Posted on 10/15/2021
"When the sun goes down we'll be groovin'
When the sun goes down we'll be feelin' alright
When the sun sinks down over the water
Everything gets hotter when the sun goes down"
—Kenny Chesney, When the Sun Goes Down
It's no secret that celebrities often vacation, and even own homes, in Destin and along Scenic Highway 30A in South Walton. Like the rest of us, they can't resist the pull of the sparkling white shores and luminescent waves of the Emerald Coast. Country music stars, in particular, feel an affinity for the coast.
Country living, and thus country music, go hand in hand with the beach, and so it makes perfect sense that country musicians would find their way down to this little slice of paradise. The laidback, low-stress lifestyle that is often a focus of country music is paralleled by the laidback and relaxed atmosphere of the beach. There is no hustle and bustle, nor schedules to follow—you can simply live in the moment. A strong community spirit is another advantage of rural living, and 30A is known for its friendly neighbors and welcoming vibe. Fresh air and closeness to nature are aspects that the Gulf Coast and the country have in common, as well. At the beach, you can enjoy clean Gulf breezes, nature walks, and all kinds of outdoor recreation. Of course, the views don't hurt either!
Discretion is yet another characteristic that draws country music stars to these picturesque shores. On the Emerald Coast, locals and visitors alike respect the privacy and space of visiting celebrities. Here, they can simply be present and enjoy the low-key, beautiful beach atmosphere, just like everyone else.
While the reasons country music stars love 30A might be obvious, you may be surprised to learn which musicians often visit this shimmering shoreline! Check out these country stars who have either vacationed here or own a home in paradise.
Known for popular hits such as "Blue Ain't Your Color" and "Somebody Like You," Keith Urban has vacationed in Destin for many years. In fact, Urban lived in the Gulf Coast area before shooting to success in the 90s. He also used to play at Kangaroo Jack's on the Destin Harbor when it was owned by Australian Rusty Hammerstrom and Englishman Steve Parrish. Since then, Urban has been spotted around town and is even known to jump on stage with local bands at places like the Boathouse Oyster Bar.
With more than 20 #1 country hits, Kenny Chesney is a household name for those who love country music—and even those who don't! As a country artist, Chesney's music ranges from laidback tunes to party songs to slower melodies. But a large number of those songs—and the music videos—show off Chesney's love for summer and for the beach, including "When the Sun Goes Down," "Summertime," "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems," and more. Over the years, Chesney has been spotted in and around 30A, from the Red Bar in Grayton Beach to WaterColor Inn.
Country star Luke Bryan is more open about his life on 30A than some of his fellow country artists. The "Play it Again" singer owns a vacation home in Santa Rosa Beach on 30A and even offered the public a glimpse inside the incredible residence named "Snowman" in honor of his late brother. The beachfront property is four levels of coastal luxury, complete with a private pool and waterfront balconies. In addition to the house, Luke Bryan opened a cigar shop with entrepreneur Paul Copeland on 30A. Shore Thing Cigars is located at The Hub in Watersound, so be sure to check it out!
If you're vacationing on 30A, you might just see the beach cowboy himself, Brian Kelley, riding through town on his two-wheel steel horse or lassoing himself a spicy margarita. The Florida Georgia Line singer has filmed several music videos in the area. Kelley, his wife, and his family have made their home along 30A. Having grown up in Daytona, Kelley likes the Florida mindset of doing something outside, whether it's fishing, riding a bike, or listening to music under the shade of a tree. Not only do Kelley and his wife Brittney have a home on 30A, they also own Tribe Kelley Surf Post in Grayton Beach.
Jason Aldean is another country music star that has filmed a video in Destin recently. The song "Got What I Got" is a tribute to his family and their beautiful life together. The video combines gorgeous Destin views with sweet shots of the Aldean family making memories together. Though their Gulf Coast home recently hit the market, it is clear that this stunning oasis has been a significant part of the country star's life. In a March Instagram post, Aldean's wife gave a shout-out to the friends they've made at Shunk Gulley near Gulf Place Town Center and expressed gratitude for all the memories they've made in Santa Rosa Beach.
Faith Hill & Tim McGraw
Country powerhouse couple Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are no strangers to the sparkling beaches of the Emerald Coast. With both working hard to create hits like Hill's "Mississippi Girl" and McGraw's "I Like It, I Love It," they certainly deserve some downtime at the beach! Not only has the couple vacationed here, Jeffrey Steele - the writer behind some of their top hits even participated in the Annual 30A Songwriter's Festival in the past.
Garth Brooks is a country music legend, boasting many hit songs like "Friends in Low Places," "The Dance," "Papa Loved Mama," and "Unanswered Prayers." With his energetic personality and amazing voice, Brooks' live shows are entertaining, making you want to dance and sing along to every word. Like other country stars, Brooks has found solace in the perfect paradise that is the Emerald Coast. Back in the day, Brooks visited 30A often with his first wife, and now flies down here for vacation with current wife and musician Trisha Yearwood on a regular basis.
Whew, that's a lot of country musicians that have good taste in beaches! And that's still not all. Country star and American Idol participant Kellie Pickler got engaged to now-husband Kyle Jacobs while on vacation in Rosemary Beach. Chuck Wicks didn't hesitate to choose Destin as the setting for his 2013 "Salt Life" music video. Destin is one of several Margaritaville locations, a restaurant owned by Jimmy Buffet.
If you've booked a vacation at one of our 30A beach rentals, you may see some of these celebrities while you're out and about. In fact, you can find the best places to spot celebrities in South Walton. But remember to give them their space—they want to enjoy the beach, sand, and sun as much as you do!