Find the perfect 30A neighborhood for your next beach vacation
Along Scenic Highway 30A, the Gulf of Mexico caresses a coastline sprinkled with quaint beach communities, sparkling white sand beaches, gorgeous dunes, delicious restaurants, and stunning architecture. There is so much to discover here. And travel is all about discovery–new experiences, new people, new places. When you visit South Walton, our sixteen diverse beach neighborhoods offer new discoveries around every bend on Scenic 30A.
Things to do in South Walton
Are you looking for a lazy beach day where the only action comes from your mystery novel? Or maybe you’re craving an active day filled with hiking a South Walton nature trail, biking Scenic 30A bike trail, paddleboarding along the Gulf’s shimmering shores, a fishing excursion. How about spending a day strolling through interesting boutiques while sampling delicious food? We’ve got you covered no matter which 30A adventure you choose.
And no matter which South Walton neighborhood you choose for your family’s beach holiday, there’s plenty of reasons to see them all.
Let’s go exploring!
Spoiler alert— you won’t find any mountains here. Although this is technically South Walton’s highest elevation–at a whopping 65 feet! The name likely came from when explorers sailed the coast and noticed the high sand dunes covered in the blue lupine flowers. While vacationing in Blue Mountain Beach, make sure to check out our favorite smoothie and organic grocery shop, For the Health of It. If you’re craving home-made ice cream, you’re in for a treat at Blue Mountain Creamery. For the art lover, Blue Mountain Beach is home to the Justin Gaffrey Art Gallery. “Self-taught,” Mr. Gaffrey specializes in beautifully flowing and unique paintings and sculptures. Both laid back and low-key, art enthusiasts, ice cream fanatics and beach lovers will lack for nothing in beautiful Blue Mountain Beach.
The unofficial slogan of Grayton Beach is “Nice Dogs, Strange People.” This funky beach neighborhood offers an eclectic and entertaining mix of free-spirited folks and laid-back attitudes. Make sure to stop by The Hurricane Oyster Bar–a local favorite establishment with great food and a groovy interior–try the Hurricane Debris nachos. Black Bear Bread Co. is a must “go to” spot for fresh morning croissants and baguettes, as well as other yummy pastries, salads and sandwiches. Chanticleer is another delicious Grayton Beach eatery for eating in, dining on the deck or taking out… best Cobb salad on the 30A!
Colorful, comfortable, and charming, Seaside is a well-designed and pedestrian-friendly town. You could spend hours wandering the quaint shops and restaurants. Or stroll the nearby residential streets lined with picturesque white picket fences. The Truman Show–the 1998 film starring Jim Carrey–was filmed in Seaside and doubled as Truman’s idyllic hometown of “Seahaven.” Stop by the Seaside Farmer’s Market every Tuesday and Saturday for fresh produce. And don’t miss all the very cool food trucks open everyday, especially the snow cone stand!
WaterColor is one of the newer communities along 30A and includes a resort of the same name. Located between Seaside and Grayton Beach State Park, this neighborhood is perfect for those looking for a more residential-like setting. Fish Out of Water is one of the finer area restaurants and perfect for a fancy evening out.
Located in the heart of Santa Rosa Beach, the Gulf Place community was specifically designed to “slow folks down.” We like the sound of that! With palm tree-lined sidewalks, plentiful outdoor patios, walking trails, lots of green spaces, and plenty of park benches, Gulf Place is a beautifully designed community. Vacationers come to Gulf Place for the art galleries aka Artist of Gulf Place, boutique shopping, local cuisine, live music, and a quintessential laid-back South Walton atmosphere. Stop in the Sunrise Coffee Shop for a latte and a cinnamon roll, then take a selfie with the popular painted turtles. Gulf Place is the perfect place to stay when attending the annual 30A Songwriter’s Festival… attend the show at the Gully Amphitheater without ever having to get in your car.
Santa Rosa Beach has it all; in this beautiful beach community you will discover luxury beach houses, old-Florida cottages, delicious dining options, and plenty of boutique shopping. Dig your toes in the sugary sand and take a dip in the emerald-green waters of Santa Rosa Beach and you will know just what all the excitement is about. Santa Rosa Beach is a very popular vacation community for families.
