Have you ever heard about the beautiful paradise called 30A? Well, get excited because I’m about to give you all the details about this amazing beach destination located on the gulf coast of Florida!
And before I get started here is the link to our VRBO rental property! More details below!
The 30A name comes from an actual road in South Walton County that runs roughly 20 miles along the Florida Panhandle coastline. The area can be found between Destin and Panama City. These also happen to be the airports you can fly into when visiting 30A.
30A is a collection of peaceful little beach towns along Country Road 30A. This area is particularly special because of its unique combination of white sand beaches, emerald hued water, coastal forests, state parks, and unique little beach towns along this strip!
My family visited this little slice of heaven on a spring break trip and we completely fell in love! We were in awe of the beautiful surroundings and especially loved being able to drive there from Chicago (roughly a 14 hour drive).
So, we decided to invest in a townhome! Prominence on 30A is a beautiful development that is family friendly with an amazing location! We are so excited to have our own little spot for our family vacations, and even more exciting to share it with you so you can experience 30A for yourself.
Our 30A Vacation Home
Our 30A rental is a 2 bedroom 2 bath townhome, with a newly renovated kitchen, and comes equipped with a goft cart and beach gear included with your stay!
There are 2 large community pools that are heated October through March! Our unit is also centrally located along highway 30A so you can easily access all the fun little towns and gorgeous beaches during your stay!
Where to Go in 30A
One of our favorite parts of vacationing in 30A is the variety you’ll find from the local beach towns. They each truly have their own special appeal and vibe, which makes it almost impossible to pick a favorite!
Be sure to explore each town and check out all the restaurants, shops, beaches, and more! It can be overwhelming navigating, but below I’m breaking it down town by town and including all of our favorite spots!
Grayton Beach happens to be one of the oldest communities which also means it’s where 30A vacations first began. It’s often described as the “soul” of the scenic highway and chock full of free-spirited beach-goers!
Along with Grayton Beach State Park, you’ll also find several quaint shops, galleries, and restaurants, including the famous Red Bar! Delicious drinks, wonderful food, and amazing jazz and bluegrass bands will have you dancing all night long.
Chiringo’s is located near Red Bar and is one of our personal favorites! All their cocktails are made with fresh squeezed juice, and they have amazing tacos! Parking can be tough, but its worth circling to experience this laid back area right on the beach!
Another must visit brunch spot is Crackings. You can put your name on a virtual waiting list before you get there, and you can enjoy mason jar mimosas out front while you wait for your name to be called.
There are super cute shops you can check out nearby as well. Don’t miss the blood orange mimosa, it’s our absolute fave and you’ll likely be ordering a second one to go!
One final fave in Grayton Beach is Black Bear Bread Company! Another amazing brunch/lunch spot. Perfect for dining in or grabbing food on the go. They also recently opened a location in Seaside which has a larger patio for outdoor dining!
Grayton Beach is also the only area where you can take a 4-wheel drive vehicle directly out onto the sand (permit required). Plus, you’ll also find that this spot is one of the more affordable options along the 30A region.
The WaterColor community is made up of 500 acres tucked in between Seaside and Western Lake. You’ll find many rentals of varying sizes here, as well as the beautiful WaterColor Inn!
This is a great spot for large families because you’ll find everything that you need and want is located nearby. Several swimming pools, stand-up paddle boards, canoe rentals, tennis HydroCourts, and of course Camp WaterColor!
There is something for every age here, including shopping, restaurants, bakeries, candy stores, and the beautiful Cerulean Park! Your kids will especially love this area for their 30A vacation.
Seaside is one of the most picture-perfect regions on the whole coastline. This is probably why they chose to film the movie “The Truman Show” here!
Although these immaculate storefronts, cottages and parks are slightly more upscale, they’re still very welcoming. You can explore by foot or bicycle while checking out the charming art and jewelry galleries, cafes, clothing boutiques (be sure to snag a Seaside sweatshirt) or the famous Modica Market!
Make sure to check out the famous Seaside food trucks!
The crepes are one of our family’s favorites, and if you want to have the best hot dog of your life this is the spot!
Bud & Alley’s is another favorite spot with one of the best views! There can be a wait, but trust me its worth it. Make sure to try a coconut mojito, one of my absolute faves!
And if the line for upstairs dining is too long, check out their quick service pizza restaurant down below. Their pizza is seriously amazing, and this is coming from a Chicago girl who knows her pizza! Perfect for a quick meal after a day at the beach!
Great Southern Cafe is another must visit during your visit to Seaside. We love their brunch, but they’re open all day and also have some of the best mojitos in 30A.
It’s best to go at an off time (think late lunch or super early dinner) because the wait for this place can get long around peak meal times! Again I promise it’s worth the wait and their is plenty to keep you busy in Seaside until they call your name!
