airports with domestic flights. Panama City Airport, officially known as Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), is the closest option. Depending on traffic, you can reach Rosemary Beach in under half an hour. Destin-Fort Walton Airport is another option and is just over an hour away.

An abundance of accommodations are available in the town. Families traveling with multiple children may want to opt for a private vacation rental. Rosemary Beach's official vacation rental site offers options ranging from quaint cottages to luxury complexes with private pools that sleep up to 17 guests. Airbnb is another excellent option for private rentals, with prices starting at around $200 per night.

Rosemary Beach also has some gorgeous hotels and inns available. The Pearl is a beachfront hotel with a chic black-and-white exterior, stunning turrets, and a clock tower. The rooms are luxurious with coastal-inspired decor, and a restaurant and spa are located on the property. Families with kids may want to opt for one of the spacious suites. Prices for standard rooms start at around $300 per night during the winter, but are upwards of $500 per night during peak seasons.For a more budget-friendly option, check out Carillon Beach Resort Inn, which is located just 2 miles from town and has rooms starting at around $100 per night.