Our List of the Many Fun Things to Do on 30A
Vacationing in South Walton is all about unplugging from the stresses of everyday life and enjoying quality time with those you love. It’s about taking advantage of all the fun things to do on 30A while also soaking in the natural beauty that draws us all to the area. From the rare coastal dune lakes to the massive sand dunes to the Carribean colored Gulf waters, the beaches of 30A are truly like no other place in the world.
Below is our list of fun things to do on 30A…
Fun Things To Do On 30A – Water Based Activities
30A Florida Fishing is the Best… Northwest Florida offers some of the best fishing in the world and there are a number of different ways to enjoy this activity in South Walton County. 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 one of the most fun things to do on 30A in my opinion. 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 works 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 off the beaches of 30A FL in the Gulf from a kayak.
Most deep-sea charters will take you anywhere from 20 to 30 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico. At those depths, you can expect to catch grouper, red snapper, triggerfish, Mingo snapper, amberjacks, sharks and much more.
Below is a montage video we shot on a Deep Sea Fishing excursion out of Destin, FL. We caught a ton of fish and a couple large sharks as you’ll see here…
Inshore fishing is fun for the whole family and is perfect for beginners. Typically, fishing inshore on the Choctawhatchee Bay offers friendly weather conditions which is not always the case out in the Gulf or from the beach. If you have young kids and/or novices in your group then inshore fishing with Captain Hunter Ray of Florida Boy Adventures is my best recommendation.
Kids love catching Blue Crabs off the Beach… Blue Crabs are usually all over the place during the summer months in South Walton. Catching Blue Crabs off the beach is one of my favorite things to do on 30A with my 4-year-old son and it’s so easy.
You can pick up a nice crab net for under $10 at Dicks (Pier Park), Walmart (Santa Rosa Beach) and likely at Yellowfin Ocean Sports (WaterColor and Seagrove Beach). On most summer days in SoWal, the Gulf is crystal clear and so it’s easy to spot Blue Crabs moving just off the beach. We typically practice catch and release but if you get a bunch, Blue Crabs are tasty as you’ll see here… Trap to Table Blue Crabs from the Choctawhatchee Bay
Grayton Beach State Park Reef Snorkel Tours…
Just off the shores of Grayton Beach State Park lies an awesome artificial reef. The Grayton Beach reef was built in the shape of a sea turtle and it’s only about 150 yards off the shore which makes it easy to access via kayak or standup paddleboard. Folks that are interested in exploring the reef can do so via one of the hottest new 30A attractions… Grayton Beach Reef Snorkel Tour
It’s a 2.5 hour guided tour that helps you discover the Grayton Beach reef in all its glory. The guides help you paddle out to the reef on YOLO SUPs and they provide all the snorkel gear. On a Grayton Beach Reef Snorkel Tour, you can expect to see a wide variety of marine life including but not limited to sea turtles, fish, dolphins, stingrays and more!
Fun times fishing at Thomas Pilcher Park in Santa Rosa Beach…
Located under the Hwy 331 Bridge next to The Bay Restuarant, you’ll find Pilcher Park. It’s a fantastic new South Walton Park that offers easy access to Choctawhatchee Bay fishing which is some of the best inshore action in Florida. It offers easier fishing conditions than the beach or boat most of the time which is perfect if you have young kids.
Here’s a quick video from one of our Thomas Picher Park fishing trips…
30A 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 to Stand Up Paddleboard. There are so many awesome spots to SUP and it’s one of my favorite fun things to do on 30A. Most mornings the Gulf of Mexico is calm and conditions are perfect for a good long stand up paddle. When the wind picks up and it gets rough on the Gulf, turn to one of the many coastal dune lakes as they are better protected from the wind. The ancient lakes run all along Scenic Hwy 30A and offer amazing SUP opportunities.
Morning Parasailing off of Miramar Beach… This South Walton Parasailing experience happens just about every morning at 9:00 AM. They take off from the Miramar Beach Regional Access next to Pompano Joes which is just a short drive from the west end of the 30A corridor. Experience organizers refer to it as “A Dip with the Dolphins Morning Parasailing” and it’s a great way to see marine life from up in the air. The Gulf of Mexico is usually calmest in the mornings which is why this particular Parasailing experience out of Miramar Beach is so cool. You can learn more about it here… Morning Parasailing in Miramar Beach
30A Sandcastle Lessons… Build amazing sandcastles with your kids via the help of the fine folks at Beach Sand Sculptures. They’re a mobile service that offers SandCastle lessons to 30A Florida vacation goers. We had the opportunity to interview the owners of Beach Sand Sculptures last summer. We learned how the business was started and about how it’s become one of the most fun things to do on 30A.
Take a couple minutes to watch our Interview with Capri and Rick Mungeam, owners of Beach Sand Sculptures…
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. Lake Powell connects with the Gulf of Mexico so you get the best of both worlds. Motorboatin 30A offers full and half day boat rentals in addition to their chartered sunset cruise which is a fan favorite of all. Make sure to bring your rods along as fishing in Lake Powell is always really good.
30A Beach Bonfires… 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 bonfire set up and they take care of the rest. They provide the permit, firewood, beach chairs, tables, tiki torches and more. Beach bonfires are a great way to bring your entire group together and they’re one of the most fun things to do on 30A.
Below is a montage video from one of our more memorable 30A bonfire parties which took place in Seagrove Beach…
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 and it’s just a short drive east from 30A in Panama City Beach. Tour the Choctawhatchee River where you’ll see alligators, turtles, dolphins, manatees and all types of Florida wildlife.
Take a couple minutes to watch our Interview with Wild Thang Airboat Tours in PCB…
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 30A pools 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 Things To Do On 30A – Land-Based 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 your vehicle, there are plenty of 30A bike rentals in the area.
30A 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 in Santa Rosa Beach 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 on 30A… 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 ocean 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 using our interactive 30A Map.
Shopping on 30A… If shopping is your thing then 30A is sure to please you. There are more than 15 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.
Make sure to check out our dynamic list of the Best Shops on 30A.
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 of Mexico. 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.
Please take a couple minutes to watch our video at Camp Helen State Park below…
30A 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 hosts live music events every Thursday night. With a fire pit, green grass and cold beer Peddlers Pavilion is the perfect outdoor venue for music and it’s located in the heart of Seacrest Beach.