Spending time away from the hustle of life is a good way to relax, refresh, and unwind when you need it most. Travelers looking for a place to enjoy something new at every turn that’s as inviting and exciting as it is scenic will find it waiting for them in Florida’s 30A. Here, you can count on plenty of sunshine, sand, and surf to go around as well as the flavor, shopping fun, history, and wildlife to top off an itinerary for adventurers with interests of all kinds. The appeal of a 30A getaway is undeniably and when it’s a beautiful and diverse escape you’re after, the many charming coastal communities that make up 30A are sure to inspire. There’s no reason not to get out and explore them all while you’re here, and an unforgettable road trip is a breathtaking option when you want to make the most of every moment. Our guide for a road trip to 30A is a wonderful way to enjoy access to amazing experiences waiting for you in the collection of captivating seaside towns. Discover how to road trip along 30A, a scenic route dotted with charming beach towns and breathtaking coastal views.

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The Ultimate Guide For A Road Trip To 30A

Beach towns are at their very best when you travel to 30A and visitors who opt to take a road trip to see them all will find a wonderful array of tucked away communities thriving alongside more bustling locales. There’s truly something for everyone to love who heads to 30A on a road trip. Here, you’re free to slow down and really appreciate a calmer way of life with a focus on beach fun and family adventures at just about every turn. The seafood you’ll enjoy access to along 30A is a delight while the historic landmarks and amazing views are one-of-a-kind.  

Getting to 30A

Highway 30A gives the area its name and spans about 20 miles along the Florida Panhandle coastline. Stretching from Destin to Panama City, 30A is packed with potential for fun no matter where you roam or plan on spending the most time. If you’re flying in for road trip fun, the closest airport is Panama City’s Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport which is about 35 miles from Seaside. This small airport is an easy and welcoming destination with modern feature and amenities in place and no reason to worry about large crowds to contend with once you arrive. Another option for travelers looking to kick off their 30A journey and subsequent road trip is the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport. If you opt to fly into the Pensacola International Airport, plan on about a 2-hour drive tor each 30A before kicking off your adventure.  


A Destination Made Up of Amazing Beach Communities

The fun of a road trip through 30A is that you’ll enjoy seamless access to the many beach communities that make up the area. If you travel West to East along 30A, you’ll have options to drop by Dune Allen Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, WaterColor, Seaside, Seagrove Beach, WaterSound, Seacrest Beach, Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Inlet Beach too. Ask locals and you might hear that Carillon Beach is sometimes considered an honorary mention in the lineup worth visiting as well. Whether you decide to road trip to all of the beach communities in 30A or stop by a few, you’ll find that each possesses its own unique personality, character, and style. While some travelers return time and again to the same 30A community, others come here to explore as many as possible with every trip. Either way, you’re in for a scenic and fun treat you won’t soon forget. 

Guide For A Road Trip To 30A

Best Time of Year to Plan Your 30A Road Trip

While there’s never a bad time of year to plan a road trip to 30A, crowds tend to decrease in the area outside of peak summer months. Typically, early May and late August and September through early October are wonderful times of year to enjoy a journey without so much summer stop and go included on the road. These times of year also make your road trip a bit more budget friendly. Oftentimes, prices for excursions, and at local shops tend to drop when you head this way outside of high travel season.  

Begin Your Trip at Santa Rosa Beach

When you head out on your 30A road trip, kick things off by stopping by Santa Rosa Beach. This is a laid-back destination where you’ll see far more golf carts running around than cars. The architecture across Santa Rosa Beach is a unique mix of A-frame style beach homes and four-story residences that are elegant and inviting. The beaches of Santa Rosa Beach are always a highlight thanks to free parking and nearby bike paths for those looking to explore the shoreline on two wheels. If cravings come calling during your stay, Café Tango is a terrific place to grab a bit while Local Catch Bar & Grill serves up fresh-caught fare at its best. It’s also where you can enjoy live music in the evenings or swing by for a Happy Hour cocktail and watch the sunset in style. 

Make Your Way to Seagrove

Next up on the road trip itinerary is scenic Seagrove. This welcoming escape is a great place to stop and enjoy a luxurious yet laid-back lifestyle year-round. Seagrove hosts an impressive and eye-catching collection of magnolia and oak trees to admire that offer up a fantastic natural backdrop for commemorative photos. The landscape here is dotted with charming cafes, unique boutiques, and easy access to outdoor fun and recreation. In Seagrove, you can spend quality time exploring destinations like Deer Lake State Park or making the most of moments pedaling your way along the iconic 30A Bike Trail, also known as the Timpoochee Trail. The beaches here are public and pristine and after time on the sand, you won’t want to leave without grabbing something to eat and drink over at Café Thirty-A. The Seagrove Village Market is another must-visit while you’re here and looking to enjoy shrimp po boys.  

