Why everyone doesn’t go to the Florida panhandle is beyond me! It is such a hidden gem that so many people outside of the South don’t know about! Edwin and I just went on a little datingmoon there and I’ve been dying to share all my favorite spots with y’all ever since. (P.S. a datingmoon = my little term for a trip you take with your loved one while you’re still dating. It’d like a honeymoon or a babymoon! Maybe I should be calling this trip an engagedmoon??!!). So, I rounded up all my discoveries into this 30A Travel Guide! To start, 30A is the highway that runs along the beach; however, it’s actually more of a road than a highway… it’s like the Pacific Coast Highway for you California people. All the beach towns are off 30A so it’s a pretty iconic stretch of highway! My 30A Travel Guide is going to touch on Watercolor, Seaside, Alys Beach, and Rosemary Beach so buckle up and start planning a winter getaway trip or a vacation for next summer!
Rhyme & Reason’s 30A Travel Guide
The Watercolor Inn: The most amazing place to go with a family. The hotel has a pool, an entire beach setup with beach chairs and a beach bar, and a super calming beachy vibe (think pastel colors). Edwin and I stayed here in Watercolor and had the most amazing ocean views!
The Pearl: The black and white awnings around the hotel set the vibe for this great Rosemary Beach hotel. This hotel is a great place to stay for a girls’ trip or on a trip with your loved one. My family who spends a lot of time in this area loves this hotel!
Rent a House: 100% consider renting a house. Edwin and I want to come here when we have kids and rent a house with another family because the houses are all so amazing and so many owners rent them out! I know a couple girls who have rented houses here for their bachelorettes too! Rent in Watercolor or Seaside for a very colorful, beachy house that is guaranteed to have a huge porch. Rent in Ayls Beach for a clean, all white, relaxing experience (every house in the town is white!). Rent in Rosemary Beach for a more neutral toned house with manicured trees and walking paths all around it (kind of a Santa Barbara vibe). Watercolor and Seaside are definitely very very family heavy white Ayls Beach and Rosemary Beach still have a ton of families but definitely have a couple less kids running around town.
George’s: yum! I think this is the best restaurant around 30A. It serves up great seafood in the cutest gray shingled building. Be aware that they are closed on Sundays and don’t take reservations. In Alys Beach.
Shrimp Shack: a must-go-to spot for lobster rolls, shrimp po’boys, steamers, and oysters. They have a patio right on the white sandy beach… #bliss #blessed. In Seaside.
Bud & Alley’s: Edwin and I absolutely loved going here for frozen drinks (margaritas for him, key lime freezes for me) up on the second story deck. The views of the beach and the ocean are amazing. Plus, their crab cake really is as good as they say it is. In Seaside.
La Crema: a bright yet cozy Spanish restaurant that serves tapas. The paella, empanadas, and patatas bravas are so yummy but you’ll also love the entire section on the menu that’s dedicated to chocolate (yes, you heard me right… chocolate!). In Rosemary Beach.
Raw and Juicy Cafe: I seriously love this spot. They are known for their coconuts that they crack right there and pop a straw in for you to take to go. They can flavor their coconuts or they can put prosecco in them. The mixture of the fresh coconut milk and the prosecco was seriously out of this world yummy and refreshing! In Seaside.
Caliza: you’ll love the dining experience at this restaurant because they seat you poolside in cabanas. Go here is you’re looking for a more hip, upscale restaurant. I highly recommend going here for a glass of wine and an order of guacamole at happy hour. In Alys Beach.
Paradis: owned by a husband and wife, this restaurant has a great neighborhood feel and serves up yummy coastal style food. The lounge is also known for it’s wines, beers, and martinis. In Rosemary Beach.
Vue on 30A: this restaurant is known for its beach and ocean views. The views honestly can’t be beaten so it’s definitely worth a visit… I think it’s a great spot to grab an evening glass of wine while catching the sunset.
Great Southern Cafe: a very family friendly restaurant that serves just what you think, southern food!
The Wine Bar: go here for an impressive wine list and a charcuterie plate or a pizza to go with it. Hint: they drizzle balsamic and pesto over their margarita pizza, yum! You’ll love their large outdoor patio too. In Watercolor.
Edward’s: a great restaurant to go to for a more intimate and romantic dinner. Think lots of seafood and nightly live music. In Rosemary Beach.
Cowgirl Kitchen: a super casual spot for beers and sports. It’s great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In Rosemary Beach.
Havana Beach Bar & Grill: this restaurant is located inside the Pearl Hotel and inspired by old-town Havana… I think the highlight of the restaurant is the bar scene.
The Taco Bar: you order at the counter and sit on picnic tables while you enjoy easy street style tacos. I recommend the fish tacos… duh you’re in Florida! In Seaside.
The Pizza Bar: this is an easy spot to go with a group or with your family. It’s a standard pizza spot with a nice patio so kids will love it. In Seaside.
Food Trucks: yhe Melt Down on 30A (grilled cheese), Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs (hotdogs and the like), Barefoot BBQ (barbecue), Frost Bites (shaved Hawaiian ice). In Seaside.
Pickle’s Beachside Grill: this is exactly what it sounds like… a beachside grill that serves up burgers, fries, shakes, draft beers, pickles etc. In Seaside.
Barefoot Princess: a Lilly Pulitzer store so you can dress the part in Florida! In Watercolor.
Willow and Woods: a boutique full of colorful and beachy women’s clothes by two southern girls, Celia and Cindy. Think sun hats, straw bags, flirty rompers and dresses. You will leave with a full shopping bag! In Seaside.
Willow Boutique: Owned by the same women who own Willow and Woods, this women’s clothing boutique is a more classic and modern take on the beachy Willow and Woods boutique. In Rosemary Beach.
Willow + Mercer: city style meets the Florida coast in this bright and clean clothing boutique. It’s the third (and final) women’s boutique by Celia and Cindy along 30A.
Mason: This shop is also by Celia and Cindy but it is a men’s store full of southern style clothes and fun accessories like cocktail kits and backgammon sets.
Per•spi•cas•ity: an open-air beachside bazaar featuring all kinds of bohemian pieces like tunics, jeweled sandals, and pom pom totes. In Seaside.
The Art of Simple: described as a store full of curiosities and necessities, this shop sells every art print, candle, soap, coffee cup etc. that you’ve ever dreamed of.
Seaside Style & Seaside Classic: these two stores have the same owner and are right next to each other. They both sell Seaside t-shirts, sweatshirts, tumblrs, towels, etc. Seaside Classic sells all the products in classic neutral colors and Seaside Style sells all the products in bright colors. In Seaside.
Alys Shoppe: the go-to shop in Alys Beach for clothing, jewelry, accessories, and home decor. You’ll find everything from designers like Rachel Pally to Alys Beach t-shirts and caps. In Alys Beach.
Tracery: a gorgeous home decor and interiors store where you can shop to get the clean, beachy, and modern + vintage look of 30A. In Rosemary Beach.
Sundog Books: a great bookstore in the main square of Seaside where you can pick up your latest beach read. There’s also a record store above it!
Pizitz: a home decor shop full of bedding, furniture, coffee table books, lamps, candles, artwork, and more. This store encompasses the signature Seaside look. In Seaside.
If you liked my 30A Travel Guide then be sure to read up on all my travel rituals. I swear by them!