Surf & Turf on the Panhandle

In Northwest Florida, these linked-in coastal homes keep golf and Gulf close by

by E.J. Kelley

Once a hard divide, the line between where we work and where we play is being blurred with newfound flexibility. The Sunshine State has always been a hole in one for those looking to enjoy resort-like living year round, and the rise of remote jobs has only amplified that timeless proposition. After all, freedom to work anywhere isn’t just freedom to move about the cabin, but choose where it is too.

Many joining this digital-driven migration have found a fashionable landing on Florida’s Northwest Coast, a best-of-everything region beckoning with sugary beaches and seemingly proliferous golf courses, a Pinterest-worthy plethora of pastel-painted new build beach houses and the innate draw of hot fun in the summertime that simply never ends.

From early morning tee times or watching the sun set behind the waves, it’s easy to live every day like it’s vacation. Here’s a look at some of our current Northwest Florida listings to do just that.

This 21st century take on a classic Nantucket Shingle sits in the Bridges section of WaterSound Beach, a planned community in Walton County with a distinct New England nautical flair and ultra-rare coastal dune lake — there’s more in Madagascar than elsewhere in North America. The four-bedroom residence has 3,200 square feet of spacious, cozy interior, with a carriage house adding generous guest quarters and garaging for two vehicles (or more, if one of them is a Club Car). A gourmet kitchen flows right into the soaring great room, where a second-story balcony floats above. You’ll be within swinging distance of three courses: beginner-friendly OriginsCamp Creek, and WaterSound’s own beach club.

Topographically-speaking, some feel Florida to be flatter than a flapjack—but this bluffside Contemporary blows that myth right out of the water, with perfect views of it to boot. Soaring high over the beach atop a private set of stairs, this downright stunning recent construction has 7,300 square feet of free-flowing interior accented in Venetian plaster, well-weathered hardwood and light splashes of marble. There’s eight total bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and two half-baths, with a summer kitchen augmenting the main one. Oversized windows and walk-outs make for seamless indoor-outdoor flow, all framing those surreal, cerulean-hued panoramas.

Single-family homes are hardly the only beachfront housing Northwest Florida has to offer. For a truly turnkey getaway, consider this four-bedroom condo at desirable Avalon Dunes, pairing those dreamy beach views with shared conveniences like underground parking, a fitness center, a pool and spa, and 200 feet of private beachfront — enjoyed by all residents of the gated 16-unit complex. This well-appointed unit boasts a lengthy covered terrace, and even the jacuzzi tub in the primary suite looks out at the water. Even better: Miramar Beach is sited centrally between more than a dozen sets of public links, including beautiful Emerald Bay Golf Club.

From this grand Mediterrean, you can roll right out of bed and down your own private beach walk. A private enclave in the middle of it all, the four-bedroom, four-bath villa follows a bright, open floor plan downstairs, with a downstairs guest suite and seamless flow outside. You’ll be a short drive from Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club, and a trio of courses around Inlet Beach. It’s hard leaving the view from home, though, and with that spacious backyard green and a beachside deck to toast the sunset, what’s the rush?