Home & Garden

The Luxe Life on the Florida Panhandle: Rosemary Beach

All the comforts of home attractively packaged

By Marla Cimini |

When stepping onto the breezy cobblestone walkways in the neo-traditional town of Rosemary Beach, Florida, the overall vacation experience is as much about the luxurious living quarters as it is about lounging on the pristine sand and frolicking in the crystal aquamarine waves.

A unique planned community featuring upscale multi-level cottages and adjacent lavish carriage houses, Rosemary Beach was founded in 1995 as a cozy community by the sea with an emphasis on convenience. Located on the famed Panhandle, situated between Panama City and Destin, the town was developed by The Rosemary Beach Land Company, which founded it on the principles of “new urbanism” combined with traditional neighborhood development. Inspired by other classic beach towns, the 107-acre, Gulf-front Rosemary Beach emits an air of casual elegance, encouraging pedestrian traffic and social interaction, while incorporating strict rules and regulations for architectural synchronicity. The town is easily accessible, just a 30-minute drive from the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and about an hour from the Fort Walton Beach Okaloosa Airport.

All residences in Rosemary Beach are stunning, with aesthetically pleasing architecture and award-winning, expertly-designed layouts. Home prices range from approximately $729,000 for a three bedroom/three bathroom home – to upwards of several million dollars. In addition, Rosemary Beach offers fractional ownership opportunities for as little as at $94,000.

The homes feature exquisite gourmet kitchens with high-end appliances, hand-crafted fixtures, beautiful hardwood floors, spacious bathrooms and organized walk-in closets. High ceilings and courtyards add a charming touch. The jaw-dropping architecture has been painstakingly detailed; repurposed wood and other natural materials provide delightful character, as each property encompasses its own personality.

Exteriors are just as breathtaking, taking cues from architecture similar to the styles of the West Indies, New Orleans, and even Old World Europe as well, with neutral colors and subtle tones. The homes also feature wood siding, cedar shingles, stucco with metal, or shingle roofing.

The Rosemary Beach town planners and architects established specific guidelines for the placement, design and construction of all homes and buildings. The resulting town features twelve clean basic building types and an array of different custom homes. Every home in Rosemary Beach is architecturally distinct and is custom designed and built to reflect each owner’s tastes and lifestyle.

In addition to vacation rentals, the town offers properties for sale. It is common for the homes in Rosemary Beach to be sold furnished — and why not? Most interiors are worthy of a spread in Architectural Digest and have been designed professionally and color-coordinated with added touches of original artwork by local artists, one-of-a-kind artisan pieces, and accented with the latest materials, such as eco-friendly recycled quartz and glass countertops. Many of the homes have porches, balconies and private outdoor living spaces as well, and some even have water features and swimming pools, too.

This quaint town has its own personality as well, and has everything a family would want for a fun and relaxing beach vacation. Just about all activities can be reached easily on foot — no more than a five-minute walk. The careful arrangement of the town’s homes and public spaces allow for the neighborhoods to be interconnected by a network of rustic boardwalks and sandy footpaths. Hidden pathways lead to the town square, tennis courts, five swimming pools and the beach. Kids and parents choose bicycles as the favored mode of transportation, as cars are kept in driveways and parking is restricted to behind homes. A dog-friendly town, Rosemary beach residents can be found strolling along the pathways and socializing with their pets as well.

In addition to easy beach access and glorious powdered white sand, Rosemary beach’s numerous cafes and restaurants are also all steps away from most of the homes and range from casual to upscale with diverse cuisine. A few standouts include: Aqua Coastal Sushi, featuring Nuevo and traditional plates; Cowgirl Kitchen, a casual breakfast, lunch and dinner spot, Onano, featuring an authentic Tuscan-style menu; and Paradis, a fine dining establishment with a fresh seasonal menu.

Of course, for those who prefer to cook at home, there is a small grocery store in town with limited items, but larger shopping trips require a visit to the local supermarket, a few miles down the road.

With mild year-round temperatures, the natural beauty of spectacular crowd-free beaches; it’s no wonder that residents and visitors consider Rosemary Beach a “new paradise” with coastal character.