30A Travel Guide

Our family has been coming to 30A in Florida for many years. It’s our happy place and I always look forward to our time down here. I am often asked about 30A so I thought it would be best to create a 30A travel guide with all my favorite places and frequently asked questions.

Cove Hollow House

We loved visiting the area so much that we recently purchased a home in Watercolor. Our rental, which sleeps 12, is in the Lake District of Watercolor on charming Cove Hollow Street. When you rent Cove Hollow House you have access to a 6 passenger golf cart, 4 beach cruisers, and are just steps from the Frog Pool.

We love staying in Watercolor because of the wonderful amenities that are offered here. When you stay in Watercolor you have access to multiple pools: The Frog Pool, The Boathouse Pool, Camp Watercolor, and The Beach Club. You also have private beach access and can sign up daily for beach chair set up which is a lovely perk! You can easily walk, bike, or golf cart into Seaside.

To look at the booking calendar or reserve Cove Hollow House click here.

30A Favorites

Breakfast, Bakeries & Coffee Shops

Black Bear (Seaside)

This is our favorite spot for breakfast. I always get the avocado tartine with a poached egg and a cappuccino. The kids love the French toast and it is as pretty as it is yummy!

Fonville Press (Alys Beach)

This market and cafe are gorgeous! Grab a coffee and pastry while you browse the aisles picking up what you need for lunch or dinner. They have a full menu all day.

Raw & Juicy (Alys Beach)

Wonderful coffee, juices, smoothies, and breakfasts that is next to an amazing playground. You can sit outside and enjoy coffee while the kids burn some morning energy!

Beach Happy Cafe (Watercolor)

An easy spot to grab a quick breakfast, lunch, or smoothie for pickup or delivery that’s close to the Watercolor Beach Club.

Scratch Biscuit (Watercolor)

Delicious made-from-scratch biscuits with plenty of breakfast options to appeal to anyone. We haven’t been yet but it’s on our list.

Holiday Cafe (Alys Beach)

Holiday Cafe is a French coffee shop that offers breakfast and lunch as well. In the afternoons, it turns into a wine bar.

Lunch, Dinner, & Cocktails

Great Southern Cafe (Seaside)

Great Southern is a great option when in Seaside. You can put your name in and walk around the area if there is a wait. Great classic Southern food! We love to sit on the porch! This is also a great place for breakfast!

The Pizza Bar (Seaside)

This is such an easy spot to grab dinner on the fly.  Their wood-fired pizza is great and the atmosphere is laid back.  It is counter service only and there are outdoor tables all around. The brussells sprouts are amazing! 

Bud & Alleys (Seaside)

One of our favorite spots for lunch or dinner with a view is the casual outdoor patio. Order the fish dip as an appetizer and watch the sunset. If you are going for dinner, get the crab cake on the fresh arugula salad. It’s not on the menu, but they will make it for you. So good!

The Wine Bar (Watercolor)

We love to have lunch here or grab a casual dinner. The margherita pizza and house salad are my favorites but we also love to order a big charcuterie board for a crowd. During happy hour, you can get a carafe of wine for the price of one glass.  The kid’s pizza is also full-size but half the price. We venture here often!

Fish Out of Water (Watercolor)

This is a go-to spot for dinner for our family because it is in Watercolor. We either walk or drive the golf cart from our house.  We love to sit on the front deck because it overlooks the beach and they often have music in the evenings inside. The pimento cheese is really good too!

Old Florida Fish House (Seagrove)

We love this spot and the outdoor environment. There are twinkle lights and outdoor games for the kids. Reservations are usually needed. This is my favorite spot for sushi and there are plenty of other options for everyone else! It is a whole destination area under Coastside 30A so be sure to check out the whole area.

George’s (Alys Beach)

We love to get lunch here on the front porch. My go-to order is an iced tea and the sesame crab avocado salad. For dinner, the salt and pepper shrimp is amazing, or the crab cake on the sweet potato gnocchi.

La Crema (Rosemary Beach)

This tapas restaurant is great for date night. We go for drinks and dessert and love to sit outside to see all the colonial Caribbean-style architecture. It’s the perfect spot to people-watch!

The Citizen (Alys Beach)

The Citizen is located right in the town center of Alys Beach and is inspired by coastal cuisine from around the world. The interiors are gorgeous! I love their motto of ‘Life is an Adventure.’

Havana Beach Bar (Rosemary Beach)

This rooftop bar and grill at the Pearl Hotel is inspired by El Floridita-Ernest Hemingway’s favorite haunt in Havana, Cuba. They’re also open for brunch.

Paradis (Rosemary Beach)

We have been here for date night and we have sat on the patio with our kids. I love sitting outside under the glow of the gas lanterns. The filet here is absolutely incredible.

Pescado (Rosemary Beach)

Another rooftop bar option that has excellent views. You can make reservations inside but if you want the beach views its first come first serve. I highly recommend for sunset!

The Red Bar (Grayton Beach)

This is a classic 30A spot with great food and live music most nights. Get here early to get a table as it is popular with locals and tourists.  It’s a limited menu but everything is great. I love their crab cakes!

