Santa Rosa Beach, situated on Florida’s Emerald Coast, is a gem that boasts a picturesque blend of luxury living and natural beauty. Known for its stunning white sand beaches, this area offers a serene coastal lifestyle that appeals to both families and retirees. Living in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, means embracing a relaxed, beachside way of life, where the Gulf of Mexico’s emerald waters are a daily backdrop. The community’s unique character is complemented by its commitment to preserving the natural environment, making it an ideal location for those who appreciate both luxury and nature.
Housing and Real Estate
Santa Rosa Beach transitioned from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market in December 2023. This means the supply of homes outweighs demand, giving buyers more leverage in negotiations. Listings sit on the market longer, averaging 90 days compared to last year’s 62 days.
While prices remain high, they’ve shown signs of stabilizing. The median sale price in December was $950,000, a 3.3% increase year-over-year. However, the median listing price reached $1.3 million, indicating potential room for negotiation as homes often sell for below asking price (96.8% of list price on average). Competition is also moderate, with multiple offers being less common.
Overall, the Santa Rosa Beach market favors buyers with more options and potentially better deals. However, high median prices still require significant financial resources. It’s crucial to stay updated on market trends and consult with local real estate professionals for the most accurate and personalized insights.
Climate and Weather
The climate and weather in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, present a typical pattern for the Gulf Coast region, characterized by warm summers and mild winters. Annual weather averages show high temperatures reaching up to 90°F and lows around 42°F, with an overall mean temperature around 68°F. Humidity levels in the area average about 73%, contributing to a generally moist atmosphere.
Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, with monthly averages ranging from around 1.09 inches in May, which is the driest month, to about 4.84 inches in August, the rainiest month. Additionally, the average sea temperature varies across the year, with the coldest seawater in January and February at around 64.4°F, and the warmest in July and August at approximately 84.2°F.
Transitioning through the seasons, Santa Rosa Beach experiences distinct weather patterns. In May, daytime temperatures typically reach 30°C (86°F) with moderate heat and humidity, falling to 17°C (62.6°F) at night. Sunshine is abundant in May, with the area receiving around 10 hours of bright sunshine each day. As the year progresses, the warmest months of July and August offer high temperatures averaging 88.3°F, ideal for beach activities and outdoor events.
In contrast, the winter months, though mild, bring cooler temperatures with January averaging a high of 59.7°F and a low around 48°F. The area also experiences occasional snowfall in January, although it is minimal. This diverse range of weather conditions makes Santa Rosa Beach a dynamic and attractive location for both residents and visitors throughout the year
- Hottest Month: August, with an average temperature of 82°F.
- Coldest Month: January, with an average temperature of 52°F.
- Wettest Month: July, receiving an average of 3.68 inches of precipitation.
- Windiest Month: December, with an average wind speed of 6 mph.
- Annual Precipitation: Approximately 25.22 inches per year1.
Safety and Crime Rates
The safety and crime rates in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, indicate a relatively secure environment when compared to national and state averages. According to NeighborhoodScout, Santa Rosa Beach is safer than 80% of cities in the United States and 90% of the communities in Florida. The total crime rate in the area (violent and property crimes combined) is such that the chance of becoming a victim in Santa Rosa Beach is 1 in 252.
This compares favorably to the national average, where the chance of becoming a victim of crime is 1 in 43. Specifically, the violent crime rate in Santa Rosa Beach is about average for all communities in America, with a 1 in 783 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime. The property crime rate is below the national average, with a 1 in 372 chance of becoming a victim of property crime.
CrimeGrade.org provides additional context, rating Santa Rosa Beach with a B grade for overall safety, placing it in the 64th percentile nationally, meaning it is safer than 36% of U.S. cities. The rate of crime in Santa Rosa Beach is 21.43 crimes per 1,000 residents in a standard year. The safest parts of the city are generally considered to be in the west, while higher crime rates are reported in the south neighborhoods. Moreover, the rate of murder in Santa Rosa Beach is notably low, with a rate of 0.0291 per 1,000 residents, placing the city in the 96th percentile for safety regarding murder rates.
