By Erin Igram
There are plenty of places to see and things to do on your Gulf Coast vacay, but whatever you do you have to save a little time to check out the local beach and swimwear shops… especially if you’re in pursuit of that just perfect new bathing suit. Fortunately, there are specialized boutiques in just about every beach town dotting the coast from Destin and 30A to Panama City Beach Florida, and all the way over to Gulf Shores on the Alabama side of the coast with the most. If you’re lucky enough to be living at the beach, beach-bound, or just vacationing on the Gulf Coast, it’s important to make your shopping experience fun. Check out these boutiques to shop the beach life for your head-to-sandy-toe getaway wardrobe.
Islanders Coastal Outfitters
Founded in 1980, Islanders has been a proud provider and promoter of brands that represent the coastal and outdoor lifestyle for over 30 years. The original Islanders location was a two-story, yellow tin roof wood building in downtown Fort Walton Beach, currently their Outlet store. Over the decades, Islanders expanded with a second location at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island and another at The Boardwalk on Pensacola Beach.
The boutique surf shop began with a simple mission to promote the beach and water-man culture by providing high quality products and even higher quality customer service. Their goal is to serve customers, inspire others a business role model and grow with those who love the sun, sand and waves. Each location carries footwear, apparel and accessories from classic brands like Reef, Olukai, Birkenstock, KAVU, Patagonia, UGG, Costa, Billabong, Maaji Swimwear and many more. Each store attracts tourists and locals alike seeking their “Aloha Y’all” service, island-style products and laid back shopping experience. Before an afternoon of soaking up rays and splashing in waves, be sure to visit one of their three stores to find your next swimsuit.
Ophelia is a premier Florida luxury designer swimwear boutique that began with one woman’s dream to capture the 30A lifestyle with a distinctive offering of designer swimwear, clothing and accessories that reflect the spirit and beauty of the coastal towns found along Scenic Highway 30A in Northwest Florida. Founded in 2010 by Louisiana native Tori Pickren Von Hoene, Ophelia now has three boutique locations – one in famed Seaside, one in Seacrest Beach and a new boutique in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. Select brands offered include Mikoh, Boys and Arrows, Winston White, Lovers and Friends, L Space, Vitamin A, Frankie’s and many more. Ophelia wants all women to feel beautiful in their swimwear, no matter age or size, and offers the latest in design and fit to suit any style or shape. Sweet salty air, sugar white sand and the shining turquoise waters of the Gulf inspire their expertly curated selection of clothing.
Christina D Swim + Resort
Located on west Highway 30A in Santa Rosa Beach, Christina D is 30A’s destination for swimwear that fits real women, with a variety of brands and bra-sized cups ranging from A-I and sizes 2-18. Regardless of size or age, Christina’s goal is to help women of every age, shape and size find a suit that fits, feels great and looks fabulous. All of their swimwear is sold in separates so women can find the perfect combinations for their body type.
With over 18 years of experience, the owner, Christina, is a ‘swim fit-specialist’. From 2001-2010, Christina honed her fit skills as founder and operator of Trousseau, one of the nation’s top 5 lingerie and swim boutiques located in Chicago, IL. A native Floridian who has been in swim since she could crawl, in 2011 she went back to her roots and started Christina D in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Now going on her 8th summer, she is still going strong and has become one of the Southeast’s leading destinations for bra-sized swimwear. Enjoy the largest assortment of Tara Grinna, Anita, Rosa Faia, Sunsets, Curve, Swim Systems, Aerin Rose and Fresh Produce in the panhandle. Whether you are shopping for bikinis, tankinis, skirts, low-waisted bottoms, high-waisted bottoms or one-pieces, Christina D offers not only an amazing selection of swimwear but also amazing customer service.
Sirens Lingerie & Swim
This locally owned swimwear and lingerie boutique is located at The Market Shops in Miramar Beach. A favorite among locals, Sirens firmly believes that swimsuit shopping shouldn’t be stressful or a high-pressure experience, which is why they provide an enjoyable, elegant and unforgettable shopping experience to their customers. Some of the services they provide are personal shopping appointments, gift registry services, custom orders or specials requests and beautiful gift packaging.
Sirens take pride in their stress-free boutique services and carefully curated collections, catering to all women. Offering swim sizes 0-20W and bra-sized tops from 32D-38DD and 34-36DDD up to a G cup, they have a vast selection of fashionable suits that are suited for every woman. In addition to hundreds of stylish swimsuits, Sirens also has cool cotton nightgowns, gorgeous everyday foundations and the finest silks and laces from Europe. This boutique is a must when suit shopping, as their excellent service-driven staff will assist you in finding the perfect piece.
