30A Travel Guide

30A Travel Guide

150 150 Angela Lanter

ASOS off the shoulder green $25 dress angela lanter hello Gorgeous

ASOS off the shoulder green $25 dress angela lanter hello Gorgeous

ASOS off the shoulder green $25 dress angela lanter hello Gorgeous

ASOS off the shoulder green $25 dress angela lanter hello Gorgeous

ASOS off the shoulder green $25 dress angela lanter hello Gorgeous

I first discovered the magical land of 30A last summer while we lived in Mobile, AL.  We were living in Mobile while Matt filmed USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage.  On the weekends, we traveled to the coast (along the panhandle) to soak up some sun and just relax.  Over July 4th weekend, Matt took me to Seaside, FL to watch fireworks and I fell madly in love.

Every time I talk about 30A in person or online, I get the question, “What is 30A?!”  30A is the gorgeous stretch of highway that is made up of white sand beaches between Destin, FL and Panama City, FL along the emerald coast.

The Pearl hotel rosemary beach, FL review 30A travel guide angela lanter hello gorgeous

Where We Stayed on 30A:

Last summer we made several trips to the area and ended our summer in the South with a week long stay in Seacrest Beach, which is located between Seaside Beach and Rosemary Beach (I couldn’t find the listing for the house we rented last summer unfortunately).  In this blog post, I talked about how we had originally planned to visit Seaside Beach in June, but our trip was moved, due to my Mawmaw’s passing, to July.  Because we lost our original rental property, we decided to stay at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach.  I was skeptical because I always prefer to have a condo or house when we visit the beach, especially in Florida, but we were both pleasantly surprised by our experience.

The Pearl hotel rosemary beach, FL review 30A travel guide angela lanter hello gorgeous

The Pearl hotel rosemary beach, FL review 30A travel guide angela lanter hello gorgeous

Room:  We originally had a single room with a pool view and promptly asked for a room switch because of several issues with the room we were given.  The resort was at capacity, but the very next day they switched us to a larger king suite with a balcony overlooking the street.  The room was fabulous!  The bed was super lush and was made up with multiple pillows for a great sleep experience.  Every night, The Pearl delivers a fresh baked treat to your room with turn down service, which was something fun to look forward to after an evening out.  The location is fabulous because it’s situated in the heart of Rosemary (which isn’t big, I know) and there are multiple restaurants within close walking distance to choose from.

The Pearl hotel rosemary beach, FL review 30A travel guide angela lanter hello gorgeous

What We Ate:

Speaking of restaurants, I gotta tell you about the food on 30A.  We’re big foodies (obviously you know this if you follow me on any form of social media).  Here’s a run down of our favorite spots on 30A plus what we like to order there.  The above photo is of the green smoothie offered at the Pearl Hotel.  This was so delicious that we ordered one every single day we were there!

Mexican:  

La Cocina Mexican Grill in Rosemary.  The best queso dip we’ve ever had.  In our lives.  This is not an exaggeration.  The taco salad is another must-have, but order extra beans.

Pizza:  

Bruno’s Pizza.  The best taco pizza you’ll ever taste.  Insanely delicious.  We make it a point to order a taco pizza every 30A trip from Bruno’s!  We also have had the Hawaiian pizza, which is good, but the taco pizza steals the show.

Seafood:  

Stinky’s Fish Camp.  Man, oh man.  This is the food that will be served in heaven.  I’m sure of it.  The wait is worth every single minute the moment you taste your first bite of Stinky’s goodness.  For appetizers, don’t miss the blue fin ahi tuna on sweet potato chips with grilled pineapple.  We always order the snow crab legs entree.  Whatever you do, do not miss out on their grits.  The creamiest, smoothest grits I’ve ever had!

Edwards:  This quaint little restaurant is located conveniently across from The Pearl.  The wait is another long one, but totally worth it.  The courtyard area brings back fond memories of some of my favorite spots in the French Quarter.  The menu isn’t huge, but it doesn’t need to be.  Everything we tasted was phenomenal.  We loved the grouper filet and salmon salad.

Bud and Alley’s:  Another don’t miss spot.  They’re known for their crab cakes.  We know Bud & Alley’s for their entire menu.  We’ve been twice or three times now and every time the food was out of this world good.  They’re located in the heart of Seaside and I love dining on the back patio at night.  My must-have is their grits.  I can feel you judging me…  I’m a grits girl!  I can’t get grits in LA or Vancouver, I gotta take advantage when I can, you know?

