The Ultimate Guide to WaterColor, Florida
One of the newer communities along Florida’s idyllic 30A, WaterColor is anchored by an inn and resort of the same name, with a prime waterfront spot on the Gulf and a slew of activities to entertain beach-goers of all ages. Tucked between Seaside and Grayton Beach State Park in South Walton, this neighborhood of charming homes and tree-shaded lanes is on the rise—check it out before all the beach loungers are taken.
Eat at FOOW
WaterColor Inn & Resort is home to a handful of dining options, but FOOW (formerly Fish Out of Water) might just be our favorite. The upscale spot calls for attire that's slightly more elevated than the beach-casual flip-flops-and-sarong combo, but packing a nice outfit is well worth it: The menu makes full use of the proximity of the Gulf (the restaurant boasts a beautiful view of it too), with dishes made with fresh, local fish and infused with Southern flavors and an extensive wine list.
Eat (and drink) at The Wine Bar
This sophisticated spot in WaterColor’s petite town center features patio seating, a charming French bistro-inspired interior, and an adjoining market with all the fixings of a stellar wine and cheese party. The Wine Bar pours wines of all varieties, has a happy hour special every day and food specials a few nights a week. Stick to sipping on the shaded patio, or order pizza, a cheese board, or another dish from the full menu to turn your wine tasting into a meal.
Shop at the Blue Giraffe
Run by a mother-daughter team, this colorful boutique offers an assortment of beach-inspired goods, gifts, and artwork, with a cheerful, upbeat vibe that meshes perfectly with 30A’s year-round cheer. Stop by for one of the Blue Giraffe’s classes on everything from journaling to artful upcycling.
Shop in Seaside
This charming town keeps people coming back year after year. Bike, walk, or—if you must—drive across WaterColor’s eastern border to reach Seaside’s Center Square, less than half a mile from the heart of WaterColor, to see why for yourself. Browse the many shops, or grab a bite to eat from staples like Bud & Alley’s or the Airstream Row food “trucks.” At the end of your outing, stroll back on over to WaterColor for a good night’s rest—and try to resist coming back in the morning for breakfast.
Play at the BoatHouse
Tucked back in WaterColor’s residential area, the BoatHouse sits on the banks of Western Lake, a coastal dune lake, and is your homebase for water adventures. Rent canoes or kayaks for a paddle around the lake on your own, or sign up for an adventure tour. If you’ve fallen hard for SUP, the BoatHouse has those, too: The BoatHouse Paddle Club offers stand-up paddleboard rentals, lessons, tours, and even paddleboard-based workouts.
Play on the Trails
Stop by the WaterColor Bike Barn, adjacent to the BoatHouse, to pick up a bike, and spend the rest of your day exploring the area’s extensive woodland trail system, with miles of scenic nature trails that course through preserved state park forests and around (and over, across the community's charming bridges) coastal dune lakes. If you prefer sticking to paved paths, pedal through WaterColor’s residential areas, enjoying the shaded roads and taking in the gorgeously designed homes of this waterfront enclave. Either way, it’ll be a day well-spent.
Play on the Beach
Be sure to leave plenty of time during your stay in WaterColor to enjoying the bone-white, powder-soft sand and clear cerulean waters. The Inn provides several beach services to make your time on the sand even more blissful: Think chair and umbrella set-ups, beach bonfires (available seasonally), a beach club that's open to residents and guests, and boogie and surfboard rentals. Even sans add-ons, a stroll along the sand is enough for a total mood boost.
Stay at the WaterColor Inn & Resort
If you’re in WaterColor only for a brief time or are traveling with a small group, consider resting your head at the WaterColor Inn & Resort. Managed by St. Joe Hospitality, this 60-room stay offers warm, family-friendly accommodations, with access to WaterColor’s many amenities and an atmosphere that marries the comforts of a beach house with the perks of a boutique hotel. The Inn is right on the beach, so you’re just steps from sticking your toes in the sand at any given moment. Rates start at $295
Stay at Second Sandbar
For a beachfront stay with a larger group, look no further than this charming rental. Second Sandbar is one of few Gulf-front rentals homes in the area, with a color palette that ties the interior (and the aqua exterior) to its surroundings. This house sleeps up to eight guests and has three bedrooms and three and a half baths. Rental includes access to all WaterColor amenities; rates start at $965 per night
Stay on Vermilion Way
Pack the whole extended family into this pretty beach house rental, which sleeps up to 16 people across six bedrooms. This home is in WaterColor’s Lake District, five to eight blocks from the beach and set among wide streets (perfect for biking!). It’s a prime stay for watersport enthusiasts: The BoatHouse and quiet Western Lake are right nearby. As with all other WaterColor rentals, this home includes access to the community’s amenities, plus its own backyard pool and outdoor living area. Rates start at $990 per night