similar dress here | similarย bagย | earrings | sandals

I debated sharing this post because I was on a family beach trip, and we didn’t get out and about as often as we usually do because there were small children in tow. ย BUT so many of you asked about a travel guide, and since I’ve grown up coming to 30A I still feel equipped to share my favorite spots!

I had intended to share this post earlier but due to the technical difficulties I’ve been having I wanted to wait until everything was running smoothly.

Then I wrote the post on a flight, lost service and it deleted the entire post that I had written… so that was fun. BUT, thank you for your patience as I’ve gotten all this together.

Now that I’ve written it twice I feel like I could basically sing/rap my recommendations to you I know them so well!

spanx exercise leggings

leggings | tennis shoes | similar tank here, here and here | hat | water bottle

beach bonfire

top here and here | denim here and hereย | bag | sunglassesย | similar necklace

Beach Town Breakdown of 30A (my favorite beach towns along the 28-mile stretch):

Seaside | The OG (urban dictionary definiation: original gangster) of 30A. A family-friendly, slice of heaven that is always worth a visit! Fun fact: The Truman Show was filmed here. That’s how perfect this little town is.

Watercolor | A newer development right next door to Seaside. Bigger houses to accommodate larger groups, a sweet little lake and an Inn available for smaller parties.

Seagrove | This was my first time staying here and I really loved it. ย It’s quiet, less busy than the more popular tourist spots and the beach access is really mellowย = a dream. ย Seaside and Watercolor have some hoppin’ beaches which means your umbrella and chairs are sometimes on the second or third row viewing the ocean (not ideal). ย We had six bikes and a six-seater golf cart (rented from here), and you can easily get to all the beach towns by bike.

Watersound | I worked here one summer when I was in college! This is a gated community next door to Watercolor and it’s a great spot to rent a smaller condo and have a private beach experience without all the kiddos.

Alys Beach | A newer development and a little mini Mediterranean dream. Very mellow and quiet – it’s my parents favorite spot if you know what I mean! Fun fact: I wanted to get married here until Christian (a surprisingly opinionated groom… not ideal for my Type A self) really pushed for a traditional hometown party. When I visited earlier this month I was like… um, why did I listen to Christian? That boy know nothin’!

Rosemary Beach | A little beach town that has really developed over the past few years. Home of The Pearl and numerous adorable restaurants and shops. A great spot for families who want a more peaceful 30A trip versus the busier Seaside and Watercolor.

lace-floral pajama set

lace pajama top | bottoms

the pearl hoteltiered white lace skirt

skirt | similar top here and here | heels, similar look for less here | bag | earrings

monogrammed bikini

top | similar bottoms | similar shirt | similarย bag | hat |ย sunglasses

tao maxi dress

dress here and here, also love this one | bagย | earringsย |ย heels, similar look for less here

Where We Stayed:ย 

On this trip we stayed in this beach house. My brother selected it for the group because it had 8 bedrooms and was prepared to house all 13 of us. Several of you messaged me on social media asking for the details but to protect the privacy of my family, I wanted to share the scoop after we had left (I happily exploit myself #allday, but I try to be aware of normal people who prefer privacy). So thank you for patiently waiting!

BUT if you don’t need a house this big, we’ve stayed in numerous house rentalsย along 30A when we had 8-10 people, predominantly in Watercolor and Alys Beach. Some other recommendations if you’re not traveling with a large group –

Watercolor Inn

The Pearl Hotel Rosemary Beach

Watersound

The Pointe

styling a neckerchief

neckerchief ย | similar shorts here and here | similar top here, here and here

floral maxi skirt

similar crop top here, here and here | maxi skirt | heels, similar style for less here | clutch |ย earrings

ruffle swimsuit

swimsuit top and bottoms | similar shorts here and here | hatย | earrings

cult gaia small bag

earrings | denim here and here |ย heels, similar look for less hereย | bag | similar top here andย here

where to stay in 30A

hat | similar swim top | similar sarong here and here | sandals

Food Picks:

Frostbites, Seaside | Snow cone central. ย Ask for some “sand” on top! It’s really just crushed up graham crackers, but still, so cute right?

Bud & Alleys, Seaside | A great pizza spot on the water. ย Plus there’s a rooftop bar.

Cowgirl Kitchen, Seagrove and Rosemary Beach | This is a place I’d heard of but never tried until this trip. We had it catered to our beach bonfire, and I’m happy to report it’s worth the hype. A great lunch spot!

Red Bar, Grayton Beachย | This is the spot I always wanted to go to growing up and it remains a favorite. Crazy (as in crazy fun) decor, huge portions (split an entree with a gal pal) and the mashed potatoes you dream of. Unfortunately they don’t take reservations, so put your name on the wait list and hop into the cute shops next door.

