From the outside, it doesn’t look like there’s much to do on 30A, but once you get started, you realize there’s too much to do, so how do you spend your time on the Florida Gulf Coast’s most popular stretch of highway? Take it from a local that the best way to experience 30A is like a local.

30A-market1Picking a Community

One question that many ask on their first visit to 30A is, “Where do I stay?”  There are several communities to choose from, and each has a distinct personality.  For example, Grayton Beach is a playful, creative, artsy community while Seaside is a hub of activity, picturesque charm, and classic 30A appeal.  Rosemary Beach, on the other hand, is a distinct community full of vitality and other-world charm and influence.

Picking where to stay depends on your personality.  Who are you traveling with?  Though there are hotels like the fabulous The Pearl in Rosemary Beach, the local way is, of course, in a beach house where you can fully unfold.  You can stock the fridge, cook, take your morning coffee overlooking the ocean, and bring your bikes (or grab some in Watercolor) to ride along 30A, just like locals do.

Morning of Sightseeing

When you wake up in the morning, be ready to get moving!  The best way to see 30A is on foot, so get the deluxe strollers, the bicycles, whatever, and head outside.  If you’re out on a Saturday or itnerary-4Sunday, be on the lookout for the Watercolor and Seaside Farmers Markets, respectively.  Plan to pick up some local pickles, pastries, and produce (you can cook with it later).

While you’re out,there’s no better place than Sunrise Coffee Co.in Santa Rose Beachto get your morning cup of coffee as you walk along.  If you’re feeling more adventurous, then the Bloody Mary at The Great Southern Café in Seaside makes for a pretty good morning sip.

Definitely make sure you stroll past the Coastal Dune Lakes, a unique, rare occurrence that happens only on this stretch of the Florida Gulf Coast and in Africa.  The Coastal Dune Lakes are picturesque and wonderful for hiking.

itinerary-3Lunch on the Go

After a morning of walking and sightseeing, you’ll surely have spotted several places where you want to shop such as:

Home décor on 30A is also popular.  Nest 30A and Lola’s on 30A are two popular spots for getting classic pieces that will enable you to bring the beach home.

Of course, depending on the kind of day you’re having, you may be too enthused about shopping to take a break, so why not grab a bite from one of the delicious Airstream popup restaurants in Seaside?  Song, for example, serves a delicious Bahn-Mini.  The Meltdown is a gourmet grilled cheese venue. There are also healthy smoothie and other dining options.

If you want to sit down for lunch while shopping in Seaside, then head across the street to popular Bud &Alleys Pizza Bar for a slice of pizza while you look out over the water.

Beachreire1 Bummin’

Speaking of the beach, of course you want to make the most of your time at the beach actually on the Florida Gulf Coast’s sugar white sand and playing in the turquoise surf.  After lunch, as you’re warmed by the summer sun, you’ll be more than ready to cool off in the crystal clear ocean waves.  So, head back to your beach house, grab your towels and go play.

When you’re ready for a break, stroll back to 30A for a sweet treat.  The Blue Mountain Creamery, Orange Leaf in Seacrest, and Dawson’sin Seaside have the most indulgent cool bites on 30A.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor dinner, the place to go is the eponymous, popular local favorite, Café Thirty-Ain Seagrove.  Of course, you can always cook out, too, but if you do, make sure you go to Café Thirty-A when you do it all again tomorrow (and you know you will because we all do).

Beautiful like a painting and surreal like a work of fiction are the idyllic communities of 30A. Located along the Florida emerald Gulf Coast, 30A is a charming network of picturesque beach cottages, locally owned shops, and sugar white sand beaches. Living on 30A is like calling the pages of your favorite book ‘home.’ Contact local coast living expert, Melissa Clements, and make the blushing 30A sunset your somewhere over the rainbow and live happily every after.