Visitors Guide to the Best of 30A Florida
30A is quickly becoming a top Northwest Florida vacation spot and for good reason. South Walton County is a family-friendly vacation destination with a bunch of eclectic beach communities located along a 19-mile Gulf front corridor called “30A” that runs between Destin and Panama City Beach. From Inlet Beach on the east end of 30A to Dune Allen on the west, you’ll find breathtaking natural beauty such as white sand beaches, massive sand dunes, coastal dune lakes, state parks, pine flatwoods, wildflowers and much more. In addition, there’s a good chance you’ll see a wide variety of native north Florida wildlife such as birds, snakes, alligators, dolphins, sea turtles and more. In this 30A guide, we’ll highlight the best of all the beach communities from Rosemary Beach to Alys Beach to Seagrove Beach and beyond so that you can maximize your vacation time in South Walton.
After a long day of soaking up the sun on the beach, you might be interested in catching an early buzz. You’ll find a bunch of fantastic 30A happy hour spots in Rosemary Beach, Seagrove Beach, Seaside, Blue Mountain Beach and really all over SoWal. For those that like to dine out, you’ll find a vast variety of 30A restaurants to choose from as well.
Our 30A guide along with our interactive map is designed to help you find what you’re looking for in SoWal, quick and easy. The goal is to create a comprehensive fun things to do on 30A guide so that South Walton area visitors can maximize their Florida vacation.
Our 30A guide moves from east to west, from Inlet Beach to Rosemary Beach to Seacrest Beach to Alys Beach and so on… All the way along the corridor showcasing each unique 30A community so that you can plan your time here accordingly. Included in this guide are a plethora of original photos and videos of the beach towns, shops on 30A, restaurants, artificial reefs, beach access points and more. So let us begin with one of the fastest growing communities in South Walton…
Located on the easternmost end of South Walton is Inlet Beach, Florida. Unlike other area neighborhoods such as Rosemary Beach and Carillon Beach, much of Inlet Beach is still natural and untouched which gives it an old Florida feel. However, it is one of the most rapidly expanding 30A communities if you’re judging by new construction and public beach access popularity. Our hope is that even with all the new growth and development, the planners preserve as much of that natural Florida beach vibe as possible.
All the new development has greatly improved the overall lifestyle for many people that live and vacation in Inlet Beach. For example, 30Avenue is located on the north side of Highway 98 and there you’ll find a bunch of fantastic shops, restaurants, services and live music during the busy season. A few of our favorite Inlet Beach restaurants at 30Avenue include Amaci, Barbacoa and Cuvee 30A. Retail shopping you’ll find there includes but is not limited to 30A Olive Oil, Outpost, Love 2 Run, and Mingle. Two awesome breakfast spots in Inlet Beach are The Donut Hole and Big Bad Breakfast.
Easily one of the most popular South Walton vacation spots, Rosemary Beach is truly a unique place. Its French architecture and cobblestone streets give it a medieval European look and feel. The entire master-planned 30A community is easy to walk or bike within a short period of time. So no matter where you rent in Rosemary Beach, you’ll have easy access the water, community pools, and downtown. The Rosemary Beach Town Center offers a bunch of boutique shops, restaurants, bike rentals and beach gear outfitters. A couple of our favorite food spots in RMB are Southside Slice and Edwards Fine Food & Wine. Our full Rosemary Beach guide includes aerial views that provide an incredible perspective of this popular 30A community from up high.
Seacrest Beach is the place to find more affordable vacation rentals and is in the heart of 30A East. No matter where you stay in Seacrest Beach, you’re within walking or biking distance to Alys, Rosemary, and Inlet Beach which is a huge plus. The big white lifeguard stand is a Seacrest Beach landmark located at the main neighborhood entrance. Seacrest Beach is home to a huge lagoon style pool that is within walking distance from any house or condo in the neighborhood.
Peddlers Pavilion is a fun family spot that is full of places to eat, shop, drink and rent beach equipment. There you’ll find a tasty breakfast spot called Grits & Grind and a fun Mexican restaurant called La Cocina. Getting down to the water is easy as Seacrest Beach offers a free Tram Service to all guests which are unique to 30A. The one negative about staying in Seacrest is that you are not able to ride your bikes down to the beach because the access is through the Villas at Sunset Beach which is a security guard controlled, gated community so please keep that in mind.