Everything But Water
Located in the Destin Commons shopping center, Everything But Water is a women’s resort lifestyle shop for swimsuits, cover-ups, sundresses, sandals, hats and other accessories. The first store opened in a Central Florida outlet mall in 1985. Today, Everything But Water has surpassed typical swim retailers and transformed into a brand with over 100 locations across the country, each offering uniquely different products than the next.
Everything But Water recognizes that wearing swimwear is no longer a purely functional endeavor – it’s a fashion occasion in its own right. They offer tried-and true brands and a winning selection of the most exciting up-and-coming designers, all thoughtfully pulled together into a constant stream of newness that cycles in throughout the year for your perfect getaway wardrobe, whether you’re traveling in January or July. The store offers an unparalleled assortment of designer swimwear, bikinis, one-pieces, D+ cup sizes and – being introduced this summer – their very own swimwear collection under the name EBW, proving the store really does have everything but water.
Home of 25,000 swimsuits and beach sportswear, Beach Scene has provided quality swimsuits and beachwear to Panama City Beach and surrounding areas for over 27 years. Quickly taking the lead in catering to ever changing swimsuit styles and needs, Beach Scene has built its walls on superior individual customer service and always providing the largest variety of swimwear on the beach. Beach Scene has been providing families with swimwear on their way to the beach for decades. Many locals and visitors alike have memories of purchasing their very first swimsuit for a pool party or beach bash at the store. As years go by and fashion changes, this Panama City Beach staple is a tradition for many and continues to offer a vast selection of suits with the same great service.
Beach House Boutique
Located in breezy quarters of Gulf Shores, this charming boutique carries casual to dressy resort wear, designer swimsuits, shoes and accessories necessary to indulge in the beach life with comfort and flair. Opened in 2007 by Robin Mills and her mother Joan Mills, Beach House Boutique offers brands and clothes that are unique, quality, comfortable and fashionable.
With their fashion and merchandizing backgrounds, Robin and Joan have developed a year-round resort wear shop for the beach lifestyle. Always searching for timeless, classics and chic resort wear, the Beach House is proud to offer exclusive lines such as Lilly Pulitzer, Gretchen Scott, Escapada, NYDJ, 4 Our Dreamers and more. Robin and Joan shop at markets all over the country to bring new, exciting merchandize and vendors to their mix of designer swimwear to suit a broad range of ages and body types with the goal of their customers finding the perfect swimsuit to look and feel beautiful.
Blue Lagoon is an upscale boutique located in the SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach. Carrying the latest styles and specializing in bra-sized swimwear, there’s a perfect fit for every body size, shape and need. If you’re not into the latest fashion, no sweat – they’ve got a retro and vintage style you’re sure to love, and love yourself in. Blue Lagoon has a large unforgettable collection and is a staple of the bikini boutique scene in Orange Beach – a must to add to your shopping trip.
Too Hot Mamas
Conveniently located in the SanRoc Cay Marina in Orange Beach, a second swimwear boutique is hot on the scene. Too Hot Mamas features the hottest trends and a large selection of high- quality, fashionable swimwear including tankini separates, one-pieces and swim dresses. With swim wear brands such as Kenneth Cole Reaction, Beach House, 24th & Ocean and more, you’re sure to find the perfect suit for any body type.
Owners Brenda Stone and Cindy Stone pride themselves on focusing on all body types, specializing in plus size swimwear and bra-size swim tops in cup sizes up to G. Along with the hottest trends in clothing, they also carry comfortable resort wear and menswear – an ideal place to find unique beach fashions. While Brenda and Cindy aren’t related, they’ll be the first to tell you although they’re not sisters they certainly are “two hot mamas.”
Seaside Shoes & Swim
Located on the beautiful Gulf Coast at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Seaside Shoes & Swim features hundreds of shoes and swimwear for women and kids – including brands like Becca, Laundry, Maaji and Kenneth Cole. What began in 2007 as simply Seaside Shoes in Foley, Alabama has expanded significantly to the present day store in Orange Beach, which locals and seasonal visitors have followed them to.
In addition to a vast selection of swimwear, they also carry the latest fashionable trends in shoes, sunglasses, handbags, jewelry, accessories and much more. Seaside Shoes & Swim in proud to offer wonderful, quality products to their customers, but even more excited to meet each person, help them find what they need, offer local advice about where to go while visiting the area, and do their best to enhance the customer’s experience in Orange Beach.