9 Things to Do in Santa Rosa Beach Florida in 2023 – Explore the Art, Culture, and Cuisine

Best Things to Do in Florida Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach, located in Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast, is a hidden gem boasting a 26-mile stretch of pristine coastline.  This beach neighborhood, one of the sixteen distinct areas in South Walton County, offers a blend of natural beauty and unique attractions.

From exploring state parks to indulging in local culinary delights, Santa Rosa Beach is an ideal destination for travelers seeking a mix of adventure and relaxation.  Today, I will suggest you some special activities you should partake in when visiting. Let’s get started.

9. Authentic Mexican Cuisine at Don Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant


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Don Pedro’s Mexican Restaurant serves up authentic Mexican fare, bringing the flavors of Mexico to Santa Rosa Beach.  The restaurant’s daily specials and extensive menu offer a culinary journey through Mexico’s diverse regions.

Fresh Ingredients and Vibrant Flavors

Each dish at Don Pedro’s is prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. The vibrant flavors and generous portions make it a favorite among locals and visitors.  If you’re craving tacos, enchiladas, or something more unique, you’ll find it here.

Catering and Special Events

Apart from the dining experience, Don Pedro’s also offers catering services. Their catering options are perfect for any event, adding a touch of Mexican flair to celebrations and gatherings. It’s a great way to enjoy Don Pedro’s flavors beyond the restaurant.

8. Savor the Flavors at Blue Mabel Smokehouse & Provisions

What to Eat at Blue Mabel Smokehouse Santa Rosa

Blue Mabel Smokehouse & Provisions is a locally-owned gem known for its mouth-watering smoked meats and house-made sauces.

The smokehouse prides itself on using locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a fresh and flavorful dining experience.

Diverse Menu and Cozy Ambiance

The menu at Blue Mabel offers a variety of dishes catering to all palates. From smoked brisket to vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone.

The restaurant’s cozy ambiance makes it an ideal spot for both casual lunches and special dinners.

Community-Centric Approach

What sets Blue Mabel apart is its commitment to the community. The restaurant often hosts local events and gatherings, making it a popular spot among residents and tourists alike.

Dining here means experiencing a slice of Santa Rosa Beach’s community spirit.

7. Experience The Repertory Theatre

Where is Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa Florida

The Repertory Theatre in Santa Rosa Beach is a beacon of the performing arts in Northwest Florida.  Known for its high-quality theater productions, the theatre provides a platform for both local and visiting talent. Its diverse range of shows caters to all tastes.

Engaging and Thought-Provoking Performances

From classic plays to contemporary works, the Repertory Theatre’s productions are both engaging and thought-provoking.  The intimate setting of the theatre ensures a personal and immersive experience for the audience.

Educational Programs and Community Involvement

Beyond performances, the theatre is deeply involved in the community. It offers educational programs and workshops for aspiring actors and plays a pivotal role in promoting the arts in the area.

Attending a show here is not just entertainment; it’s supporting the local arts scene.

6. Immerse in Art at the Justin Gaffrey Gallery

Justin Gaffrey Gallery Is It Worth the Visit

The Justin Gaffrey Gallery showcases the contemporary works of local artist Justin Gaffrey.  His pieces, often inspired by the natural beauty of Santa Rosa Beach, bring a unique perspective to the local art scene.

The gallery itself is a reflection of the area’s vibrant artistic community.

An Array of Artistic Styles

Visitors to the gallery will find a diverse range of artworks. From bold, textured paintings to more subtle, serene pieces, there’s something to suit every taste.  Gaffrey’s work is known for its emotional depth and striking use of color.

Engaging with the Artist

What sets this gallery apart is the opportunity to engage with the artist. Visitors can often find Gaffrey at work in his studio, offering a rare glimpse into the creative process. This interaction adds a personal touch to the gallery experience.

5. Explore the Underwater Museum of Art

What Sculptures I Can FInd in Underwater Museum of Art

The Underwater Museum of Art in Santa Rosa Beach is a one-of-a-kind attraction.  As the country’s first permanent underwater sculpture garden, it offers an unforgettable experience.

The museum combines art, conservation, and marine life in a truly unique way.

Art Meets Ocean Conservation

The sculptures serve not only as stunning works of art but also as artificial reefs, promoting marine conservation.

Divers and snorkelers can explore these underwater exhibits while observing the thriving marine ecosystem that has developed around them.

Accessibility and Education

While the museum is primarily accessible to divers, it also serves an educational purpose for those on land.  The museum hosts various programs and exhibits about ocean conservation and art installations, making it an inclusive experience for all.

