Wednesday, June 20, 2018

30A Travel Guide

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It's only been three weeks since we returned from our wonderful, week-long vacation on the beaches of 30A and I'm already counting down the days until we go again next year.  If you've never heard of 30A, it is a series of beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida.  It is located along Scenic Highway 30A between Sandestin, FL and Panama City Beach, FL.  This 24 mile stretch of beauty is full of the cutest beach communities, restaurants, shops, and attractions.

When we go to 30A, I spend the majority of my time laying on the beach reading a good book {for whatever reason, it's the only place in the world where I can sit still and relax}.  Today I'm going to share the things I do during the short amount of time that I'm not on the beach -  my favorite restaurants, activities, and of course, boutiques.


Where to Stay:

We always use VRBO to find our place to stay on 30A.  First, I filter on dates, location, number of bedrooms, and price to see what's available in our price range during the dates we are going.  Then I use the map view to find a place that is walking distance to restaurants and shops.  One of my favorite things about 30A is how walkable it is.  You can stay pretty much anywhere along the highway and be in walking distance to great food and boutiques.  Lastly, I always, always, always read the reviews before booking!

My favorite place to stay is at the Villas at Sunset Beach.  The villas are really nice, affordably priced, and right on the beach.  They're also located walking distance to both Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach - both of which have AMAZING restaurants and shops. 

In addition to Rosemary and Alys, I also love Watercolor and Seaside.  You really can't go wrong with any of the beach communities along 30A!

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Where to Eat:

We don't get a lot of fresh seafood here in Atlanta, so when we go to the beach, that's pretty much all we eat.  Below are my favorite restaurants in the area:
  1. George's at Alys Beach: If you go anywhere while you're in the 30A, you HAVE to go to George's.  It is hands-down my favorite restaurant in the area.  Their seafood is some of the best I've ever had.  They use all locally sourced, organic produce and their seafood is SO fresh.  My favorite menu items are the Scallops and Spicy Salt & Pepper Shrimp.  Even though you'll be so full from dinner, don't pass up on dessert - the Warm Chocolate Toffee Goo is to die for.  Unfortunately George's does not take reservations, but they have an outside bar and rooftop area to watch the beautiful Florida sunset as you wait for your table.
  2. Cafe 30A:  BOGO entrees from 5-6 PM and $5 martini night on Tuesdays/Thursdays...enough said.  I've never had a bad meal at Cafe 30A.  I know I said I eat mostly seafood while at the beach, but their steaks are DELICIOUS! They also take reservations, which is a plus!
  3. The Hub on 30A is such a cool place to visit!  With multiple food options and a common seating area among them, there's something to please everyone. They also have an amphitheater with live music/events, a bar, and SUPER cute shops {more on those later}.
  4. Red Bar  is located in Grayton Beach {about 20 min drive from where we stayed}, but totally worth the trip!  Unless you go super early or super late, you will most likely have a wait {they do not take reservations}, but there's a bar and shops to explore while you wait for your table to be ready.  They also have live jazz music every night of the week.  Red Bar's menu only has 5 items on it {all of which are delicious} but I almost always get the Fish of the Day that comes with the best mashed potatoes you'll ever taste.
  5. The Great Southern is in the heart of Seaside and is known for their New Orleans style seafood and their extensive mojito list!  I had the pineapple mojito last time we went, and it the best mojito I've ever had!
  6. Donut Hole: The best breakfast {and donut holes} around - you have to go!


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Where to Drink {both coffee and wine}:

  1. Caliza: This restaurant {pictured above} in Alys beach is like a dream! It feels like you're in a 5 star resort in a different country.  You sit al-fresco surrounded by a beautiful infinity pool, cabanas, and the best customer service.  I didn't add Caliza to the restaurant list above because I personally think their food was a little overpriced for what we got.  BUT it is a must-do just to experience the atmosphere {and they take reservations}.  My husband and I decided that the perfect date-night would be Caliza for cocktails then George's for dinner {they're walking distance to each other}.
  2. Bud & Alley's:  Located right on the beach in Seaside, Bud & Alley's has a casual atmosphere with a cool rooftop bar.  While we did not eat there, they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It is one of the only places in all of 30A that stays open past 9PM. {Side Note: 30A is NOT the area to go if you're looking for a night-life.  EVERYTHING shuts down completely at 9PM - which we are totally okay with, but different folks, different strokes.}
  3. Fonville Press is the cutest coffee shop of all time {located in Alys Beach}!  They also serve breakfast and lunch.


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What to Do:

As I mentioned before, when I'm at the beach, I like to plop my booty on the beach and not leave until it's time to get ready for dinner.  But, below are the things that I do like to do when we visit:
  1. Explore by Running:  This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who knows me.  I love waking up in the morning for a run to explore the adorable beach communities on 30A.  Watercolor and Seaside are filled with pastel houses {or mansions, rather} that look like doll houses.  Alys beach has all white architecture and is absolutely breathtaking.  My morning run is also a great way for me to discover new restaurants and shops to visit in the evenings.
  2. Rent Bikes:  Another thing I love about 30A is that there's a paved running/bike path that runs along all 24 miles of the highway.  I love renting bikes from Peddlers on 30A to explore the beach communities along 30A that are too far to run to.
  3. Live Music:  You can find live music in the evenings in almost all of the beach communities along 30A like Seaside, Rosemary, The Hub, etc.
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Where to Shop:

There are SO many cute clothing, accessory, and home goods boutiques along 30A.  While there's a ton that I have never been to {because I never leave the beach long enough}, below are the ones that I've visited and love.

Rosemary Beach:
  1. Disco was my favorite boutique that I visited.  Not only do the have cute clothes, shoes, and accessories; they have a selfie machine, disco balls, play only disco music, and the dressing rooms have glitter wall paper.  Need I say more?!  It's a little on the pricier side - they carry brands like Show Me Your Mumu, BB Dakota, and Chloe Oliver, but definitely worth a visit!
  2. Hissifits is more of a rustic vibe with cute and affordable clothes, shoes, accessories, and home goods.
Seaside:
  1. Willow + Woods carries both men and women's preppy, beachy clothes.  
  2. Mercantile is owned by the same folks as Disco, so of course I loved it.  Again, the brands they carry are slightly on the pricier side but still worth checking out!
  3. Deja Vu is on an trend, boho-chic, and affordable boutique!  Their jewelry selection is on-point.
  4. The Art of Simple - I wanted one of everything in this adorable home goods store.  From candles, to pottery, to hand towels - I loved it all!
  5. Perspicasity is an open-air, beach side bazaar.  It's the perfect place to pick up all of your on-trend beachwear - clothes, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses, bags, swimwear, etc.
The Hub at 30A:
  1. The Lens Bar is a great sunglass shop where I picked up my Quay Australia sunglasses. {PS: This is also where I learned that Quay is pronounced "Key"...am I the only person on the planet that did not know that!?}
  2. 13 Hub Lane is basically a local Pottery Barn. So cute!
  3. Oko is another one of my fav boutiques! This store carries their own in-house brand, Oko, that is hand-sewn by women in the Dominican Republic equipping them to Overcome, demonstrating acts of Kindness, and giving Opportunity to those who need it most. How cool is that!? 
Have you ever visited the beaches on 30A?  What are some of your recommendations? Tell me in the comments below!



1 comment:

  1. Such a great travel guide! Love it Brooke!

    xo
    https://marileigh.com

    ReplyDelete