One Day in 30A? Here’s Your Guide to Getting the Most Out of Your Stay!

— Your beautiful vacation awaits!

Are you familiar with Destin, Florida? The area known as 30A is a stretch of seaside roadway home to the most stunning aquamarine oceans and an array of charming architectural styles. 

Since 1979, when Robert Davis inherited 80 acres of property and refurbished it into a resort-like area called Seaside, scenic highway 30A has expanded to include more than its fair share of island retreats and tourist attractions. 

The perfect time to visit is from August through October. Tourist season is starting to wind down and there are always more things to do when you have more time to sightsee and less traffic to sit through. That is, if you’re lucky to make it just in time to evade Florida’s dreaded hurricane season!

Keep reading to find more exclusive details about visiting this seaside town. Let this be your roadmap to the beautiful vacation communities of 30A. 

Alys Beach | Photo: Adalyn Dugas

A Weekend Favorite Destination

If you could pick any day of the week to visit 30A, I would recommend Sunday. Year round, the local community hosts the 30A Farmers Market: a wonderful mix of exciting outdoor vendors who are happy to have you indulge in any of their products from sweet treats to hand picked snapdragon bouquets. 

After an early morning at the market, head over to Peddlers 30A to rent a bike for the best way to explore 30A. For outdoor adventure lovers, this stretch of beach couldn’t be any more convenient. You can bike for miles and miles and never be stranded from food, drinks, or entertainment!

Alys Beach | Photo: Adalyn Dugas

Eating on the Go in 30A

30A caters perfectly to adventurers on the go. Outdoor markets offer quick and convenient take out options, while unique airstream food trucks provide fresh and high quality ingredients for signature dishes. 

Crêpes du Soleil: This French inspired eatery combines savory and sweet to fit everyone’s breakfast preferences. Whether you would like a crêpe drizzled in creamy nutella and caramel or something more hearty like the Crêpe de Cuba, Crêpes du Soleil has it all!

The Meltdown: When you do start getting a bit hungry, The Meltdown is a must-try for anyone who loves anything gourmet and anything grilled cheese. I can never go wrong with the Smokin’ Turkey or This Little Figgy, complete with brie, bacon, and a wonderfully sweet and savory fig compote. 

Barefoot BBQ: Looking for something sure to leave you satisfied after just after that first bite? Head on over to Barefoot BBQ to enjoy traditional BBQ menu favorites like the Beef Brisket Sandwich or dive into a feast with the Giant Turkey Leg! 

Alys Beach | Photo: Adalyn Dugas

Just A Few Beloved Lakes and Trails 

30A is much more than its peaceful beachside properties and relaxing luxury atmosphere. It presents many opportunities to connect with habitats and wildlife unique to Florida’s coast.  Vacationers can find many ways to explore the natural scenery with these parks. 

Deer Lake: In this diverse ecosystem, you will find hidden and tucked away trails perfect for spotting wildlife like the endangered Choctawhatchee beach mouse and the Snowy Plover, a tiny and adorable shore bird. Keep an eye out for greenery such as the spoonflower, pitcher plants, and reindeer moss. 

Grayton Beach Beach State Park: This park is a wonderful option to explore for its friendly and helpful state park staff and expansive shoreline. You may camp outdoors in your tent or rent a cabin in the park for a special way to experience 30A’s outdoor environment.  

Neighborhood Trails: If you rent in Seaside, Rosemary, or Alys Beach, look slightly further off the beaten path, and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Every perfectly planned development comes with additional trails unique to its landscape. 

Year-Round Entertainment & Events

Communities along 30A such as Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach, or Alys Beach, have become an expert in curating social events perfect for each season!

Spring: Art Week South Walton features 10 days of visual, literary, and performing arts events along numerous locations throughout 30A. Guests can check out the 10th Annual ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival in Grand Boulevard, the 5th Annual Seaside Writers Conference in the Academic Village in Seaside, Digital Graffiti in Alys Beach, the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, and the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition. Don’t forget to visit the Seabreeze Jazz Festival from April 19, 2023 through April 23, 2023. Artists like Pieces of a Dream and George Benson come together for a performance that attracts fans from all over the country. 

Summer: Gulf Coast Jam is a music lovers paradise ! Annually, Gulf Coast Jam occurs in May and brings popular country artists like Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Miranda Lambert for performances along the Emerald Coast. A 2024 artist lineup features country stars such as Morgan Wallen and Cody Johnson.

Fall: The 30A Half Marathon & 5k occurs every October for a brisk run along the communities of 30A, immersing participants in beautiful coast views from the scenic highway. The annual race weekend features the Taste of the Race event, with local chefs cooking up their favorite dishes on the coast. 

Winter: The Festival of Trees in Sandestin showcases elaborate Christmas trees provided by local non-profit organizations. Each non-profit organization competes to create the most dazzling and festive trees for a chance to win $5,000 dollars towards their organization. 

Shopping by the Seas 

Don’t forget to grab a souvenir or a new swimsuit for your day in the sun at these unique boutiques! 

The 30A Store at Rosemary Beach: Find something to bring back memories with 30A inspired apparel. The 30A Store offers t-shirt designs with collections in categories such as Holiday, Americana, Beach Happy, Sea Creatures, Halloween, and more!

Sundog Books: From bestsellers to new releases, Sundog Books offers a cozy and laid back atmosphere for finding exactly what you’re looking for. 

30Avenue: Located in Rosemary Beach, this lifestyle center fits everything from health and beauty needs to upscale dining and shopping. Enjoy outdoor concerts in the central green space or bring the family for an evening of outdoor movie displays. 

The Big Chill: Once known as The Hub, The Big Chill is an outdoor shopping center located in Grayton Beach featuring shops such as Live Well 30A and restaurants like Mile Marker 15 and Duos All American Eats.

Krewe: Don’t forget your sunglasses! Well, it’s okay if you did, because these fun and bold new  sunglasses are perfect for a vacation in the sun. Visit this New Orleans based sunglasses shop to find the most unique pair of sunglasses for your adventure!

Alys Beach | Photo: Adalyn Dugas

Winding Down After a Long Day of Adventure 

The Pearl is one of the most beautiful hotel and restaurant bars in 30A. Hiding away above the  shop corners of Rosemary Beach, The Pearl’s Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge is a perfect way to spend an evening with the best sunset view you can ask for in 30A. 

Visit the Pearl’s Veranda restaurant for a more upscale version of the rooftop lounge. The Veranda offers brunch and dinner daily with the exclusion of seasonal hours that may differ. 

When I visited last year, this beautiful dining option and hotel stay was proud to boast their spot on the Forbes Travel Guide’s 2022 Star Awards, an award they have received every year since 2015! I would gladly recommend this grand getaway to anyone looking to get the most out of their stay. 

Will you be using this travel guide to find a few perfect ways to experience 30A? Let us know in the comments below!

By Adalyn Dugas 

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