The Bay (Santa Rosa Beach)

Off of 30a but worth the short drive if you don’t mind getting in the car. I love the sushi here and there is plenty of space for the kids to play on the beach.  One of our favorite spots to visit and they also do carry out!

Food Truck Row (Seaside)

We love to take the kids here so they can pick and choose their favorites; which means it’s an easy win for us! The Meltdown’s pimento grilled cheese is still a winner in my book! They also have gluten-free bread!

The Daytrader (Seaside)

This is one of my recent favorite spots in Seaside. My favorite is the crispy tuna rice which, is an appetizer, but I ask for three instead of two and make it a meal!

Borago (Grayton Beach)

Borago is some of the best food on 30a. I often get the salmon but they are known for the Priscilla pasta! We always sit on the porch because it is very loud inside!

Surfing Deer (Santa Rosa)

This is a great date night spot and we often drive the golf cart here. They have valet parking which makes it even more convenient! The scallops are incredible!


30A Grub 2 Go

You can find many local restaurants available for delivery through this website. 

Amici Italian Kitchen (Inlet Beach)

Amicis is part of a restaurant group that has multiple places you can order takeout from. Amici’s offers pizza, pasta, and small plates in Inlet Beach.

C.C. Boone Private Chef

Some nights, dinner at home just hits the spot.  Especially after a long day at the beach. Enjoy a beautiful meal in the comfort of your rental with a private chef experience.  You can choose based off the number of people and there is also a taco bar set up offered as well as a shrimp boil and bonfire!

Modica Market (Seaside)

The most perfectly quaint gourmet grocery. They have a selection of to-go meals, desserts, and grocery items along with plenty of beverage options. This is also a great place to get your morning muffins and mimosas! We stop here often for an iced tea.

Nanbu Noodle Bar (Santa Rosa Beach)

This is another great place to get takeout. My mom and aunt love to order from this Japanese restaurant on those days when no one wants to cook.

Pizza by the Sea (Watercolor)

Great for takeout on arrival day or when you need a quiet night in. Thursday nights they offer a discount when you sign up for their newsletter. They also have a great gluten free crust or a cauliflower crust option! The Bleating Heart pizza is my favorite!

Seagrove Market Cafe (Seagrove)

This is a family favorite of ours. My go-to lunch order is the Market Salad with shrimp and it is so delicious! I try to make it at home but it’s not the same as theirs. They also have a great sweet tea!


There is never a shortage of things to do in 30A. While spending your days at the beach or pool are always a great option, be sure to check out some of these activities as well.

The Big Chill

There is a big screen, area for kids to run around and play, ice cream, a bar, and lots of shopping!

Fishing Charters

Many charter companies will take you out on full or half-day fishing excursions. Enjoy a day on the water from experienced captains!

Seaside Farmer’s Market

This is one of our favorite things to do on the weekend. The kids play in the grass and we get to shop all kinds of local goodies.

Sunset & Bonfire Experience

Catch a coastal sunset or beach bonfire with a beautifully organized luxury experience. Book ahead and enjoy!

Watercolor Boat House

The Boat House has paddle boards (old school and electric) that you can rent as well as kayaks! Inside they sell athletic wear brands like Lululemon and Vuori!

Grayton Beach State Park

The park has a 4.5-mile hiking/biking trail that takes you the full length of County Road 30-A through all the villages of South Walton.


There are so many great local boutiques and shops in 30A! It’s fun to wander around and pop into whatever shops pique your interest.

The Studio Gallery (Grayton Beach)

This studio space showcases some of the best artistic talent in 30A. Susie Bettenhausen has beautiful pieces here and we specifically love her shell and fish paintings! It’s a great memento of your time in 30A.

Duckies (Seaside)

This is such a fun place for kids-they love it so much! Pair this with a trip to the Candy Bar in Watercolor. We often give gift cards for Christmas here so the kids have a pre-determined amount to spend on their trip so they don’t go overboard!

The Art of Simple (Seaside)

I love this charming shop! It’s eclectic and I always find great things for Cove Hollow House, like beautiful serving pieces or fun gifts. The staff is always friendly and helpful. The cozy and inviting atmosphere makes for an enjoyable shopping experience.

Cabana the Seaside Style (Seaside)

Cabana Seaside is a stunning store that always catches my eye. I love finding beautiful dresses here, especially for special occasions or as a cover-up for the beach. The store offers a wide selection of unique and pretty items that are fund to browse. Shopping here is always a delightful experience!

Sundog Books (Seaside)

We love browsing this cozy bookstore. They have an excellent selection, and the kids love picking out a new book while we’re here. I love the way this shop smells like fresh books! It is such a well-curated bookstore. I never have a hard time finding my latest addition to my TBR pile. There is a record store on the second floor, too!

The Seaside Style (Seaside)

Seaside Style is where you find the iconic Seaside t-shirts and sweatshirts, Seaside-themed Chappywraps, beautiful coffee table books, and candles. It’s a one-stop shop for all your beach needs. During the busy season, the mornings can get very crowded. I recommend shopping at 2 pm when the beach is bustling, and the store is less crowded.



