Food & Fun

Here's the good news: You won't find a McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's or Pizza Hut within 10 miles of Santa Rosa Beach. Here's the better news: There's a wide variety of good and great food very close by. Here are some of our favorite places for . . .


Miss Lucille's Gossip Parlor, once a local favorite in Gulf Place, has morphed into the Sunrise Coffee. Co., a good place to grab a coffee concoction or a quick breakfast or lunch. Starbuck's addicts can get their fix at Grayton Beach.

The Liar's Club -- next to Stinky's Fish Camp on 30-A will do eggs any way you like them with a side order of grits and homemade biscuits. Kid-friendly. No breakfast in the winter.  

The Donut Hole -- On 98 just west of Thompson Road. A lot of locals start their work day here with loads of eggs, pancakes or waffles. Check out the giant sweet rolls.


Bud and Alley's -- at Seaside has one of the area's top-rated restaurants on the ground level. But we prefer the open-air bar on the roof where you get a great Mojito and the best view of the beach, with occasional entertainment by a school of cruising dolphins.

Elmo's Grill -- is on the south side of 30A, west of Oyster Lake. This is a fast and family-friendly place where fish sandwiches and fries are served on picnic tables on the screened-in porch or available for carry-out.

Pizza By The Sea, voted the best pizza on 30-A, is a recent addition to Gulf Place. It features gourmet pizza, pasta and fancy sandwiches served on an outdoor deck overlooking the great lawn. 


Stinky's Fish Camp -- our our new nearby favorite, about a quarter-mile west on 30-A. It has a menu loaded with great seafood dishes with a touch of New Orleans. 

The Red Bar -- in the center or Grayton Beach and a long-time 30-A favorite, suffered a massive fire in early 2019. The restaurant is closed but the owners have vowed to rebuild it.  Here's how Southern Living rated the Red Bar and other Grayton Beach restaurants.

La Playa - in Gulf Place is an easy walk down 30-A to Gulf Place. It has a creative menu, a pretty good wine selection and outdoor tables. 

Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar is the latest addition and a very welcome addition to the Gulf Place corner. In addition to seafood and craft beer, the Gulley features a second-floor bar with open windows that offer one of theh few ocean views along 30-A.   

Goatfeathers -- South side of 30A, east of 393. There's a fresh seafood market on the ground level and a large seafood restaurant upstairs. If you like Red Lobster, you'll like Goatfeathers.

The Santa Rosa Beach Club -- about a block away on 30-A, is now home to a new restaurant called Vue on 30a. It's one of the few spots along 30-A where you can have a nice view of the beach and the water with your meal.

For more upscale dining, try Basmati's, on 30-A for Asian cuisine and sushi, Fish Out of Water in Watercolor, and Cafe 30-A, between Seagrove and Rosemary Beach.

More Eats

When the girls hit the outlet stores in Sandestin, the guys head across the street to Buster's. It's loaded with TVs, always tuned to the games, and has great early-bird prices on raw oysters.

The closest Starbucks is at the Silver Sands outlet mall in Sandestin.  I'm just fine with the coffee at the Tom Thumb convenience store that's a two-minute walk from the house. Want more? Click for Google's list.

After Hours

Both Gulf Place and Seaside sponsor free family-friendly concerts and festivals on the public squares. Seaside sometimes shows outdoor movies, including The Truman Show, which was filmed there.

The biggest hot spot in Sandestin is Baytowne Warf, a village of restaurants, shops and nighclubs built on the bay side of the Sandestin resort. You'll find live music at Hog's Breath Saloon, Howl At The Moon and AJ's Seafood and Oyster Bar at the Destin Harbor. When we go out, we look for our favorite local band, Dred Clampitt.