Family | Travel | Vacation Spots

30A: Where to Stay, Eat and Play!

Our family spent a week on 30A (otherwise known as the Emerald Coast) on Florida’s panhandle for the first time ever and we really enjoyed it. You can read below for our ultimate guide on where your family should stay, eat and play!

Where to stay

  • For this trip, we stayed in Inlet Beach. The 30A Highway that runs through all of the communities technically ends right around the beginning of Inlet. We stayed on the eastern edge of Inlet, right off of 98/Emerald Coast Pkwy.
  • The great thing about staying in Inlet is that it’s slightly less crowded than some of the other beaches and therefore, it’s slightly cheaper as well. We found an oceanfront condo, literally steps from the beach (no, seriously, it was named On the Beach), for a lower price than if we had stayed several blocks off the beach in some of the other towns.
  • We LOVED not having to lug our stuff around or catch the trolley that runs guests back and forth. With little kids, I think staying somewhere close to the beach when you are spending the majority of your time there is key!
  • We rented through Paradise 30A and would highly recommend them!

Our little beach condo was decorated perfectly. My daughter immediately pointed out that they had the same rug as we have in our kitchen and the same piece of driftwood as they had on their coffee table. I guess I’m doing an ok job with our coastal decor – ha!

Where to eat

Restaurants

  • The HUB (Prominence/Watersound) – The HUB is perfect for families and little kids! Lots of food choices and activities for the whole family + they play movies once a week, have dance parties, bands and dj’s. There’s also a few bars for the grown-ups too. 😉
  • Pickles (Seaside)  – This was my favorite meal of the whole trip! Be prepared for long lines – Seaside was crazy busy at night! I got the chicken sandwich with Hilly Dilly sauce. I have no clue what was actually in the sauce but it was awesome! Best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had.
  • Cowgirl Kitchen (Rosemary Beach)  – This is a cute little place in Rosemary Beach. Good food and service.
  • La Crema (Rosemary Beach) – We stopped here before dinner (and before the long lines) for the chocolate covered bacon and chocolate fondue. The kids had never had fondue before and loved it!
  • Southside Slice – We ordered pizza for delivery one night and waited nearly 2 hours for it to arrive. I was getting so angry at the wait but when the pizza, salad and breadsticks we ordered finally arrived, we forgot all about how mad we were! It was beyond delicious! The large was HUGE. Each slice was easily the size of two normal slices of pizza. We would definitely order again from them!

The kids LOVED getting smoothies in pineapple “cups”. They were delicious!

Half of the fruit was gone before I even managed to get a picture of the chocolate fondue from La Crema. My kids attacked it before we could even get our phones out!

Donut Shops

  • Charlie’s Donuts (Alys Beach) –  This is a cute little food truck with a splash pad behind it. My kids were a little disappointed – the splash pad really seemed geared towards babies and toddlers. The donuts were great though! Go early – the first morning we didn’t and they were sold out.
  • The Donut Hole (Inlet Beach) –  This was my favorite donut stop! They were delicious and inexpensive. I got the key lime pie – must try!
  • Cafe Aroma (Inlet Beach) – This was a quick and easy stop because it was right across the highway from our condo. Good coffee and good donuts!

 

What to do
Beach

  • Obviously, the number one attraction here is the beach. We are die-hards – out early in morning and staying until dinnertime. The water was rough the first few days we were there but calmed down some by the end of the week. That didn’t stop us from swimming and diving and seashell hunting!

Sunsets

  • Sunsets were a big activity in 30A. Lots of people were on the beach, taking pictures, walking and getting their bonfires set up. One night, we experienced one of the most incredible sunsets we’ve ever seen !

Shopping

  • There are lots of places to shop in 30A. We went through most of the stores in Rosemary – tons of beautiful clothing and jewelry.
  • Our favorites were Rosemary Beach Trading Company, Tracery Interiors (so gorgeous!) and HissyFits Boutique.
  • We also popped into CK Feed & Supply to grab a few drinks. Cute little market/home goods store with incredibly friendly staff working there.
  • My kid’s favorite was The Sugar Shak (Rosemary). They were literal kids in a candy store!
  • In Seaside, my daughter and I went to Cabana by the Seaside Style. For those familiar, this used to be Perspicacity. It’s a beautiful outdoor, open-air store. Lots of clothes, jewelry, purses and accessories but be warned, everything is really pricey!
  • There’s a few children’s boutiques in Rosemary (Gigi’s and Stellar) and Seaside (Duckie’s). Both had toys and clothing. My kids enjoyed walking through and looking at everything but in the end decided to spend their souvenir money elsewhere.


Crab Hunting

  • Another fun thing we did was walk the beach at night to catch crabs in our sand buckets. By the last night, the kids got really brave and were good at spotting them half-buried in the sand. (Of course, it goes without saying that they should be put back in the water as soon as possible.)
  • I love exploring new places with my kids and teaching them about things they’ve never experienced before. On the last day, my daughter found a hermit crab in the water – something none of us had ever seen!

What to See

Alys Beach

  • This was hands-down my favorite. The all-white scheme was breathtaking and definitely worth taking a stroll through.

Rosemary Beach

  • The best way to describe Rosemary Beach is that it’s SO charming. I love the town square and the main street and the way everything just flows together.
  • We spent an afternoon there, browsing through all of the shops and eating dinner when the weather wasn’t fantastic. Honestly, I’m so glad we did because we would never have had the chance to see so much after dinner/dark. We made that mistake with Seaside. By going right at dinnertime, it was dark by the time we were done eating and we never got a chance to really see many of the houses or much of the town.

We really enjoyed our time in 30A! If you’re thinking of planning a trip, send me an email! I’d love to hear from you!

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