Want to find a beach town that makes you feel like you’ve been whisked away to another country? If so, you’ll love Rosemary Beach in Florida. This charming town along the Florida Panhandle offers gorgeous white-sand beaches, fabulous dining, stunning architecture, and plenty more to do — making it the ideal spot for a beach vacation!
In this post, we’ll share the best things to do in Rosemary Beach, Florida — including where to eat, shop, stay, and play — so you can plan the perfect family vacation, couple’s getaway, or girls’ trip to this picturesque beach town.
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Where Is Rosemary Beach?
Rosemary Beach is one of the beach towns along Florida’s “Emerald Coast” — also known as 30A. This area is named after the road (E County Hwy 30A) that connects the beach towns along the Florida Panhandle, starting at Inlet Beach and ending at Miramar Beach.
The charming beach towns on 30A sit between the larger, more commercialized cities of Panama City Beach and Destin. The most notable beach towns within 30A (from east to west) include Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Seagrove Beach, Seaside, and Grayton Beach — though there are several other beach communities along this stretch, like Santa Rosa Beach, Inlet Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Watercolor, Watersound, and more.
If you’re driving the 30A stretch from Panama City Beach — you’ll hit Rosemary Beach quickly. And this adorable beach town is definitely worth a stop! There are tons of things to do in Rosemary Beach, including shopping, dining, biking, kayaking, admiring the gorgeous architecture, and much more!
What Is the History of Rosemary Beach?
Rosemary Beach honestly doesn’t feel like it belongs along the Florida Panhandle (in the best way possible!) — and it was actually designed to feel that way.
Rosemary Beach was designed in 1995 to mimic the “look and feel” of the French Quarter in New Orleans, Charleston, St. Augustine, and European Colonial influence in the Caribbean and Dutch West Indies. The shops, restaurants, hotels, and vacation rentals in Rosemary Beach are much easier to access by foot or by bike since the community is filled with cobblestone streets, quaint alleyways, and winding streets — it’s truly so charming!
Best Places to Eat in Rosemary Beach
One of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach is dining at all the fabulous eateries and restaurants. Although there are dozens of fabulous places to eat at Rosemary Beach and in the nearby areas, these are a few favorites in (or within walking distance) of Rosemary Beach.
Amavida Coffee Roasters
Amavida Coffee Roasters is hands down the best coffee shop in Rosemary Beach, so it’s the perfect place to start the day. This local coffee shop serves up delicious craft coffee and roasts its own single-origin coffee, coffee blends, decaf beans, and espresso beans.
Whether you’re waking up in Rosemary Beach or driving here from a nearby beach town, stop by Amavida Coffee Roasters to grab a drink before walking around and exploring Rosemary Beach!
Summer Kitchen Cafe
Summer Kitchen Cafe is a small, neighborhood eatery in Rosemary Beach right next to the beach. It was the first restaurant and commercial business in the town and opened in 1999.
Summer Kitchen Cafe serves breakfast, lunch, dessert, and drinks. Their specialty is “Roll Ups” for both breakfast and lunch — in breakfast roll ups, you’ll find eggs, bacon, sausage, and ham, and in lunch roll ups, you’ll find chicken, tuna, beans, and lettuce.
Cowgirl Kitchen is another one of the best restaurants on Main Street in Rosemary Beach. They serve breakfast and lunch, with delicious, no-frills menu items with a southern flair.
For breakfast, try The Heartache — pimento cheese and praline bacon (bacon baked with brown sugar and pecans) on a biscuit. For lunch, I loved the Drunken Shrimp Tacos — two flour tortillas filled with blackened shrimp, cilantro lime crema, chipotle salsa, and queso fresco.
Havana Beach Bar & Grill
Havana Beach Bar & Grill is located in The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach — one of the most sought-after hotels along 30A. This upscale restaurant offers three dining venues — the main indoor dining room, the rooftop with gorgeous views of Rosemary Beach, and the beautiful bar.
