Here you will find family friendly fun things to do in Seaside Florida as you head along 30A in Florida for an adventure. The culture and atmosphere are worth the drive and time spent on this coastal highway.
Thank you to Extended Stay America by making this post possible – all opinions expressed are my own.
Our time spent in the Florida panhandle is always a highlight. This trip to Destin, Florida we were hosted by Extended Stay America – the perfect spot to come back and relax, cook dinner in our hotel room (if you want to and save some extra $ while on your family vacation). An extra plus is each morning on our way out to the beach we were able to take a quick grab and go breakfast they offer – I am also able to wash clothes in the hotel laundry room – which for me as a mom doing a load of laundry (or two) while on vacation doesn’t seem ideal but honestly it’s a life saver because we can pack lighter – especially on trips like we did to Portland Maine – along with the idea of when I come home it’s a lot less work on the back end!
As we were on a family vacation to Destin, in March, we decided since it was a cloudy/cooler day that we would take a journey over to 30A Florida. It’s just a few miles past Destin that you can hop onto the highway and begin the adventure. We originally were going to rent bikes and travel some of this hidden gem…but I’m glad we opted to drive the highway as a family instead. We were able to do so much more in our car travels and not be worn out. No doubt that since we’ve traveled the entire highway we might would decide to rent bikes in one town and spend the day next time, but for this time driving was our best adventure.
** I wouldn’t try driving this highway in the prime vacation season – we were there in the off season and it was perfectly fine with very little traffic. Otherwise during the prime beach and vacation season you’d be bumper to bumper and I don’t find that appealing to my travel adventures!
What is 30A?
If you live in the south – truth be told you’ve seen the blue stickers on the back of vehicles that say ” 30A” and you either know what it stands for or you are clueless!
Well 30A is one of America’s most rewarding coastal drives: Highway 30-A in the Florida Panhandle. This has become a beach lifestyle “brand” inspired by this highway in northwest Florida. It’s a scenic – two lane country road that meanders along the shores of the Emerald Coast. How long is this highway? It’s a 20-mile beach road located between Destin, Florida and Panama City Beach, Florida. If you’ve never heard of 30A – you aren’t alone but it’s a hidden beach gem that is becoming more popular each season.
What are 30A beaches?
The top beaches along this coastal highway are:
- Dune Allen Beach
- Seagrove Beach
- Blue Mountain Beach
- Grayton Beach
- Seacrest Beach
- Inlet Beach
As we were planning our day trip I came across the most amazing website that gave us a mile marker by mile marker suggestion. This was insanely helpful as we could know what we were coming up on, we could plan our stops, we knew what we were seeing or the area we were in.
This takes you through the entire 30A highway where we found amazing restaurants, beaches, state parks, ice cream stops, sights to see, shops and every other stop…like Watercolor, FL to Rosemary Beach, FL to Blue Mountain Beach where we at the most amazing organic cinnamon rolls… and the most charming Alys Beach. We didn’t have a favorite area…but we did spent quite a bit of time in Seaside Florida – only to get our wiggles out and eat!!
Things to do in Seaside Florida
Seaside is a small resort community in northwest Florida, on the Gulf of Mexico. It’s known for its late-20th-century New Urbanist design, as well as pastel-colored houses featuring porches and white picket fences. It truly is a beautiful beach community with the yummy and fun vibe of the Seaside food trucks to the shops and green space to run and play.
1- Get off the Beaten Path: Here in Seaside Florida and in Watercolor (adjacent to Seaside) is where we got off of the beaten path the most and found ourselves driving in the neighborhoods and poking along taking in the views.
2- Go to the beaches: It seems like it should not have to be stated…but go wander the beaches. When we were there it really was serene, peaceful and the color hues were absolutely stunning. Clear blue water with a soft hue that was so inviting and as a photographer were simply beautiful.
3- Hit up the Seaside food trucks: I’m not here to tell you a favorite or a must have…all I know is that everything we ate was superb. So I don’t think you can wrong…just pick the food truck in the airstream row that sounds the best to you at the time and I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
4- Run around: Since we didn’t rent bikes we just walked around and let our little one run in the green space! I brought bubbles and we found the pavilion around the school area, ate snacks and let her have some freedom from the car and road traveling.
5- Head to the post office: Grab some postcards and mail them to family and friends from the local post office…super friendly and fun!
6- Talk to a Local: This might be easier for some more than others…just depends if you’re an introvert or extrovert…but I love finding a friendly local to talk to – anywhere we go. I like to ask what life is like where they live, the culture, the favorite spots they eat and go. You’ll usually find some gems and the conversations are usually quite easy to strike up as well as interesting as you’ll learn so much of the area you are in.
7 – Relax: Most importantly – relax.
8- Drive 30A: I can’t shout it from the mountain tops enough – but if you have access to a vehicle and can drive along the entire 30A highway – take your time and stop along the way in these quaint towns, experience their culture and eats. Enjoy ice cream, cinnamon rolls, lunch and grab dinner…walk along the beaches and enjoy the drive. It’s gorgeous.