A hidden spot we stumbled upon last trip is Nigel’s. Tucked away in Seaside it’s a must visit with kids! Dipped ice cream and frozen bananas are the perfect treat on a hot day!
Tucked between Seaside and Watersound, you could almost miss Seagrove completely! But don’t because one of our favorite brunch spots, The Perfect Pig is a must visit for us every trip! Be sure to splurge and order a side of bacon, its amazing here!
Another not to miss spot that we hit every time we visit 30A is Old Florida Fish House. Nestled on a lake and overlooking the ocean, be sure to plan a meal during sunset! They usually have live music and activites like cornhole and giant connect 4 for kids!
Best part is this is one of the few restaurants that take reservations (up to parties of 6) so book this one before your trip! And definitely get the sushi or splurge on the oysters, both are amazing!
Also be sure to check out The Beachy Bean for coffee and Coastside for cocktails and snacks! There is plenty of outdoor seating and activities for kiddos while you soak in the views!
WaterSound is a community made up of charming cottages and rental homes, a gorgeous golf course, a lake, and several glistening pools. You’ll find that the prices for these rentals are fairly reasonable considering they’re close to so many community amenities.
The Big Chill (formerly called The Hub) is located directly across the street from our rental and includes many restaurants, food trucks, and a stage for live music, yoga, and more! The Big Chill is always crowded for seasonal sporting events like March Madness, so be sure to head there early to snag a good seat!
Alys Beach is a very unique section of this gorgeous area. The all-white buildings and stunning architecture are as the Alys Beach website states has, “… its foundation in Moorish and Mediterranean flairs, with architectural styles founded in the beauty of Bermuda, and with courtyards inspired by homes in Antigua, Guatemala.”
This area is definitely more upscale and certainly has a “members-only” vibe to it. It is strikingly beautiful but the rentals here also start at around $1000/per night.
If you can afford to stay in this exotic looking spot for your 30A vacation then be sure to take as many pictures as you can. Also, don’t forget to check out the restaurants in this town as they are some of the very best!
Raw & Juicy is a gorgeous brunch spot with an amazing play area for kids. Their avocado toast is one of the best in 30A!
The Citizen is a newer restaurant that is definitely more upscale. If you’re traveling with grandparents, save this for a date night sans kiddos!
Rosemary Beach is another stunning beach town that is slightly more upscale, it almost feels as though you’ve been transported to Europe. It’s picturesque and charming and you’ll find plenty of bicyclists pedaling the cobblestone streets.
You can walk the 107 acres of Rosemary Beach on foot or meander through the wood-plank pathways to explore the beautiful homes and beach front parks!
And of course there’s the food, and there’s plenty to cover in Rosemary Beach! One of the very few adult only restaurants in 30A is Pescado.
It’s a rooftop restaurant with an incredible view. If you want a table during sunset, be sure to get there early and I mean right when it opens for dinner. People tend to linger!
Looking for a more family friendly option, head to one of our faves Cowgirl Kitchen. Think tacos, burgers, yummy mac n cheese for kids, and the best queso dip ever!!
Just next door is a fun tapas restaurant called La Crema! Small plates that are fun for sharing, and you absolutely have to get the chocolate fondue dessert…trust me your kids will be thanking you!!
Also there is some amazing shopping in Rosemary so be sure to walk around after you put your name on a waiting list! And don’t miss our favorite candy store in 30A, The Sugar Shak where you will find literally all your old candy favorites!
Tips for Visiting 30A
Choose Your Rental Times Carefully
Summertime is one of the most popular for vacation rentals, but this also means large crowds at the beaches and restaurants. You can find cheaper rates and less congestion during late August, September, and even early October!
If you plan your trip for summer, you can guarantee yourself amazing beach weather! The ocean will feel like bath water, and it’s definitely our favorite time to visit.
Spring Break is another popular time, but plan for 70s at best and much cooler ocean temps. My kids don’t seem to mind but you won’t catch me swimming! Later fall is supposed to be a beautiful time to go as well!
Book In Advance
If you do choose to vacation during the summer months, then make sure to book early! Popular rentals can sometimes be fully booked for a full year.
So be sure to do your research and then book your spot as early as you can.
Rent Bicycles or Golf Carts
There is a lot of walking available to you no matter what beach you’re staying at. But if you’d prefer a bicycle or golf cart then be sure to inquire about renting them!
Some rentals will include golf carts as a part of your rate, (like our 30A vacation rental) but for others, you’ll have to rent your own. These can also be quite a popular rental, so if you want to be sure you have access to one then you should also ask about reserving one for your family.
One of the best parts about 30A is how family friendly everything is! Dining out with kids is a welcomed experience, golf carts and bike paths make it easy to get around and explore, not to mention the gorgeous white sand beaches to enjoy!
30A is a must visit for so many reasons, but I promise once you visit one time you’ll be planning your return trip back asap!! Be sure to check our rental to see if there’s availability for your next trip!