If you’ve never heard of 30A, you’re not alone. Though the beauty of our beaches is world-famous, the area itself remains a hidden gem, much less congested than tourist traps elsewhere in Florida.
In fact, it’s practically a different world here. No crowds or traffic. No strict itineraries or “Go, go go!” mentality here. Instead, you’ll find in 30A a tropical paradise that promises relaxation, leisure and the kind of memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.
Go ahead, change your latitude and your attitude. Forget the Florida you think you know and discover the Sunshine State’s best-kept secret for a vacation you won’t need a vacation from.
In the Florida Panhandle, along the Emerald Coast of the Gulf of Mexico, runs Florida State Road 30A. Alternatively called Highway 30A, this road has become so much more than a road for the locals and for travelers across the globe.
A succession of beautifully planned beach towns dots the coastline along Highway 30A in South Walton County: Inlet Beach, Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Seacrest Beach, Seaside Beach and many more.
Every community has its own personality, its own aesthetics and quirks, and yet they each share a unique love for this Gulfside paradise.
30A is like nowhere else in the world, with its combination of picture-perfect white sand beaches and aqua blue Gulf, coastal forests and coastal dune lakes, state parks, festivals and events that attract visitors from across the country… and, of course, its unique Southern charm.
It’s hard to overstate either the beauty of the Gulf or the significance of the natural surroundings here. Life is just better at the beach, and on 30A, the beach is everywhere.
What isn’t everywhere? Crowds. Traffic. Endless lines. All of those pesky little disruptions that, in other beach destinations, take away from the beauty and serenity of the vacation you planned.
That’s the benefit of choosing the hidden gem that is 30A Florida over the jam-packed beaches elsewhere in the state – and, for that matter, in the world.
Southern Living and Travel + Leisure have highlighted the wonder of our little section of the Florida Panhandle, naming Inlet Beach among the top “beaches that look like the Caribbean” and South Walton County a “trending destination” for 2022. Read more about what they had to say.
Of course, that’s not to say we have nothing else to offer. Quite the opposite.
In the communities along Highway 30A, you’ll find 25,000 acres of protected state forests and coastal dune lakes. You’ll find coastal dune lakes, a phenomenon that occurs in just a handful of destinations around the world.
From golf courses to underwater art museums, from wineries to amusement parks, you’ll find it all along Highway 30A.
We all know that eating, drinking and shopping can be among the best parts of any vacation. There are hundreds of unique, non-chain restaurants and bars throughout South Walton County, offering up out-of-this-world food and drink no matter your preference. From gourmet fine-dining restaurants to casual bars on the beach and the locally famous Food Truck Row, you’re sure to find something that makes your taste buds smile.
As for drinks, whether you like handcrafted cocktails, craft beer, wine of all varieties or whatever’s on tap, you can be sure there’s a perfect beverage with your name on it.
Shopping local means something different (and wonderful) in 30A. The dozens of retail stores include specialty shops and outlet stores, farmers markets and art galleries. Many of the items available for purchase are handmade by artists and artisans, offering you the chance to take some a truly one-of-a-kind souvenir.
There’s something for everyone on the Emerald Coast.
Unlike other top Florida travel destinations, we may not be famous for amusement parks… but there’s plenty for the children and children-at-heart to enjoy. From rock wall climbing to escape rooms and laser tag to bumper boats, 30A offers fun for all ages.
The city of Destin, less than half an hour from Latitudes and Attitudes beach house, is home to The Track Family Fun Park, Big Kahuna’s Water and Adventure Park, Fat Daddy’s Arcade and more entertainment centers.
About 10 minutes East of Inlet Beach is Panama City Beach, where kids of all ages enjoy Shipwreck Island Waterpark and Cobra Adventure Park.
If there’s a limit to how long you can lay out on the beach before you want to be up and moving, don’t worry. There’s so much for you to do that a 30A vacation will never get boring.
Play a round of golf at one of the best golf courses in the South. Walk or ride a bicycle along the 18.6-mile paved path of Timpoochee Trail. Go swimming, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, paddling, jet skiing, parasailing… the list is endless.
The beaches may be what 30A is best known for, but they’re far from our only offering for lovers of the great outdoors. Interact with real wolves at the Seacrest Wolf Preserve. Go snorkeling at one of the ingenious artificial reefs along the Gulf (there’s one shaped like the Cobia fish right off the cost of Latitudes and Attitudes on Inlet Beach). Visit our state parks, where hiking trails are as common, and as beautiful, as gorgeous beach views:
For a truly unique experience, check out our coastal dune lakes. Though these rare bodies of water exist in just a few locations on earth, there are 15 of these natural wonders scattered along Highway 30A, including Lake Powell in Inlet Beach.
This is a vacation, after all. So go ahead – get a massage, a manicure or try out float therapy in a special float spa. Go wine tasting or bar-hopping. Order dessert (and even eat it first, if you want). Soak in the sun guilt-free as you take in the view of a lifetime. You’ve earned it.