It’s no secret that life gets busy. Between work, family activities, and the many responsibilities in between, it can be easy to overlook the importance of finding time to step away from it all and simply indulge your interests and a sense of fun to the fullest! While some travelers are taken in by the idea of a slope-side mountain escape where every spare moment is defined by amazing runs and fresh powder, others find their vacation stride within desert landscapes complete with towering rock arches and options for rock climbing, adventuring, and exploring. While all of these vacation settings are well worth enjoying at one point or another, if you have time to travel in the summer or fall and have a passion for time on sugar-white shorelines, soaking up sights of emerald waves and making the most of amazing dining and shopping options too—there’s no better place to find yourself than Florida’s scenic stretch of highway known and loved as 30A.
This mesmerizing destination is made up of a variety of coastal communities that each host their own atmosphere, ambiance, and options for fun waiting to be discovered. In total, 30A encompasses just about 28 miles of sandy shoreline which is plenty of space to leave stress behind and embrace the best of Florida living—even if it’s just for a short while! 30A is known for its impeccable weather thanks to its prime location snuggled within the panhandle of Northwest Florida. While the vibe here is decidedly laid-back, visitors bringing all types of interests and passions with them on vacation won’t have any trouble finding activities, attractions, and exciting stops that speak to their preferences every step of the way.
Whether you’re headed to 30A in the name of time well spent on the shorelines, can’t wait to get out on the waves, or are looking forward to time exploring captivating coastal communities, it’s a place that promises to have something for everyone. When you’re headed this way in the summer or fall, be sure to take advantage of the following activities when your goal is to round out your itinerary with the best options possible to make for an unforgettable experience!
30A Travel Guide: From Beautiful Bike Trails to Amazing State Forests
For so many summer and fall visitors, a trip to Florida’s 30A revolves around making the absolute most of time surrounded by stunning scenery. When it comes to incredible views there’s no need to worry as this panhandle destination has a way with amazing vistas that’s truly one-of-a-kind. While the option to take it all in from the comfort of a vehicle is always there, 30A is a comprehensive space that offers up alternative routes to sightseeing that bring in a touch of fresh air too!
If you’re a traveler who is up for adventure and can’t wait to see it all on two wheels, you won’t want to miss the chance to enjoy time on the 30A Bike Trail. More formally known as the Timpoochee Trail, named for an influential Euchee Indian chief, the 30A Bike Trail is an iconic stretch of 19-paved miles that runs through a variety of 30A coastal communities. Those who take time to explore the 30A Bike Trail will find a seamless access point between Dune Allen and Inlet Beach that runs exactly parallel to the entire length of Highway 30A. For vista seekers, this means a seemingly endless lineup of beautiful views to admire along the way and plenty of stopping points to capture them on film too. Because the 30A Bike Trail is paved, it makes for a wonderfully smooth ride that can be customized to preference. Cyclists can enjoy a portion of the trail or make the most of stops at the various communities connected by this unique route. Either way, you’ll find that you’re up close to stunning shorelines and vantage points over rolling waves that are hard to beat.
While some cyclists are sure to bring their own gear when they know that time on the trails tops their summer or fall itinerary, those who don’t want to worry about transporting bikes can easily rent them for a day or a week at a time. Since opening their doors in 2005, 30A Bike Rentals has been a premier area provider of bikes of all types, whether you’re aiming to enjoy a family journey or can’t wait to push your athletic skills to the limit. Free delivery and pick-up options make renting bikes with 30A Bike Rentals even easier. When you’re looking to swing by, the rental shop is headquartered at 5399 E. County Highway 30A #9 in Santa Rosa Beach.
Pairing your biking excursions with off-road forested adventures is a great way to balance the outdoor experiences you’ll have in 30A with ease. It’s an easily achieved goal when you make sure to set aside time to explore and discover Washington Point State Forest. Encompassing over 15,400 acres of land, Washington Point State Forest is a pristine and ecologically diverse destination to enjoy when you’re up for birding, hiking, or a four-wheeling adventure that promises to be one-of-a-kind! Over 10 different and distinct ecosystems exist within this state forest ranging from basin swamps and wet Flatwoods to cypress swamps and wet prairie. It’s an oasis of intrigue for those who are mesmerized by the beauty of nature and those looking to enjoy some adrenaline-pumping fun far from the crowds as well!
While off-road biking is a popular activity to enjoy in Washing Point State Forest, hiking is just as appealing thanks to the maze of extensive trails that exist here. The Eastern Lake Trail System includes access to three double back loop trails while the Greenway Trail System provides more than 27 miles of recreational trail use that connects the forest to iconic destinations like Deer Lake State Park and Grayton Beach State Park.