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Plan on Spending Quality Time at Grayton Beach

The next stop on Highway 30A is Grayton Beach. This is known and loved as one of the communities that’s been in the area for the longest amount of time with a history dating back more than a century. The area has long drawn visitors from across the map thanks to the eclectic vibes it gives off, fantastic public art, and great beaches that are as beautiful as they are fascinating. Grayton Beach is home to the Red Bar where you can enjoy a drink and crab cakes with family and friends. The area is home to the lush Grayton Beach State Park and rare dune lakes that are ideal for spending a sunny afternoon on a paddleboard, admiring the fact that you’re on waters found in only a few other places across the globe. 

Savor Your Stay in Seaside

Architecture buffs will be thrilled with every minute they spend in Seaside during their 30A road trip. If you’re a cinema enthusiast, this might just be the highlight of your stay as it was the backdrop for the film “The Truman Show.” This picturesque community is hard not to fall in love with thanks to its collection of captivating New Urbanism structures featuring white picket fences, decorative gables, pastel facades, and stunning beach pavilions. Yes, Seaside even has cobblestone streets to wander down and enjoy stops in at local boutiques and eateries along the way. It’s a picture perfect place to spend time on the beach watching shorebirds, or renting a cabana and leisurely spending time with those you love most. If you’re looking for a quick bite while you’re here, Bud & Alley’s Taco Bar is a delicious place to add to your list. The Shrimp Shack is also a treat while you can’t go wrong with the menu of options waiting to be enjoyed at The Meltdown on 30A. 

Indulge Your Architectural Passions in Alys Beach

When you head over to Alys Beach, you can continue to indulge your passion for architecture with very few crowds to contend with. Alys Beach is a quiet and tranquil community that showcases a spectacular array of whitewashed buildings that give off Mediterranean vibes all around. There are lush courtyards dotting the spaces between, and if you didn’t know better, you might think you had temporarily found yourself in Mykonos. The beaches here are exclusive for residents and members, but that doesn’t take anything away from the views. It’s a wonderful place to relax and admire your surroundings before heading over to George’s at Alys Beach for lunch or dinner. 

Unwind in Rosemary Beach

Your next stop is Rosemary Beach which is as beautiful as it is picturesque. Rosemary Beach is home to charming cobblestone streets to explore as well as great paths for biking your way through a stay. Many visitors head here to check out the local shops and restaurants offering up great waterfront views. Once you’ve had your fill, you’re going to want to rent a beach chair and simply settle in for a while. Rosemary Beach is a great place for a breather and to enjoy soaking up the sun at your own pace.  

Guide For A Road Trip To 30A

Wind Things Down in WaterColor

End your road trip through 30A on a high note by making WaterColor your preferred destination. Here, you’ll be treated to views of gorgeous Old Florida-style homes that come with spectacular views and spacious porches to enjoy soaking up the sights at a leisurely pace. WaterColor hosts one of South Walton’s most beautiful coastal dune lakes known as Western Lake. This is a popular place to enjoy an afternoon of stand up paddleboarding or kayaking depending on your preference. Rentals are easy to access right at the WaterColor Boathouse and trails around the lake make for just as much hiking fun if you prefer to lace up your boots and explore on foot. Point Washington State Forest is also well within easy reach of WaterColor for visitors who are looking to expand their trekking adventures even further. 

Depending on what time of year you arrive, you might just be on time to enjoy the annual Mountainfilm on Tour Festival held in WaterColor annually. This is a two-night outdoor film festival that’s designed to inspire and educate audiences from near and far. WaterColor also hosts the Harvest Wine & Food Festival each year which offers up three days of savory fun where you can enjoy access to more than 250 wines on-site. 

The small town feeling here is irresistible and the world-class beach is one-of-a-kind. When cravings come calling, you and your road tripping crew won’t want to miss out on a stop at Fish Out of Water Restaurant which is loved for its fresh-caught fare and panoramic Gulf of Mexico views. The Gathering Spot is another great option that’s equally loved by locals. The main intersection in WaterColor is home to Beach Happy Café where many beachgoers drop in during the daytime for a quick bite or beverage. Here, you can find healthy wraps and sandwiches as well as pastries and coffee. If you’re on a road trip with little ones in tow, your stop in WaterColor isn’t complete without making time to enjoy The Candy Bar. This is a sweet stop where you can pick up delicious treats that everyone will love whether you’re up for truffles, lollipops, or jelly beans.  

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Book Your 30A Stay Today

No matter when you decide to enjoy a well-deserved road trip to 30A, the team at Dune Vacation Rentals is here to make sure you have amazing accommodations in place to top off your trip in style. Our vacation rental options are vast and varied and provide guests with access to amazing stays complete with world-class amenities and finishes that make all the difference. Reach out today to learn more about our exciting and inviting beachfront property selections available and how we can help take your road trip to the next level of comfort, convenience, and excellence.