If you’ve never heard of 30A, it is a scenic highway that runs along the cost of South Walton county in Florida. Along 30A you’ll find a lot of adorable, quaint beach towns including Seaside, Aly’s Beach, Watercolor, Rosemary Beach, and more. We’ve been to 30A in one little town or another several times. The last three times we’ve come down we’ve been for a wedding in one town or another.
I realized this time that I have yet to create a guide for all the places I like and the never ending list of recommendations for this beautiful area. Today, I’m sharing my 30A travel guide with you all including a ton of the suggestions you all sent in via Instagram stories.
30A TRAVEL GUIDE
Below I’m sharing my 30A travel guide with tips on where to stay, where to eat, and what to do when visiting these adorable coastal towns in Florida. I’m also sharing a few travel tips!
I think this is such a cult favorite vacation destination because it’s a relatively easy destination within the United States. Personally, I think it’s an ideal spot to visit with kids. You could drive, although we always choose flying over driving. We fly into Panama City airport and grab an Uber or rent a car to go to whichever town we are staying in along 30A. Every town in 30A is very picturesque and everything is also really new and clean. The beaches are really nice, too!
WHERE TO STAY
On this most recent trip, we stayed at The Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach. If you’re going to stay in a hotel, I feel like this is the absolute best option. It’s located in the heart of Rosemary and you can walk everywhere. The rooms are so nice and are very spacious. I love the adults only pool and the beach chair service just a few steps away from the hotel. It has onsite dining options and the service is incredible. They have an onsite spa and bikes that you can use during your stay, too. You absolutely MUST try their pimento cheese. It’s seriously one of the best I’ve ever had. If you are wanting a convenient and luxurious option when traveling to 30A, I can’t recommend The Pearl enough.
If you are traveling with a larger group and do not want to do a hotel, there are so many amazing homes for rent. You can find everything from condos that sleep two to homes that sleep twenty. Renting a house can definitely be an easy and affordable option if you’re staying longer because you can cook at the house during your stay. A lot of them have pools, which I love to switch it up from the beach, too.
WHERE TO EAT
- La Crema: delicious taps and dessert is a must if you go to this little spot in Rosemary Beach. You can sit outside or inside. Make a reservation if you can, because it will fill up quick, especially during busy months.
- Cafe 30A: located in Seagrove, this 30A staple restaurant serves up innovative American fair. It’s a perfect dinner spot. If you like seafood, try the delicious curry mussels!
- Havana Beach Bar & Grill: this restaurant is located at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach and is so delicious. The rooftop area is my favorite on a beautiful day or night. You can get a beautiful sunset view from up here, too!
- Pescado: An absolute must for the food, adorable decor, and unbeatable rooftop views. This little gem is located in Rosemary Beach, just around the corner from Town Hall.
- Bud & Alley’s: snag a seat on the top level deck if you can, but no matter where you sit, this is a Seaside gem & you really can’t go wrong with anything here.
- George’s at Aly’s Beach: everything here is made with fresh, local produce & is so delicious. Try the lobster quesadillas or the spicy salt & pepper shrimp.
- Cowgirl Kitchen: this is a great breakfast spot in Rosemary Beach, but it’s also delicious for a casual lunch or dinner. They have amazing tacos & a little something for everyone on the menu. It’s so easy to walk here across from The Pearl in the morning or to take a break from the beach and come over here for lunch.
- Great Southern Cafe: this Seaside gem combines International cuisine with Southern cooking to serve up some simply amazing dishes. Seats are first come, first serve for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Perfect Pig: this Seagrove restaurant has been named a 30A hot spot. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner– but I’d go later in the day when the pig pizza is available. It’s supposed to be THE best.
- The Bay: you can find any Southern gulf coast classics here at this restaurant located in Santa Rosa Beach. I’d recommend getting sushi or a lobster roll.
- Stinky’s Fish Camp: another great Santa Rosa Beach spot that prides itself on gulf to table food. It’s a casual setting with good, classic seafood.
- Caliza: this is a nicer restaurant in Alys Beach that has contemporary American cuisine served al fresco. You’ll dine next to a beautiful pool outside. They are only open for cocktail hour or dinner.
- AJs: you can go here for lunch or dinner to get fresh seafood, sushi, or steak. They are located in Grayton Beach (Santa Rosa) and have a fun, laid back, bar atmosphere.
- Sugar Shak: for all of your sweet tooth cravings. They have ice cream, baked goods, & every kind of candy you can imagine.
- Seaside Square food trucks: You really can’t go wrong with any of the food trucks lined up around Seaside Square. My personal favorite is the perfectly named grilled cheese truck, Melt Down!
WHAT TO DO
- Go to the beach. Many hotels or homes have chair service on the beach you can use. Otherwise, you can just bring chairs or towels down and set up your own spot.
- Relax at the pool or go to the spa at The Pearl. The pool is available for guests and is adults only. They also have poolside drinks and food you can order if you feel like lounging care free. The spa has just about any treatment you could want & is the perfect place to go relax.
- Walk around Seaside square. There are tons of great shops & a bunch of food trucks set up where you can eat.
- Bike up & down 30A. This is the easiest and best way to explore the different towns along 30A. Most of them are a mile or so apart, making it really easy to go from one town to another for a meal or just to walk around and explore.
- Vintage Movies at Eden’s Garden. In the summer you can go watch a vintage movie under the oaks of Eden Gardens State Park. It’s just $4 per vehicle to enter the park! Movies start at 6:30. & you can bring in your own chairs, blankets, coolers, & food.
- Go to the Farmer’s Market. Every Thursday and Sunday from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. the farmer’s market in Rosemary Beach farmers market has food’s from all around the South and the world.
- Point Washington State Park. If you need a break from the beach or need to walk off all the amazing seafood you’re eating while here, go hike at Point Washington. There is over 12,000 acres of beautiful land here to explore!
- Ensure where you are staying has bikes so you can get around or consider renting a car. Ubers or Lyfts are hard to come by and you may have to wait up to thirty minutes for a ride to take you from one town to another.
- Make reservations if you can. I found that most are first come, first serve, so my recommendation is to go early, as restaurants fill up very quickly during busy months.
- Take note that most of the towns close down around 10:00 P.M., so most things won’t stay open late except the bar at The Pearl is open until about midnight and a few other spots stay open later. For the most part, it’s a sleepy town after 10:00.
Thank you so much to The Pearl for being the perfect place for us to stay during our visit!