The breakfast and dinner menus are inspired by the Gulf Coast, Caribbean, and Ernest Hemmingway’s favorite restaurant in Havana. You’ll find items like Creole Seafood Pasta, El Supremo Cubano, and Blackened Grouper Po’ Boy on the menu. We recommend making reservations at this restaurant — it fills up quickly, especially on the weekends.
Playa Bowls is a popular chain that specializes in bowls, smoothies, juices, and cold brew coffees. Grabbing a refreshing treat from Playa Bowls is a great way to cool down after spending a morning biking or laying out at the beach.
Something unique about Playa Bowls is that they offer different bases, like coconut, mango, and pitaya, instead of just the standard acai. The Coco Craze Bowl (coconut base) and Goji Bowl (pitaya base) were both delicious. I loved the coconut base. It was so refreshing and tasty!
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate is a Spanish restaurant and one of the best places to eat in Rosemary Beach for a cozy and fun dining experience. I really wanted to dine here during our time in Rosemary Beach, but we ran out of time — hopefully next time!
At La Crema Tapas & Chocolate, you can order tapas to share, like shrimp, scallops, fish tacos, and steak empanadas, as well as delicious appetizers and paellas (seafood, country, and veggie). For dessert, enjoy delicious chocolate-themed treats, like chocolate fondue, hot chocolate molten cake, and sipping chocolate (like hot chocolate, but thicker) infused with mocha, peppermint, hot chili, or hazelnut — a Spanish delicacy.
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate also has an extensive wine list and serves beer, handcrafted cocktails, and batched cocktails.
Kilwins Rosemary Beach
Kilwins Rosemary Beach isn’t exactly local, but it’s still worth listing as one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach — I mean, who doesn’t love ice cream? I’m pretty sure I got a scoop of Toasted Coconut Ice Cream from Kilwins almost every day during my trip to Florida.
All that to say, Kilwins is a delicious ice cream and dessert shop focused on creating “old-fashioned sweets” and is a great place to stop in Rosemary Beach for a sweet treat. You can never go wrong with Kilwins!
Restaurant Paradis is one of the best restaurants in Rosemary Beach for coastal fine dining with fresh, seasonal ingredients. You can come straight from the beach or dressed up for a fancy dinner out — all are welcome at this restaurant and lounge!
Restaurant Paradis is only open for dinner and serves a sophisticated “surf ‘n’ turf” menu, with items like Gulf Coast Snapper, Pecan & Lobster Encrusted Grouper, Rack of Elk, and Cast-Iron Filet. In the elegant lounge, you can order fine wines, reserves, ports, and martinis.
Big Bad Breakfast
Big Bad Breakfast is a breakfast chain that is popular in Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, and other southern states. However, they also have a location at Inlet Beach, which is within walking distance of Rosemary Beach (and therefore, a worthy inclusion on this list!).
Big Bad Breakfast offers all the typical breakfast items, like pancakes, waffles, eggs, omelets, and skillets, but they specialize in biscuits. You can order a Big Bad Biscuit Sandwich, Biscuits and Gravy, or the “Cathead” Chicken Biscuit — complete with fried chicken and sausage gravy.
I ordered the Big Bad Breakfast Skillet and got a biscuit on the side. It was tasty, and it kept me full for an entire day of exploring Rosemary Beach!
Shades Bar & Grill
Shades Bar & Grill is another restaurant in Inlet Beach that is close enough to Rosemary Beach to include on this list — especially since it offers more of a “laid-back” vibe than some of the smaller, more intimate, or more upscale restaurants in Rosemary Beach.
Shades Bar & Grill is like an upscale sports bar — the vibes are chill, but the food is delicious — not greasy, like bar food. I loved the Chicken Nachos and Turkey Bacon Ranch Flatbread. You can also order wings, salads, sandwiches, and specialty plates here.
Best Places to Shop at Rosemary Beach
From bookstores and clothing boutiques to toy stores and even dog shops — there are plenty of places to shop in Rosemary Beach. Since shopping is one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach, check out the following shops while you’re exploring this quaint town!