In the larger context, Santa Rosa County, where Santa Rosa Beach is located, also scores well in terms of safety. The county is in the 97th percentile for safety, indicating that it is safer than 97% of counties in the U.S. The overall crime rate in Santa Rosa County is 17.79 per 1,000 residents.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL, displays a strong sense of community involvement and support, with numerous organizations and events dedicated to various causes and interests. For instance, there are organizations like the Children’s Volunteer Health Network, which provides health and wellness services to children in need, and the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, which supports the arts through various programs and education. These organizations offer a range of volunteer opportunities, including assisting with events, administrative duties, and specific program support.
Local Groups and Organizations
Santa Rosa Beach thrives on community spirit, and numerous groups and organizations contribute to its close-knit fabric. From environmental conservation to youth development, these entities play a pivotal role in shaping the area. Here are some notable ones:
- 30A Cats: A feline-focused group that advocates for stray and abandoned cats.
- 30A Trails: Dedicated to maintaining and expanding the network of scenic trails along Highway 30A.
- Alaqua Animal Refuge: Committed to rescuing and rehabilitating animals, fostering adoptions, and promoting responsible pet ownership.
- Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast: Empowering local youth through educational programs and mentorship.
- Caring & Sharing of South Walton: Providing essential assistance to families in need.
- Choctawhatchee Audubon Society: Fostering birdwatching, conservation, and environmental education.
- Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County: Nurturing artistic expression and cultural enrichment.
- Emerald Coast Association of Realtors®: Supporting real estate professionals and community initiatives.
- South Walton Turtle Watch: Protecting sea turtles and their nesting habitats.
- Surfrider Foundation Emerald Coast Chapter: Advocating for clean beaches and ocean conservation.
The culinary scene in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is a vibrant and diverse mix of dining options, reflecting the unique character of the area. With its beautiful beaches and distinct neighborhoods, South Walton offers a wide array of culinary experiences. From coastal casual to fine dining fare, the restaurant scene in the area is known for its world-class establishments, fresh Gulf flavors, and impressive wine lists. Food enthusiasts can indulge in a variety of cuisines including eclectic Asian, rustic Italian, traditional American, and fresh seafood, all crafted by award-winning chefs. The dining experience in Santa Rosa Beach is further enhanced by the stunning views that many restaurants offer, allowing diners to enjoy mouthwatering meals with picturesque backdrops.
Adding to the area’s appeal are several exciting eateries and food experiences that have recently emerged. For instance, Nigel’s Bananas offers Belgian Chocolate-dipped frozen bananas and ice cream bars with an array of toppings, alongside breakfast options and ice cream floats. Macho Taco Cantina, another popular spot, serves Mexican fare and features a late-night menu.
The Chicken Shack specializes in a variety of chicken dishes including sweet tea marinated fried chicken and global chicken delicacies. Additionally, the culinary scene is boosted by innovative concepts like the Container Bar, where guests can enjoy local craft beers and classic cocktails in a unique setting. For coffee lovers, Hotz Coffee provides a relaxed atmosphere with a variety of coffee options and light snacks. These establishments are representative of the dynamic and evolving culinary landscape of Santa Rosa Beach, making it an exciting destination for food lovers.
Diverse Dining Delights
- Vue on 30a: Since 1971, Vue on 30a has graced diners with panoramic Gulf views and gourmet dishes. With 966 homes currently for sale, prospective buyers can explore a variety of properties, from charming houses to elegant condos. The median listing price stands at $996,500, reflecting the area’s desirability and investment potential.
- The Perfect Pig: Open seven days a week, The Perfect Pig serves up gourmet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Swing by for their mouthwatering dishes and perhaps catch a glimpse of the turquoise waters while you dine.
