A Local’s Guide to Hiking on 30A

November 29, 2023

While the pristine beaches along Scenic Highway 30A will always be our favorite pastime, hiking on 30A is equally enjoyable, offering a different take on this serene, coastal haven. The best part is you don’t have to go anywhere else — historic 30A boasts a diverse range of nature trails nearby, with lush, longleaf pine forests, native wildlife, and scenic views of tranquil dune lakes. Whether you’re looking for adventure away from the beach or a family-friendly activity that the kids will surely get excited about, 30A hiking trails are where you want to be.

We’ve got the scoop on the best trails for hiking on 30A, so lace up your hiking boots, grab your sunglasses, and get ready to explore some of the most beautiful places on 30A!

Point Washington State Forest

Tucked between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay lies one of our favorite 30A hiking trails. Point Washington State Forest boasts over 27 miles of tranquil paths filled with pine flatwoods, sandhills, and wetland areas. With miles of unpaved roads, Point Washington offers easy-to-moderate trails that welcome off-road cyclists, hikers, and horseback riders. Whether opting for the Eastern Lake or Longleaf Greenway trail, you’ll likely encounter local wildlife, including wild deer, osprey, and bald eagles.

Eastern Lake Trail

The Eastern Lake Trail system is a moderate 10.5-mile loop along the scenic forest of Point Washington, and you can take your pick from three double-track loop 30A hiking trails: The yellow (3.5 miles), the red (5.9 miles) and the orange (10.5 miles). With varying terrain, including forest roads, soft sand, and a narrow boardwalk with a lovely view of Cypress swamp, this 30A hiking trail is mostly flat with little to no elevation, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

Longleaf Greenway Trail

The Longleaf Greenway Trail is a peaceful 14.2-mile trail that spans the Western and Eastern portions of Point Washington. Featuring three moderate routes: the East Trail (2.5 miles), the Western Trail (2.5 miles), and the Middle Trail (3.25 miles), all are famous for bird watching, hiking, and mountain biking. The terrain features a mostly flat and sandy singletrack path open year-round, providing an accessible and inviting route for all ages.

Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park is the place to be if you want the best of both worlds. Famous for its stunning beachscape and glistening turquoise-green waters, it features a 9-mile roundtrip hiking trail that’s simply spectacular. Meandering through a coastal forest and serene Western Lake, a rare coastal dune lake, hikers and cyclists can expect to see a combination of dunes, scrubs, salt marsh, and pine flatwoods along the way. Look for the “Prayer of the Woods,” a beautiful poem hidden beneath a dune canopy on the south side trail. Aside from nature trails, visitors can enjoy paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing in this stunning oasis.

WaterColor Hiking Trail

The perfect way to start the day is by taking a morning stroll on the WaterColor and Seaside Trails Loop along 30A. This easy 8.9-mile 30A hiking trail is an excellent sightseeing route for walkers, joggers, and bikers as it weaves through trees, scenic neighborhoods, and the picturesque Western Lake. The pathway connects to other trails, including the Timpochee Trail, and offers a mixed terrain of boardwalks, pavement, gravel, and unpaved paths, making it a popular route for daily commuters. 

The trail is a great way to explore the communities in WaterColor as it passes through the town center, where you’ll discover local boutiques, restaurants, and unique coastal architecture. 

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is known for pristine dunes towering over the soft sand beaches and emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico. This park is a must-see, with seven marked trails looping around paved paths, old-growth pine forests, and sandy scrublands. Here are a few of our favorites!

Campbell Lake Nature Trail

Campbell Lake Nature Trail is the primary trail, merging with the other 30A hiking trails at the park. This  5.2-mile roundtrip trail has a flat, paved path, making it ideal for cyclists, and offers a magnificent view of Campbell Lake. 

Morris Lake Trail

If you’re looking for a challenge, the Morris Lake Trail is a 4.6-mile loop offering mixed terrain of soft sand, gravel, and hard-pack sand. You’ll likely pass lots of locals and visitors on this somewhat challenging course that can take up to an hour and a half to complete. Pack a lunch, take your time, and enjoy the scenery on this picturesque 30A hiking trail.

Whether exploring the Turpentine Trail, featuring remnants of the centuries-old turpentine industry, or the Gopher Tortoise Trail, where you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of our local gopher tortoises, there’s no end to the fun you can have hiking on 30A!

Eden Gardens State Park

Eden Gardens State Park is another gem just north of 30A, a popular location for weddings and special events. This stunning historical park is well-known for its idyllic setting and well-maintained gardens showcasing roses, camellias, azaleas, and moss-draped oak trees. The historic Wesley house lies at the heart of the park, a beautifully preserved two-story mansion dating back to the late Nineteenth Century. Tour the homestead, walk along the one-mile nature trail along the surrounding woods, and stroll through the ornamental gardens for a sublime experience.

Deer Lake State Park

Once 30A’s best-kept secret, Deer Lake State Park now sees visitors year-round eager to explore the lush landscape, pristine beach, and rare coastal dune lake. This relatively new park features two easy nature trails perfect for an afternoon of exploration. Opt for the Orange Trail, a one-mile loop winding through pine leaf trees and wet prairies, or take on the Blue Trail, a half-mile loop that takes travelers to a scenic spot overlooking the northern shore of Deer Lake. Either way, you’re in for a memorable journey destined to bring you back time and again.
Plan your escape today with Scenic Stays and discover our favorite 30A hiking trails in this beautiful coastal paradise!

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