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My First Time on 30A
Many moons ago, as I was becoming a fledgling reservationist, I was tasked with learning about the area that I was going to help others discover. I had to capture the essence of the area and understand what it was that kept bringing
people back year after year. It wasn’t until I had my first taste of 30A that I really understood a lot of the nuances of the place: It’s the feeling of being part of something a lot larger, the community, and the camaraderie. To be clear, I had no idea what
to expect. I had spent summers growing up in various places, so I thought I had a feel for what I could expect from pretty much any given area; I was completely wrong.
It’s clear from just driving Hwy 30A that the area is unique, but it wasn’t until I had gotten out, walked around, and started interacting with people that I really started to understand. Then, after browsing through several of
30A’s unique communities, each bustling with life and their own unique identity, it was time to go to the beach. Again, up until this point, I thought beaches were all relatively similar. It’s not that the beaches on 30A are all that much different than other
beaches, but the most obvious difference was that these beaches were much cleaner than what I had encounter. Also, the sand dunes are certainly something to behold.
I was instantly enamored by the white sand, but the water quality really blew me away. It was so clear, like looking into polished glass. Although my first experience with 30A was during a cooler month, I couldn’t help but wade
into the water and enjoy the refreshing feeling of waves crashing against my legs. Even beyond the water and sand, there seemed to be so much nature around. It really feels like all 30A is in touch with the natural world in a lot of ways. There seems to be
balance and harmony at play.
There were literally hundreds of things I could have been doing at any given time. The area hosts an amazing array of activities. Whether you are looking for a delicious restaurant to try, or enjoy live entertainment, you will likely
have a hard time being able to do everything you’d like. For it’s size, 30A has an incredible amount of stuff to check out and those choices can be overwhelming. Just be sure to remember: You can’t go wrong!
I was blown away by the energy of the place. People were out in droves riding bicycles and walking around. It was a very active place and it sparked my interest. It’s difficult to describe, you almost just have to go experience
it for yourself. I highly recommend checking it out if you’ve never been!
30A Tunes: Live Music Venues
There are a great number of live music venues in 30A! In this series I will try and break them down by area to help you, dear traveler, know all the hot spots to check out while you visit! This blog will cover some venues around
Santa Rosa Beach specifically, as trying to cover all 30a would be overwhelming. Here are just a few great places to check out in the Santa Rosa Beach area to get your live music fix while you are in town!
30A Songwriter Radio Music & Coffee
“Where the music lives, and the coffee rocks!”
If you are looking for a place with great atmosphere, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better place in 30a. Here you can find a variety of different types of live music, from country to reggae! Beyond all the great live performances,
you can also get a great a cup of coffee! The atmosphere is very laid back and face-to-face. You get a good sense of the person behind the song. It’s worth a trip no matter your taste in music!
Grayton Beer Co.
“From Grain to Glass, by Way of the Gulf”
The taproom at Grayton Beer Company is hoppin’, and I’m not just talking about with the great hops they use to flavor their beer! You can also enjoy live music here. Come check out some of the best beer in 30A/South Walton while
listening to some great tunes.
“Brews by the beach”
They’ve been featured on the Cooking Channel and were South Walton’s “2016 People’s Choice” for Craft Beer Selection, which is plenty enough reason to check out Growler Garage in 30A. While you taste all the amazing beer, be sure
to step out on the patio to listen to some great live music.
Williams Backyard Boogie
This outdoor music venue is a popular spot in 30A for live music. They host plenty of local musicians as well as musicians traveling through. Be sure to BYOB and chairs though! Very kid friendly, 17 & under get in free. This isn’t
your typical venue, it has a very unique feel like a lot of the places in Walton County. You’ll love the hosts and hostesses as well as all the great performances.
This unique spot in 30A features high quality cuisine, a beautiful setting on the Choctawhatchee Bay, beer, and live music! What more could you want! Featuring live music every Sunday, it’s the perfect place to stop in for your
music fix. It, like the other spots on this list, hosts a great atmosphere. In our opinion, it is really a great place to visit while you are in town… Especially if you’re hungry and love live music. 30A is and incredibly diverse place in what it has to offer.
If live music is your thing, you’ll be satisfied. It’d be nearly impossible to compile a list highlighting everything, so be sure to stay tuned in the future for more great places in our area.