Donuts:  

The Donut Hole.  I’d consider myself a donut connoisseur, and this place offers the best donuts of your life.  I’m not kidding.  They somehow manage to make every single donut beyond delicious.  My personal favorite is the chocolate angel.  Honestly, everything they make is incredible.

What We Did:

There seems to be always something going on.  Whether it’s live music or a movie in the town square, you can always find something to get into.  Be sure to check 30A.com for a calendar of events.  Our recent trip occurred over the 4th of July and we had the best seats to an amazing fireworks show.  There’s nothing like sitting in the sand watching the fireworks over the ocean.

When we vacation, we like to take things slow.  We don’t typically need things to keep us busy, we love a nice dinner out, a walk on the beach and a movie in bed.  That’s exactly how we spent our evenings this trip and it was perfect.

How We Got There:

If you plan to fly in, you have the option of Panama City Beach or Destin.  We flew into Destin and it was about an hour car ride to Rosemary Beach.  Panama City is significantly closer, we will probably fly in there in the future.  I would suggest a car rental if you want to explore the area outside of the beach town you stay in.  It’s a good 15 minute drive from one end of the beach highway to the other.

Seaside vs. Alys vs. Rosemary… Which Beach We Love:

Here’s the thing about 30A, each town you drive through has a totally different feel than the one before it.  I love the colorful homes in Watercolor, the Americana feel of Seaside, Mediterranean feel of Alys and New Orleans/Caribbean feel of Rosemary.  They each have their own different feel, all amazing in their own way.  Regardless which beach town you choose, you feel like you’re a world away from home…  Exactly what vacation should feel like!

Now that I’ve been several times, I still think that Seaside is my favorite of all the towns along 30A.  Matt’s would probably be Rosemary because he feels like it looks like a pirate town at night with the striped awnings and gas lamps lighting the cobblestone streets.  They’re all extremely family friendly, you really can’t go wrong with any of the towns.  I just love the shops and food trucks that are in the heart of Seaside.

Tell me, have you visited my favorite place on earth?  If you have, which beach town is your favorite and why?  Leave a comment and let me know.  Feel free to ask any questions about my favorite beach in the world!


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25 comments
  • Nikki Read August 31, 2016 at 5:53 AM

    I adore Seaside when I lived on the east coast I would visit 2-3 times a year. I highly suggest visiting there! The shops the food are amazing. There is this awesome book and record store nestled in behind the food truck park area. If you have not already stumbled upon it Angela I will look up the addres for you!

  • Maura gripp August 31, 2016 at 9:34 AM

    Your trip looked awesome and fun! I have never been there but want to so bad now everything sounds amazing. I am glad you mentioned Hawaiian pizza which is my all time favorite and not many people like it. In your previous post you talked about lonliness which I have experience with until I joined Meetup..com. Which is an organization in every state including Canada that gets people out meeting other people with groups and activities for every interest. They also have New to the City groups for people just moving to town you should check it out.

    • Angela Lanter August 31, 2016 at 12:03 PM

      You have to plan a visit! It really is the best vacation spot in the country!
      Oh nice! So glad you found a way to make new connections. 🙂

  • Emily August 31, 2016 at 1:43 PM

    Thank you for sharing! We love that area. We usually stay in Navarre because my uncle has a condo there but I love the 30A area because there is just so much to do and so many places to eat and little shops. We’ve stayed in that area as well and really loved it. Sadly we didn’t get a beach trip this year but for good reason since our baby girl was born. But we hope to go back next summer and take her for her first beach trip! Also I adore the breakfast at The Donut Hole and the food truck in Seaside with the grilled cheese, so yummy!

    Emily
    lovepastatoolbelt.com

    • Angela Lanter September 3, 2016 at 10:40 AM

      I’m unfamiliar with Navarre! But there’s a Navarre near my hometown in Ohio. 🙂
      Congrats on your new baby girl! Oh my word the bacon, avocado grilled cheese from the food truck is TO DIE FOR!!!

