The quaint little beach town may be perched on the Florida Panhandle, but with its whitewashed buildings, Moorish architectural details, and courtyards inspired by the colonial look of Antigua, Guatemala, Alys Beach feels worlds away.
Here, we’ve rounded up the best places to stay, eat, drink, and play in this Gulf Coast escape.
Wake up early to snag a hand-rolled donut from Charlie’s Donut Truck. The converted Sunbeam truck parks near the Alys Beach Amphitheater (look for it’s blue striped awning!) and serves flavors like red velvet cake and sour cream pound cake from 6:30 A.M. until noon or whenever they sell out.
Head to Fonville Press to sip on a latte and read the paper over breakfast, or swing by for a late-afternoon wine tasting. The café-cum-bookshop, with its cozy interior and airy courtyard, is a favorite gathering place of residents and visitors alike.
Roll up to this lunch spot for fish tacos al fresco at one of the restaurant’s umbrella-topped picnic tables. Wash down your tacos with a cold beer or an agua fresca, which they sell by the glass and by the pitcher.
Sip from a rotating small menu of craft cocktails or pick up a bottle of wine at the town’s exquisitely appointed bottle shop and tasting room. The shop also sells craft beers, artisan mixers, and spirits from small-batch producers. It's a candy store for grown-ups.
For inspired coastal fare with locally sourced ingredients, head to George’s for dinner. And while the menu is infused with global flavors, it’s impossible to forget you’re at the beach: The restaurant is housed in an old shingled beach cottage, and they don’t take reservations because they “operate on beach time.”
All of Alys Beach’s streets point to the beach – and it’s no wonder. With white, powdery sand and the glittering blue Gulf, the sun-bleached strand feels miles and miles away from the mainland, even though it’s just a short walk or bike ride away from all the action.
Skip the car, and go the two-wheel route while you’re on Alys Beach. The Bike Shop offers everything from colorful beach cruisers to surreys perfect for family outings. Take the bikes on a spin down the paved bike path along Highway 30A, around town, or down the trail in Alys Beach’s 20-acre nature preserve. If biking’s not your speed, the Bike Shop also offers kayaks and stand-up paddleboards seasonally.
Cool down with a swim in Alys Beach’s saltwater pool, or retreat to the shade in the poolside loggia, which features a rooftop terrace that overlooks the town and the beach. In addition to the main 100-foot pool, there are three other pools: a 75-foot lap pool for the active set, a shallow play pool for families, and a secluded spa whirlpool for those looking for rest and relaxation.
There are no hotels on Alys Beach, but the town has a host of pretty, well-appointed beach houses available for rent. Here, we’re bringing you the best rental for every kind of traveler.
Find more info here: 60 McGee Bedroom 3
For the solitude seeker or the couple looking for a quiet getaway, there’s this serene one-bedroom rental. Curl up by the fireplace with a cup of coffee, or sip a glass of wine on the suite’s private patio. Nightly rates start at $260.
Find more info here: 56 North Charles Street
Tucked in the heart of town, this three-bedroom house is primed for a long weekend escape with your gals. The home’s best features? Its two courtyards, one that’s suited for sunny snoozes and one that’s perfect for a wine-fueled dinner that’ll last long into the evening. Nightly rates start at $650.
Find more info here: 71 Nonesuch Way
If you’re heading to the beach with the entire extended family, this 4-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom house north of Town Center is a spacious, comfortable choice. An additional bunkroom sleeps four, and a large dining room table seats your whole crew. Plus, the house has a pool and grill area for plenty of outdoor fun. Nightly rates start at $890.