- Shades Bar & Grill: A 30A institution for over two decades, Shades Bar & Grill continues to turn friends into family. Their daily chef features, famous wings, and classic spirits make it a must-visit spot.
- La Crema-Tapas and Chocolate: Inspired by Madrid and Barcelona’s tapas and chocolate shops, La Crema brings a taste of Spain to Rosemary Beach. Savor small plates and indulge in decadent chocolates by the sea.
- The Courtyard at Pescado: Located under Pescado, Seafood Grill and Rooftop Bar, The Courtyard offers craft cocktails, an extensive wine list, and small bites. It’s the perfect place to unwind and share delicious moments with friends.
The educational landscape in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is well-rounded and caters to a variety of learning needs and preferences. In the public school sector, there are six schools serving a student population of 4,435. These schools boast a high rate of math and reading proficiency scores, with an average math proficiency score of 73% and a reading proficiency score of 71%. This is significantly higher than the Florida public school averages of 48% and 52% in math and reading proficiency, respectively. The public schools in Santa Rosa Beach are highly rated, with an average ranking of 10/10, placing them in the top 10% of Florida public schools. Seaside Neighborhood School, Van R. Butler Elementary School, and Dune Lakes Elementary School are among the top-ranked public schools in the area.
In addition to public schools, Santa Rosa Beach also has five private schools, serving 257 students. These schools provide a more intimate educational environment, with a lower student-teacher ratio compared to public schools. Around 20% of these private schools have a religious affiliation, primarily Episcopal. The private schools in Santa Rosa Beach cater to a range of grades from preschool to middle school and offer various educational approaches, including Montessori methods. This diversity in educational offerings reflects the community’s commitment to providing quality education that meets the needs of all students.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL, offers a variety of healthcare services to its residents, ensuring accessible and quality medical care. The region is served by Ascension Medical Group, which operates several primary care clinics in and around Santa Rosa Beach. These clinics, including Ascension Medical Group Sacred Heart Primary Care and Ascension Sacred Heart Primary Care, offer comprehensive healthcare services.
They are strategically located to cater to the broader Santa Rosa Beach area, with facilities in Miramar Beach, Freeport, Destin, and other nearby locations. Each clinic maintains specific operating hours, generally open on weekdays, with a range of healthcare services tailored to meet the needs of the community.
In addition to primary care services, the Florida Department of Health in Santa Rosa County plays a crucial role in public health management. They provide various health-related programs and services, focusing on disease prevention and health promotion. The department offers essential services such as immunizations for children and adults, health education, and emergency preparedness. They also conduct community health events and classes, including first aid and CPR training, contributing to the overall well-being and safety of the residents in Santa Rosa Beach and the surrounding areas.
Cultural and Recreational Activities
Santa Rosa Beach, FL, offers a rich tapestry of cultural and recreational activities that cater to a wide range of interests. The area is known for its vibrant art scene, which is well represented by the Cultural Arts Alliance. They host various events and workshops throughout the year, such as the “Explorations In The Nature of Watercolor” and “Couples Wheel Experience” at the Bayou Arts Center and Miramar Beach Creative Campus. These events not only provide opportunities to learn and appreciate art but also foster community engagement and creativity.
For those who love the outdoors and adventure, Santa Rosa Beach does not disappoint. The Point Washington State Forest, encompassing over 15,000 acres, is a paradise for hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts. The forest offers trails for all experience levels and is an excellent spot for camping and wildlife viewing. The Underwater Museum of Art, located in the Gulf of Mexico off the shore of Walton County, is another unique attraction.
This museum serves both as an art installation and a habitat for marine life, offering a distinct experience for certified divers. Additionally, events like the 30A Songwriters Festival showcase an array of musical talents, catering to music lovers of various genres. The area’s state parks, such as Grayton Beach State Park, provide ample opportunities for a range of outdoor activities like fishing, paddling, and swimming, along with unique accommodation options like on-site cabins.
