Located on Florida’s beautiful Emerald Coast, South Walton County is a 26-mile stretch of 16 unique beach communities off the 30A state road. The area is famous for its sugar-white sand and aquamarine water. Whether you’re swinging in a sunny hammock or jet skiing on the Gulf of Mexico, you’re going to fall in love with this Floridian paradise. Each beachfront neighborhood has its own unique personality, so choosing the perfect place to look for vacation rentals around South Walton can be challenging. Fortunately, you’re always a quick drive away from the next community so exploring the area is a breeze. Here are 12 South Walton vacation rental locations you need to check out.

1. Santa Rosa Beach

The majority of the South Walton area is made up of Santa Rosa Beach. Smaller communities like WaterColor, Grayton Beach, Seaside and Blue Mountain Beach are part of Santa Rosa Beach, but they’re so unique most locals view them as their own entities. The area offers everything you’d want from a beach community and more, including pure white sand, crystalline water, boat rentals, bike paths, and plenty of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants.

2. Seagrove Beach

Named after the picturesque oak tree grove that decorates the beach, Seagrove Beach is a charming family-friendly community. As far as vacation rentals go, you have your choice of both classic Florida cottages and modern residences. Seagrove is located right in the heart of South Walton, giving you convenient access to communities to the east and west. Be sure to stop by the Seagrove Village Market Cafe for a bite at least once; the grouper sandwich is a local favorite.

3. Blue Mountain Beach

Blue Mountain Beach is a small community located just east of Santa Rosa Beach. It’s believed to be the highest elevation on the Gulf Coast and offers some gorgeous views. The area is also known for its flourishing blue lupine flowers. Most of the community is made up of private homes although there are some eclectic shops to check out, including For The Health Of It, a fantastic place to stock up on picnic ingredients.

4. Dune Allen Beach

If you’re looking for waterfront vacation rentals, Dune Allen Beach is a great starting point. To the north, you have the rare coastal dune lakes, including Oyster lake and Stallworth Lake. To the south is the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. Boating, fishing, paddleboarding, and other water sports are popular in this gorgeous area. Topsail Hill Preserve State Preserve is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts. It features beaches, coastal dune lakes, long-leaf pine forests, and plenty of hiking trails. It’s also home to Great Florida Birding Trail, one of the best places to look for flying wildlife.

5. Rosemary Beach

Rosemary Beach has an Old World charm that’s irresistible. Homes inspired by Caribbean architecture and cobblestone streets give this area a romantic, enchanting feel — especially in the evening. Be sure to visit the downtown area, where you’ll find a variety of boutique shops, fine restaurants, children’s stores, art galleries, a book store, and even a day spa. Most of the homes have private courtyards attached, which is perfect if you want to barbecue at your vacation rental after a long day on the beach.

6. Alys Beach

Alys Beach is instantly recognizable, thanks to its brilliant white homes and incredibly unique architecture reminiscent of Bermuda or a Mediterranean fishing village. Seacrest Beach is just west of Alys Beach, and Rosemary Beach is just minutes away to the east. Catch a concert, movie, play, or other production at the Alys Beach Amphitheater while you’re in town. Be sure to swing by Charlie’s Donut Truck for a decadent piece of heaven.

7. Seaside

A Simple, Beautiful Life is Seaside’s official slogan, and for good reason. The neighborhood is full of natural beauty and friendly residents. Stop by the weekly farmer’s market for some fresh, local ingredients, and then cook up a feast for the whole family in the kitchen of your vacation rental. The area is a haven for those who appreciate art and culture, as you can explore local galleries and see live performances by a local theater troupe.

8. Grayton Beach

If you plan on doing some beachfront tailgating, Grayton Beach is the spot for you. It’s the only community in South Walton County that lets you drive a vehicle onto the sugar-white sandy beaches (with the proper permit). The area is recognizable by its old-time cottages and gnarling oak trees. Take the kids to the Western Lake outfall for a dip in the warm water. While you’re there, you may be lucky enough to see dolphins playing in the emerald green Gulf of Mexico.

9. Miramar Beach

Miramar Beach isn’t quite as sleepy as some of the other South Walton neighborhoods, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking for some action. Bring the kids to The Track Destin for a day romping on the arcades, go-karts, mini-golf, bumpers boats and cars, and amusement rides. Miramar Beach is famous for its exceptional designer shopping as well as the Silver Sands Factory Stores. Miramar Beach is also home to some great spas and wine tasting tours.

10. Inlet Beach

Inlet Beach has plenty of that Old Florida charm you may be looking for. This chilled-out community has some fantastic natural beauty to explore. Whether you’re kayaking on the scenic Lake Powell, Florida’s biggest coastal dune lake, or bicycling down the family-friendly Timpoochee Trails, you’re sure to appreciate this picturesque area. Inlet Beach area is a fantastic place to look for classic Florida cottages if you want a vacation rental with some authentic Florida personality.

11. WaterColor

WaterColor is one of the two master-planned family-friendly beach communities near Western Lake; WaterSound is the other. In addition to the gorgeous waterfront properties, the area is known for its tall pine and scrub oak groves. On the north side of 30A, you can take a stroll through a beautiful butterfly garden, which leads to an outdoor amphitheater and a boat house with canoe, kayak, and paddle board rentals. Whether you’re enjoying a picnic on the docks of the tranquil lake or taking a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk at WaterColor Beach Club, you’re going to fall in love with this welcoming, beautiful neighborhood.

12. WaterSound

Although it’s still in its infantile stages, WaterSound is quickly becoming one of the area’s newest hot spots. Like WaterColor, it’s a master-planned community with modern features and classic charm. It’s a quiet, enclosed neighborhood, but it’s anything but dull. Amenities include recreational facilities, scenic parks, winding boardwalks, jogging paths, a beach club, three golf courses, and a 7,000-square foot pool. Just a quick walk down the path, and you’re enjoying an immaculate beach with pure, white sand and cool turquoise waves splashing at your feet.