I am itching to get to the beach soon. Last summer Billy and I traveled to Florida and loved it. So I wanted to put all of that info in a post for anyone wanting to plan a trip!
Where we stayed
I haven’t traveled to Florida since I was younger so I was kind of clueless as to where to stay. I was first interested in Key West, but I waited last minute to book the trip so the hotel/flight bundles were pretty pricey. I just started researching Florida beaches and became interested in the Rosemary Beach area. However, the only hotel in Rosemary Beach was over $300 per night. So I did a little more digging. I used Expedia to book the trip. I’ve never used Expedia for anything before, but it was so simple. I just searched around the Panama City Beach/Rosemary Beach area. The first hotel it brought up is the Carillon Beach Resort Inn. After browsing through the pics and room prices, I was sold! The check in process was flawless and the room was gorgeous. It was more of a condo than hotel room. The inn overlooks a lake, and is about 0.4 miles from the beautiful beach. The inn provides shuttle to and from the beach. But it’s a short and gorgeous walk if you prefer to walk. We had zero complaints about the stay and the resort. The pools were gorgeous and 90% of the time we had them all to ourselves. The inn is nestled into this little village with bricked roads and outdoor lights strung between buildings. There are adorable little shops and a cafe.
What we ate/drank
Unlike the all-inclusive resorts I’ve been to before, this one didn’t provide food/drink. One thing I really wanted was a swim up bar or beachside restaurant at our resort, but I think that’s the only thing we didn’t have. There was a small cafe in our resort, but nothing pool or beachside. However, it ended up being no big deal. There’s a grocery store right across from the resort, so we bought beer and sandwiches for beach days. Every restaurant we tried was delicious! My favorite was Runaway Bar and Grill. This is about a 5-10 mile drive from the resort, but totally worth it. Their margaritas and crab cakes had me weak in the knees. Seriously, so good. Not only is the food great, but Runaway is a beachside restaurant with a huge patio and bar, so we sat on the patio and watched the sunset. I didn’t get a picture of the crab cakes because it was almost dark once we were seated, but if you look this place up on Yelp, you’ll quickly see what I’m talking about! Here’s a view from dinner that night.
Another one of our favorites La Cocina Mexican Grill, is located at Rosemary Beach. Again, about a 5-10 minute drive from the resort. We went on a Sunday evening, it wasn’t too busy. Service and food were both great, again, another wonderful marg. One day we took a day trip to Seaside, FL. This is a beach town about 10 miles from our resort, known for it’s food trucks. Not only do they have delicious food trucks, but they also have 32 oz mimosas to go, which is amazing. We ate at the grilled cheese foodtruck, Meltdown on 30A. IT WAS AMAZING. What is better than gourmet grilled cheese and mimosas? Nothing. Of all the food we ate, this place had me wanting to go back for more. Unfortunately, we didn’t try this until our last day there, so we didn’t get the chance to go back. Next time, it will be my first stop!
What we did
So our first full day there, we just hung out on the beach at our resort, Carillon Beach. I was blown away by how gorgeous and secluded it was. There was maybe 10 people as far as you could see in both directions on this beach. We rented beach chairs and an umbrella. I really wasn’t sure how that worked, but it was super easy. A company there puts out and sets up the chairs and umbrellas every morning. When you’re on your way to the beach, you just give them a call and they show up on a 4 wheeler, move your chairs and umbrellas to the location of your choice on the beach, and that’s it. I got the phone number from the information packet the resort gave us when we checked in. The first day we went to the beach around 4 p.m., it was super windy and the water was pretty rough. The next day, it was completely calm.
Day trip to Rosemary
In my research, I was always drawn to Rosemary Beach, but had a difficult time finding a hotel room there. That have an gorgeous, somewhat pricey hotel, and lots of beach houses. So if you don’t want to pay $300-$500 per night, I don’t suggest staying there. However, it’s a quick drive from Carillon. So we took a day trip there. One of the most popular restaurants I found in my research is Crabby Steve’s. Steve’s is a beachside bar and grill. It has THE best atmosphere. They have blackberry pina coladas and fresh shrimp, I knew we had to try it. So we went to Rosemary with one thing on our mind, Crabby Steve’s. However, Rosemary Beach turned out to be quite the challenge. While it’s beautiful, and totally worth the hassle, it was not the easiest place to get to or get around. First off, Crabby Steve’s is connected to a gated resort in Rosemary, therefore is only accessible by PRIVATE beach or that resort. So we know we have to find public parking, and find a public beach access walkover. These both proved to be super challenging. I pulled out the map on my phone, zoomed in around Rosemary Beach and found what looked like a beach walkover. So we drove around, trying to find parking for probably 30 minutes. Could NOT find a spot anywhere. We ended up parking in front of a private home, pretty sure we could have been towed but there were no signs. After the parking fiasco, we walked down to what I thought was the public beach access, only to find it’s private and LOCKED. You had a to have a code to get in. Luckily, we passed a sweet dad and son who gave us the code. Once we were on the beach, we had to walk about .5 miles in the sand to find Crabby Steve’s. Once you get to Crabby Steve and you’re all sweaty and out of breath, you have to climb about 5 flights of steep stairs. BUT, when you get to the top, it’s so worth it. The drinks were the best we had the whole trip, the seafood is SO fresh and delicious. The server treated us like old friends she hadn’t seen in a while. One side note, the actual beach at Rosemary Beach is just as crowded as the town. Beach chair after beach chair, basically stacked upon one another. So if you’re looking for a more peaceful visit to the beach, I would recommend staying at Carillon Beach.
Overall, it was a wonderful trip. Beautiful and relaxing, it was just what the doctor ordered. Comment below if you have any questions!