Florida’s Gulf Coast Treasure
Natural beauty meets striking design in the New Urbanist haven of Alys Beach, Florida
photo: Courtesy of Alys Beach
On the edge of the Florida Panhandle lies a coastal retreat unlike any other, a place where life and leisure are thoughtfully curated to the last detail. In Alys Beach, distinctive architecture and meticulous design give way to an otherworldly escape where gleaming structures and a calm cerulean shore preside over all. In driving distance from a number of Southern cities, the New Urbanist paradise along 30A feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle, its air of tranquil luxury second to none.
For residents and visitors alike, each day is defined by a sense of balance: between luxury and simplicity, relaxation and excitement, natural beauty and innovative design. From the lively town center to the quiet shore, Alys Beach is crisscrossed with pedestrian paths, creating a sense of community that draws friends and neighbors outdoors. It’s no coincidence, then, that the locale is centered on alfresco experiences, from breezy dining at the waterfront Beach Club to picnicking in immaculate green spaces.
Though not a resort, Alys Beach can feel nearly as lavish, as locals and their guests have access to fine communal amenities. At ZUMA Wellness Center, for example, residents can tune in to both physical and spiritual wellness with expert-led classes, state-of-the-art tennis courts, an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, massage therapy, and more. And for a beachfront getaway no more than a stone’s throw from home, the multistory Beach Club is a waterfront gathering place exclusive to homeowners. With one of the community’s most breathtaking Gulf of Mexico views, the club is designed as a place to connect and unwind, whether joining neighbors for a cocktail on the terrace or passing a lazy afternoon beside a glimmering pool. With access to a pristine stretch of shore, the Beach Club represents one of the region’s most coveted memberships.
Of course, the beach itself is the community’s crown jewel. Not unlike the Caribbean, Florida’s Gulf Coast is known for crystal-clear water and miles of soft white sand. Those who like their space need not worry about claiming a peaceful spot on the sand; access to the Alys Beach coast is limited to homeowners and vacation renters, meaning quiet, uncrowded days await all year long. And despite its calmer nature, the beach is not without excitement—with catamarans and paddleboards available to rent, offshore adventures are found in spades, while the Beach Club’s top-notch food and drink service will deliver snacks and sips directly to the lounge chair of those preferring dry land.
No beachfront destination is complete without a charming downtown, and with its array of fine shops and restaurants, the Alys Beach town center delivers on beauty and balance. While each business offers something unique, a shared passion for the finer things in life connects the robust community of merchants, from the beloved home decor shop, Mast, where fresh-cut flowers are always in stock, to the beach essentials and resort-chic attire at the Alys Shoppe. And when it comes to dining, fresh cuisine and locally sourced ingredients are plentiful. Dotting Alys Beach, a diverse array of restaurants cater to every occasion, be it a basket of fish tacos via Beach Club service, a post-workout coffee or smoothie from Raw & Juicy, a wine and tapas spread at NEAT Tasting Room and Bottle Shop, or dinner at a resort-casual spot like George’s.
Amid the community’s dreamlike scene, it’s easy to see why many visitors make a home of their own in Alys Beach. Whether custom or semicustom builds, townhouses, or condominiums, opportunities for ownership are abundant, each pairing bold features with familiar comforts. Thanks to a group of approved builders and the experts at Alys Beach Construction, a consistent thread of quality and design runs through Alys Beach, creating a harmonious collection of homes and shared spaces. Always a seamless process, becoming a resident can take many forms. In the Somerset program, for example, buyers can work with the community’s expert sales, construction, and design teams on stunning semicustom homes, while buildings such as The Selene & Easterly house luxury Gulf-front condominiums that are move-in ready. Wherever new owners land, walkable neighborhoods are designed with connectivity in mind, fostering friendship between neighbors and easy routes to the shore.
In Alys Beach, the pace of life is blissfully slow, centered on the pleasures of each moment. From a dip in the Gulf to an evening stroll against a pastel sky, each day on the shore holds a treasure of its own, amounting to a place that’s anything but ordinary.
Learn more at alysbeach.com
A Tour of Bermuda’s Wild Side
An Appalachian outdoorswoman lets her feet, mind, and taste buds wander Bermuda, where art and nature promise a sort of redemption
A Sunny Oasis on the Alabama Coast
With pristine white-sand shores and outdoor adventure in spades, the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are ready when you are
Arts & Culture
North Carolina’s Living History
The meticulous re-creation of Tryon Palace showcases a 250-year-old story
Food & Drink
The Mad Scientist of Pawpaws
Largely the domain of foragers, the biggest edible fruit in the South has mostly been forgotten. A quietly obsessed Quaker from West Virginia has made it his life’s mission to change that
Food & Drink
How an Award-Winning Pastry Chef Doctors Up Boxed Cornbread
Even Kelly Fields whips up a box of Jiffy every once in a while. Here’s how she makes the store-bought stuff her own
Arts & Culture
The Top-of-2021 Reading List for Southerners
G&G contributors, editors, and Southern book lovers share new releases and old favorites to read right away this year—and a couple forthcoming releases already on preorder