Indigo Watercolor (Watercolor)

Indigo is a high-end beach boutique located in the heart of Watercolor on 30A. They offer a wide selection of timeless pieces and accessories that are perfect for beach living. I always find something I love here. The staff is always friendly and welcoming!

The Candy Bar (Watercolor)

Our kids love popping into The Candy Bar. They have a huge assortment of name-brand candy and the kids go nuts over it. You never know what the kids will find and pick out. They also have branded apparel items. It’s always a fun stop during our trip!

Parasol (Alys Beach)

I love the interiors of this clothing boutique! The merchandise is sorted by color scheme, which makes it easier to find a specific color theme if that’s what you’re looking for. They source from artisan brands across the world.

Luminary (Rosemary Beach)

This boutique is for those who appreciate effortless elegance and understated luxury. They always have so many beautiful dresses!

Willow (Rosemary Beach)

Another great stop for women’s clothing! There are a few locations of this boutique that feature a different style and feel.

RB Trading Company (Rosemary Beach)

My friend loves the Rosemary Beach scented candle from this shop! They have many unique Rosemary Beach-themed finds.

Gigi’s (Rosemary Beach)

Our kids love this toy shop but it’s also a kid’s clothing store as well. Gigi’s is always a must-stop in Rosemary. Such a cute shop!

Becasa (Inlet Beach)

Casual coastal elegance. A mix of old Florida and classic chic. Becasa is a beautiful shop and I love their casually elegant linen pieces.

Seaside Kids (Seaside)

This is a go-to for us always. This is where we get the kids their Seaside t-shirts and always find other classic clothing pieces for them.


How to Get Here

I recommend you fly into ECP (Panama City) or VPS (Destin-Fort Walton Beach). From ECP it’s about 30 minutes to 30A, and an hour from VPS. It all depends on your local airport and flight availability. For us, we fly into VPS from the Belleville, IL airport as it is very easy for us to get there and the flights and parking are very reasonable.

You can easily rent a car and if you plan on going around to any of the farther out towns, I would recommend one. If you’re staying within one or two towns, you can easily bike around or use a golf cart-the preferred method of transportation down there. When we’re bringing the whole family, we tend to drive down. If it’s just me coming down to check on the house or work on an install, I tend to fly and use a car service. I typically use 30A Black Car/Taxi & Shuttle. You can schedule your pick ahead of time and not have to worry about finding a taxi when you get there. Just be sure you select the right airport for your pickup!

How Far is it Between Towns?

30A is the stretch of beach towns along Florida’s Emerald Coast: situated between Panama City and Destin along County Road 30A. It’s fairly easy to visit each of the towns on your visit. While transit times vary with traffic and during high season, here is a general idea of how long it takes to get to each town:

Grayton Beach to Seaside: 7 minutes by car (Watercolor sits between these two towns)

Seaside to Alys Beach: 20 minutes by car

Alys Beach to Rosemary Beach: 2 minutes by car

Entire length of 30A: 35 minutes

Best Time of Year to Visit

There really isn’t a bad time to visit-it all depends on what you’re looking for. We have visited in February for several years. It is still a bit cool but it’s not as busy with spring break families yet. Getting into restaurants and shops is easier. It’s a perfect winter getaway! The summer months are peak season so keep that in mind. Early fall is quickly becoming my favorite. September through November are still warm but less crowded. We spent Christmas down here for the first time this year and loved it! The decorations were so fun and it was great to spend the holidays at the beach.

Stocking Your Rental

During our trip down I always set up an Instacart and shop through the local Publix.  I like to get enough to get us through the first night and morning.  Nobody wants to go to the store right when they arrive and this allows me more time to get everyone unpacked and settled in.  The Publix in Watercolor is a great store and I love that I don’t have to travel far to get groceries.  They also sell beach toys, sports balls, and floaties.  They will even blow up any pool toys that you purchase while you are in the store!  They have a wonderful bakery and we order cakes there for any birthdays we may be celebrating while there.

What To Do If It Rains

For the Kids/Family

Head to the movies at Grand Boulevard or Pier Park. Both places also have lots of shops to explore as well. Thrills Laser Tag has two levels in addition to arcade games. Rock Paper Scissors 30A is a great place for kids to be able to do art projects and DIY craft kits. Urban Air Adventure Park is sure to keep them busy for hours as well! Attycat’s Arcade is another indoor arcade option. The Shard Shop is a great option for arts and crafts for both kids and adults.

Breweries & Distilleries

Distillery 98 is a distillery but it also has an arcade and board games so it’s very kid-friendly. Idyl Hounds is a brewery with games that is dog-friendly. Palm Folly is a seltzer taproom that I’d love to try out sometime! Grayton Beer is another brewery that has games. You see their beverages all over 30A in restaurants.

If you’re ready to finally see what 30A is all about or are a long-time lover, you can rent out our Cove Hollow Home.

Be sure to check out these other blog posts related to 30A and the beach!

My Favorite Beach Essentials

30A With Kids

What to Pack for 30A in the Offseason