Beach Town at sunset

Most Beautiful Small Towns On Florida’s Emerald Coast To Visit In 2024

Posted on: July 8, 2024

Written By: Brendan Cane, Read the Full Article Here

Florida’s Emerald Coast is located in the southern portion of the Florida Panhandle, along the scenic Gulf of Mexico. It is widely sought after as a vacation spot, mainly known for its beaches and yearlong pleasant weather. This region also offers some of the country’s best golf courses, nature parks, fishing charters, and more. Tourists looking to have a blast should look into the most beautiful small towns that one can stay at today along the Emerald Coast. These destinations offer hotels, landmarks, events, and activities, perfect for your next escape in 2024.

Destin Beach and Pier


Destin, often referred to as the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” is a premier destination for fishermen and beach-goers alike. Known for its emerald-green waters, clean beaches, and abundance of fishing charters, Destin offers a range of activities catering to both relaxation and adventure. The town’s origins as a small fishing village are still evident, with the bustling Destin Harbor at the heart of downtown. The Destin Harbor Boardwalk is well worth a visit, providing a lively waterfront area with shops, restaurants, and entertainment options. From here, visitors can embark on fishing charters, dolphin cruises, and sunset sailboat rides from the harbor.

Big Kahuna’s Water & Adventure Park is located nearby, with its numerous water slides and rides, and is perfect for family fun. Meanwhile, for golf enthusiasts, the Kelly Plantation Golf Club provides a challenging course with views of beautiful Choctawhatchee Bay. Henderson Beach State Park is another highlight, offering over 6,000 feet of scenic shoreline, nature trails, and picnic pavilions. The park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts, with opportunities to spot migratory birds, sea turtles, and other native species.

Saeaside home


Seaside, a master-planned community along Florida’s Emerald Coast, is among the top destinations to spend your vacation in 2024. This town, known for its pastel-colored homes and white picket fences, epitomizes “New Urbanism” in the development of the Emerald Coast, promoting walkability and ease of access to amenities for both residents and visitors. The best way to take in the vibe is via locally-grown produce and locally-made arts and crafts at the Seaside Farmers Market in 2024. This event is hosted in and around the downtown amphitheater twice a week (every Tuesday and Saturday).

A short distance from Seaside is Grayton Beach State Park, renowned for its pristine beaches and coastal dune lakes. This park offers ways for outdoor adventurers to go hiking, paddleboarding, and even bird watching at the several nature lookouts strewn through it. Another nearby attraction is the Underwater Museum of Art, located off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico. Here, one can go on diving excursions and explore submerged sculptures throughout.

Grayton Beach Florida

Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach is a historic town full of must-visit landmarks and other fun things to see and do for the whole family. It is one of the oldest communities on the Emerald Coast, dating back to the 1800s. With a rich history reflected in its diverse architecture and vibrant local culture, this town also provides a slightly laidback and rustic vibe compared to many of the other more modern towns on the Emerald Coast.

The downtown core contains an assortment of galleries and shops, such as the Red Bar, a local institution that offers tasty bar-style food and regularly scheduled live music. Outdoor fun can be found at the Point Washington State Forest, which contains unique coastal forest hiking trails and mountain biking. Western Lake, one of the region’s rare coastal dune lakes, is also located nearby and worth a visit for nature fans and anybody looking to spend a day on a more secluded beach.

Alys Beach Florida

Alys Beach

Alys Beach is a visually striking town best known for its distinctive white-washed buildings and Mediterranean-inspired architecture. This planned community emphasizes sustainability, creating an atmosphere that is fun for a vacation and ideal for environmentally conscious travelers. A central feature of Alys Beach is its pedestrian-friendly design, with narrow, tree-lined streets leading to a central plaza, perfect if you are looking to not depend on a car to get around.

Key attractions in Alys Beach include the Alys Beach Amphitheater, which hosts outdoor events and concerts, and the Caliza Pool, an upscale venue with a stunning pool, private cabanas, and a poolside restaurant. Of course, the beaches nearby are a major draw, offering clear waters and soft, white sand. Along with the beach, visitors can book a room at The Beach Club at Alys Beach for fresh food, drinks, and waterside views. November is the best time to plan a trip to Alys Beach in 2024. This is thanks to Alys Beach Crafted, a collection of booths downtown that will host local chefs, breweries, and craftsmen.

Rosemary Beach Florida

Rosemary Beach

Culturally and aesthetically influenced by the West Indies and New Orleans, Rosemary Beach features cobblestone streets and unique storefronts that will make visitors feel like they’ve been transported to another place. Central to Rosemary Beach is Barrett Square, a vibrant area with locally owned shops, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants like Gallion’s. For a more all-inclusive experience, the High Pointe Resort at the heart of town has everything you need, with its 3-star hotel, onsite restaurants, large outdoor pool, and easy access to the beach.

The nearby Inlet Beach offers expansive sandy shores and clear waters, perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Those looking for a more active experience opt for the Timpoochee Trail, a scenic 18-mile paved path through Rosemary Beach. It is ideal for cycling, running, and walking along the Gulf of Mexico.

Santa Rosa Beach Florida

Santa Rosa Beach

The community of Santa Rosa Beach is part of the larger South Walton area and is known for its beaches, parks, and other scenic landscapes. The nearby beaches are part of a protected stretch of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, one of Florida’s main national parks, providing a majestic environment for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports.

Those interested in the outdoors can opt for Eden Gardens State Park, located near Santa Rosa Beach, which is home to a beautifully preserved antebellum mansion surrounded by manicured gardens, ancient oaks, and ponds. Visitors are recommended to explore the house museum, hike the nature trails, and enjoy picnics on the well-maintained grounds. After the outdoors, recharge at Taco30A, a local favorite serving authentic street-style Tacos and other Mexican fare. If you happen to be around in November 2024, get your appetite ready for the official 30A BBQ Festival, which will be taking place in Santa Rosa Beach.

Miramar Beach Florida

Miramar Beach

The extensive Miramar Beach stretches along the Gulf of Mexico on the western edge of the Emerald Coast. The white sands and clear turquoise found in this vacation town are ideal for swimming, sunbathing, and general beachcombing. The scenic Gulf Drive is perfect for biking or jogging along the coastline, offering some of the best views of the gulf.

Many come to South Florida for its world-class golfing. Miramar Beach is no exception, home to the Emerald Bay Golf Club, a premier golfing destination featuring a challenging course set against a backdrop of lush oceanside landscapes. Another notable destination in Miramar Beach is the Silver Sands Premium Outlets, one of the largest designer outlet centers in the Southeast of the United States. Here, you can shop at over 100 stores offering a variety of high-end brands at discounted prices.

Brighten Up Your 2024 On Florida’s Emerald Coast

Whether it is during summer vacation with the kids or a quick weekend road trip, the Emerald Coast along Florida’s portion of the Gulf of Mexico is highly sought after as a destination for fun and relaxation. Check out these seven small towns for a selection of beaches, golf courses, parks, and other opportunities to get outside and soak up some sun. Pack up the sunscreen, book a hotel, and get ready for an exciting 2024 in Florida.