By Jessica Roberts
You’re ready to make your first trip to 30A. You’ve seen photos and videos of the beautiful beaches and you’re drawn to the laid back, coastal atmosphere. But, what are the must-see and the must-dos along 30A… beyond enjoying the beaches of South Walton?
Here’s a first-timer’s checklist for some of the iconic places and things to do to get the full 30A experience.
1. Take it all in with a bike ride
Visitors can rent or purchase a 30A Electric Bike from the YOLO store in Gulf Place. Go farther and faster in a sustainable, eco-friendly style so you can cruise along all 19 miles of the 30A bike path (aka the Timpoochee Trail). As you pass through all of our famous beach communities, from Dune Allen in the west to Seacrest and Alys Beach in the east, make a few pit stops to enjoy the sights.
2. Grab a dozen raw
The Gulf Coast is famous for seafood and we love it in all shapes and forms! Raw, grilled, fried, steamed… it’s all right here on 30A. So, while you’re out riding the bike trail – stop in at Stinky’s Fish Camp or Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar for a dozen raw and a local brew.
3. Relax. You’re here.
Speaking of beer, you’ve got to try some local suds. Order one on tap at many of our local restaurants and bars, or make a weekend stop at Grayton Beer Company (or Grayton Beer Brewpub) and Idyll Hounds. Call ahead for tour schedules and hours.
4. Walk in the Park
Check out this cool footage of Monarch butterflies migrating through Cerulean Park at WaterColor Inn & Resort:
Monarch butterflies migrating through Cerulean Park at WaterColor Inn & Resort:
Posted by 30A on Thursday, 10 November 2016
When you get to WaterColor, park your bikes and take a walk through Cerulean Park. With a thriving butterfly garden, bubbling fountains, and a shady canopy of trees, it’s the perfect spot to relax. Head to the end of the park, and you’ll even find a little known bridge offering beautiful panoramic views over the lake.
5. “Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!”
The Truman Show 🎥 premiered 20 years ago on June 5, 1998. Here are some terrific local stories you probably haven’t heard before…
Posted by 30A on Friday, 1 June 2018
Hop back on your bikes and head a few streets over to “The Truman House” in Seaside. It’s the perfect selfie spot for movie lovers of all ages. Stop by Modica Market to see another filming location from “The Truman Show” and relive moments from the 1998 film that launched Seaside to fame!
6. Hear the bell ring at Bud & Alley’s
One of the most beloved traditions for visitors and locals alike is the ringing of the sunset bell at Bud & Alley’s upper deck. Grab a spot to watch the sun dip down and don’t forget to post from one of the most Instagram-able places on 30A.
7. Paddle out on a Coastal Dune Lake
Enjoying the great outdoors is a big part of what makes the 30A area so great. So after a day of bike riding, try your hand at paddleboarding. Grab a board from YOLO and head to one of the famous Coastal Dune Lakes. A little calmer than the Gulf for first-timers and provides the opportunity to enjoy this rare natural phenomenon that only occurs in a handful of locations around the world.
8. Support the arts
Our area is full of art, music, and culture. Stroll through the pedestrian pathways of Alys Beach, the outdoor Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibit, a local art gallery, or even take a class with a local artist. Catch a live concert at one of the many outdoor concert venues or a local bar. Be sure to check the 30A Events Calendar to find events while you’re in town.
9. Dolphin Watch
We’re not only blessed with access to the Gulf of Mexico and Coastal Dune Lakes, but also the Choctawhatchee Bay to the north. Pull up a chair (or barstool) at any of the idyllic spots featuring bay views including The Bay, North Beach Tortilla Company, or Farm & Fire. Watch the dolphins chase their dinner while you enjoy yours!
10. Shop the Farmers Markets
Try some local goods at any of the 30A farmer’s markets either in Seaside, Rosemary, Seascape, or at Grand Boulevard. Support local farmers and artisans and bring home a piece of 30A to enjoy! Follow the 30A Event Calendar to stay up-to-date on the weekly schedule.
11. Check out a State Park
State Parks include more than 15,000 acres of protected land across Walton County. Hike trails throughout Point Washington State Forest, walk on the shores of Grayton Beach State Park, pack a picnic and visit the Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park, and more.
12. Take home a souvenir
Gear up at The 30A Store with the famous 30A blue sticker, a tee or tank from 30A’s famous line of clothing made from recycled plastic water bottles, or any of the great items found in-store or online.
Can’t pack all this fun into one trip? Guess you’ll just have to come back soon!
JESSICA ROBERTS is a Santa Rosa Beach writer and event producer. When not working or writing, you’ll find her out on the water or traveling somewhere new.