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Are you looking for the best ways to enjoy the Florida panhandle’s most scenic highways? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
Traveling along East County Highway 30A is one of my favorite things to do.
White sand beaches, crystal clear waters, great restaurants serving fresh seafood, live shows, and outdoor activities for the whole family make this a perfect place for a road trip or family vacation.
Let’s dive into the top things to do in 30A.
30 Things To Do In 30A
Find all the best places on 30A, from the tennis courts and sugar-white sands of Seaside to the biking trails and fine dining of Santa Rosa Beach.
Things To Do In 30A: Seaside
Paradise awaits in Seaside, Florida, United States.
Palm trees, turquoise waters, vibrant farmers’ markets, and gorgeous vacation rentals make this a prime spot for a beach vacation.
1. Visit The Truman Show House
One of the most popular things to do in Seaside is visit the Truman Show House.
Introduce your kids to the iconic movie during one of your family movie nights, then head over to 31 Natchez Street. (The owners have kept the movie address number 36 on the fence).
Heading over to see the house will be a fun adventure through a charming neighborhood.
If you drive, expect traffic to be slow. Alternatively, nab some bike rentals and pedal over.
2. Check Out Airstream Row And The Town Center Square Downtown Seaside
Airstream Row is famed for its food trucks.
This is a great place to come for grilled cheese, crepes, hot dogs, donuts, snow cones, and mouth-watering BBQ.
Fuel up on food, and/or shop in the farmers market every Tuesday and Saturday morning (from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
While you’re in the town square, be sure to stop in at Sundog Books for new books with unique covers.
The Great Southern Cafe serves up fabulous food, while Fusion Art Glass offers amazing pieces of art.
Photo credit – Buds and Alleys
3. Grab Some Food On The Rooftop At Bud & Alley’s
While we’re on the theme of food, Bud & Alley’s is another great spot to enjoy delicious food.
But one of the best parts of this restaurant is that it is located right in the heart of Seaside, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Indulge your taste buds on the rooftop terrace while drinking in views of the deep sea and Seaside’s beautiful scenery.
4. Catch The Sunset At Van Butler Regional Beach Access
Relax on the soft sands of Van Butler Regional Beach Access while the sun descends into the ocean.
This public beach is a popular spot between Seaside and Watercolor.
The large parking lot tends to fill up during the day but empties out toward evening.
There’s no better place to watch the sunset than the crackly hum of a bonfire and marshmallow roast.
Tip: Make your stay extra special by finding a rental property near here.
Things To Do In 30A: Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach is chock-full of family-friendly options, green spaces, and fun things to do (like eating ice cream).
5. Relax At Grayton Beach
Powdery soft sand, rolling sand dunes, and a beautiful creek make the Grayton Beach Access a feast for the eyes.
If you get a beach permit, you can drive right onto the sand, which is super fun.
However, you can also make use of the free shuttle. It is quick and kept clean.
There is a shower and foot wash available on the boardwalk.
6. Eat At The Restaurants
Live music and mouth-watering food await at Grayton Beach’s top eateries.
If your belly is rumbling, consider heading to any of the following restaurants:
The Red Bar: This casual eatery is set in an old general store and offers live music and food with a Southern flare.
Chiringo: Enjoy Spanish-style dishes served in a bright and colorful setting with views of the ocean.
AJ’s: This seafood shack offers a weekend brunch, regular live music, sports viewing, and a full bar.
Beach Camp Brew Pub: This brewing facility offers more than beer on the beach. Enjoy their cocktails, seafood, and barbecue.
7. Grayton Beach State Park
No trip to Grayton Beach would be complete without visiting its main attraction, Grayton Beach State Park.
This park is famous for its beach, but there is plenty more to see and do here.
Hike one of the many nature trails, and enjoy water sports on Western Lake.
Turn it into an overnight by booking a spot in one of the park’s cabins or their campgrounds.
Things To Do In 30A: Blue Mountain Beach
A fresh coastal breeze, blue lupine flowers, delicious ice cream, and melt-in-your-mouth barbecue make Blue Mountain Beach a worthy stop on any 30A road trip.
8. Visit The Beach
One of the best things to do in 30A is visit the beach at Blue Mountain Beach.
