30 Tips from 30A Locals

Ever dream of moving to the beach? Before you do, there’s a ‘secret code’ that permeates our laid-back flip-flop culture.

After you’ve been around for a while, you’ll gradually figure some of these things out on your own. But for anyone who wants to study-up in advance, here are 30 tips from 30A locals that will help you ease right in…

Photo: Ocean Jewel's Images
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Heed our beach flag system!

1. “Always pay attention to our beach flag system and swim near one of the lifeguard towers stationed at our public beach accesses.” — Rick Talbert, South Walton Fire District

2. “Don’t text and drive any time, but especially not on 30-A. There are simply too many pedestrians and cyclists.” — Dave Rauschkolb, Bud & Alley’s

3. “Pack healthy snacks for your beach days! At 91 percent water, watermelon is a perfect snack to keep you hydrated and satisfied.” — Joe & Crissy Thibodeau, ThiBod Fitness

YOLO-grayton
Fins always go UP and to the FRONT.

4. “When putting a surf or SUP board on top of your vehicle, make sure the fin is always turned up and to the front.” — Bobby Johnson, 30A Local Properties

5. “The best way to find a credible babysitter when you’re visiting is to ask your server at one of our local restaurants. They know almost everyone and can recommend someone with a good reputation.” — Nikki Nickerson, Cowgirl Kitchen

6.”Always use a red light emitting flashlight on the beach at night. The white lights disturb a nesting sea turtle and they will not nest. Even with a red light, always stay back from a sea turtle you see on the beach. Never shine a light on a sea turtle and if you see anyone doing this please call the sheriff.” — Sharon Maxwell, South Walton Turtle Watch

7. “Avoid the grocery store at all cost on Saturday night. Either go mid-day Saturday as soon as you get to town or first thing Sunday morning. This is coming from a 27-year local who does a lot of grocery shopping.” — Hunter Davis

8. “Take break from the Gulf and walk to one 30A’s rare coastal dune lakes. The water is warm and calm, so they’re perfect for red flag days and super fun for kids. These lakes are only found in a couple of places in the world and are a great place to catch fish and crabs.” — Tracy Louthain, TLC Communications

Coastal-Dune-Lakes-of-South-Walton-and-30A

9. “Bring your flops! ‘Resort casual’ sums us up in regards to attire. We still welcome dressing to the nines – just do it in flip-flops or flat sandals.” — Neely Butler

point washington nature trail biking
Point Washington State Forest

10. “Unless you simply prefer pavement or want to be noticed while running, try running the state forest trails to experience some of the best scenery around 30A.” — Daniel Walker, Emerald Coast Beach Homes

11. “Don’t let your children on the bike path without a helmet. Don’t think it won’t happen to you or your child. If you don’t believe me, call Sacred Heart Hospital.” — Jane Solomon

12. “Success on 30A isn’t measured by how much money you have, but by how much time you’re able to spend on the beach.” — Chef Phillip McDonald, Black Bear Bread Co.

13. “When you go beach, take an old sheet to lay down on the sand first, and then put your towel on top of it. It will keep the sand from embedding in your towel and is much lighter than carrying a bulky beach chair.” — Elisabeth Stone, St. Joe Club & Resorts

Miramar Beach YOLO Boarding
Always use a leash to help control your board.

14. “When paddling, make sure you give yourself adequate space from other paddlers and visitors. A stray paddle board can quickly become very dangerous. Also make sure you have a leash. That way when you fall and your board shoots out from under you, you won’t hurt someone playing in the water ahead.” — Landon Brasseur, BeautifulBeach.com

15. “If you’re looking for the perfect surf fishing spot, look down the shore to a spot where the waves aren’t breaking on the sandbar. This is an outflow, and it’s where the fish will be entering and leaving the inside slough as soon as the tide starts moving. Cast your bait into one of these spots and hold on tight!” — Russel Chiodo

16. “If you drive to Destin when it rains, bring your patience… and pack a lunch.” — Stacey Scholl Troy, Bijoux

30A Cruiser
Beach cruisers are 30A’s preferred mode of transportation.

17. “Unless you are a skilled cyclist, please stay on the bike path.“ — Buz Livingston, Livingston Financial

18. “Have sunscreen with you at all times.” — Laura Hydle

19. “Walk where you can and leave your car parked as much as possible.” — Maggie Brady Roth

20. “Essentially, we live in wetlands criss-crossed with roads and paths. Snakes who do not travel on water, travel on those roads and paths. Always keep an eye to the ground, especially in the morning after a ‘cooler than normal’ evening.” — Billy Johnson, X Design Alliance

30A Tervis Water Bottle
Plastic tumblers make the perfect beach buddy.

21. “No really, don’t bring glass to the beach… especially glass beer bottles. You might remember the bottle but easily forget the cap which becomes a rusty and sharp piece of metal that can become lodged in your foot.” — Rebecca A. Huber

22. “When you check out on Saturday, leave very early in the morning or stick around 30A for lunch. If you leave at 10 a.m. like everyone else, you’ll be sitting in the parking lot known as Highway 331 for several hours.” — Brooke Jackson, Nick’s on the Beach

23. “Just because you’re in a golf cart doesn’t mean you can drive 15 mph in a 35 mph zone. Please pull over so the train of cars behind you can get by.” — Christopher Ray

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Turtle season runs from May 1 – October 31.

24. “Help protect our sea turtles during their nesting season. When spending time on the beach after dark, always use a red-emitting flashlight, which turtles can’t see. These are available on the Internet and at some local beach stores. Keep any lights that can be seen from the beach turned off. When you leave for the night, fill in all holes in the sand, smooth out your sandcastles, and take your ‘stuff’ off the beach. Finally, report any sea turtle activity to the South Walton Turtle Watch.” — Kate Johnson, Beach To Bayou Property Inspections

25. “A closed mouth gathers no foot, so don’t talk outside of school. We all know each other down here.” — Andrew McAlexander, South Walton Artificial Reef Association

26. “We know you’re on vacation and want to have a good time. Please remember to bring along your courtesy and common sense. Just like American Express – ‘Don’t leave home without it.'” — Alan Riehl, Coastal Customs & Restorations

27. “Respect the Beach.” — JoAnne Jones, Tommy Sholes Inc. Appraisers~Realtors

28. “For those that love wooden bridges, one of the prettiest and longest wooden bridges in Florida is at the entrance to NatureWalk… a hidden treasure and perfect photo opp just off 30A on 395.” — John Manrique, NatureWalk

29.”The outlets and the movie theaters are the two places to avoid at all costs on a rainy day. The sales will still be going on tomorrow and it will be much easier to find a parking spot!” — Page Otey, The 30A Company

30. “Be patient. Sometimes things move a little slower here than what you might be accustomed to back home. Relax. After all, that’s why we’re all here.” — Will Walters

31. “We have a crazy good amount of restaurants and bars and shops. And everyone has their favorite can’t miss spot they return to every year. I know you’ve only got a week – but plan a second night out to try a new place. One of my favorite things about this area, is that there’s always something new popping up!” — Lanier Motes, The St. Joe Company

We received SO MANY fantastic tips, and we’d like to thank the dozens of locals who sent us suggestions. If you have more helpful advice that you’d like to share, please post in the comments section on our 30A Facebook page.

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30A Cottages chooses beach houses for their comfort, amenities and style, and each home offers a unique beach experience. We look forward to talking with you about your perfect beach vacation and how we can simplify every step of your planning. Stay on 30A, and forget where you’re from. 30Acottages.com

-2016 30A.com Hot Spot Award winner for “Best Rental Company On 30A.”