30A Florida Travel Guide

30A Florida had never truly been on my “must see” travel radar until a few years ago. After seeing lots of pictures of the area from some of my favorite Instagrammers, I knew I had to make the trip soon to witness the array colorful homes, pastel beach cruisers, and spotless beaches they spoke of myself. When my family brought up the idea of road-tripping to the “Scenic 30A” for spring break a few weeks ago, I was all in.

Highway 30A is a 28.5 mile stretch along the Gulf Coast of Mexico on the South Walton Peninsula. Along the coastline, the beaches boast sugary white sands, crystal clear waters, and charming beach towns filled with restaurants, shops, and bike rental locations. Even though spring break has passed, I know lots of you plan to visit Florida during the upcoming warmer months. I hope you enjoy scrolling through my collection of personal photos, thoughts on each beach community we visited, and some recommendations on what to do in the 30A area if you make the trip down!

30a rosemary beach travel guide
Stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Destin Miramar Beach. It was more than comfortable, just steps away from the beach with private entry, and their breakfast spread was impressive for the nightly rate. Plus, they also hosted a complimentary happy hour in the afternoon in the hotel lobby with appetizers and drinks. Though a bit pricier, Watercolor Inn near Seaside Beach and The Pearl near Rosemary Beach looked like incredibly comfortable places to stay with close access to the beach and charming communities surrounding them.

For a longer stay, a beach house rental is the best option to spread out, be comfortable, and most importantly, have the access to cook. Plus, it’s surprisingly affordable if you plan ahead of time. My family rented a home just off Inlet Beach using Vacasa. It was cute and cozy with three bedrooms, a great kitchen, outdoor patio, and lots of comfy couches in the living room for late-night movie watching. Other great sites to look into are Cottage Rental Agency, Homeowner’s Collection, and Homeaway.

what to it in 30a
Drop by Modica Market for a gourmet selection of Southern specialties and to-go meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.

Try the happy hour taco special at Cowgirl Kitchen.

Order a tray of fresh raw oysters and a lobster roll at The Shrimp Shack.

Find a selection of favorites – from snow cones, grilled cheese, and BBQ – to eat at the Seaside Airstream Food Trucks…if there isn’t a line!

Pick up fresh shrimp and fish at Goatfeathers Seafood Market and cook up a seafood feast at home.

Tip: Avoid the food truck lines during peak season. The lines at the Seaside Airstream Food Trucks were flat-out crazy long waits during my visit. I’d say time relaxing on the beach is time better spent than in a line, dontchathink?

Tip: Allot more time than expected when dining in restaurants. I think it’s true…beach towns really do live the leisurely, slow lifestyle, even when it comes to food service. We waited an average of 30-40 minutes for most restaurants. Plan ahead and be sure to give yourself more time than expected!

Tip: Cook at home if possible. I understand that many of you friends that read The Bella Insider are college students. Like many college students, that might also mean you’re possibly traveling on a budget. My favorite secret to traveling on a budget? Try to cook at home. It saves you quite a bit and you make some fun memories cooking with friends and family. It also makes eating out all the more special.

what to do in 30a
Pick up shells at sunset on the quiet Inlet Beach.

Take a drive through the Mediterranean-inspired luxurious, but laid-back Alys Beach area.

Explore the city with rented beach cruisers in any beach town.

Watch the sunset on Rosemary Beach. Don’t forget to pack a picnic blanket, snacks and drinks, and your camera, too!

Send a postcard at any beach town’s local post office.

Find a book to read at The Hidden Lantern or Sundog Books.

Listen to a concert or watch a performance/movie at the Alys Beach Ampitheatre, Rosemary Beach Western Green, or Seaside Ampitheatre.

Tip: Research which beaches have public beach access. Some beaches are limited to private entry for homeowners and hotel/beach home guests, so be sure to look up private/public beaches beforehand!

Tip: Check where you can park before going to each beach town. The best way to get around a single beach town is by bike, but if you plan on visiting more of 30A, be sure to call a local shop in each beach community and kindly ask about the best place to park as a visitor.

where to shop in 30a
Silver Sands Premium Outlets is the perfect place to go if you need a full-on shopping day and quick departure from sun and sand.

The Art of Simple boasts a bountiful selection of hostess gifts, housewarming presents, travel mementos, and beauty products.

Perspicacity is set up as an open-air market for visitors to browse through a selection of cute beachwear, fun jewelry, and French market totes while enjoying the outdoor sunshine.

Willow + Woods carries the latest trendy items and designer pieces for the beachy, effortless, fun girl.

The Seaside Style carries cozy Seaside sweatshirts and other mementos, so you can always have a piece of Seaside with you.

Barefoot Princess is packed with the latest Lilly Pulitzer pieces and other bright, colorful clothing pieces.

The Blue Giraffe is filled with beautiful pieces of artwork – including paintings, coastal-inspired jewelry, and pottery – made by local artisans. I could spend a while in here!

Pish Posh Patchouli’s is my dream store lined with all the bath products and matching PJ sets you can imagine complete with a custom scenting bar.

And now for some pictures, friends! I hope you enjoy scrolling through them.

30A Florida Travel Guide | The Bella Insider

Waking up to some summer sunlight after a day of rain
30A Florida Travel Guide | The Bella Insider

The quiet bookstore hideaway at The Hidden Lantern

30A Florida Travel Guide | The Bella Insider

Enjoying my favorite IZZE flavor on the beach while watching sunset on Rosemary Beach
This $24 scalloped one piece was comfortable, fun to wear, and perfect for dipping in the ocean.
30A Florida Travel Guide | The Bella Insider

The sunset at Inlet Beach

30A Florida Travel Guide | The Bella Insider

This tree filled with fun beach-inspired jewelry

This $40 palm print one piece is great if you need a built-in bra
the seaside style kids toys

The most darling soft toys I’ve ever laid my eyes on at The Seaside Style Kids

seaside beach

Seaside Beach’s white sugar sands and crystal clear waters

rosemary beach post office
A quick photo op by the Rosemary Beach Post Office
the art of simple seaside fl
A corner full of amazing goodies at The Art of Simple

rosemary beach 30a

Rosemary Beach in the warm sunlight

Some last few tips? Be sure to check the weather before you head on your trip. It ended up being much chillier than expected! Also, I repeat: driving in some of these areas can be an absolute nightmare. Be sure to do your research and call some local shops around town for their recommendations on how to get to their location and park.

I hope you enjoyed my 30A Florida Travel Guide! Visiting the beach soon? Be sure to check out the cutest swimsuits under $50. Thank you so much for stopping by. I’ll see you next week on Tuesday!

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  1. 4.2.17
    Unknown said:

    Wow amazing photos and look, Darling Sarah! It was nice meeting you. Glad to meet another Texan fashion blogger. Awesome photos and blog post!
    Happy weekend!
    Much love, Len