The sand is powdery white, and the water is clean, clear, and variegated turquoise.
Float in the warm waters with the expansive sky stretching overhead, or catch some waves. Bliss.
9. Grab A Cold Treat At The Blue Mountain Beach Creamery
Make sure you have money in your wallet before you head to the Blue Mountain Beach Creamery.
You’re going to want plenty of greenbacks at this cash-only joint.
Order a traditional ice cream or a more unique flavor of Blue Mountain’s deliciously creamy homemade ice cream.
It is smooth and explodes with flavor. Even if there’s a line, it’ll be well worth the wait.
10. Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub
Exceptional food awaits at Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub.
This pub offers hearty and delicious Reuben sandwiches, juicy and tender cheesesteaks, battered onion rings, crispy tater tots, and amazing lobster bisque.
Head over for delicious eats, time at the bar, or rousing fun in the game room.
It’s sure to be a great way to spend a few hours.
Things To Do In 30A: Santa Rosa Beach
Santa Rosa Beach is the largest beach neighborhood in South Walton County.
It is incredibly diverse and offers everything from golf courses and fine dining to ax throwing (I bet you weren’t expecting that).
11. Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar
Oysters, oysters, get them here! Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar is the best place to enjoy fabulous coastal cuisine, live music, and ocean views from the bar top.
Feast your eyes on the views, delicious seafood, and southern hospitality.
Whether you opt for oysters, lime shrimp, snapper specials, or burgers, you’re sure to come away delighted.
12. Ed Walline Regional Beach Access
Spend a day or an evening at Ed Walline Regional Beach Access.
This fabulous wide beach offers great amenities and beautiful sand. There is a lifeguard on duty during the season.
It can get busy, but there is a decently large parking area, picnic shelters, showers, and nice bathrooms.
It’s also the perfect spot for a beach bonfire.
13. Gulf Place Town Center – And Artists At Gulf Place
The beach meets the country at Gulf Place Town Center.
Shop for glassware, enjoy a cocktail by the sea and fill your belly at a number of marvelous restaurants.
Beautiful beaches, eye-catching sunsets, and mellow nightlife make this a wonderful spot to enjoy with your significant other or the whole family.
Don’t miss a visit to the Artists At Gulf Place.
Eight vibrant galleries feature local artwork ranging from pottery and jewelry to photography, sculpture, and painted vintage windows.
14. Dune Allen Regional Beach Access
Enjoy the beauties of the Emerald Coast by spending time at Dune Allen Beach.
Head down the boardwalk to reach 220 feet of delightful sand.
Swim, surf, soak in the sunshine, or go all out and have a picnic. Beach days don’t get better than this!
This beach access opened in 2019 and features parking for cars and golf carts, modern restrooms, and a lifeguard station.
15. Stinky’s Fish Camp
Gumbo, fish tacos, and down-home digs await at Stinky’s Fish Camp.
You’ll have a party on your plate and cheerful surroundings.
If you can afford to wait for an inside table, you’ll save yourself some sweating.
However, even the outside tables are worth it in order to eat here.
Creative seafood, water-front eating, superb staff, and family-friendly surroundings–what more could you want?
Photo credit – Wikimedia
16. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is an incredible park you won’t want to miss.
Old-growth pine forests, rare coastal dune lakes, abundant wildlife, and towering sand dunes make this state park well worth a visit.
Visit secluded beaches, enjoy fishing and camping, swim in the dune lakes, and view deer, otters, and birds.
If you’re into camping, the facilities here are prime.
17. 30A Axe Throwing Company
Test your aim and Viking battle cry at the 30A Axe Throwing Company.
This axe-throwing pub is a perfect spot to enjoy fun times with friends and family.
Play games, throw axes (of course), sip natural wines, try craft beers, and munch on small-plate appetizers.
This is one of the most unique things to do in 30A. You’ll make memories to last a lifetime and have a blast.
18. Point Washington State Forest
Take a break from the heat of the beach with some time in the forest.
Zoom between trees on an ATV, hike beneath leafy boughs, and explore to your heart’s content.
This free state forest offers loop trails perfect for biking, hiking, hunting, and wildlife viewing.
You can also camp here, though the bathrooms are a bit rustic.
