Luckily, our little family gets to visit 30A several times a year. It’s our favorite place to vacation and we can’t wait to show you why! We have decided to share the best 30A travel guide.
First, if you aren’t familiar with 30A, it is a small coastal highway that runs along Florida’s panhandle between Destin and Panama City Beach. There are beach towns with the cutest shops, resort-style lodging.
In addition, the white sands and crystal clear water all along this part of the gulf coast are incredible! You might have heard of some of the beaches in this area including Rosemary Beach, Seaside, and WaterColor.
All of the beaches in 30A are very clean, as are the towns. Each beach town has its own charm/personality and there is the perfect destination for all sorts of crowds, whether you are on a couple’s trip, girl’s trip, or family trip! There really is a beach town for everyone.
Panama City (ECP) – It’s newer and the closest. Only about a 20 min drive to Rosemary Beach.
Ft Walton (VPS) – This is about a 40 min drive to Rosemary Beach but is often cheaper than ECP.
30A travel guide – Our Favorite Areas
There are so many incredible beach towns along this part of the gulf coast that Jordan and I love:
Alys Beach – This is a white and green town like something out of Greece. The neighborhood offers a 20-acre nature preserve, walking trails, and outdoor sculptures. This is the perfect destination for a couple looking for an intimate, elegant getaway while staying in Florida.
Rosemary – This is where we typically stay. There are adorable boutiques, beautiful homes, and cobblestone streets that make you feel like you are in Europe. It is romantic and charming with tons of one of a kind restaurants and open patios to enjoy your time here.
Seaside – This is one of the most well-known areas in 30A with its many pastel-colored cottages that are available for rent along the beach! There are cool retail shops, cozy cafes, and food trucks downtown that make the perfect lunch stop.
WaterColor – This is definitely a resort community! It is extremely walkable and easy to get around. You can enjoy the outdoors by taking a trip to Western Lake or Point Washington State Forest.
30A travel guide – Where to Stay:
When traveling to 30A you have several options for housing! One of the most popular ways to stay along the coast of 30A is to rent a house or condo. From Seaside’s pastel beach cottages to Water Color’s streamlined white houses, there are lots of options.
Rent30A or AirBnB usually has good reviews that can point you in the right direction. While there are some hotels like The Pearl, we prefer to stay as the locals do.
30A travel guide – What to Do:
Beach or Pool
Most lodging on 30A has a pool and private beach access. We love to rent loungers and umbrellas and spend all day on the beach!
Walk or Bike 30A
All of 30A is designed to be walked or biked! Not only is this convenient, but walking and biking along the fun shops and restaurants is an activity in and of itself. We love renting bikes and going along the Timpoochee Trail.
One of our favorite things to do each day is grab a coffee from a local shop and check out the shopping in each town. There are small boutiques with apparel, home goods, speciality foods and wines, and much more. It’s so fun to go into each store and check out what they have.
The Hub is a great place to gather with friends and family! They have food, live music, jumbotron for sports & movies, shopping and so much more!
Throughout the weekend, most towns in 30A host farmers markets. We love the Rosemary Beach Sunday Farmers Market where we can get great local goodies and make a picnic on the green while Sawyer plays.
Photos on the Beach
Take advantage of the beautiful 30A scenery and charm and book some professional photos to commemorate your trip! As photographers we always aim to have our family photos taken while on a trip.
If you have little ones, the playground in Alys Beach- directly next to Raw & Juicy, is such a fun playground. When we visit, Sawyer spends hours here while Jordan and I enjoy an iced coffee and pastry. (They also have a bar)!
If you haven’t heard…30A has some of the best restaurants. Jordan and I always plan ahead all of the places we want to stop so that we can fit it all in! Check out our top dining recs below!
Where to Eat:
Donuts & Coffee:
Donut Hole – A bakery and diner rolled into one. Not only do they have AMAZING donuts (my fav is the chocolate coconut) but they also serve breakfast. lunch and dinner!
Charlie’s Donut Truck – Charlie’s Donut Truck opens early each morning, serving fresh, handmade donuts and pastries. Get there early because they sell out fast!
Five Daughters Bakery Airstream – They have 100 layer donuts that are to die for! It’s their version of a cronut (hybrid of a croissant and a donut).
Raw & Juicy– It’s an all-day café offering breakfast, pressed sandwiches, salads, snacks, and heartier entrées, along with coffee!
Black Bear Bread Co. – Great place for coffee and bakery items. Very instagramable which is always a plus. They also have a few breakfast and lunch items that I have heard were amazing.
Amavida- This is a fan favorite in Rosemary Beach. We love getting up early, snagging an iced coffee, and watching the sun rise over the ocean just a block down the road.
Seaside Food Trucks – My personal favorite is the grilled cheese sandwiches from Meltdown on 30A.
Bud & Alley’s – Poboys and tuna dip, rooftop bar with view of Seaside! Perfect place to watch the sunset. Great view for any time because they serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The crab cakes are amazing!
Cowgirl Kitchen – Affordable for laid-back day dining after a day at the beach and it’s in the heart of Rosemary Beach so it’s fun to walk around the area before and after you eat. The pizza is really good and they have great to-go cocktails.
La Crema – Romantic spot, string lights, cobblestone walkways, tapas, empanadas, sangria. We loved the dessert fondu. Get there early because there is always a long wait!
Neat – A thoughtfully curated bottle shop & tasting room in Alys Beach, FL, featuring artisan spirits, wines, craft beers, seasonal cocktails & small plates.
Great Southern Cafe – Excellent brunch spot with award-winning shrimp and grits, THEY ARE SO GOOD!
Big Bad Breakfast (BBB) – Huge selection of options and large portions. This is by far my favorite place to eat breakfast or brunch on 30A. They serve all day breakfast and lunch until 2:30 pm. It’s on the property of The Pointe Resort so when you sit outside on the patio it overlooks the GORGEOUS pool and resort.
The Perfect Pig- Our second favorite breakfast joint. Absolutely delicious, amazing farm fresh decor, and great service. This isn’t one to miss.
Shades Bar & Grill– This unassuming bar and grill is great for a quick bite. Their calamari is on point and I have a love affair with their french fries.
Pecan Jacks Ice Creamery – Great homemade flavor ice cream.
Blue Mountain Beach Creamery – Cute little Ice cream shop with lots of options. They only except cash.
Modica Market – This is the perfect place if you want to grab something sweet to-go. They have lots of great options for dessert like cake by the slice, cookies, muffins, banana pudding, etc.
Sugar Shak – Huge selection of candy, sweets and Ice cream. The only bad thing is it’s always crowded.
We always have so much fun in 30A and can’t wait to make more memories in the future! I hope this travel guide featuring the best of 30A answers your questions about this popular beach destination. I would love to hear about your 30A experience and what your favorite places are below.