We recently had a family vacation to 30A in Watercolor neighborhood, so I wanted to update my travel guide here for more info if you’re visiting the area soon! This was our first time staying in this area of 30A, and it was perfect for families, especially for young kids. Keep reading if you’re looking for more information on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in the 30A area.

30A is a two-lane highway of beach towns in the Florida panhandle between Destin and Panama City Beach. Each town in the area has its own unique vibe, so it’s really fun to explore them all while you’re in town! We have stayed in Inlet Beach next to Rosemary Beach and most recently the Watercolor area close to Seaside. There are a few important things to consider when picking your rental in this area, such as:

  • public beach access points, or if your rental has access to a private beach area (keep in mind public beach access areas will be the most crowded)
  • Walkability to Restaurant
  • Access to pools, golf carts, and bikes as needed

That is one thing I will call out again if you’re visiting the area during peek season.. it gets very crowded. I would recommend renting a place that has private beach access if you can! Also, plan to get around on foot or bike to avoid having to find parking in busier areas. I am not the biggest fan of crowds or heat, so I prefer to visit the area in off-season times when the weather is still nice but not scorching hot (between Spring Breaks late April and in October).

30A Travel Guide

How To Get To 30A

From Atlanta, it’s about a 5-hour drive to 30A (without accounting for any stops). You can choose to travel a shorter distance through smaller towns, but I prefer to take the highway route through Montgomery. If you’re flying in for your visit, the nearest airport is Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) in Panama City Beach. There are Ubers in the area, but you may want to schedule a drive ahead of time if you’re leaving for the airport early in the morning.

Where to Stay in 30A Florida

Part of the appeal of 30A is there are very few hotels in the area. Most people rent beach houses but there are a few if you prefer to stay in a hotel. I would recommend checking out The Pearl (note the pool is adult only I believe), Watercolor Inn, and The Pointe on 30A.


On our most recent trip, we stayed in the Watercolor area, which I would say is the ideal spot for kids. We rented this house right across from the newly renovated kids pool area, Camp Watercolor. It was such a nice neighborhood to walk and bike with some shade provided on the paths. It was about a 18 minute walk to the beach access at the Watercolor Beach Club, which is another great pool area. Seaside was about 15 minutes from the house and is where we spent most of our time for coffee runs, shopping, and more casual dinners.

Inlet Beach

Here’s a link to the beach vacation rental we stayed in in Inlet Beach. The location is amazing if you’re looking for a spot close to the beach, with just a minute walk to the beach and a pool right next door. It was a 20-minute walk to Rosemary beach when we wanted to take the stroller with Josie, or a 8-minute bike ride. It was so nice to just park our car for the weekend and not have to worry about parking anywhere! My only complaint was it wasn’t properly cleaned prior to our arrival, there was sand in all the carpets and a lot of dust along the window sills.

Other Communities in 30A

I’ve heard great things about the Watersound area for families as well, and it’s close to The Hub which is an area with food and activities. It’s also a gated community with it’s own beach access. Seacrest is another area I’ve biked around but haven’t stayed in. It is right next to Rosemary Beach and has a big community pool area. Rosemary Beach also has a very unique vibe, with great food and shopping spots.

If you’re looking for a little more luxury, I recommend the Alys Beach area. It’s very private and with the least amount of crowds at the beach and has a private pool club. The restaurants in that area are always the busiest, though! If you don’t stay here, I still recommend strolling the area because the homes are gorgeous and you will feel like you stepped into Europe.

