This beachside community in The Truman Show appears too idyllic to be real, right? Wrong! It is possible to visit Seaside, Florida! And it rests peacefully within one of 30A Florida’s communities—the best-kept Florida’s beach secret.
For many Floridians and residents of neighboring states such as Georgia and Alabama, 30A Florida is a unique vacation destination. 30A Florida, which is comprised of a number of small beach villages, each with its own personality and list of activities, is the ideal getaway for families and couples seeking a relaxed atmosphere that seems more like home than a vacation.
Sound like a place from which you could flee? Wait till you hear about our new Twin Palms houses, right in the heart of our favorite 30A Florida eateries and activities!
What is 30A Florida?
Those who have never heard of 30A are not alone. Though the beauty of our beaches is renowned worldwide, the area itself remains a hidden gem, far less crowded than other Florida tourist traps.
In fact, it’s almost like being in a separate world here. No congestion or people. No rigid schedules or “Go, go, go!” mentality exist here. Instead, you will discover in 30A a tropical paradise that promises relaxation, pleasure, and memories to last a lifetime.
Change your latitude and your perspective. Discover the Sunshine State’s best-kept secret and you won’t need a vacation from your vacation.
Why is it Called 30A Florida?
The 30A Florida region is called after the scenic highway that traverses it: Scenic Highway 30A Florida. Similar to the Pacific Coastal Highway in California, but on a much smaller scale, Scenic Highway 30A follows the coast, offering views of white sand beaches, dune lakes, and the ocean.
Where is 30A Florida?
The name 30A Florida is derived from a route in South Walton County (County Road 30A) that stretches for approximately 20 miles along the Florida Panhandle shoreline. This region lies in the midst of the distance between Destin and Panama City.
The closest airport to Seaside along 30A Florida is Panama City — Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), which is 35 miles away. It is a compact, contemporary airport that is easy to enter and exit without much difficulty.
However, the Destin – Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) and the Pensacola International Airport (PNS), which is approximately a two-hour drive away, are also possible options. Yet, regardless of which airport you choose, you will certainly want to rent a car to explore the area at your leisure.
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What Makes 30A Florida So Special?
With its blend of picture-perfect white sand beaches and azure blue Gulf, coastal woods and coastal dune lakes, state parks, festivals and events that attract tourists from across the country, 30A is unlike anywhere else in the world… in addition to its distinctly Southern charm.
It is difficult to exaggerate the beauty of the Gulf or the significance of the natural environment here. The beach makes everything better, and on 30A, the beach is everywhere.
When is The Best Time of the Year to Visit The 30A Florida?
October is the very best month to visit 30A if you want to avoid crowds while still engaging in outdoor activities. Nevertheless, there is no terrible time to visit, especially if you can coordinate your trip with popular community events.
How Many Beach Towns are in 30A Florida?
South Walton county contains sixteen lovely beach communities.
- Inlet Beach
- Rosemary Beach
- Alys Beach
- Seacrest Beach
- WaterSound, Seagrove
- Grayton Beach
- Blue Mountain Beach
- Santa Rosa Beach
- Gulf Place
- Dune Allen
- Miramar Beach.
Where to Go in 30A Florida?
While it is not a large region, 30A Florida has numerous layers and complexities. Below is a brief description of a handful of the local communities for people considering their first vacation.
1. Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rose Beach, the largest beach community in South Walton County, invites you to a luxurious beach vacation on 30A Florida. This gorgeous beach, with its sugary sand and emerald waves, is a wonderful place to spend the day with family.
In town, enjoy amazing cuisine (see below for suggestions), sample local craft beers, view handcrafted works at the Artists at Gulf Place, and browse charming boutiques.
At Santa Rosa, outdoor activities include paddleboarding at the Topsail Hill Preserve, off-road cycling and hiking in the Point Washington State Forest, and, of course, lounging on the beach! Have historians in your group? See the historic Wesley Mansion, which was constructed in the 1890s, at Eden Gardens State Park.
Santa Rosa Beach is the ideal 30A beach for planning a family vacation or weekend break with friends, as it offers activities for all ages and top-tier attractions.
2. Seaside’s Airstream Row
The beachfront food trucks (converted Airstream trailers) in Seaside are renowned. Try anything from Raw and Juicy for a nutritious pick-me-up (and numerous vegan options). In addition to café fare, they specialize in cold-pressed organic, raw, and vegan juices and smoothies.
The Meltdown on 30a is my favorite lunch spot, and their grilled cheese can be prepared to your specifications. Also available are barbecue, hot dogs, crepes, and Frost Bites, the greatest spot in town for shaved ice and frozen custard.