Photo credit – Wikimedia
19. Eden Gardens State Park
Immerse yourself in history at Eden Gardens State Park, home of the 1897 Wesley House mansion.
Take a guided tour through the home, admiring antiques and family heirlooms, wander through the beautiful gardens, or fish in Tucker Bayou for no extra cost.
If you want to make a day of it, consider taking a picnic along to eat among the moss-draped live oaks.
20. Watercolor Trails Loop
Walk, run, or bike along the Watercolor Trails Loop for a spectacular day in nature.
This 8.8-mile loop trail is an amazing way to sight-see through the beach communities of Seaside and Watercolor.
The trail is dog-friendly and consists of a combination of gravel, dirt, pavement, and boardwalk paths.
Keep in mind that this loop can get busy in the summer months.
21. Cerulean Park
Enjoy a day of family fun in Cerulean Park.
This lovely park has over 3 miles of walking trails around Western Lake, complete with gardens, bridges, and docks.
The paths meander through beautiful flowers, past cute cottages, and areas with lake views.
The long stretches of green grass are perfect spots to play a rousing game of frisbee, soccer, volleyball, wiffleball, spikeball, and cornhole.
22. The Wine Bar- Watercolor
Enjoy charcuterie boards paired with delicious wine at The Wine Bar in Watercolor.
The snapper dip is super tasty, especially paired with Southern Bell and The Brut.
You also won’t want to miss the coconut cream pie.
This informal wine bar offers a massive selection of vintages, plus creative American dishes, superb cheeses, and fabulous service and vibes.
If you’re looking for one-off things to do in 30A, you don’t have to search hard to find top-notch cafés, beaches, farmer’s markets, and restaurants.
23. Seacrest Beach- Visit The beach
“Casual upscale” are two words used to describe Seacrest Beach.
This destination is a perfect place to relax, enjoy gorgeous surroundings, and spend time on Alys Beach.
Swim, enjoy the sand, and then meander through the charming shops and restaurants.
The architecture is striking. Just walking through here feels luxurious.
Wind down, relax, or go all out and rent your own cottage with a private pool.
24. George’s At Alys Beach
Chill on a breezy porch or in a bright dining room at George’s at Alys Beach.
This wonderful restaurant serves up incredible fish, refreshing drinks, and tasty desserts.
Order whatever you’re craving, whether that’s seafood, meat, vegan, or vegetarian options.
The flavors are sure to please, and the food will taste even better in the upscale cottage surroundings.
One reviewer called this the best restaurant on the panhandle. Why not see if you agree?
25. 30A Farmer’s Market In Rosemary Beach
Discover the best products and produce available at the Rosemary Beach Farmer’s Market.
I love exploring the local wares at these open-air markets.
Tupelo honey, beeswax candles, grass-fed beef, cheddar jalapeño bread, small-batch jams and mustards, fresh-caught seafood, and kombucha are only a few of the products for sale here.
There are also personal care products, essential oils, and treats for your pets.
Wander, smell, taste, and sip your way through the abundance of colors, aromas, flavors, and textures every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
26. Cafe 30A – Seagrove
One of the best things to do in Seagrove is visit Cafe 30A.
This classy café has an island vibe and a mouth-watering menu that is updated frequently.
Their innovative food includes things like banana beignets, quail and grits, and delectable crab claws.
This place gets busy, so get a reservation if you can to ensure a spot. Otherwise, consider sitting in the bar area.
27. The Big Chill 30A – Watersound
The Big Chill 30A near Watersound is a one-stop shop for amazing fun.
Shop, listen to music, eat tasty food, have a picnic, or even watch a movie–all in one central spot.
Set your kids loose on the dance floor, dancing to the kid’s DJ while you enjoy whiskey, burgers, tacos, and ice cream from Mr. Freeze.
You’ll love the atmosphere, food, drinks, music, and movies for kids.
In the evening, you can eat barbecued meat by the fire.
If you enjoy biking, paddling, or boating, these are all activities you can enjoy on 30A.
28. Ride Bikes Along 30A
Don your helmet and hop on your bicycle because it’s time for a bike ride along 30A.
Trails here are in abundance, but one of the top ones to cycle is the 19-mile Timpoochee Trail.
