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.
Where We Stayed on 30A (This Trip)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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…
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!