Mother Earth Living

New Urbanism: Rosemary Beach in the Florida Panhandle

New urbanism has taken hold in the Caribbean-inspired cottage colony Rosemary Beach in the Florida Panhandle.
By Kelli Rosen
November/December 2003

Visit the Caribbean-inspired cottage colony Rosemary Beach in the Florida Panhandle. Dune walkovers protect the fragile dune structure.
Photo Courtesy Rosemary Beach

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You can find a new urbanism by visiting Rosemary Beach in the Florida Panhandle.

Rosemary Beach in the Florida Panhandle


Eight miles from the town of Seaside on northwest Florida’s gulf coast.

Painting the town

Named for the wild rosemary that grows throughout this 107-acre project, Rosemary Beach eschews typical Florida pastels in favor of earthy tones. “Our natural color scheme is taken from the landscape,” says town architect Richard Gibbs. “The gray and brown homes are the colors of native scrubs and indigenous trees.”

Close-knit community

Homes sit close together on modest-size plots of land, and neighbors share pocket parks. “The idea is to bring people together,” says resident Bob Brand. “Instead of staying in your own yard, you meet people at the park, pool, tennis courts, or beach.”

Going native

Private and public landscaping incorporates indigenous plants such as salt myrtle, live oak, and magnolias.

Town square

Within a short walk are three restaurants, an ice cream shop, a food market, a day spa, a racquet club and fitness center, and a number of shops.

Preserving ecosystems

Rosemary Beach built elevated walkways to protect the dunes and is attempting to attract migrating butterflies. The beach is home to nesting sea turtles, so the community requires low-impact streetlights because bright lights confuse hatchlings.

Contact Rosemary Beach.

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