I’ve got you covered with this epic guide to all the best things to do on 30A! Planning your first trip to 30A can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to choose between its various seaside communities, each one with a devoted fanbase.
Spanning 24 breathtaking miles (c. 40 km) along the Florida panhandle’s Gulf Coast is Country Road 30A. By name alone, it doesn’t sound like much, but locals and longtime visitors prefer it that way. 30A, also known as Florida’s Scenic Highway, is the South’s best-kept secret for a reason.
Whether you want to hit the beaches or explore unique shops and boutiques along 30A, there’s something for everyone on this list!
So, not to keep you waiting, let’s begin our journey on the Scenic Highway and see what fun awaits us! 🚗
- If you are in a hurry
- 1. Start your journey at Santa Rosa Beach
- 2. Take a load off at Blue Mountain Beach
- 3. Attend a live concert at The Hub
- 4. Visit the tranquil Grayton Beach
- 5. Stop by Grayton Beach State Park
- 6. Spare a day for Timpoochee Trail
- 7. Spend time at Seaside
- 8. Go diving at Morrison Springs County Park
- 9. Awaken your inner child at Eden Gardens State Park
- 10. Take a dip at Deer Lake State Park
- 11. Admire the unique Alys Beach
- 12. Relax at Seacrest
- 13. Fall in love with the enchanting Rosemary Beach
- 14. End your journey at Panama City Beach
- FAQs about things to do on 30A
If you are in a hurry
Can’t wait to start your trip? Here are the main things to book in advance:
We’re going on a road trip, so a map of the places is a must. Here you go!
1. Start your journey at Santa Rosa Beach
The starting point on our trip along Highway 30A is the beautiful beachside community of Santa Rosa Beach, Walton County. Take a stroll to see the glamorous homes of the rich, spend a day on the beach, or treat yourself to lunch at a fine-dining restaurant such as Vue on 30a.
Dining at local seafood restaurants is a top activity on 30A!
PRO TIP: If you’re up for a little adventure, I suggest renting eBikes and exploring the area. It’ll not only be much more fun than walking but faster and more convenient, too! What’s more, many even enjoy renting a bike to travel the 19-mile (30 km) paved path on 30A!
PRICE: from US$95 per person
2. Take a load off at Blue Mountain Beach
Blue Mountain Beach is the best seaside beach to stop for a break and rejuvenate yourself in natural beauty and laid-back vibe.
If you decide to spend more time here, you can (again because it’s that much fun!) rent a bike from Big Daddy’s Bike Shop and explore the nearby trails, then treat yourself to the best homemade ice cream you’ll ever have from Blue Mountain Beach Creamery.
Now you’re ready for the next stop.
3. Attend a live concert at The Hub
Art and music festivals on 30A are a must-visit for culture enthusiasts.
As you can tell from the name, The Hub is where the fun happens. It’s a place for family and friends gathering and the perfect spot to catch a concert when driving on 30A.
There are restaurants and food trucks selling yummy food, and there are live concerts regularly, so I suggest dedicating a day to this place. You can check the event calendar on the website.
4. Visit the tranquil Grayton Beach
“Nice dogs, strange people” is the unofficial slogan of Grayton Beach, a funky, eclectic beach ‘burg that embraces just how different it is from its pastel, strategically planned neighbors. Grayton Beach is one of the oldest townships around.
Its laid-back, lived-in feel is what keeps visitors coming back summer after summer. In town, you’ll find quirky shops, to-die-for food, lots of live music, and a world-famous dive bar… because why not!?
Red Bar, Grayton Beach’s world-famous dive bar and restaurant, burned down in a tragic fire in 2019, but 18 months later it was restored to its exact specifications. Don’t worry though, it’s far from a tourist trap. Red Bar represents everything that makes the area so unique and is beloved by locals and visitors from all over the globe.
Looking for more fun beaches? I highly recommend checking our local guide on the top-rated hidden gem beaches in Florida!
5. Stop by Grayton Beach State Park
Fancy a wander through a serene state park? Grayton Beach is home to Grayton Beach State Park, a crown jewel of Florida’s natural beauty and wonder. With 2,000 acres (810 hectares) including both the Gulf and Western Lake, in addition to all kinds of outdoor activities, from boating and birding to moonlit picnics and paddle boarding, outdoor enthusiasts will fall quickly in love with this undisturbed gem.