Where to Eat in 30A


Playa Bowls: acai bowl and smoothies in Rosemary Beach | Rosemary Beach

Donut Hole: A popular spot for breakfast. There’s usually a line to grab donuts in the morning! | Inlet Beach

Amavida: Coffee + light bites | Rosemary Beach

Fonville Press: This is a very popular spot in Alys beach. It’s a cute photogenic spot for breakfast and lunch | Alys Beach


Turbo Coffee: This was my go to coffee spot when I stayed in 30A near Seagrove

Raw & Juicy: Fresh juices and a light breakfast + snack menu | Alys Beach

Crackings: This place looks DELISH! Definitely going on my next visit | Grayton Beach


Scratch: This spot had a one of the best biscuits I’ve ever had! | Watercolor


Black Bear Bread Co: They have two locations in Grayton Beach and Seaside



Pescado: One of the best rooftop views in Rosemary Beach


Bud and Alleys: One of the few places to have a beachfront view. It has a casual bar vibe | Seaside Florida


Cowgirl Kitchen | Rosemary Beach and Seagrove


Red Bar This is a well known spot for lunch and dinner in the area that is cash only (at least it was when I went). There is live Jazz band Tuesday-Saturday (5:30-9) | Grayton Beach


Fish Out Of Water: We ate here for lunch but it would also be a good spot for dinner with a nice covered deck view of the beach.


Georges: This was one of my favorite spots from the trip! We went here for date night and they had a great outdoor patio. I ordered the Salt and Spicy Shrimp | Alys Beach


Edwards: This was another great meal! They also had a chocolate chip cookie dessert with ice cream, so what’s not to love. | Rosemary Beach


Pescado: Adults only after 4PM. Great spot for cocktails! | Rosemary Beach


La Crema: Tapas, drinks, and desserts | Rosemary Beach


Old Florida Fish House: A cute little spot along a late with an outdoor activity space and a pretty sunset view!


Activities and Things to Do in 30A


You can’t beat the white sand beaches along the Florida panhandle. There are chair and umbrella rentals at the Orange Street Beach Access near our rental, and most of the public beach access locations will also have a chair rental service. You can also host a beach bonfire through the many vendors in the area.

THE BIG CHILL (formally The Hub)

This is an outdoor hangout area with restaurants and bars. There is usually always something going on from group fitness classes, face painting for kids, and live music. Here’s their calendar of events.


There are shopping areas in Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, but my favorite little area to shop and walk around is in Seaside.


My favorite activity was exploring the towns of 30A on bike, it’s pretty easy to get around between Inlet and Alys Beach (pronounced Alice). Alys Beach is a literal dream to explore, the architecture is beautiful. Our rental came with 4 bikes (and a lot of them in the area do, too!), but if you need to rent them there are plenty of rentals in the area.


This is the center of 30A and it’s always a busy place to be. There are restaurants, lots of shopping, a lawn space for kids to run around, and popular food trucks to choose from.

  • Rosemary beach every Sunday from 9-1 (year round)
  • Seaside: Every Tuesday and Saturday 9-1
Host a Dinner at your House

There are a few chef services in the area that will come to your home and cook for your group, which is a great option after a long day in the sun if you want to avoid the dinner crowds.

Other activities to consider in 30A:

  • explore on kayaks
  • visit the state parks
  • paddleboarding
  • golf
  • pickleball/tennis available in watercolor

What To Pack for a vacation to 30A

I rounded up all the outfits I wore in 30A here. It’s all beach town, so everyone is pretty casual during the day and for dinners. I would pack a light layer in case you get chilly in the morning or evening depending on the time of year you go. Also don’t forget sneakers or appropriate shoes to ride a bike in since that’s a great way to get around 30A.

Some things to keep in mind before your visit:

  • Peak season is very crowded. Expect long wait times for dinner. Tim and I waited an hour and 45 minutes for dinner At George’s in Alys Beach on a Friday (they didn’t take reservations). But Saturday did seem like a slower day out as most people are probably arriving/departing that day.
  • 30A is a more expensive area in Florida in comparison to Destin and Panama City. There is also sometimes an entertainment tax added to your bill when eating out.
  • It’s very hot and muggy during the summer to plan your outfits accordingly and stay safe and hydrated in the sun.
  • Again, double-check your beach access before booking a rental. 30A isn’t the most convenient destination for quick trips to the beach depending on where you’re staying.


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