Good Eateries in 30A
I don’t want to outright say 30A is a treasure trove of great food and a worthy place to travel just to eat, but I feel like I’d be selling it short if I didn’t. A simple Google search will net you an impressive amount of highly rated eateries along 30A,
and I’d be willing to wager that there is literally something for everyone; from fresh and delicious seafood to pizza and other American staples, 30A is a great place to, simply, eat! Here we will check out some local hotspots to grab a bite to eat that way
you won’t get hangry in the time it takes to narrow down your options!
A South Walton favorite, Café Thirty-A boasts a fantastic menu! The crab cakes are phenomenal, as are all their seafood dishes! They also make great pizza, we highly recommend the prosciutto and brie pizza. There’s also filet mignon and a great selection
of cocktails (‘Tini Night is always a blast), can’t go wrong! This place embodies what 30A is all about! Be sure to check them out at http://cafethirtya.com.
Blue Mountain Creamery
If you have a sweet tooth, you won’t want to miss out on some of the best ice cream in South Walton. There are so many flavors to choose from! All are divine and made on-site daily! Blue Mountain Creamery is definitely one of the most popular ice cream spots
in our area and for good reason!
Stinky's Fish Camp
A seafood lover’s dream! There are tons of options at Stinky’s! Enjoy such classics as Shrimp and Grits, crab legs, and surf and turf. You may also be interested in stopping by on Taco Tuesday! Fiosh tacos galore! Another 30A favorite!
Meltdown on 30a
This food truck on Airstream row in Seaside is fantastic! Trust me when I say, a grilled cheese sandwich doesn’t get any better! Be sure to stop in and check them out. It’s also a good price for the area!
Chef/Owner Jim Shirley (who also owns The Meltdown on 30A) really captures all that make 30A great at this bay-front hotspot. The restaurant itself is beautiful and overlooks the Choctawhatchee Bay! There isn’t anything that this place lacks. Phenomenal
food, a great beer and wine selection, sushi! You need to check out The Bay. If top-notch sushi isn’t your thing, be sure to try The Bomber Burger, it is amazing.
This really doesn’t begin to show you how much great food there is in 30A! When you come visit be sure to loosen your belt and prepare to really treat yourself. South Walton’s dining options have been features on the travel channel and other noteworthy places!
30A Wedding Venues
Here in South Walton, we have an abundance of wedding venues; this makes planning a wedding extremely easy. There are a ton of options, so it is highly unlikely that you won’t be able to find a wedding venue that suits you! Everything from romantic beachside
vistas to farmhouse style event spaces await your arrival. We’d like to take the time to highlight just a small portion of what 30A has to offer.
If you are looking for a more traditional space, The Chapel in Seaside may be the perfect location! This beautiful building is used, primarily, for worship services; however, wedding ceremonies are welcome. There is space to accommodate one hundred guests.
The Bellamy of 30a
If you are interested in a venue with a variety of perks, look no further. At the Bellamy of 30A you will find a quaint courtyard and a beautiful reception area, with the added perk of being located near the area’s beautiful, white sandy beaches.
This beautiful venue has everything you need: Amazing views, a beautiful courtyard, and great food! 30A has an abundance of amazing food, so you might as well enjoy some of it on your big day! Exclusive in-house catering is available. Come check out what
Chef Jim Shirley is serving up. There is adequate space for up to 100 guests. This beautiful venue overlooks the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Though this is a very small list of venues in 30A, you may find a much more comprehensive list on Visit South Walton. There is something for everyone in our amazing area. 30A is a great place to not only plan a vacation, but also a wedding and/or honeymoon.
Turkey Day on 30a
I'm sure you are familiar with the aphorism "if it's not broke, don't fix it." While there is probably some merit to the saying, there is also no reason that changing things up a bit is a bad idea. For the most part, people on Thanksgiving enjoy getting
together with family and friends, catching up, and eating as much food as humanly possible to the point that the only real option is taking a nap afterwards. All of these things are traditions that we hold near and dear to our hearts (and stomachs), so why
change it? The reason is simple: Location. Why not enjoy all of your favorite family traditions in an amazing setting? Here on 30A, we have a ton of things happening on and around Thanksgiving. Here are some ideas if you decide it's times to spice up an old
From brunch to dinner, 30A has tons of restaurants which normally offer special Thanksgiving menus. Places like Stinky's Fish Camp, Trebeaché and Old Florida Fish House are popular spots that have done so in the past, each boasting top-notch options for
those who don't want to have to burden their day with preparations. If you'd like to enjoy the privacy of eating in, there are also several places which have offered Thanksgiving Dinner to go! Be sure to check places like Roux 30A, Cowgirl Kitchen and The
Hub 30A for take out options. If you still would like to cook for yourself, have no fear! For the Health of It in Blue Mountain Beach often offers organic and free-range turkey options.