Highly exclusive, VIP, the upper echelon… Those are just a few of the ways one might describe Alys Beach. One of the really unique things about Alys Beach is that all of the buildings, including the homes there, are white. Driving through Alys Beach, you’re sure to take note of the meticulously manicured landscaping. Large royal palm trees and modern hedges line both sides of scenic 30A.
However, although Alys Beach is high-end, it has a lot to offer families with kids as it’s home to the famous Charlie’s Donuts Food Truck. The Alys Beach amphitheater is a fantastic outdoor venue and they have live music there all summer long. Also near the amphitheater, you’ll find an awesome public splash pad that the kids absolutely love.
Alys Beach is a popular wedding destination, a fantastic place to take family pictures, and it’s home to George’s which is a top 30A restaurant.
In our opinion, the most naturally stunning 30A coastline is found throughout the WaterSound Beach community. Watersound is big 30A beach development comprised of a series of districts. The individual districts that make up WaterSound include; Peninsula, Gulfview, Bridges, Crescent Keel, Dune Ridge, Wind Rose, and Passages. Each district has its own private gate entrance but the overall community is Watersound and oh what a place it is! The architecture is straight out of Nantucket making it highly unique upon entrance. Well known for its golf cart beach boardwalks and amazing white sand dunes, Watersound is the epitome of Florida beach beauty.
South County Highway 395 takes you right into the heart of 30A. Take a left at the 3-way-stop and that’s where you’ll find Seagrove Beach. Seagrove Beach is one of the original 30A communities and is full of character. In Seagrove Beach, you’ll find original, old Florida Gulf Coast style homes mixed with new, modern 30A beach rentals.
This classic South Walton beach town has it all. In fact, it’s one of only 2 places that you’ll find a gas station along the 19 miles scenic 30A corridor. Seagrove Beach is home to some fantastic 30A restaurants a few of which include Cafe Thirty-A, Whiskey Bravo and Angelina’s Pizzeria & Pasta. Many people prefer to stay in Seagrove because of its close proximity to everything, including the world famous Seaside to the west.
Seaside Florida is easily the most famous of the 30A communities. Made forever notorious by the hit 1998 movie “The Truman Show” which starred Jim Carrey at the height of his acting career. A large portion of the movie was shot in Seaside and the house that Truman lived in is still there. In Seaside you’ll find food trucks such as the Meltdown On 30A and Barefoot Barbeque lining the north sidewalk and Gulf front restaurants like Bud & Alley’s all along the south side of 30A. Seaside is a must see place if you decide to vacation anywhere near Santa Rosa Beach.
WaterColor 30A Guide
One of the larger 30A communities, WaterColor sits in-between Seaside and Western Lake. Every amenity you can think of you’ll find in WaterColor… Tennis courts, bike paths, pools, shops, gyms, restaurants, BoatHouse Paddle Club, and of course the WaterColor Beach Club. Watercolor really has just about everything you could possibly need while on vacation. It is the only beach community on 30A that has a Publix grocery store right in the neighborhood!
Laid back, hippy style old Florida community is a fairly accurate way to describe Grayton Beach. This 30A gem is home to the Red Bar which is one of the most famous restaurants in the Florida Panhandle. It’s a favorite destination for those that like to kayak, stand up paddleboard, and tailgate on the beach. That’s right… If you have four-wheel drive vehicle and a permit, you can drive right onto the beach which is awesome. The sand at Grayton Beach State Park is so white and the dunes are so high they will make your head spin as Donald Trump would say… Believe Me.
Some of the most stunning views in all of Florida can be found in Blue Mountian Beach. That is because the highest natural elevation along the Gulf Coast is smack dab in the middle of Blue Mountain Beach. In addition to stunning ocean views, in Blue Mountian Beach you’ll find tasty restaurants, great public beach access, ice cream, fitness studios, and a legendary underground 30A live music spot at Redd’s Fueling Station. From the outside it appears to be some sort of gas station from 40 years ago but inside, it’s actually a 30A music venue all summer long.
Dune Allen Beach Guide
Located on the far west end of the 30A corridor, Dune Allen Beach is home to some of the best things Santa Rosa Beach has to offer. For example, in Dune Allen Beach you’ll find Santa Rosa Beach Golf & Beach Club which is one of the best, most classic golf courses in off of South Walton. Santa Rosa golf course is open to the public and is fun for experienced pros and beginners.
In Dune Allen Beach you’ll find Gulf Place Town Center which is loaded with top 30A restaurants, shops, services and more. Stinky’s Fish Camp is one of the most popular 30A restaurants and it’s located in Dune Allen across from the top regional public beach access point on the west end of SoWal.