PRICE: from US$4 per vehicle, US$2 for pedestrians, cyclists, and extra passengers
6. Spare a day for Timpoochee Trail
While you are at Grayton Beach State Park, the adventurers among you, who are not in a hurry to finish this road trip in a day, will love adding this trail to the itinerary.
Timpoochee Trail is an easy trail where you can walk, run, or bike, but if you want to go the entire length, you should know that the loop is approximately 37 miles (c. 60 km) long, so it will take around 12 hours (more or less) to complete it.
I advise booking a night at beach house rentals like Cole Bin Home, to rest your tired feet after a long day of exploration.
PRICE: from US$4 per vehicle, US$2 for pedestrians, cyclists, and extra passengers to enter Grayton Park
7. Spend time at Seaside
Even if you’ve never heard of Seaside, Florida, you may have seen it before. This charming, idyllic town is where they filmed The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey and it’s as picture-perfect in person as it is in the movie.
Seaside was founded by Robert Davis, who inherited the land and brought his dream to life: a town hearkening back to the good old days of lemonade on front porches and ice cream cones in the square – an ode to simpler times spent with good friends and family. It was a huge success.
A row of stationary food trucks (all serving incredible food, I might add!), a big central lawn with an amphitheater, and lots of fun things to do make Seaside a great choice for a beach vacation with kids.
But you don’t have to be a child to enjoy the sweet nostalgia this beach town provides. There is plenty to do for adults as well. Grab lunch and drinks at Bud and Alley’s to enjoy the sweeping ocean views and make dinner reservations at Great Southern Café for their famous shrimp and grits!
NOTE: the main beach in Seaside’s town center is open to the public… for a price. Cabana Man is the company that oversees chair and umbrella rentals, so you have to go through them if you’re planning a day on Seaside’s popular shoreline.
8. Go diving at Morrison Springs County Park
There really is something for everyone on 30A, but this one is particularly special for divers. Morrison Springs County Park is a divers’ haven with sparkling clear water and underground caves. Sounds exciting! You can also go kayaking and snorkeling, among other things!
But even if you’re not into diving, there’s a long boardwalk where you can take a stroll and enjoy tranquility, or you can also take a boat ride.
The park is open daily, and there are no admission fees.
9. Awaken your inner child at Eden Gardens State Park
If you’re looking for a place along 30A that seems so unrealistically beautiful as if it was a fairytale, then this is the one you’re looking for.
As the name suggests, Eden Gardens is a majestic state park with a historic home and magnificent gardens, which make it a much-desired wedding venue.
I highly recommend stopping here to make your inner child happy and awaken some lovely childhood memories.
The park is open from 8 a.m. till sunset.
PRICE: US$4 per vehicle
10. Take a dip at Deer Lake State Park
If you’re a nature lover this stop on the Scenic Highway 30A is a must! Visiting the coastal dune lakes on 30A offers a unique ecological experience.
The coastal dune lake in Deer Lake State Park is one of the few rare coastal dune lakes in Florida, so don’t miss it!
Apart from being a stunning natural phenomenon, there are plenty of things you can do here. Cross the boardwalk through Dune Lake to the beach, have a picnic, go bird watching, and behold the beauty before you.
If you want some action, there are also hiking and fishing opportunities.
PRICE: US$3 per vehicle; US$2 pedestrians, cyclists, and extra passengers
11. Admire the unique Alys Beach
This stop on 30A is for luxury travelers, architecture enthusiasts, and expensive family vacations. Alys Beach is best described as a combination of Bermuda and Greece: Bermuda-influenced structures designed to play well with the hot, balmy temps, but all whitewashed in a dreamy way that is quintessentially Grecian.
It is also as exclusive as it sounds, boasting celebrity homeowners, private pools, a beach club, and an upscale restaurant only for residents and vacation renters. Unlike the other 30A beach communities, you won’t find a place to stay here on Airbnb or VRBO – everything must be booked through the community website directly.
If you decide to treat yourself to a stay here (which you won’t regret), here’s what I recommend:
- Take your kids to the Alys Beach Seaside Amphitheater for entertainment options, family-friendly activities, dancing fountains, and a donut truck! Yay!
- Enjoy a romantic dinner at George’s, a local favorite restaurant described as “upscale meets casual.” There’s usually a wait to be seated, but you can spend that time exploring the otherworldly beauty of Alys Beach.
While many of Alys Beach’s amenities are off-limits if you’re not renting in Alys Beach, it’s worth a visit, even just to look around in awe. There are plenty of places to grab a bite or a drink, and then take a leisurely stroll through this striking neighborhood.
