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A Beginner's Guide to 30A

11 Mar 2024
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An idyllic coastline lives in the mind of every daydreamer desiring to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and create lifelong memories with their family. As a local and family-owned company, we are fortunate enough that this dream is a reality, and that we get call this beautiful place home. Watching 30A become family's yearly travel destination and seeing them make memories that are sure to last is why we do what we do. 

So, what is 30A and why does it leave beachgoers begging to return year-after-year? 

What is 30A and why is it so popular?   

20 years ago, 30A was the secret ‘it’ destination of southern cities within driving distance. With the help of social media, word of mouth, and a round, blue ‘30A’ sticker, that secret is no longer and many of 30A’s visitors now fly in from northern states or even internationally.  

Right off Highway 98, directly in the middle of Destin and Panama City, lies 18 miles of sugar-white sand along the beautiful Scenic Highway 30A. 10 communities line 30A each with their own personality and following. Rather than finding tourist traps and condominium buildings that populate most coastal towns, 30A offers family owned and operated restaurants and a collection of beautifully unique individually owned homes. From Gulf front luxury mansions to 1-bedroom beach bungalows, there is something for everyone. 

The Communities That Make Up 30A 

Dune Allen Beach

Located on the westernmost end of 30A, Dune Allen Beach is a dream destination for those looking to relax and unwind in a serene and quiet area. A stay in a Dune Allen rental offers a quiet retreat along Scenic Highway 30A with miles of breathtaking scenery to explore. Explore the three rare coastal dune lakes or the trails in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Whether you’re bringing your extended family or multiple families are traveling together, Dune Allen beach homes offer more square footage and privacy. For those searching for an old Florida feel, we highly recommend Stink’s Fish Camp (We know what you’re thinking… Their infamous tag line “With a name like Stinky’s, it better be good.”). For great shopping and delicious eateries, head over to Gulf Place. We highly recommend trying our Shunk Gulley or Brian and Brittney Kelley's new burger bar Papa Surf. Our Dune Allen Beach 30A luxury vacation rentals offer an idyllic space to unwind and relax after a day in the Florida sun. 


The WaterColor community has a laid-back beach town feel, perfect for exploring by foot or bike. Our WaterColor vacation rentals are adjacent to Western Lake, a rare Coastal Dune Lake, offering over 200 acres of water, great for kayaks and paddleboards! For a date night dining option, Fish Out of Water offers unobstructed views of the breathtaking sand dunes and emerald water. A stay at a WaterColor vacation rental comes with access to The WaterColor Beach Club, community pools, tennis center and parks, and creates an unforgettable family-friendly vacation destination. 

Blue Mountain Beach

Experience 30A from the beauty of a Blue Mountain vacation rental! Blue Mountain Beach is a precious coastal beach town where all your stress melts away alongside 6 miles of pristine coastline. Positioned on the west end of 30A, Blue Mountain Beach is perfect for families and couples alike. If you’re searching for 30A vacation rentals with a private pool or 30A gulf front rentals, Blue Mountain Beach vacation rentals have everything you need for a relaxing 30A vacation. While vacationing in a Blue Mountain vacation rental, the days pass by slowly and the sunsets are picture-perfect. You can shop small at locally owned boutiques, enjoy mouthwatering meals at the eclectic eateries like Basmati’s or Mimmo’s, and indulge in sweet treats at Blue Mountain Creamery

Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach, the original South Walton beach town, is known for its laid-back atmosphere and eclectic vibes. This coastal cool atmosphere is perfect for families. The best way to fully experience this community is by bike. Don't let your getaway pass you by without exploring the Coastal Dune Lake (Western Lake). If you're lucky, you may get to experience the lake breach the berm of the sand and flow into the Gulf's blue waters. This creates a rare brackish ecosystem home to both fresh and saltwater species that are sure to keep you exploring for hours. After the sun sets, grab drinks at Chiringo, shop at Brian and Brittney Kelley's surf shop Tribe Kelley, and enjoy great live music and fresh seafood delicacies at Grayton Beach's famous The Red Bar. No matter what your itinerary, or lack thereof, a stay at a Grayton Beach rental will not disappoint! 