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3. Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach, one of the oldest settlements in the region, has attracted vacationers from Northwest Florida and Alabama for more than a century. It has been described as the essence of 30A Florida, a “crunchy” town, and a “funky tiny beach town filled with free-spirited people.”
Around the streets of Grayton are hand-painted peace signs and a prominent Volkswagen van. In addition, there is Red Bar, a very popular institution. The original Red Bar was destroyed by fire in 2019. It has been recreated in the same location and reopened in the summer of 2020.
Although there are drinks and music available, you should not skip a meal. The crab cakes (offered on Fridays and Saturdays) are popular, and I can personally attest to the quality of the to-go Shrimp Po Boy (you know, it being a pandemic and all).
Here you’ll discover Grayton Beach State Park as well as cabins within the state park that are pretty basic but more reasonable than the majority of housing alternatives in the area, beginning at $110 per night.
4. Dune Allen Beach
Nature enthusiasts are ecstatic whenever they have the opportunity to visit Dune Allen Beach. Five coastal dune lakes are dispersed over the countryside and are surrounded by miles of pathways. Few local businesses interrupt the natural landscape, yet it’s simple to get a delicious meal and drinks to complement it.
Seaside, founded in 1979, has become one of the Coast’s most gorgeous beach villages! The blockbuster film “The Truman Show!” features Seaside’s implausible design and layout. Seaside is renowned for having some of the top 30A beaches. Seaside, Florida is well-known for its family-friendly ambiance reminiscent of the mid-20th century!
A food truck park selling barbecues, Asian cuisine, and fresh juices is located in the center of the Seaside town square. Seaside is recognized for its unique restaurants with a modern flair, including a food truck park. Several residential communities are spotless and lovely, exemplifying the best of coastal southern living!
6. WaterSound Beach
WaterSound Beach is a classic seaside community comprised of homes, hiking trails, and miles of sand beaches. Cottage rentals place you in the heart of the action, making it simple to spend the entire day at the beach. Local eateries provide cuisine from all around the world, allowing you to satisfy all of your cravings and refuel for further travels.
In the 30A, there is certainly something for everyone. Before picking which cities to add to your list of favorites, don’t be afraid to explore each one thoroughly.
7. Alys Beach
Alys Beach and a stretch of the picturesque route surrounded by towering palm palms are greeted by four sparkling minaret-style buildings. Remember that this seaside town was named after the wife of its initial developer, should the upscale surroundings urge you to put on airs. That’s like naming your newborn after your mama, and we all know it doesn’t get more relatable—or Southern—than that.
8. Rosemary Beach
Rosemary Beach, located closer to the easternmost end of 30A’s beaches, provides a tranquil respite from everyday life! This tranquil coastal town is filled with opulent private neighborhoods and homes.
The Merchants of Rosemary Beach have a variety of clothing boutiques, art galleries, and bookstores, among other establishments. During rainy days, Rosemary Beach is one of the greatest 30A Florida places for indoor activities.
9. Seagrove Beach
With its wonderfully planned layout, Seagrove Beach makes it easy to have fun in the sun and then locate a beautiful shady location to rest up in. When you need a break from oceanfront activities, the town center is home to family-owned restaurants and stores. Café Thirty-A always attracts a crowd, but you cannot go wrong by visiting any of the local establishments.
10. Blue Mountain Beach
Blue Mountain Beach displays its eponymous flower, the blue lupine, and offers a multitude of oceanfront recreation options. Local bike rental services make it simple to commute from the breezy oceanfront to the tranquil inland settlement. In between your travels, you may see musicians performing live for the crowds at a number of adjacent restaurants.
11. Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach has the look and feel of a tiny community, which you will like at first sight. A coastal forest backs the beaches beyond to create a breathtakingly distinctive landscape. The sugar-sand beaches will definitely beckon you, but you should also explore the salt marsh nature trails.
12. Inlet Beach
Inlet Beach is the finest beach located on 30A. This contemporary beach destination has the elegance of an upscale New York neighborhood and the charm of a southern fishing community. Inlet Beach, located at the easternmost end of 30A and only minutes from Panama City Beach, is the ideal spot for families and young adults.
Take advantage of the relaxed atmosphere with a bicycle ride around the different streets and neighborhoods; TripShock offers the lowest prices on online bike rentals in 30A.
Watercolor is a nicely designed community with coastal houses situated among numerous parks and paths. The beach house rentals are endlessly charming, making them a terrific place to stay on 30A Florida. You are always welcome to stroll the trails surrounding the coastal dune lake or spend the day at the beach.
