In the 60s, the narrow roads between Panama City and Destin, Florida, ran alongside scrub-covered beaches dotted with fish camps.Today, the camps have been replaced with designer communities.
One of the most family-friendly is Rosemary Beach, founded in 1995. The Panhandle town was designed to encompass New Urbanism, a 20th century movement promoting walkable and diverse neighborhoods. Restaurants, shops, swimming pools, tennis courts, and, of course, the beach are within 5-minute walks of HGTV-worthy rental properties.
For less than what a week in a luxury beachfront hotel costs, families can stay in fully appointed homes with access to first-class amenities.
Rosemary Beach’s uniqueness begins at Barrett Square, the town's thriving center that lies on the north side of Scenic Route 30A. In the Square, rent a bicycle and explore Deer Lake State Park, an easy four-mile ride near the Gulf shoreline. Have a treat from Sugga Pies Cupcakes to tide you over until dinner. Restaurants range from casual to elegant and with all the great Gulf seafood and fresh seasonal fare, saving room for dessert will be hard. But don’t miss the dark chocolate fondue at LaCrema. After all, calories don't count during beach vacations. You can always work out at the property’s fitness center or take a walk on the Rosemary Beach Walking Trail, which meanders throughout the 107-acre community past beautiful homes, lush green spaces, and the ever-present wild rosemary bushes.