Rosemary Beach Trading Company
If you want to bring a piece of Rosemary Beach home with you — head to Rosemary Beach Trading Company. This shop sells sweatshirts, hoodies, shirts, hats, bags, drinkware, and accessories branded with the “official logo” for Rosemary Beach. The items in this store are so simplistic and stylish — I wear the hat I bought here all the time!
Tip: Rosemary Beach Collection is another store in Rosemary Beach that sells the same items at Rosemary Beach Trading Company, like branded sweatshirts, hoodies, hats, and more.
The Hidden Lantern Bookstore
The Hidden Lantern Bookstore is a cozy bookstore in Rosemary Beach that offers 15,000+ unique titles spanning dozens of genres. In addition to books, this bookstore also sells puzzles, board games, and other fun trinkets.
Gigi’s Fabulous Kids Fashions + Toys
If you’re traveling with kids, you must pay a visit to Gigi’s Fabulous Kids Fashions + Toys. This store sells adorable clothing items and toys for kids of all ages. The store itself is also colorful and fun — perfect for visiting with kids!
Disco is an adorable boutique in Rosemary Beach that sells tons of fun dresses, outfits, shoes, and accessories. The store has disco balls on the ceiling, which is fun, and plenty of beautiful artwork on display. If you’re looking for a cute new outfit for a nice dinner in Rosemary Beach —head into this shop to look for something to wear!
Huck and Harlowe
Dog lovers, unite! Huck and Harlowe is a dog outfitter in Rosemary Beach that sells high-quality products for dogs, like bandanas, crochet toys, microfiber towels, collars, treats, gadgets, and more. The store itself is dog friendly, so you can bring your dog inside to go shopping, or you can pick up a “souvenir” for your dog to bring back from vacation!
Best Things to Do in Rosemary Beach
In addition to dining and shopping, there are plenty of other fun things to do in Rosemary Beach. With such beautiful weather, many of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach revolve around staying active — hiking, biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, and walking are all popular things to do in Rosemary Beach!
Camp Helen State Park
Camp Helen State Park is one of the largest coastal dune lakes in Florida, and it’s only a five-minute drive from Rosemary Beach — making fishing, hiking, kayaking or paddleboarding at or around this lake one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach!
Admission to Camp Helen State Park is $4 per vehicle or $2 per pedestrian, and the hours are 8 AM until sunset daily. Kayaking and paddleboarding are some of the best things to do at Camp Helen State Park — rentals from Friends of Camp Helen for single kayaks are $20 per hour or $50 for a half day, and rentals for tandem kayaks and paddleboards are $25 per hour or $60 for a half day. We loved paddleboarding at Camp Helen during our trip to Rosemary Beach!
Biking is one of the best things to do in Rosemary Beach and is the best way to explore the neighboring beach communities in 30A. In fact, there is a safe, wide, and flat bike trail that runs for nearly 20 miles from Inlet Beach to Dune Island and traces the entire length of 30A!
There are plenty of places to rent bikes in Rosemary Beach, including Bamboo Bicycle Company — so rent a bike and begin exploring 30A on your own two wheels!
Beach Day & Bonfire
You might be surprised to learn that the actual white sands and blue waves of Rosemary Beach are closed to the public — you can only visit if you are staying at a hotel or vacation rental with a private beach access code. That said, if you really want to be able to walk down to the beach — you’ll need to stay at an approved accommodation in Rosemary Beach.
If you are permitted to go to the beach, spend the day soaking up the sun, and end the evening with a beach bonfire. The Rosemary Beach Service provide bonfires to guests in the community — they will set up, service, and clean up the bonfire for you!
Tip: If you are not staying in Rosemary Beach but still want to go to the beach, head a bit further east to Inlet Beach, where you’ll be able to find public beach access. This photo was taken at Laguna Beach, which is just a bit further east from Inlet Beach!