  • Maria September 3, 2016 at 8:09 AM

    I am very fortunate to say I live here full time and it’s as being on vacation all year long ☀️????????????????
    There’s so many festivals & activities going on thru out the whole year. One of my favorites happens in January called the “30A Songwriters Festival” which is 3 days of music by the best songwriters from all over the states. On last day the main acts take the stage. Such artist as Leon Russell, Graham Nash & last years was Grace Potter & Jackson Brown.

    The music is spread out at different venues up & down 30A locations. And the weather has always been perfect this time if year. The dates/acts for 2017 are not yet decided.
    There’s a Facebook page which post all information.

    Yes it’s truly a beautiful place here to live or visit ????
    Seaside, Rosemary, ALYS,

  • Anonymous September 3, 2016 at 8:51 AM

    We gravitated from Destin to 30A when the crowds and the traffic became a nuisance. So glad we did! We love the gated community of WaterSound, but always bike into Seaside for breakfast and a day of browsing. WaterSound is a quieter, more natural version of Watercolor. You have the option of renting a house or condo. Heading there this fall with family for our first house rental. The property has many pools, bike trails, and amazing boardwalks with views of the protected sand dunes. It is convenient to dining, shopping, and entertainment options in Panama City and Destin. Last year, we discovered George’s at Alys Beach and it was excellent! Heaven on earth! Not sure I’m happy about the rest of the world discovering it!

    • Angela Lanter September 3, 2016 at 10:36 AM

      I didn’t talk about George’s because we had such a bad experience there, which we were so surprised about since everyone seems to love it! How’s the weather in the fall? I would love to have a 30A Thanksgiving one year!

  • Cindi September 3, 2016 at 10:21 AM

    We have been vacationing on 30A for the past 16 years usually 2-3 times a year. We absolutely love it! Last year we ventured down the road to Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin and it was amazing to!

    • Angela Lanter September 3, 2016 at 10:38 AM

      I love Baytowne Wharf! Last year, our vacation house in 30A wasn’t available the first couple of days, so we stayed in Miramar and spent an afternoon at Baytowne. I love the Lilly Pulitzer boutique there!

  • Ashley September 3, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    30A is heaven on earth, I truly believe that! Our favorite places to eat are Great Southern in Seaside, Pickles is family fun also in Seaside, Red Bar in Grayton Beach, cafe thirty-A in seagrove is a must!! Shades in inlet is wonderful too! We have always stayed in Seaside but it is getting crazy busy in the summer months so we stayed in inlet beach next to Rosemary this past trip! It was so nice and quiet and relaxing. Alys is my favorite but the shopping in Seaside is my favorite to explore. I love how no matter where you stay you can visit a different part for a new experience everyday.. My husband has promised we will retire there one day. I’m keeping him to it! Lol

  • Barb September 4, 2016 at 7:32 AM

    We were blessed to find Rosematys beach in 2004, and haven’t stopped visiting 30A every year since! It has changed a bit over the last 12 years and I mean that in a good way! The building La Cocina is in was just being built! We checked into Rosemarys beach at a mobile trailer that used to be in the now the main parking lot. Over the years we have stayed at Rosrmarys, Seacrest, Sunset, and Seagrove beaches. You can’t go wrong staying at any of these places! Try 30A Cafe for some more amazing food, it’s in Seagrove! also Borago! And don’t miss an evening with Chris Alvarado playing his great music! We can’t wait to get back there, leaving next Saturday for Seagrove!!!!

  • Taylar September 7, 2016 at 7:32 PM

    I am from this area and can’t wait to get back. My husbands job moved us to Vegas and when he’s done with his contract next year we are moving back. I could live forever in Seaside. It’s my all time favorite place. I love the feel and it does totally feel like a whole other world.

  • Yoli June 21, 2017 at 7:39 PM

    I am planning my vacation for next year. What is better. Airbnb or VRBO to rent the house?
    Thanks!

  • McKayla August 9, 2017 at 2:13 PM

    Hi Angela!
    My husband and I are traveling to 30A in a few months because I have fallen in love with it from your posts! I am trying to figure out where to stay and if I want to be on the beach or not.
    I was wondering how convenient it is to travel from Seaside to Rosemary Beach, on the map it looks like a ways but it is close enough to ride bikes to and from or would driving be a better option? I am also curious how parking and driving is in that area?
    I am SO excited to enjoy a relaxing trip in 30A, hope your most recent trip was just as amazing!

    XO McKayla

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