30A has many things to do the week of Thanksgiving. If you'd like to burn a few extra calories before your big feast, be sure to check out 30A YOLO Bike & Beach Club, which meets weekly for a 9AM bicycle ride through the trails of Point Washington State
Forest. The 6th annual 30A 10K Thanksgiving Day Races at Rosemary Beach is another great option, plus the event raises money for local charities. As always, enjoy the daily and nightly events which make the area such a great place to visit.
With temperatures in Santa Rosa Beach historically ranging from daily highs of 66 to 76, it's still a great time to get out and enjoy the Emerald Coast. Come down and check out some of the most beautiful beaches in the world!
Fill your turkey baster with sunscreen for added convenience.
Spending Thanksgiving on the beach is a great way to change things up and break the monotony. Come down and check out some of the most beautiful places in Florida with your family, while enjoying Thanksgiving in the sun!
Hiking in 30a
The start of fall marks the start of a great time to head outdoors. If you're anything like me, you frequently feel the urge to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and head back to nature; however, sometimes the Summer heat makes us want to stay
in the pool or the air-conditioned comfort of home. Luckily, Fall in 30A offers just enough relief from the heat to make hiking a great outdoors option! With day time temperatures generally ranging from the high 70s to lows 80s in October, you can go out without
generally having to worry about over heating or getting cold. South Walton County is a great place if you are looking for great hiking destinations, great weather, and something different. One prime fall hiking destination in 30a is Point Washington State
Forest, which boats over 15,000 acres and several trail systems. There are, in total, over thirty miles of trails, which are popular for both hikers and cyclists.
During the fall months, these trails are alive with many different seasonal wild flowers in bloom. For those interested in sights of the avian variety, Point Washingon is also home to beautiful species
of birds such as the American Kestrel.
Head over to the Eastern Lake Trail sytem, where you will find three trails varying from 3.5 miles up to 10 miles in length. There is also Longleaf Greenway Trail and Cassine Trail. All of which are popular hiking spots featuring mostly flat and sandy soil.
An additional trail located north of Highway 98 was recently closed for restoration purposes, but had a planned re-open date in Summer 2017. Be sure to head over to the McQuage Bayou Horse Trail and check out the eight miles of freshly restored trail available
There are trails appropriate for all ages and skill levels.
Point Washington is only a small portion of the great hiking opportunities that 30a has! You may also want to head over to Grayton Beach State Park to check out the trails there, or even over to Deer Lake State Park to view a preserved sand dune ecosystem.
One of the great things about Florida, and 30a in particular, is how diverse and unique many of the natural resources are here. You are likely to see something you've never seen before. There are trails available for all ages and skill groups, so bring the
kids out for a chance to share nature with them.
There's no better way to end a long day of hiking.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, you may have hiked all over the place, but you will undoubtedly be drawn in to the majesty and grandeur of the Emerald Coast. It really is a wonderful place to get out and experience something new and reconnect
with the natural world.
Fall is a great time to visit 30A!
Summer is slowly coming to an end and we are now heading headlong into fall, but not everyone may have had the opportunity to experience all of the great events and fun that 30A has to offer. While I can definitely understand why this could leave you feeling
devastated, it's important to remember: Just because summer is coming to an end doesn't mean that the fun is. 30A will still be host to a plethora of great events during the Fall 2017 season. Whether you are looking to enjoy some great live music, sip on tasty
wine, or simply mingle, 30A this fall has something for everyone! While there are events practically daily throughout Fall, I'd like to take the time to highlight a few.
Sylvia - A Romantic Comedy
Various upcoming Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays this Fall
Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach
Come check out a whimsical comedy about a couple and the stray dog that the husband brings home! Performed by the Emerald Coast Theatre Company, this play is suitable for everyone age 13 and up and is sure to bring you and your family loads of laughs!
Experience live theatre first hand and build memories that will last a lifetime.
30A Blue Crab Festival
October 13rd-October 15th
A seafood lovers paradise! Come check out this event and partake in some fantastic crab and seafood cuisine. There will also be live music and other entertainment. If you love eating crab as much as we do you will not want to miss out on this opportunity!
Harvest Wine & Food Festival
WaterColor Inn & Resort
Be sure to check out this new event that will be coming to South Walton this Fall! Taste amazing wines and various cuisine. Perfect for connoisseurs and casual wine lovers alike, this event boats over 200 wines. Spend some time in beautiful WaterColor
and check out this multi-day event which includes a silent auction, wine tasting, live music, and artwork.