I consider 30 A to be my home away from home, so I thought it would be fun to highlight some of the reasons I love it so much! I have been visiting this area with my family since I was a young child who had very large pink glasses and hadn’t grown into my teeth yet. I don’t remember the exact year I first visited, but I know it was love at first sight. It has changed so much over the years and it is always so fun to see what new shops and restaurants have opened since my last visit!
I feel like I need to mention the fact that October is a wonderful time to visit! The weather was so perfect for those of you who like to enjoy the beauty of the beach without roasting. The days were in the 80’s with a wonderful breeze and the evenings dropped down into the 70’s (just enough to wear a light sweatshirt and feel cozy). I have to say October is my favorite time I have ever visited and it worked out so well with Ella. She could not be outside for long periods of time at the beach in the middle of summer due to the heat, so this was perfect timing. I also want to touch on the elephant in the room…coronavirus. We definitely did not do as much this year as we normally do due to our desire to socially distance. However, I can easily talk about all of my favorite spots to visit when it is safe to do so!
So, lets dive in! 30A is made up of a string of beach towns that are all charming in their own way. I could literally type this blog post for days discussing all of the fun things to do in each and every one, but I am going to try to do a highlight reel of my absolute favorites! 30A exudes a kind of casual elegance that I have not personally experienced many other places. If you are searching for a vacation spot that has water parks and mini golf, then you may want to head more towards Panama City or Destin because you wont find those activities in the 30A area.
Where to eat: Let’s begin with something most everyone loves, eating! There are some amazing restaurants serving up fresh seafood!
- George’s- this adorable restaurant is located in Alys Beach, which is a truly stunning area. Definitely head here for lunch (or dinner) and enjoy a glass of wine and some amazing fresh fish on their outdoor patio. The view is beautiful and the food divine. I love to order the fresh fish sandwich or the grilled fresh fish over avocado, citrus and beet salad. My mind is transported here as I type this. It is kid friendly and is surprisingly casual given the menu.
- Bud and Alley’s- This is an absolute must! Make sure to head upstairs to the rooftop deck to enjoy a drink and some stunning views of the gulf! This is the best place to catch the sunset in 30A. Make sure to order the smoked tuna dip or the crab cakes! I literally never miss this spot when I am visiting.
- Caliza- This place is absolutely stunning. It is an outdoor restaurant nestled around the pool at Alys Beach. This is the perfect place for a date night. We usually go for drinks and desert and just admire the beauty all around!
- The Bay- this is a very unique restaurant and is a great place to take the kids! The casual tables and lively atmosphere are perfect for families. It is literally right on the bay and you can walk out on the dock or sit around a fire pit while you have a drink and wait for your food.
- Black Bear- This is a tiny little place located in Grayton Beach and is a must stop for breakfast and coffee! Trust me, its delicious! Seating is limited though so you might consider getting your delicious pastries to go!
Where to shop: Now were talking! Obviously shopping is my favorite activity and I love seeking out the best shops on vacation!
- Luminary-This beautiful shop is in Rosemary Beach. It smells like heaven when you walk in and instantly want to buy everything. The decor is beautiful and the clothing and shoe selection are incredible. It looks like everything you touch may cost you a mortgage payment, but surprisingly its pretty affordable. This is my absolute favorite place to shop in the area!
- Cabana Seaside-This eclectic outdoor market is a must! Each and every piece looks like it was hand selected by someone fabulous who has a lot of money to spend to look effortlessly chic. While the price point is high, I never miss a chance to stroll around and imagine myself wearing one of the beautiful caftans while sipping a glass of something delicious.
- Duckies Seaside: This is an adorable shop for kids! The shelves are filled with a variety of fun toys and precious clothing for boys and girls!
- The Seaside Store: I love this area so much that I never miss the chance to head to the Seaside store. While all the apparel is stamped with a simple font that reads Seaside, it all manages to be so chic!
- Patchouli: This beautiful store is in Rosemary Beach and is full of wonderful beauty products and luxurious lounge wear. It is one of my favorites for sure!
What to do: It goes without saying that one of my most favorite activities ever is just finding a nice spot of shade and lounging on the beach. The gulf is made up of soft white sand and crystal clear water but there is so much to do if you aren’t into relaxing by the ocean
- Beach activities: You can rent kayaks or paddle boards and try your hand at not tipping over! When we were there last week, the water was like glass. There were literally no waves and it was the perfect time to paddle board!
- The Hub: This is a great place for families. It’s a huge outdoor space and is made up of restaurants and shops and often has live music or outdoor movies that are family friendly.
- Walk around Seaside: There is so much to do here! There are lots of shops and restaurants here and it is a great place for family entertainment. There are several walk up restaurants like Pickles and a whole row of Airstream food trucks that have everything from Bar B Q to snow cones. There is a large outdoor ampitheater area which always has some fun activities going on for kids. It’s truly one of my favorite places ever!
- Rent bikes: This may or may not sound that fun, but in this area I promise it is! Seaside is very pedestrian and bike friendly and you will see people of all ages biking around!
- Grab a drink and head to the beach at sunset. We do this at least once with every visit. The soft sand and calming sound of the ocean make it a great place to sit on a towel and watch the beautiful sun go down!
- If you are looking for nightlife, this may not be the area for you as most places are focused on family activities. However, there are a few places with a more lively/bar atmosphere. Check out Red Bar if you are searching for a party vibe! It is located in Grayton Beach and has food and live music.
- The Pearl: This is a beautiful hotel in Rosemary Beach. You can head to the more sophisticated indoor bar for a drink and a nice dinner, or head upstairs to the rooftop bar for a more casual menu with a view. Either way don’t miss it! After you finish here, walk around and take in all of the beauty of the area.
Okay, I could seriously go on and on because I love this area so much! It is truly special and not like anywhere else I have ever visited. It is about an 8 hour drive from where I live, or an easy hour flight into the Panama City airport. Do yourself a favor-pack your swimsuit and go visit. I promise you will fall in love!