Employment and Economy
As of 2024, the employment and economy in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and the broader Santa Rosa County region are showing positive signs of growth and diversification. The local economic development efforts have been successful in attracting new businesses and investments, contributing to the creation of a substantial number of new jobs.
Key developments include the establishment of a new prison by GEO Group in East Milton, projected to employ 470 individuals, and significant expansions by technology firms such as AppRiver and Avalex Technologies. These expansions are not only creating direct job opportunities but also contributing to the overall economic development of the area.
Additionally, the region has witnessed other business growth, such as the expansion of food distributor H.T. Hackney, which plans to add 50 employees, and Clearwire’s addition of 100 staff to its Milton operation. These economic activities are indicative of a diverse and growing economy in Santa Rosa Beach and Santa Rosa County. The proximity to beach and urban amenities, along with supportive local government policies, have been credited for attracting and retaining businesses in the area. This economic vibrancy is a positive sign for job seekers and businesses considering establishing or expanding their operations in Santa Rosa Beach and the surrounding region.
Moving and Relocation Tips
Relocating to Santa Rosa Beach, FL, requires thoughtful preparation, especially due to its unique coastal environment. Here are some essential tips to ensure a smooth transition:
- Understanding the Costs: Be aware that living and housing costs in Santa Rosa Beach are higher than the national average. The median price for a home is around $950,000, significantly more than the U.S. average. The cost of living index is also 44% higher than the national average. This information is crucial for budgeting and financial planning for your move.
- Choosing the Right Neighborhood: Santa Rosa Beach offers diverse neighborhoods, each with unique characteristics. From luxurious communities like Four Mile Village and Forest Lakes to family-friendly areas and affordable condos, there’s a place for everyone. It’s important to consider factors like proximity to the beach, local schools, and amenities when choosing your new neighborhood.
- Weatherproofing and Scheduling Your Move: Given the beachside location, it’s essential to protect your belongings from elements like sand, humidity, and salt air. Use sturdy, airtight containers and wrap delicate items in protective covers. Timing your move is also crucial; try to avoid peak tourist seasons to escape traffic congestion. Planning your travel route strategically around beachside events or road closures is also advisable.
- Packing Essentials for Beach Life: Don’t forget to pack items specific to beach living, such as beach gear, sunscreen, and appropriate outdoor furniture. These are essential for enjoying the coastal lifestyle to the fullest.
- Why You Need a Moving Company: A reliable moving company is essential for a seamless relocation. Movers Santa Rosa, FL are experienced in handling the unique challenges of a beachside move. They can offer valuable advice on weatherproofing, provide the right packing materials, and help with the strategic timing of your move. Their expertise ensures that your belongings are transported safely and efficiently, reducing the stress of moving.
- Settling Into Your New Home: Once you arrive, focus on unpacking essentials first and gradually setting up your new home. Familiarizing yourself with local services, amenities, and community events will help you integrate into the Santa Rosa Beach lifestyle more quickly.
By considering these factors and hiring a professional moving service, you can ensure that your move to Santa Rosa Beach is as smooth and enjoyable as possible, allowing you to quickly settle into and enjoy your new coastal life.
Living in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, community spirit, and a rich cultural scene. With its safe environment, diverse culinary offerings, educational and healthcare facilities, and robust economy, Santa Rosa Beach presents an attractive option for individuals and families looking to relocate.
Whether you are drawn to the area for its stunning beaches, vibrant community, or economic opportunities, living in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, promises a fulfilling and enriching experience. As you consider your next move, keep in mind that Santa Rosa Beach is not just a place to live; it’s a place to thrive and enjoy the best of coastal living.
This comprehensive guide, incorporating the latest data and insights, aims to provide a thorough understanding of what makes living in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, such a unique and appealing choice. With its combination of natural beauty, community engagement, and a thriving economy, Santa Rosa Beach is indeed a great place to live.