Updated: Oct 16, 2020
I always wondered why Texans flocked to Florida’s Emerald Coast every summer and now I know why! My husband and I spent eight memorable nights celebrating our anniversary and exploring 30A - it was the perfect couple’s getaway! 30A is home to sugar-white sand and turquoise water that gives you the picture-perfect background to enjoy your relaxing vacation.
Luxury Vacation Homes
Trying to decide where to stay on 30A can be quite a task, as there are numerous options for adorable towns and homes to choose from. I decided to stay at Inlet Beach and I am so thankful we did. Inlet Beach can be described as a quaint fishing village with an upscale neighborhood vibe. Inlet Beach is also stylish yet relaxing, giving you the option to explore by bike to see the sites or sunbathe on their quiet beach.
I found the most picturesque yet cozy condo in Inlet Beach. Even though the condo was considered a studio, I was impressed with how spacious it was as it had a queen-size bed, a couch that could become a bed, two bunk beds, a full-size bathroom, a kitchenette, and a balcony that overlooked the pool. Technically, 5 people could sleep here, making it a great option for families. The homeowners went above and beyond to ensure we had everything that was needed for our stay (definitely the key to picking a place) including luxury toiletries, organic lines, and beach accessories such as umbrella, chairs, and towels. Oh, and did I mention they had the most comfortable bed it was like sleeping on a cloud every night! The ocean sound machine was a nice touch for a good night’s sleep.
We loved the location of our vacation home! Being in Inlet Beach, allow us to enjoy the quiet beach life that 30A has to offer but still being close to other areas to shop, dine, and explore. Our favorite areas had to be Rosemary Beach and Seaside, both towns are very different and fun! Rosemary Beach has a luxurious-charm yet small-town feel while Seaside felt more local and busier.
It is very important to find a vacation home that fits your travel needs and determine the area you want to stay in. All of the towns along 30A have their own personality and offer a variety of entertainment.
I could spend every day at the beach as I love being by the water and the beaches along 30A did not disappoint! 30A is known for its strikingly beautiful beaches that I thought only existed in the Caribbean, I was totally wrong. The Emerald Coast consists of azure waters and white sand beaches that you will find in the Caribbean! During our eight-night vacation, we went to three beaches: Inlet Beach, Rosemary Beach, and Destin. Our favorite beach was Inlet, this beach was less crowded and peaceful compared to others making it the perfect place to simply relax. Rosemary Beach and Destin were just as beautiful but had larger crowds, Destin is a great option for family beachgoers. If you are flying into Panama Beach, I highly suggest staying at a vacation home that has beach essentials that way you are fully prepared to go to the beach once arriving. I also recommend going to the local liquor or grocery store to stock up on snacks and drinks to take to the beach.
Where to Eat
I am a HUGE foodie and I did not expect 30A to be filled with numerous delicious and chef-inspired restaurants, we did not have not one bad meal the entire week. 30A is a true foodie’s hidden paradise especially if you enjoy eating fresh seafood.
My top 3 meals for the week were:
#1 Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House in Destin: Oysters Boshamp, “The Original” Snapper Destin, and Butter Cake with Bourbon Ice Cream
Definitely by far my favorite restaurant, I mean who doesn’t love a restaurant that’s named after 3 dogs! “The Original” Snapper Destin is a must-try dish, the chef won a James Beard award. Boshamps is famous for their delicious cocktails as well, I made sure to indulge in the Makers Shakers.
#2 Grayton Seafood in Grayton: Fried Pickels and Creole Linguine Alfredo
Grayton Seafood was the most unique restaurant that we dined in that week. The restaurant was outdoor and it was simply adorable with a rustic vibe that consisted of a white tent, twinkling lights, fresh flowers, and industrial-inspired furniture. Every dish is made from scratch and the Creole Linguine Alfredo was mouthwatering good. I am still craving that pasta all the way from Texas.
#3 Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar in Santa Rosa: Meyer Lemon Garlic Oysters, Cheddar Jalapeno Oysters, Duck Fat Gulley Fries, and Grouper Sandwich
Shunk Gulley was our first dine-in experience on 30A. It’s a restaurant that you do not want to miss as they have open-air seating that overlooks the sea. Shuck Gulley had the best oysters and my husband loved their Grouper sandwich. They also had strong cocktails, I recommend trying the Sunset Mule and Bushwacker!
Here’s a full list of restaurants we ate at that are all Travel Queen approved:
· Donut Hole
· Big Bad Breakfast
· Cowgirl Kitchen
· Pescado (rooftop seating)
· Pickles Burgers
· Food trucks in Seaside (we love the hotdog and crepe truck)
· The Great Southern
· Cuvee 30A (great happy hour)
· Amici’s 30A
· The Bay
· The Pearl’s Havana Grill
· Seagar’s Prime Steakhouse
What to do
Looking for a little adventure on your beach vacation? Spend some time driving down 30A’s scenic route, it’s a great way to spend exploring the towns and taking in the beautiful views. Just because you are staying in a particular doesn’t mean you can’t beach hop. We drove on 30A to Destin and spent time on their beach and had dinner at Boshamps.
On the last day of our anniversary trip, we went to Lake Powell and saw the majestic dunes and kayaked. Lake Powell has paddleboards available too.
Other things to do in the area are renting a boat to go to Crab Island or taking the shuttle boat to Shell Island to sunbathe. I also heard that Deer Lake Park has a breathtaking beach even on a rainy day, a great spot for a picnic! Morrison Springs is another site I plan to go to on the next trip to 30A!
A fun thing to do on a lazy Sunday is going to the Farmer’s Market in Rosemary, so many local vendors to shop!
For a relaxing day, treat yourself to a mobile massage! I found this amazing company, Lezlie’s Mobile Spa, that sends a massage therapist to YOU for spa treatments! I highly recommend doing this one day on your beach vacation. Their service was fantastic and they had affordable prices.
We loved experiencing the 30A beach life for a week and we can’t wait to go back to see other sites and beaches in the area! Contact me to plan your summer vacation to 30A and make memories of your own!