The Best-Kept Secret on 30A: Seacrest Beach
May 20, 2021
Perfectly situated on Scenic Highway 30A between Watersound Resort and Rosemary Beach, Seacrest Beach is one of the Florida Panhandle’s most underrated beach vacation destinations. Maybe it’s because it’s a little more rustic, a little more laid back, and a lot more nuanced and natural in its overall vibe. What sets Seacrest apart is tough to explain, yet easy to see and feel once you’re there. Seacrest Beach is known for being one of the quietest of the 30A beach communities, as there are very few commercial developments in the area.
Home to hidden nature walks and sizable sand dunes—not to mention its fair share of “civilized” offerings like a dazzling array of local shops and one of the largest private pools in Florida—Seacrest Beach is a place where Zac Brown Band lyrics come to life. In other words, in Seacrest, this line lives on repeat: “Only worry in the world is the tide gonna reach my chair.”
So, whether you want to SUP on a dune lake or sip on a cold libation, here are our top 5 must-do’s when you stay at Seacrest along Scenic 30A.
Hit the Beach
First thing’s first: You gotta get to the beach. “Tranquil” doesn’t even begin to describe the beaches at Seacrest. “World-class” is closer, but it still doesn’t quite capture just how magical the experience really is. With pristine snow-white sands and bathtub-warm emerald waters, Seacrest Beach is the Gulf at its very finest.
One particularly great thing about the beaches at Seacrest is that they have deeded beach access. This means visitors can easily access the beach from the neighborhood by way of a plethora of steep wooden staircases descending the dunes. In fact, one of the best aspects of the Seacrest Beach experience is the descent itself. From the top of the stairs, the views are almost birds-eye in nature and 100% beautiful—especially at sunset!
Once you’re on the beach itself, eat your heart out. Bring a beach chair with a book and lounge away the day. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, the water here is ridiculously nice. Take out a SUP, boogie board, or even a snorkel and a mask, and swim easy knowing it’ll be an experience worth remembering. However you beach, you can’t miss Seacrest Beach.
Stay at Beautiful Private Beach Home
Again, one of the greatest things about Seacrest Beach is its laid-back charm and lack of commercial development. In other words, you won’t find any high-rise resorts or over-the-top resorts. Instead, Seacrest is home to a stellar lineup of private beach homes, townhomes, and low-density condominiums so that when you visit, you can live like the locals do. Scenic Stays, in particular, has an inventory of homes that is staggering both in volume and variety. We’re talking townhomes with pristine private pools, quaint cottages and beautiful bungalows, and even luxurious beachside homes that sleep anywhere from 6 to 30+ people. The options are nearly limitless. And the experience is legendary.
Find Some Nature
Seacrest is often referred to as the “best-kept secret” of 30A. While much of this moniker is down to the unassuming vibe and classy yet unflashy character, another equal contributor is the natural beauty and access to nature that abounds in the area. Of course, we have to start with the famous Timpoochee Trail—the 19-mile paved bike path that serves as the recreational lifeblood of the area. But this trail is just the tip of the iceberg.
Seacrest is also home to the 1.3 miles of unmarked trails that weave and wind through the community. On particularly hot days in high summer, these trails make for a great escape from the sun as they’re often shrouded in shade by palmettos, chaparral, oak, and the 1,000-plus palm trees in the area.
Seacrest Beach also boasts the tallest dunes in the South Walton area. These dunes, created by wind and waves over the course of thousands of years, are a subtly beautiful sight to behold. Frosted with vegetation and home to a diverse wildlife habitat, the dunes are both beautiful in their own right and also in the way that you can get some up-high vantage points for your sunset viewing. And of course, don’t forget the dune lakes! South Walton is home to 15 pristine dune lakes protected from the elements. One in particular—Camp Creek Lake—is located on the western edge of Seacrest Beach and covers approximately 70 acres of serene scenery. The best way to experience this beautiful body of water is by renting a kayak or SUP and hitting the water for a nice paddle.
Tour the Food & Drink Scene
After a day of beaching or nature-exploring, the best way to unwind is with some downright delicious food and drink. And luckily, Seacrest is no slouch in either department.
The first stop should be to check out the shops at the Peddler’s Pavilion. This grassy oasis of open-air shopping and dining is the cultural nucleus of Seacrest. If you want to rent beach cruisers, the Seacrest Beach Peddlers Bike Shop offers the largest selection of bicycles in 30A. On balmy evenings, there’s often live music gracing the pavilion. The shopping scene is tastefully upscale. And the dining options are top-notch: In the mornings, get your coffee and pastries from 30A Bagels & Coffee or your breakfast smoothies from Raw & Juicy. In the afternoons and evenings, choose from a coastal-accented Mexican cantina at La Cocina or gooey slices of ‘za from Pizza by the Sea.
Seacrest is also home to the legendary beachside tiki bar Crabby Steve’s. What’s great about this spot—aside from the awesome food, drinks, and incredible views—is that getting there requires a stroll on the beach. Pretty cool, right?
For another great libation spot in the area, don’t miss Beach and Brew on 30A. This taproom showcases live music and a litany of local craft brews, like South Walton’s own Grayton Beer Company and Idyll Hounds Brewing Company on tap.
No matter how you spend your time in Seacrest, you won’t regret it!
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