Vacation Itinerary: 7 Days on 30A (Family Edition)

September 21, 2022

When planning a week-long vacation to 30A, one of the most relaxing places in Northwest Florida, hammering out the details can feel, well, not so relaxing. For such a small slice of paradise, there sure is a lot to do in these tucked-away beach towns, and you want to (and should!) do it all.  At Scenic Stays, we consider ourselves professional beach-goers, exceptional local cuisine taste-testers, and 30A adventure critics, so we’re here to give you a week-long 30A family itinerary for the next time you visit.

We’re breaking this up so you get a feel for the 16 beach towns 30A is known for, a mix of activities and dining options, and (of course) slotting in plenty of beach time. Mix, match, and move around the days as you see fit; the choice is yours. We’re just here to make it easy with this 30A family itinerary.

Your Week-Long 30A Family Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival Day

Whether traveling by plane or by car, travel days are filled with excitement, plenty of snacks, and a handful or so of ‘are we there yet’s. You’re ready to start your vacation, but you probably still need to get some necessities, like food and beach beverages, so while the travel day may be long, get the grocery shopping out of the way on arrival day, or better yet, have it delivered!  Then your only worry is where to head for dinner that night. We recommend any of the nearby local restaurants. Simply put, 30A local cuisine does not disappoint.

Grocery Stores/Delivery:

Day 2 – Beach

We acknowledge you’re coming for the sugar-white sand and emerald green waters of 30A, so your first full day should be spent at the beach, no questions asked.  If there’s one thing we learned as professional beachheads, kids just want to be in, on, under, or by the water. Can you blame them? So while you still have the beginning vacay jitters, get down and dirty with the family and recreate some classic beach memories.

If you listened to us on playing like a child on this day, you’ll probably be pretty exhausted (how do they have so much energy?!), so eat out along 30A.  This 26-mile stretch of land is sprinkled with drool-worthly cuisine, so we put together some of our favorite local fav’s in our blog post: Eat Like a Local on 30A.

Pro Tip: Elevate your beach experience by renting beach chairs and umbrellas, because taking the hassle out of the day is what a vacation is for. La Dolca Vita offers beach rentals, as well as bikes, paddle boards, and more, along virtually all of 30A.  Book in advance to ensure you have your rentals aligned when you arrive.

Day 3 – Explore the West Side

In addition to being the ultimate beach vibe, 30A is technically a highway going west to east along the Gulf of Mexico. Within this 26-mile stretch of road, you’ll find 16 unique beach towns, each with a different architectural style and its very own micro-vibe. And when you have a week at the beach, you have enough time to explore it all. Start on the west end for this day and check out some of their beach towns.

Gulf Place

Built up to make you slow down, this beach town houses a town center with eclectic shops and dining, as well as beach rentals. Depending on the day, you’ll find their greenspace utilized for concerts, festivals, and more. If you’re starting here, grab breakfast or brunch at one of their many eateries, like Sunrise Coffee Co.

Blue Mountain Beach

Known for being a quiet community, this beach town is also the highest in elevation, which translates to having the best views.  Blue Mountain Beach is also home to two coastal dune lakes, a rare and exquisite lake connecting to the Gulf of Mexico. While passing through, stop at The Blue Mountain Beach Creamery for some family-owned (and frankly, mouthwatering) ice cream.

Grayton Beach

For your last stop of the day, head to Grayton Beach, a funky little beach town classified as the soul of 30A. The first community established along 30A, it’s no surprise that people continue to seek out its gems. For some adventure, paddleboard the picturesque Western Lake, a coastal dune lake butting right up to the Gulf.  If you’re arriving around dinner time (or lunch), snag a table at Red Bar and enjoy local catches and a fun atmosphere.

Day 4 – Beach (obviously!)

After a day of exploring, head back to the beach for relaxation to the maximization. Pack an easy, breezy lunch and some frosty beverages, grab that page-turner you’ve been trying to get to all summer and get ready to lounge the day away with the family.

Pro Tip:  Head back to the beach for sunset and hire a bonfire company, like 30A Blaze, to set up a private beach bonfire at one of their many locations along 30A.

Day 5 – Explore the Center

This day is all about biking to the beach towns smack in the middle of 30A.  Virtually every beach town offers bike rentals of some sort, so make sure you’re ready to go on two wheels. The Timpoochee Trail, a wide, paved bike and walking path, spans almost the entire duration of 30A and certainly across these beach towns below.

Pro Tip: Always BYOBB (bring your own beach bag) for impromptu beach lounging at whatever beach town you’re checking out.

WaterColor

A beach town that boasts 500 acres of perfectly planned parks and trails, WaterColor has a little bit of everything. You can shop. You can dine. You can get lost in its colorful architecture. Stop by Beach Happy Cafe for casual cuisine and a frosty beverage while exploring this area.

Seaside

Imagine picture-perfect white picket fences, a robust town center filled with boutique shopping, and a row of delicious walk-up restaurants housed in Airstream trailers. In a nutshell, that’s Seaside. For a truly unique experience, pick up some local fare at one of the trailers and walk deep into Seaside to explore the beach town’s beautiful and sleepy homes.

Day 6 – Beach (getting the cadence?)

Because why not?! It’s what we’re known for. However, if you are adventurous and want to explore the beach from a different perspective, try diving the Gulf of Mexico. 30A is home to 16 artificial reefs you can snorkel or dive depending on the reef. Learn about them in our blog post: 30A’s Artificial Reefs – Everything You Need To Know.

After returning from the beach, consider eating up some leftovers. Unfortunately, vacay is coming to a close in a couple of days. Which reminds us, don’t forget to take lots of pictures! Perfect for looking back fondly on or making your in-laws jealous. 

Pro Tip: While you’re creating beach memories, let Scenic Stays help arrange for a professional, local photographer to come to you and take some frame-worthy photos. Just let us know by giving us a call or sending us a message in advance, and we’ll assist you in getting everything set up!

Day 7 – Beach/Explore the East Side (we threw you off there, right?)

You’re a day away from departure, so get in a morning beach fix and spend the late afternoon into the night on the east end of 30A.  While close to each other, these following two beach towns feel worlds apart with their unique design and style.

Alys Beach

Combining luxury with simplicity, Alys Beach pays homage to the beauty of the Gulf while still managing to be subtly breathtaking in the process.  A community decked out in white architecture, manicured lawns, and thoughtful and interesting sculptures tucked throughout, this beach town is worth walking through.

Rosemary Beach

Named as one of ‘America’s Most Romantic Towns’ by CNN, Rosemary Beach is a lively beach town wrapped up in New Urbanism and West Indies style. With cobblestone streets and fire-torched porch lights, this beach town maintains romance while still being family-friendly and fun. A must-see and a true capstone to your trip.

Day 8 – Departure

Departure day has come, and we’re sorry to see you go. Before heading out, now that you have a lay of the land thanks to our 30A beach itinerary, revisit one of your favorite eateries for a quick breakfast or lunch, and start planning next year’s trip.  Rebooking next year’s trip couldn’t be easier, since we offer a 5% discount* using promo code WELCOMEBACK for repeat visitors of Scenic Stays. So spend some time at breakfast browsing our selection of unique private homes and condos across 30A, so pick your favorite beach town and visit again next year!

*Offer terms and conditions subject to change without notice. Excludes peak season and blackout dates.

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