This multi-use path connects Inlet Beach and one of the rare dune lakes at Dune Allen Beach.
Beach-hop from Dune Allen to Seacrest to Alys Beach, enjoying the scenery and slower travel style.
29. Paddle Or Kayak On The Dune Lakes
Another amazing thing to do in 30A is to explore the Dune Lakes via paddle boards or kayaks.
The rare dune lakes are nestled among sand dunes, offering unparalleled opportunities for birding, salt and freshwater fishing, and paddle sports.
Note that no jet skis are allowed on coastal dune lakes (except for Lake Powell in Bay County).
Topsail Hill Preserve doesn’t allow any boats, kayaks, or canoes except on Campbell Lake.
30. Take A Boat Tour
Get out on the water on a boat, whether it’s your own rig or a charter, 100-foot yacht, or flat boat.
South Walton County offers amazing boating opportunities, whether you plan to explore grassy shallows or try your hand at fishing.
Additional Things To Do Near 30A
Are you looking for additional things to do inland of 30A?
Morrison Springs County Park is 50 minutes from Seaside and features a 250-foot-wide natural spring.
Swim in the crystalline water and enjoy the boardwalks.
The Village of Baytowne Wharf sits beside the shores of Choctawhatchee Bay.
This charming community is a fun place to explore, celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day, or visit the Beer Fest.
Other spots to visit include Camp Helen State Park and the Emerald Coast Theatre Company on Grand Boulevard.
Where To Stay In 30A
Photo credit – Expedia
Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse
Stay in a delightful guesthouse minutes away from the Seaside Center.
This guesthouse offers a combination of apartments and standard and deluxe double and queen rooms.
Guests loved the cozy rooms, delicious free breakfasts, and quick access to nearby restaurants, cafes, and shopping opportunities.
Book the Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse
Photo credit – Expedia
WaterColor Inn & Resort
The WaterColor Inn & Resort is an incredible hotel bordering Grayton Beach State Park.
It’s also quite close to Deer Lake State Park.
When not staying in your comfortable, well-appointed room, make use of the free kayaks, canoes, and bicycles to explore the great outdoors.
The Inn features great amenities, including three swimming pools, beach access, room service, and an on-site restaurant and bar.
Book the WaterColor Inn
Photo credit – Expedia
The Beachful Bliss vacation home is perfect for families, featuring 4 separate bedrooms, a fully-equipped kitchen, and three bathrooms.
Additional amenities include air-conditioning, free parking, free wifi, and a refreshing outdoor swimming pool.
This rental is located at Santa Rosa Beach.
It is less than two miles from Ed Walline Public Beach Access and Blue Mountain Beach, while Fort Walton Beach Park is 24 miles away.
Book the Beachful Bliss
Things To Do In 30A – Frequently Asked Questions
How To Spend A Day On 30A?
If you’re wondering how to spend a day in 30A, the hard part will be choosing which beautiful beaches, state parks, and eateries to visit.
The area is a veritable feast for the eyes, whether you want to paddle among sea turtles in the Gulf, explore Point Washington State Forest, bike the Timpoochee Trail, or eat seafood at Bud & Alley’s.
What Is 30A Known For?
Florida’s 30A is known for its charming beach towns, eclectic local shops, and picturesque white sands.
This area, known as the Emerald Coast, is famous for its turquoise water, mom-and-pop businesses, fabulous artwork, and spectacular scenery.
The coastal dune lakes, Grayton Beach State Park, The Big Chill, and The Truman Show House in Seaside are all popular attractions.
Old Florida vibes, new-urbanism-designed communities, and amazing restaurants all make 30A a prime destination.
Is 30A Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! The area surrounding 30A features a fabulous collection of charming Florida beach towns—this calm and vibrant stretch runs between Panama City Beach and Destin.
Seaside, Watercolor, Rosemary Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Alys, and Santa Rosa Beach are some of the communities in this area.
Whether you’re interested in swimming, dining, shopping, visiting art galleries, fishing, biking, or paddling, 30A has something for you.
Things To Do In 30A: Final Thoughts
There are tons of magnificent and fun things to do in 30A, no matter your preferences, budget, or time constraints.
Which of these things make your 30A bucket list?
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