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First Timer's Guide to Santa Rosa Beach

Founded in 1910, Santa Rosa Beach is the oldest and largest of the 16 beach neighborhoods in South Walton. A lot has changed over the years, as parks, restaurants and outdoor adventures have made Santa Rosa Beach a vibrant and varied destination.

And you don’t have to take our word for it. Travel + Leisure named Santa Rosa Beach as one of its Top 5 “Favorite Towns in America.” That’s pretty high praise.

Visiting Santa Rosa Beach for the first time? Here’s what you need to know.

Touching both the Choctawhatchee Bay to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south and stretching from Sandestin to Inlet Beach – Santa Rosa Beach offers an incredible amount of diversity. Whatever it is you like to do, you’ll find it in this beach neighborhood.

Santa Rosa Beach is home to three state parks (Grayton Beach State Park, Deer Lake State Park, Eden Gardens State Park) and a state forest (Point Washington State Forest), so if you enjoy hiking and biking through miles of trails and soaking up nature, you’re well taken care of.

Whether you choose pedal power or an electric option, there’s no better way to spend an afternoon in Santa Rosa Beach than exploring by bike. Companies like Eventure Tour Co. offer guided tours of local hotspots, like art galleries, restaurants, breweries and the state forest, via electric bikes.

Be sure to stop by Eden Gardens State Park when you visit. Tucked away in Point Washington State Forest, Eden Gardens offers a peaceful retreat into the past. Tour the historic Wesley House or just spend time meandering through the camelias.

Looking for dinner with a view? Enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico at the Vue on 30A. Not only can you have a delicious meal, but you can also soak up a breathtaking sunset.

And while fresh Gulf seafood is the go-to along the coast, Santa Rosa Beach offers diners any type of cuisine their heart desires, from mouthwatering Mexican to rustic Italian.

With so much to do in Santa Rosa Beach, you’ll stay as busy as you care to be, whether that’s exploring, shopping, dining out or just lounging on the beach.

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