Seacrest offers a really family-friendly layout that is certain to entertain you. The Village of South Walton is situated in the heart of everything, acting as the focal point for community events throughout the year. Bike rentals, outdoor pubs, and everything in between remains on tap always, so you can always find something exciting to do.
15. Topsail Hill
Topsail Hill is home to three miles of scenic beaches and a 1,600-acre park featuring wetlands, coastal dune lakes, and magnificent sand dunes. It is a portion of the Great Florida Birding Trail and has been referred to as “a hiker’s heaven.” It also has RV and cabin rental parks that are regarded as among the best in the nation.
Seagrove’s stretch of beach cottages and sand is a casual change from the picture-perfect planned communities of Seaside and Alys Beach, which are surrounded by a dense grove of trees.
The Cowgirl Kitchen Market & Cafe and The Perfect Pig provide unique interpretations of traditional beach cuisine, making this stretch of 30A Florida a must-see, and a mindful yoga class at Balance Health Studio can give you a fresh perspective on your entire trip. And don’t forget the beach: passing beneath a clump of vines to reach the ivory sand is akin to entering a different world.
17. Paddle Board with YOLO
The turquoise seas of 30a beg for a paddleboard session, and if you’re going to do it, you might as well do it locally. YOLO is a Santa Rosa-based company that provides boards and bikes of high quality. Hire a paddle board, electric bike, or paddle board trip on one of the coastal dunes lakes during your visit.
18. Bud & Alley’s
Bud & Alley’s is the legendary beachfront bar and grill in Seaside, and it is a must-visit when in the area. Even though it is small and crowded at the night, it is a pleasant spot to be. The rooftop location in the midst of Seaside Beach offers the best sunset view on 30a.
19. Gulf Place
Gulf Place is a tiny planned community with a laid-back demeanor and an abundance of entertaining activities. The main plaza is one of the best on 30A. It is filled with local stores and eateries, as well as the artist colony 30A Artists At Gulf Place, where you may purchase items created by local artists.
Also, Gulf Place features an expansive lawn with an amphitheater that attracts all types of bands and performances. This is a wonderful venue for many of 30A’s best events, including the monthly Wine Walk on the third Thursday of each month. Even if you’re only visiting for a short while, all of this is intended to make you feel like a native.
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This neighborhood is home to The Hub, an ideal family-friendly environment. Prominence is a brand-new development on 30A that may be precisely what you’re seeking. The community’s amenities include a 5,000-square-foot resort-style pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an abundance of hammocks, and all the shopping, dining, and live music you’ll ever need to create memories that will last a lifetime! With only a short bike ride or bus ride to the beach, you have all you need!
Where to Stay 30A Florida?
There are some hotel options, but they are few and far between, and they are also pricey. Because of this, the majority of people choose one of the several rental lodgings. The link to the precise Airbnb where we stayed is included in my downloadable itinerary.
These are the few distinguished hotels available:
- The Pearl — Situated in the middle of Rosemary Beach, this renowned hotel is expensive, but if you can afford it, it is stunning! I believe it is more suitable for couples than for families.
- The Pointe on 30A — This is a popular option for families, as it is situated in close proximity to Rosemary Beach. They have various services, including a pool, fitness center, on-site restaurant, and free bike rentals.
- Watercolor Inn & Resort —Watercolor Hotel & Resort is also a popular option for families and large parties because it offers suites with one and two bedrooms. This pet-friendly resort is located in Watercolor and features various swimming pools, kayak and bicycle rentals, and pet-friendly accommodations.
- Beachcrest 0501 — Beachcrest 0501 at Seagrove Beach offers free Internet and views of the pool. The property is approximately two kilometers from Walton Dunes Beach, 18 kilometers from Russell-Fields Pier, and 18 kilometers from Pier Park.
- Beachwood Villas 7C — Beachwood Villas 7C provides rooms in Seagrove Beach with complimentary WiFi, 1.2 miles from Walton Dunes Beach, and 18 miles from Russell-Fields Pier.
Where to Eat on 30A Florida?
When you combine a community of creative folks, a focus on locally sourced products, and the desire to make distinctive, delectable cuisine, you’re certain to get something extraordinary.
Here are some of our favorite 30A Florida restaurants:
Blue Mountain Beach and Gulf Place Restaurants
- Blackened grouper tacos, crab cake sandwiches, and shrimp and grits are just a few of the menu options at The Perfect Pig.
- Growler Garage is a unique beer bar with a laid-back atmosphere where you may sample one of over 40 specialty beers.