As we mentioned earlier, Main Street in Rosemary Beach is jam-packed with fun shopping, fabulous dining, and picture-perfect photo opportunities — so spend some time hanging out here, popping in and out of shops, and admiring the gorgeous architecture!
30A Farmers’ Market at Rosemary Beach
The 30A Farmers’ Market at Rosemary Beach is a fun local event to attend if you’ll be visiting Rosemary Beach on a Sunday. This farmers’ market takes place in Barrett Square and starts at 9 AM and ends at 1 PM.
At the market, you’ll find tons of local vendors selling grass-fed beef, free-range eggs, local honey, fresh vegetables, delicious cheeses, fresh artisan breads, and more. You’ll also find natural bath and body products, pet treats, juices, and more!
Where to Stay at Rosemary Beach
There actually aren’t many hotels in Rosemary Beach — the majority of accommodations in the area are spacious vacation homes. Nevertheless, there is one iconic hotel in Rosemary Beach (recommended below) and other properties nearby that are excellent for a stay in Rosemary Beach!
The Pearl Hotel
The Pearl Hotel is the most popular hotel in Rosemary Beach, and arguably one of the most popular places to stay in 30A.
The Pearl Hotel is located on Main Street and overlooks the turquoise waters and white sands of Rosemary Beach. This hotel offers access to Rosemary Beach, a rooftop pool, a spa, and a popular restaurant — Havana Beach Bar and Grill. If you stay at The Pearl Hotel, you’ll be walking distance from all the best things to do in Rosemary Beach. This hotel is beautifully furnished and really romantic, making it a popular spot for couples!
The Pointe on 30A
The Pointe on 30A is located between Rosemary Beach and Inlet Beach, right next to Big Bad Breakfast and Shades Bar and Grill. Instead of hotel rooms, the property offers spacious two-bedroom and three-bedroom vacation rental apartments, making this an ideal accommodation option for families traveling with kids or large groups traveling together.
The Pointe on 30A offers an outdoor swimming pool, a hot tub, a picnic area with BBQ grills, and more. If you want to enjoy the best things to do in Rosemary Beach and Inlet Beach, these rentals are in an ideal location for your stay in 30A!
FAQs: Best Things to Do at Rosemary Beach
Is Rosemary Beach worth visiting?
Rosemary Beach is one of the best beach towns on 30A for travelers who enjoy upscale dining, boutique shopping, beautiful architecture, and nearby opportunities for adventure — such as kayaking, biking, and paddleboarding. Rosemary Beach is the perfect luxury beach town for a romantic couples vacation or a ritzy girls’ trip, like a bachelorette party.
Is Seaside and Rosemary Beach the same?
While Seaside and Rosemary Beach are both planned beach towns in 30A — they are not the same. Seaside is located about 15 miles west of Rosemary Beach and offers a different “look and feel” than Rosemary Beach, with pastel-colored beach houses and beautiful pavilions and pathways leading to the beach.
What beach in Florida looks like Greece?
Alys Beach is known for its white-washed buildings and charming courtyards next to the sparkling ocean, which reminds many travelers of the buildings overlooking the Mediterranean Sea on the islands in Greece.
Alys Beach is a 15-minute walk and five minute car or bike ride from Rosemary Beach. Pay this elegant 30A beach town a visit during your trip to Rosemary Beach!
Are 30A and Rosemary Beach the same?
Rosemary Beach is one of the many beach towns that are a part of the 30A stretch along the Florida Panhandle, which also includes Alys Beach, Seaside, and Grayton Beach. 30A lies between the larger cities of Panama City Beach and Destin.
Plan the Perfect 30A Trip with the Best Things to Do in Rosemary Beach
If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay on Florida’s Panhandle that oozes romance and charm — look no further than Rosemary Beach. With plenty of shopping, dining, and things to do in Rosemary Beach, you’ll never be bored while soaking up the sun in this stunning beach town in Florida!
Save The Best Things to Do in Rosemary Beach for Later
Check out these other posts about Florida’s Gulf Coast to plan the perfect trip to the Sunshine State!