Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, USA

Living in Santa Rosa Beach

Iyna Bort Caruso

Located along the panhandle in the region known as the Emerald Coast, Santa Rosa Beach is one of 16 separate seaside neighborhoods along a 26-mile stretch in South Walton County.

It is famous for its sugar sand beaches and turquoise surf, the color being a happy result of how the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico reflect off the white sand.

The shoreline of Santa Rosa Beach extends between Four Mile Village to Inlet Beach, just before the Walton and Bay County lines. The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is in close proximity.

The community is a travel magazine favorite, frequently showing up on lists of top beaches and preferred family friendly destinations. Life revolves around the water with such activities as fishing, kayaking and standup paddleboarding, but the area also has an active arts and dining scene with galleries, cafes and numerous festivals. It’s not surprising Santa Rosa visitors have a repeat rate of 94 percent. Outdoor life on the Gulf is vibrant. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park has more than three miles of white sand beaches and, famously, sand dunes nearly 25 feet high. Off-road bicyclists and hikers head to Point Washington State Park, a 15,000-acre preserve. It’s a setting unlikely to change. Forty percent of the South Walton area is state-owned and protected from development.