With 3 coastal dune lakes–Oyster Lake, Stallworth Lake, and Allen Lake–and five miles of awesome nature trails in one of the most beautiful state parks you will ever see, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, this beach neighborhood is the perfect location for nature-lovers seeking a peaceful beach getaway. Dune Allen Beach, located on the quiet western end of 30A, also has two convenient public beach accesses. Hikers, bikers, kayakers, and stand-up paddleboarders will rejoice in this tranquil, natural setting. Walk to Stinky’s Fish Camp for a fresh seafood lunch or dinner, or stroll over to Gulf Place on the Scenic 30A walking / biking trail for some great food morning ’til night, funky art, and fun times. Dune Allen Beach is all about family beach vacations!
Destin and Miramar Beach
Destin and Miramar Beach is the place to go when you want to go out on the town, day or night. Here you’ll find shops, shops and more shops. You’ll also discover tasty restaurants and theme parks. Spend the day jet skiing, parasailing, or floating down the lazy river at Big Kahuna. One of the nation’s largest designer outlet centers–Silver Sands Premium Outlets is a popular go to place for the serious shopper..
Cool and casual, Inlet Beach has the largest beach access point in South Walton. Quiet, tranquil, and bordered by 13 acres of protected dunes, Inlet Beach is among the most pristine beaches of South Walton. Once on the beach, stroll over to the old, picturesque pier at Camp Helen State Park. Inlet Beach is convenient to the town of Rosemary Beach and Panama City.
With almost no commercial development, Seacrest beach is one of the quietest and most peaceful beaches in South Walton. It also boasts some of the highest dunes, allowing lucky climbers to see playful dolphins in the distance. Visit beautiful Camp Creek Lake for serene paddleboarding and kayaking.
When you stay at Seagrove Beach you are truly in “the heart of it all.” Seaside, WaterColor, and Grayton Beach lie a mile or two to the west, while Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach are a few miles east. But why would you leave? There are shops and cafes only a short walk or bike ride away. Make sure to check out the Seagrove Village Market Cafe, a South Walton landmark that’s been serving up “deep fried love” since 1949. Seagrove Beach, with its charming beach houses and luscious greenery is simply the perfect place to kick back and enjoy your beach vacation.
As you approach Alys Beach, you’ll notice the white “butteries”–buildings used before refrigeration to house perishables–that stand like guardians at the entrance. The signature glittering white stucco architecture of Alys Beach is unmistakable and unforgettable. The streets of Alys Beach are designed to attract the gentle sea breeze into the heart of town. The community also features an amphitheater, tennis courts, lush parks, and unique shopping like the Alys Shop.
Boasting a “French Quarter feel” to its town center, this “carefully planned and beautifully executed” community offers fine boutiques and delicious restaurants. With its boardwalks and secret pathways that wind between the cottages and pocket parks, this pedestrian-friendly enclave also has a lively nightlife. Stop by the Havana Beach Rooftop Lounge or the sumptuous La Crema Tapas & Chocolate–yum!
Located off Highway 98 close to Destin, Seascape is convenient to a must-go sushi restaurant for sushi lovers, Sushimoto. Whichever beach community you are coming from, Sushimoto is more than worth the ride to taste the freshest and most unique sushi rolls on the Panhandle. You will also discover beach shops and casual restaurants in the area, all conveniently along Highway 98.
Watersound is a private, gated community with winding boardwalks, bridges, and trails that wind through this lovely South Walton neighborhood’s homes and cottages. When visiting Watersound, check out The Hub for live entertainment and fun food places.
Where Beach Vibes Meet Southern Hospitality
South Walton is closer to Atlanta and New Orleans than it is to Miami–and that genuine southern hospitality welcomes you warmly wherever you go. Here you’ll find breathtaking beach towns with friendly, easygoing neighbors, exceptional architecture, thriving art scenes, outdoor recreation, and miles of pristine, sugary white sand beaches.