4. Adventure in Point Washington State Forest

Is it Safe to go Hiking at Point Washington State Forest

Point Washington State Forest, encompassing 15,000 acres, is an adventurer’s paradise.  This vast area offers an array of trails suited for hiking, off-road biking, and even horseback riding.

The forest’s diverse ecosystems make every visit a new discovery.

Trails for Every Level

The forest boasts trails that cater to all levels of experience. If you’re looking for a challenging bike trail or a peaceful hike, you’ll find it here.  The trails are well-marked and maintained, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

Camping and Wildlife

Point Washington State Forest is also an excellent spot for camping. The campsites are nestled in serene locations, offering a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

The forest is home to a variety of wildlife, making it a great place for nature enthusiasts.

3. Discover The Workshop by Ginger Leigh Designs

The Workshop by Ginger Leigh Designs is a real showcase of creativity.  This charming boutique offers an array of one-of-a-kind gifts, from painted wood art to handmade ornaments.  Each piece reflects the artistic spirit of Santa Rosa Beach.

A Place for Souvenirs and Gifts

If you’re looking for a souvenir to remember your trip or a unique gift for someone special, The Workshop has you covered.  Their selection of flags, soy candles, and other artisanal items are not only beautiful but also embody the local flair.

Workshops and Classes

In addition to shopping, The Workshop frequently hosts creative workshops and classes.  These sessions provide a fantastic opportunity to learn a new skill and create your own piece of art, guided by skilled artisans.

2. Visit the Grayton Beer Company Taproom

Does Grayton Beer Company Taproom Offers Quality Beer

The Grayton Beer Company Taproom is a paradise for craft beer aficionados. With over twenty unique brews on tap, this spot offers a taste of local craftsmanship.

The taproom isn’t just about the beer; it’s a community hub where visitors can unwind and connect.

Games and Gatherings

This taproom is known for its lively atmosphere, complete with various games.  It’s a great place to challenge friends to a game of cornhole or relax with a board game, all while enjoying a pint of your favorite brew.

Event Space and Community

The Grayton Beer Company Taproom also serves as an event space, hosting live music and community gatherings.  It’s a place where locals and tourists alike come together, making it a must-visit for anyone wanting to experience the heart of Santa Rosa Beach’s community.

1. Explore Grayton Beach State Park

Fun Things to Do at Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park, a highlight of Santa Rosa Beach, is renowned for its untouched beaches, which are some of the most beautiful on the Emerald Coast.  The park extends an invitation to nature lovers with its diverse activities.

Paddling through the serene waters, fishing by the coastline, hiking through scenic trails, and camping under the stars are just a few of the experiences waiting for you.

A Haven for Outdoor Enthusiasts

This state park is not just about sandy beaches; it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park’s well-maintained trails beckon hikers and bikers alike.

If you’re a seasoned hiker or a family looking for a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail that’s just right for you.

Camping and Wildlife Spotting

For those who love to immerse themselves in nature, camping at Grayton Beach State Park is a must. The park’s campsites offer a perfect blend of comfort and wilderness.

Additionally, the area is a hotspot for birdwatching and wildlife spotting, providing a truly authentic outdoor experience.


Is Santa Rosa Beach suitable for families with young children?

Absolutely! Santa Rosa Beach offers many family-friendly activities, including safe, clean beaches perfect for swimming and sandcastle building and parks with gentle hiking trails.

Can I find pet-friendly accommodations in Santa Rosa Beach?

Yes, many accommodations in Santa Rosa Beach are pet-friendly. However, it’s advisable to check with individual hotels or rental properties regarding their pet policies.

Are there any water sports activities available in Santa Rosa Beach?

Yes, Santa Rosa Beach offers a variety of water sports activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. Equipment rentals and lessons are readily available along the beach.

What is the best time of year to visit Santa Rosa Beach for fewer crowds?

The best time to visit for fewer crowds is during the shoulder seasons, typically late spring (April to May) and early fall (September to October), when the weather is still pleasant.

Are there any cultural festivals in Santa Rosa Beach?

Santa Rosa Beach hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year, including art shows, music festivals, and culinary events. The schedule varies annually, so it’s best to check the local events calendar.

How accessible is Santa Rosa Beach for travelers with disabilities?

Many areas in Santa Rosa Beach, including major hotels, restaurants, and attractions, are accessible to travelers with disabilities. The beach itself has accessible pathways and beach wheelchair rentals are available. However, it’s recommended to confirm specific accessibility needs with accommodations and venues in advance.

Final Words

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and culinary delights.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an art lover, or a foodie; there’s something for everyone in this vibrant coastal community.

Each of these nine destinations provides a unique glimpse into the charm and character of Santa Rosa Beach, making it an unforgettable destination.