Don’t Forget to Check Out the Rare Dune Lakes
When you’ve had your fill of forests and bike trails, this 30A travel guide promises to offer up even more in the way of incredible stops. Among the many options to check out, visitors often find the fact that this area is home to a variety of rare coastal dune lakes to be particularly appealing! These beautiful and rare geological features are found throughout the panhandles, but you’re hard-pressed to find them elsewhere on the planet! Traveling outside of the Florida panhandle or the northern Pacific coast of the U.S., you’d have to make your way to places like Australia, New Zealand, or Madagascar to find similar natural wonders! While viewing these coastal dune lakes is sure to inspire, there’s something special about grabbing a stand-up paddleboard and getting out onto the water at your very own pace. Surf Sup Paddle Board Sales and Rentals is a local company that’s more than willing to deliver paddle board rentals to your dune lake of choice upon request and serves the greater 30A area as well as Destin, Miramar Beach, and Panama City Beach.
Coastal Communities to Check Out
One of the most unique aspects of a summer or fall trip to 30A is the chance to dedicate time to exploring and discovering a plethora of charming coastal communities that make up the area. Each community comes with its own charming ambiance and sense of identity that makes a stop a completely unique experience for visitors. While every town and community that makes up the area is worth exploring, if you’re short on time and have to narrow down the list, there are a few you won’t want to miss. Among them is Seaside.
For the summer and fall traveler to 30A that has a true passion for unique architectural aesthetics and styles, a stop through Seaside is bound to be a highlight of your visit. While some will recognize Seaside immediately from the role it played in the 1998 Jim Carrey Movie The Truman Show, even without its Hollywood ties, this area has a way of capturing the minds and imaginations of those who pass through. Much as the name indicates, Seaside has the best seat in the house when it comes to communities with unsurpassed waterfront views. The community is snuggled up against a pristine shoreline and the architecture throughout is wonderfully designed to match! A style hailed as New Urbanism is showcased purposefully throughout Seaside, in large part thanks to architect Tom Christ who designed the vast majority of the buildings and city layout in the 1980s. Many would call the aesthetic of Seaside idyllic, and they wouldn’t be wrong. This coastal community manages to capture a feeling of pristine beauty with its’ collection of intricate coastal pavilions, pastel-façade homes, and white picket fences that are perfectly paired to pedestrian-friendly cobblestone streets.
When you’ve spent time in sensational Seaside and could use a healthy dose of art and nature in perfect balance, make your way to Grayton Beach where there’s plenty of both to be found. This unique community is one that’s long thrived within the parameters of unconventional design and perhaps the most visible proof lies in plain sight on what is known as the art wall. Sitting at the corner of Hotz Avenue and Garfield Street, visitors to Grayton Beach will find an impromptu open-air art gallery to which creative minds continue to add their work at will. As you walk along the sand, you can feel free to be inspired by unique designs that sit in stunning contrast to the natural beauty of the area, yet somehow still go hand-in-hand.
Fun Activities in 30A
Honestly, it’s hard to imagine a getaway of any type or time to Florida’s fantastic 30A without some serious beach time involved. With so many sandy locales to choose from, visitors are never faced with a shortage of places to work on their golden tan, enjoy a swim, or settle into a beach chair and watch the waves roll in. While the 30A beaches are bustling places during the sunny daytime hours, there are plenty of options to keep the fun going after the sun goes down when you book services with 30A Blaze. This local small business specializes in helping guests set up amazing beach bonfires that are safe, fun, and aligned with all local beach bonfire regulations so you can make the most of the experience stress-free! Your reservation means all you have to do is show up and 30A Blaze will bring the goods your way. From equipment to get the fire going and even the ingredients for s’mores upon request—a beach bonfire is an absolute must while you’re here.
For those that love to get out on the water and enjoy amazing encounters with marine life, a 30A dolphin spotting tour is another activity you just won’t want to pass up while you’re in the area. Enjoy a chartered sightseeing experience that can often be paired with activities like shelling, snorkeling, or diving when you’re hoping to extend the fun. There’s nothing better than seeing dolphins jump and thrive in their natural habitats while learning more from insightful and knowledgeable guides.
Places to Stay in 30A
There’s no doubt that Florida’s Highway 30A offers up an abundance of options when it comes to planning a summer or fall adventure that you won’t soon forget. That said, knowing you’re booked into a vacation rental that offers up comfort, luxury, and a convenient location close to the fun makes all the difference too. When you’re ready to start planning a trip this way, be sure you’re partnered with the property professionals at Vacations Perfected and book a home away from home that fits your travel style preferences exactly. Guests can pick and choose from a variety of home styles, designs, and size requirements to fit you and your traveling crew with ease. Homes can be booked with access to a pool, hot tubs, vaulted ceilings, full kitchens, and more, making a trip to 30A the very definition of fun! Reach out to learn more.