- Blue Mabel serves brunch, lunch, supper, and happy hour with bourbon-glazed pork belly, creole pickled shrimp, and mussel and scallop curry.
- Johnny McTighe’s is a terrific place to watch a game, drink a pint, and eat pub food.
- Blue Mountain Bakery serves classic bakery fares, such as muffins, cinnamon buns, pastries, and bread, as well as to-go frittatas, quiches, and wraps.
Grayton Beach Restaurants
- The Red Bar is an eccentric restaurant/bar that is a local favorite.
- Chiringo is a restaurant that serves sweet fried plantains, Caribbean-style chicken wings, and fresh juice cocktails in an open-air setting with spectacular views.
- Hurricane Oyster Bar offers raw, grilled, steamed, or baked oysters, as well as many other options.
- Grayton Beer BrewPub serves sandwiches, burgers, plate dinners, and specialty drinks.
- Chanticleer for the pulled pork plate, jambalaya, and shrimp and grits in a comfortable atmosphere surrounded by an abundance of excellent artwork.
Watercolor and Seaside Restaurants
- The Wine Bar offers cheese plates, sandwiches, wood-fired pizzas, and a comprehensive wine list.
- The Great Southern Cafe offers regionally produced reimagined southern cuisine. Try the macaroni and cheese with bacon and shrimp, oyster po’boys, and balsamic grilled salmon salad.
Seagrove Beach and Watersound Restaurants
- You can create your own pizza or choose from a variety of options, including spaghetti and meatball. In addition to sandwiches, salads, and pasta, there is an outstanding selection for children.
- Angelina’s offers pizza and pasta served in a variety of delicious ways.
- Old Florida Fish House Any anytime, but especially for Sunday breakfast with a view of Eastern Lake.
- The Hub is a large, open-air gathering place surrounded by eateries that provide movie nights and live music.
Seacrest Beach, Inlet Beach, and Rosemary Beach Restaurants
- La Crema offers a variety of wines, beers, and ports, along with exquisitely cooked tapas and chocolate.
- Cowgirl Kitchen serves various dips, tacos, and pizzas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Spend the evening at Paradis savoring exquisite, upmarket cuisine that is locally sourced and thoughtfully prepared.
- After purchasing cool beer, breakfast biscuits, and delicious sandwiches at Seacrest Sundries, one can proceed to the beach.
- As the name suggests, Big Bad Breakfast features hefty scrambles, skillets, omelets with sandwiches, and wraps to boot.
- Shades Bar and Grill serves burgers and po’boys for lunch and flatbreads, wings, and specialty plates for supper, all of which are accompanied by a vast array of tap beers.
- Amici Italian Restaurant is a family-friendly restaurant that serves homemade pasta, pizza, and gelato.
- Goatfeathers is a seafood restaurant with one of the most diverse cuisines in the area, with much of its seafood sourced from its on-site market.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does 30A mean in Florida?
The name 30A is derived from a route in South Walton County (County Road 30A) that stretches for approximately 20 miles along the Florida Panhandle shoreline. This region lies in the midst of the distance between Destin and Panama City.
Why is 30A so popular?
What Makes 30A So Extraordinary? With its blend of picture-perfect white sand beaches and azure blue Gulf, coastal woods and coastal dune lakes, state parks, festivals, and events that attract tourists from across the country, 30A is unlike anywhere else in the world… in addition to its distinctly Southern charm.
Why is it called 30A Florida?
(This region is also known as the Florida Panhandle.) The designation 30A is derived from County Road 30A in South Walton County, where the beach communities are located. It stretches around 20 miles along the Florida coastline and is situated at the exact midpoint of the stretch between Destin and Panama City.
What celebrities live in 30A?
Here, HGTV star Vern Yip constructed a West Indies-style home. Tom Glavine, a future Hall of Fame pitcher, is one of his neighbors. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, and Luke Bryan are all among the celebs who have been spotted on 30A.
Is 30A a good family vacation?
A family beach vacation on 30A caters to families seeking a laid-back and easygoing summer holiday. It will provide you and your family with a little respite from reality. Besides, it is gorgeous. 30A features magnificent neighborhoods and architecture, as well as stunning beaches.
How long is 30A in Florida?
Walton County in Northwest Florida is home to a 24-mile stretch of scenic highway 30A that skirts the Gulf of Mexico. This magnificent route features sugar-white sand beaches and unusual coastal dune lakes. Scenic Route 30A is a significant tourist destination.
How many people visit 30A per year?
Over the summer months, Blue Mountain Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seaside, and all other 30A Beach villages welcomed nearly 2.5 million visitors, which boosted the local economy by an estimated $2.4 billion.