1. Alys Beach
The newest 30A community, founded in 2004, Alys Beach is carefully crafted to celebrate the public realm of streets, parks, pedestrian paths, and great civic buildings in a manner reminiscent of the world’s most beloved seaside towns. In recognition of the strong draw of the sea, the streets orient to the beach, guaranteeing views to the Gulf and cooling sea breezes. Alys Beach is home to the stunning Caliza pool, George’s at Alys Beach, and the breezy Fonville press, where you can grab a morning latte.
2. Blue Mountain Beach
Blue Mountain Beach is starting to pick up tremendously in 2014, with many upcoming developments planned for completion by 2015.
Said to be the highest point anywhere on the Gulf of Mexico (at a whopping elevation of 64 feet), “Blue Mountain Beach” is hardly a mountain… but at least they got the beach part right. As for the blue? Folks say it likely originated from the blue lupine flowers that still flourish between the homes here. At one time, they blanketed these Gulf-side hills. Today, Blue Mountain Beach consists mostly of private residences, but like the lupines, there are also a few funky local businesses sprinkled in for good measure.
3. Inlet Beach
Inlet Beach is just about as authentic ‘Old Florida’ as you’ll find in South Walton, and perhaps anywhere. Quite quiet and bordered by 13-acres of protected dunes, this pristine beach neighborhood feels as if time somehow forgot it. Most homes here are classic Florida cottages. Think A-Frame with a front porch, concrete block cottages and homes raised high on stilts. Once known as “Soldiers Beach” (named after World War II vets who purchased land in this area through a government homestead program), the dunes often soar to massive heights here, and the extra long neighborhood walkovers allow for some pretty spectacular photography.