By Adrienne Dison Photography by Marianne Todd
At the end of the Florida panhandle's popular 30A beach side roadway, just past award-winning Rosemary Beach, but not quite to bustling Panama City, lies a quiet seaside community where fall beckons beach lovers to savor the post-Labor Day sanctity of life in the laid-back lane.
Spanning 104 acres and 3,900 feet of sugar-white sand along northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast, Carillon Beach is the perfect post-summer girls’ getaway for 63-year-old Linda Marsh and her sorority sisters from Northwest Missouri State University.
“We meet every year here on the same weekend, anywhere from 12 to 14 of us. We come from all over – Houston, Dallas, Oregon, Missouri, Kansas, Florida, South Carolina. We all stay together in a house on the beach here, and we just love it.
The beauty and the safety of the gated community are huge pluses, she said.
“We never have to leave the resort,” Marsh said of the beach-front village, where picket fences and palm trees line paved paths through a cozy neighborhood of beach bungalows, condos and stately vacation homes.
A short walk, bike or golf cart ride from any direction leads to the heart of the community, a relaxed open-air plaza with unique restaurants, shops and year-round events known as Carillon Market Street. Providing essential goods and services, it is “The Place” to gather downtown, where residents and guests alike can relax around the central fountain or stroll the oak tree canopied promenade that quietly stretches through the landscape.
Surrounded by a 13-acre heart-shaped freshwater lake, Downtown Carillon Beach is as picturesque as it is carefree. Abundant with interesting coastal species like turtles, bass, migratory birds, blue herons and occasionally an eagle, Lake Carillon also serves as an oasis for recreational paddle boarders, yoga students and anglers in kayaks who enjoy the fishing.
The pier on Lake Carillon is a favored spot among visitors to enjoy a meal, throw a line in the lake, sit and watch the wildlife, or even get married, as one of Carillon Beach’s varied and popular wedding venues.
At the center of the village is the Carillon Bell Tower, located at one of the highest points in the village, Carillon Circle. Its 35 bells ring on the hour during the day and can be heard throughout the village, reminiscent of medieval times when bells tolled as a warning of looming events.
The community boasts seven different dune walkovers, each with significant architectural interest s, making access to the sparsely-populated beachfront easy from any vantage point. Four magnificently inviting pools complement the tranquil, Americana-like village setting, dotted with tennis and shuffleboard courts, playground and grilling areas.
Sharing an entry into Pinnacle Port, Carillon Beach also borders Lake Powell, the largest coastal dune lake in the State of Florida, and one of only a handful of rare ecosystems found exclusively in the Florida Panhandle, Madagascar, Australia and New Zealand. At 767 acres, Lake Powell holds the coveted “Pristine Florida Waterway” designation.
Want to go?
Accommodations the Inn at Carillon Beach & Downtown Carillon, Pinnacle Port Gulf-front condos and beach homes and cottages throughout Carillon Beach and Pinnacle Port, are all managed by Resortauest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals.
For more information, visit WyndhamVacationRentals.com.