The Wine Bar, Watercolor | Love this spot for a glass of wine. Christian and I will bike there during all the kids “power hour” and enjoy a quiet moment. What’s better than a cold glass of wine after a day in the sun?

The Donut Hole | I mean… am I dramatic if I say this place is legendary? We would visit the Destin location when it was the one and only, but now they have multiple locations so everyone can get a taste. The coconut is my ultimate jam, but those in my family with less impressive taste buds go ham over the Dutch Crumb. ย It’s so OG that they don’t even have a website. Like… welcome to the 90’s, Mr. Banks!

what to do in 30A

earrings | bag | similar dress here and here

floral off the shoulder coverup

hat | earrings | coverup here and here | similarย bag | sandals | sunglasses

red carter red dressruffled red dress

dress here and here | earrings | bagย | lip in Tilt | bangles |ย heels, similar look for less here

Activities/Shopping:

LiveWell30A | I shared in this post that we used this company for paddleboard rentals and a beach bonfire. They also offer golf carts, bike rentals and in-house chefs!

Seaside Squareย | Several great little shops, markets and casual eats. A place that all ages can find something to do – including a huge grassy lawn in the center for kids to run around.

The Zoo Galleryย | An eccentric little shop that was a must-stop for my artist mom. I think we visited this place every summer and is worth a visit just to enjoy the creativity. Warning: if you’re a minimalist like my sister… this place could potentially give you a panic attack.

Destin Commonsย | Now THIS was the place I couldn’t wait to visit when I was a teen. All the cool stores – get some shopping done and finish the night with a movie or a scoop of ice cream. I’m happy to report it’s still a great place to do some shopping (or at least I thinks so!).

Silver Sands Outlet Malls | The amount of back-to-school shopping we would do here… I think I know this outlet mall like the back of my hand. ย A great stop on your way in or out of town!

carrie bradshaw lied blogkathleen barnesramy brook dress

neckerchief | dress styles here and here |ย heels, similar look for less here | bag |ย sunglasses

 

Ok fellow Florida lovers – how did I do!? We really had the best time. I can’t believe it’s been four years since I’ve visited this dreamy little area. I have so much nostalgia with South Walton, and truthfully I’m sad this trip is already over. Until next year!

Thanks so much for reading – XO –

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24 thoughts on “Guide to 30A Florida

  1. I loved the blog! My family has been vacationing on 30A for the past thirty years and completely agree with all of your recommendations. We just built a new house in Watercolor that sleeps 14 if y’all are looking for a great place to stay next time! Check it out: http://www.heavencanwaitrental.com

  2. You must visit Cafe 30A, Old Florida Fish House, and Great Southern Cafe if you haven’t already! Also, we always stay at One Seagrove Place and it is wonderful. Not too crowded and super affordable (2 bedroom condos) 30A is a dream!!

    1. So I’ve driven past Cafe 30A so many times but never actually eaten there. I need to! Thank you so much for these recs!

  3. Red Bar has always been one of my favorites! Love all your recommendations! Can’t wait for our next family trip down there so we can check out some of your recommendations. Seacrest Beach is another small, quieter town along 30A that has always been one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Good Lord, Where do I start?!?
    1. I still don’t understand what 30A is. Town? Hotel? Rental? Huh?
    2. That Post Office is the most amazing and fun one I’ve EVER seen!
    3. I want those sneakers.
    4. And that bag!
    5. I’m so in love with your PJs
    6. The hotel balconies! *googlie eyes* emoji
    7. Every spring, I promise to get monogram swimwear…and don’t.
    8. That pink maxi dress is so twirlicious!
    9. Getting ready to purchase a couple of neckerchiefs and steal your style.
    10. Can I PLEASE have your itty bitty waist?!? What is it…25″?!?
    11. Can I borrow your pineapple sarong for my trip to Greece next month? #stoplaughing #imserious #illsendyoumyaddress

    OK, that should cover it. Hope you’ll forgive me for my wordiness! Such an awesome post.

    http://www.keepingupwithcandy.com

  5. First of all, this post was SO helpful. We have a similar family (multiple siblings with multiple children and quickly multiplying) and have had trouble finding big enough houses on beaches to visit for family vacas. Second of all, we would also frequent Destin in our teenage years and this post gave a good laugh thinking about visiting the Donut Hole sans parents and “going out” to the Destin Commons. Your trip looked like a blast!

    1. I am so glad that it was helpful! GOING OUT – yesss!! Sounds like we were the same teenager!!

  6. Perfect timing! My family is heading to Destin and Miramar Beach the beginning of June. ๐Ÿ™‚

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