12. Relax at Seacrest
Sandwiched between Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, Seacrest is a beautiful budget-friendly neighborhood ideal for rest and relaxation on your day trip.
Seacrest’s easy beach access, sugar white sand beaches, resort-style amenities, and central hub with restaurants, shops, bike rentals, and entertainment make it the perfect place to unplug and recharge. While it doesn’t necessarily have the same in-your-face personality as 30A’s other beach towns, Seacrest truly feels like a home away from home.
One of my favorite things about Seacrest is its location. If you’re staying there, both Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach are just a walk or bike ride away. After a day of adventures, you can retire to a cozy house on the quaint, quiet streets Seacrest is known for.
TIP: bicycles are everywhere on 30A, and understandably so. Biking is a great way to explore the surrounding areas with ease. Rent bikes at Peddlers 30A in Seacrest Village and go for a cruise along Florida’s scenic highway – you’ll quickly see why it’s called that.
13. Fall in love with the enchanting Rosemary Beach
When you first turn into Rosemary Beach off Highway 98, you’re transported into a coastal fairytale. Tree-lined streets with hanging Spanish moss, cobblestone streets, and brick sidewalks, all around a charming main street brimming with restaurants, upscale boutiques, coffee shops, and rooftop bars with unmatched views.
Like the other wonderful things to do in 30A beach towns, Rosemary Beach is best known for its architecture, influenced by the Dutch West Indies. It’s distinctly European, but updated for warm, tropical weather and designed to let the cool ocean breeze flow through.
As such, this small town is perfect for couples, europhiles, shopaholics, and a girls’ getaway. On your visit, stop at Cowgirl Kitchen for the best pizzas on Florida’s Scenic Highway, then hop over to Havana Beach Rooftop at The Pearl for a drink. Daytime offers gorgeous views of the Gulf Coast, and nighttime means sipping cocktails under starry skies. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
NOTE: Rosemary Beach tends to get a lot busier in the evenings when the dinner crowd rolls in. For your first trip, make time to check it out during the day as well, so you can see Rosemary Beach in all its glory and with minimal distractions.
14. End your journey at Panama City Beach
You have successfully reached the endpoint on this road trip and arrived at the stunning waterfront town of Panama City Beach – the water sports paradise. I suggest spending more time here and exploring everything that it has to offer.
Here are my recommendations for amazing things to do in Panama City Beach:
- Join a paddleboarding session on Panama City Beach’s calm waters
- Embrace the sunset with beach yoga sessions
- Try local brews at craft beer spots
- Go hiking in St. Andrews State Park
- Observe marine life at Gulf World Marine Park
- Go shopping at Pier Park
- Snorkel and watch dolphins on tour
- Go scuba diving
- Explore Cypress Springs on a kayak
Want more options? Don’t miss our epic local guide on the 24 best things to do in Panama City Beach!
|🎢 Top paid attraction:
|🚶🏽♂️ Best free activity:
|sunbathing on the beaches
|👧 Best attraction for kids:
|snorkel & dolphin tour
|🥟 Best restaurant:
|Vue on 30a
FAQs about things to do on 30A
🛣️ What is 30A, Florida known for?
The iconic 30A Highway in Florida is best known for its stunning scenery. Think emerald waters, white sand beaches, charming coastal towns, soothing summer breeze – you get the picture, don’t you?!
🐕 Are there pet-friendly beaches on 30A?
Yes! There are many pet-friendly beaches on 30A such as Grayton Beach State Park, Panama City Beach, and Blue Mountain Beach to name a few.
🤑 What are the best things to do on 30A on a budget?
The best things to do on 30A on a budget are sunbathing on the beautiful beaches, swimming in the crystal clear waters of the ocean, and hiking in the state parks.
🧍 Which is the least crowded public beach on 30A?
Seagrove Beach is the least crowded beach on 30A because it’s really long and underdeveloped. Another less crowded beach from this list is Blue Mountain Beach.
In addition to the towns mentioned, 30A also includes a whole lot of beach towns! I’ve covered my go-to’s, but there is so much to see and do on 30A, you really have to experience it for yourself.
Whichever of the things to do on 30A you decide to do, don’t forget to plan your stops ahead and book tours and accommodations in advance. Nothing ruins a good trip more than planning along the way.
And this is where my trip ends, dear friends. I hope you had fun on this journey, and if so, don’t forget to comment below.
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