Seaside is a world of its own. What started as a US Post Office overlooking the beach and a family’s dream led to the formation of the world’s first New Urbanist town. Enjoy the pastel-colored cottages, airstream food trailers, and views of the sugar white sand and emerald water all from the comfort of a Seaside beach rental. The best way to explore Seaside is by foot or bike to really soak in all that this charming beach town has to offer. Seaside is a thoughtfully crafted community boasting unique boutiques, dining, pools, a fitness center, and outdoor spaces. Kids and adults alike are sure to enjoy the delicious meal options Seaside offers. For the kids, stop at the popular airstreams and grab a gourmet grilled cheese from The Meltdown on 30A or hotdog from Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs and picnic in the Seaside amphitheater with other families. For the adults, grab a drink at Pickle’s Sandbar, indulge in delicious fresh, steamed seafood appetizers at The Shrimp Shack, and watch the sun set over the Gulf while enjoying a delicious meal at Bud and Alleys. End the night with a sweet treat at Frostbites or Dawson’s Frozen Yogurt. A trip to Seaside isn’t complete without an infamous Seaside t-shirt. Head over to The Seaside Style store and grab your very own! Contact our Destination Specialists to reserve a Seaside beach rental for your next vacation to Florida’s Emerald Coast. 

Seagrove Beach

Seagrove Beach offers luxury 30A vacation rentals with a laid-back charm. Not only does Seagrove Beach boast sugar-white sand along the Emerald Coast, but a stay in a Seagrove Beach vacation rental also will also leave your taste buds begging to return. With so many dining options, it’s hard to choose a favorite. We recommend enjoying breakfast at The Perfect Pig, sushi under the lights at Old Florida Fish House, cocktails at Surfing Deer, and dinner at Café Thirty-A. For those wanting a little adventure in the serene outdoors, a morning of kayaking or paddleboarding on Eastern Lake is sure to leave you relaxed. A stay in Seagrove Beach is sure to be a hit! 


Beyond the gates of the exclusive WaterSound beachfront community, you’ll find breathtaking views (any time of day). While walking along the boardwalks, atop the sea-oat covered sand dunes, leading to the sugar-white sand you will quickly find that the WaterSound Beach Community is what small beach town dreams are made of. After the beach, challenge your friends to a tennis match or perfect your putting skills at Puttering Park. When staying at a Watersound vacation rental, guests can jump on their bike and make their way to The Big Chill (formerly The Hub) just outside of the WaterSound gates, where you will find locally owned boutiques, open-air dining and live music. Bruno’s Pizza is always a crowd favorite! To end the day, make your way back to the viewing tower atop your Watersound vacation rental for indescribable views. We find that, after a long day, unwinding while watching the sunset from a 30A luxury rentals with panoramic views is hard to top! 

Seacrest Beach

Seacrest Beach is located on the east end of 30A, between Rosemary and Alys Beach. Alongside the sugar-white sand, staying in a Seacrest Beach vacation rental offers a laid-back beach atmosphere. Whether you’re exploring the vast bike and walking trails or enjoying the open-air dining and shops along The Villages of South Walton, a stay in a Seacrest Beach rental offers something for everyone. Enjoy lunch overlooking the Gulf at Crabby Steve’s, dinner for adults at La Cocina Mexican Bar and Grill, and for kids, Pizza By The Sea.  

Rosemary Beach

A stay in a Rosemary Beach vacation rental will not disappoint. Rosemary Beach is a world of its own with charming architecture, unique shops, luxury 30A vacation rentals, and delicious dining options. Located on the east end of 30A, a stay in a Rosemary Beach rental offers great amenities including four community pools, a tennis center, fitness facility, green areas for picnics, and a network of pathways and boardwalks to explore the entire beach town. Enjoy a laid-back lunch at Summer Kitchen, drinks at Pescado with a picturesque view at sunset, dinner at Gallion’s or Paradis, and a decadent dessert at La Crema. For the kids, a late-night pit-stop at The Sugar Shak never disappoints. Reserve one of our Rosemary Beach vacation rentals to begin planning your next 30A getaway. 

Reserve Your 30A Vacation Rental

Let our local team of experts carefully curate your escape to the beaches of South Walton. If you’re looking to plan less and experience more, contact the Royal Destinations team to discover your perfect 30A luxury rental—one that excites you and your family and leaves you counting down the days until your return. Known for unrivaled guest satisfaction, our team is committed to providing hand-tailored experiences that go beyond the four walls of your 30A luxury vacation rental

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