Fun Things to Do While Vacationing on 30A
A 30A vacation is all about unplugging from the stresses of everyday life and enjoying quality time with those you love. It’s about soaking in the natural beauty that draws us all to the area. Here’s a quick list of fun things to do while vacationing on 30A.
Fun 30A Water Activities:
Go Fishing… Northwest Florida offers some of the best fishing in the world and there are a number of different ways to enjoy this activity. Surf fishing from the beach is the easiest way to wet a line. You simply need your rods, sand pole holders, tackle and bait. A Pompano rig with live sand fleas is the setup that works best on the beaches of 30A. You’ll catch a wide variety of fish including but not limited to… Pompano, Red Fish, Whiting, Flounder, Spanish Mackerel, Lady Fish and more. All of the local bait shops will have the ready-made Pompano rigs so make sure to pick up a few before heading to the beach.
Kayak fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is something that all true anglers must experience at least once. To do it you’ll need a medium weight fishing rod, reel, and trolling rig. If you can find live cigar minnows that is the ideal bait. Frozen cigar minnows or a medium size spoon will work as well. Paddle out past the 2nd sandbar and there’s no limit to the type of fish you will potentially catch. King Mackerel, Mahi-Mahi, Sailfish, Yellowfin Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Sharks, Cobia and many more species are all in play when fishing in the Gulf from a kayak.
Deep sea fishing along the 30A corridor is difficult to beat. No matter if you go out of Panama City Beach, Grayton Beach or Destin harbor you’re sure to have a great day on the water. Most deep-sea charters will take you anywhere from 20 to 30 miles out into the Gulf. At those depths, you can expect to catch grouper, red snapper, triggerfish, Mingo snapper, amberjacks and much more.
Inshore fishing is fun for the whole family and is perfect for beginners. Typically, fishing inshore on the Choctawhatchee Bay offers friendly conditions daily which is not always the case out in the Gulf. So if you have young kids or first time fishing people then inshore fishing with Captain Hunter Ray of Florida Boy Adventures is my top recommendation.
Stand UP Paddle… South Walton County is home to the world-famous Yolo Board brand and it is a prime venue for those that love stand up paddle boarding. There are so many awesome spots to get out and SUP. Most mornings the Gulf is calm and conditions are perfect for a good long paddle. However, when the wind picks up and it gets rough the many coastal dune lakes are the perfect alternative. The ancient lakes run all along 30A and offer amazing SUP opportunities.
Rent a Pontoon Boat… Enjoy a day cruising Lake Powell on a pontoon boat. Motorboatin’ 30A offers fantastic opportunities to explore the largest of the coastal dune lakes at your own pace. The lake connects with the Gulf of Mexico so you get the best of both worlds. They offer full and half day boat rentals in addition to their chartered sunset cruise which is a fan favorite of all.
South Walton is one of the only places in the state of Florida where you can legally enjoy a beach bonfire. Who doesn’t like sitting around a warm fire on the beach with family and friends while sipping their beverage of choice. As you can imagine, beach fires are popular among locals and tourists alike. There are a number of local 30A businesses that specialize in beach bonfires but my favorite is Live Well 30A. Having used their service numerous times, I can confidently give them a strong recommendation. Just tell them when and where (must be public beach access point) you’d like your beach fire set up and they take care of the rest. They provide the permit, firewood, beach chairs, tables, tiki torches and more.
Air Boat Adventures… Take in the beauty of the area from an airboat. Wild Thang Airboat Tours is a great way to explore the backwaters of the Emerald Coast. Tour the Choctawhatchee River where you’ll see alligators, turtles, dolphins, manatees and all types of Florida wildlife.
30A Swimming Pool Adventure… Get of out your comfort zone and see what 30A has to offer in regards to swimming pools. There are many public and semi-public pools in the area and each one has something unique to offer. Why not spend a day seeing how many you can crash. If you do decide to try this fun 30A activity, please make sure to comment below and tell us which ones you like best.
Have a Cold one on the Beach… As the Zac Brown Band song goes… I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand not a worry in the world cold beer in my hand life is good today. Enjoying a cold beverage or two or three on the white sand beach is a favorite activity of most adults. Watch the kids play, dolphins swim and kites fly while you catch a buzz on the beach.
Fun 30A Land Activities:
Bike, Run or Walk the 19 Mile Timpoochee Trail… The Timpoochee Trail runs the entire length of scenic hwy 30A from Inlet Beach all the way to Dune Allen. It’s the perfect place to bike, walk, run or jog. Biking 30A is an extremely popular activity and is a great way to explore the many different beach towns. If you don’t have room in the car for your bikes there are plenty of rental companies in the area.
Horseback Riding… Arenett’s Gulfside Trail Rides are a great way to enhance your emerald coast vacation because all families love horseback riding. They are located on the west end of 30A and their 20-acre ranch is just a half mile from the Gulf of Mexico. The ranch lies adjacent to Point Washington State Forest which means you’ll enjoy miles and miles of salt air horseback riding trails.
Go Golfing… The Destin, 30A, Panama City Beach area has plenty of golf courses to choose from no matter your handicap. My personal favorite is Santa Rosa Beach Club. It’s a mature course that offers a great mix of hole layouts and has Gulf views. The Raven Golf Club in Sandestin is another favorite of mine. It has more water holes and is tighter than Santa Rosa Beach Club but it is a fantastic course. For a full list of golf courses in the area, I recommend getting the GolfNow app.
If shopping is your thing then 30A is sure to please you. There are at least 12 unique beach communities on 30A and each offers fantastic shopping opportunities. From Rosemary Beach to Seaside to Gulf Place you’ll find more interesting boutique shops than you can visit in one day.
South Walton State Parks… More than 40% of the land that makes up South Walton County is preserved for nature. Exploring the state parks and forests is a great way to spend a day with your family. Camp Helen State Park is located at the intersection of Bay and Walton Counties and offers kayaking opportunities on Lake Powell. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is located in Santa Rosa Beach and it offers great camping and private access to the Gulf. Grayton Beach State Park is known for its breathtaking white sand dunes. Deer Lake State Park is the perfect place for a picnic and fun day on the water. To learn about these and all of the parks go to Visit South Walton.
Farmers Markets… You’ll find fun Farmers’ Markets in Rosemary Beach, Seaside and Watercolor just about every week. The 30A Farmers’ Markets are made up of local bakers, makers, farmers, artists and more so make sure to check them out.
Live Music on 30A… During the summer months, you’ll find live outdoor music everywhere. Just about all of the 30A beach towns host live music at least one or two nights per week. Peddlers 30A in Seacrest Beach host live music events every Thursday night. With a fire pit, green grass and cold beer it’s the perfect outdoor venue for music on the Gulf.
Please feel free to leave a comment below and let us know some of the fun things you like to do while vacationing on 30A!