Things to Do on 30A and in the Surrounding Areas
Because we live by one of the world's most beautiful beaches, many people travel to this area. Our friends, art customers, and window shoppers all ask the same question: "What are some things to do on 30A?" I should have written this post a long time ago, but better late than never. Andy and I have lived here since we were kids, so we're basically local experts. However, because our marketplace is constantly evolving, there's always something new that we have not yet discovered. There are way too many great shops and restaurants to include in this post, so think of this as your starting place. This list isn't all-inclusive, but I can guarantee that everything on this list is awesome. I will only suggest things to do on 30A and in the surrounding areas (Destin) if they're (1) unique to this area, (2) I love them myself, and (3) I'd recommend them to my very best friend. (And, no, we aren't receiving free meals and merchandise for this post. I mean, I'd gladly accept them! But this post isn't sponsored.) This list was last revised on April 14, 2018.
Best Ways to Explore Nature
If you don't have time to do everything on this list, pick your favorites based on the weather. For example, avoid the paddle board in January and avoid the nature trail in July.
- Go to the beach, obviously. This area is called the Emerald Coast because of the turquoise water, and our sand is almost as white as snow.
- If there are waves, take a surf lesson.
- If the Gulf of Mexico is flat, rent a paddle board or kayak.
- Take a boat or jet ski to Crab Island during high tide, when the water is the clearest.
- Go deep sea fishing.
- Walk the nature trail at WaterColor.
- Ride a bike or Pedego Electric Bike down 30A.
Best Places to Shop
You can find big chain retail stores anywhere, so skip those and shop local.
- Visit Shops of Grayton, including Andy's art gallery (of course).
- Stroll through Seaside's Ruskin Place and Central Square and check out places such as Central Square Records, Sundog Books, and Duckies Shop of Fun.
- Exploring Rosemary Beach's Barrett Square and Main Street by foot is a must, and there are too many great shops to name.
- Feel the breeze from the Gulf while you shop at Gulf Place.
Best Ways to Entertain Your Kids
Let's face it... this category needs its own post. Click here for my suggestions, from one parent to another.
Best Restaurants Between Rosemary Beach and Destin
Where do I even start?! Narrowing down my favorite locally-owned restaurants is almost impossible, so I'll limit myself to fifteen. You can't go wrong with these suggestions, but there are definitely so many more gems from which to choose. Our top 15, moving east to west:
- La Cocina Mexican Grill and Bar (Seacrest)
- George's (Alys Beach)
- Bruno's Pizza (Watersound)
- The Great Southern Cafe (Seaside)
- The Red Bar (Grayton Beach)
- Black Bear Bread Co. (Grayton Beach)
- Chanticleer (Grayton Beach)
- The Bay (Santa Rosa Beach)
- Louis Louis (Santa Rosa Beach)
- Bijoux (Miramar Beach)
- Sushimoto (Miramar Beach)
- Camille's (Destin)
- Baguette Bistro (Destin)
- Jasmine Thai (Destin)
- The Gulf (Okaloosa Island)
Best Places to Watch the Sunset
I could generically say the beach, but I'll do better than that for you. Also, any local will tell you that October has the best sunsets. I can't explain why, but it's true.
- Norriego Point, overlooking the Destin harbor and pass
- from the docks at HarborWalk Village
- Bud & Alley's rooftop bar
- 723 Whiskey Bravo's rooftop bar
- Grayton Beach, where Western Lake meets the Gulf of Mexico
- from the dock at The Village of Baytowne Wharf
Best Places to Go at Night
You should know that I don't party. If you want a list of the best bars and nightclubs, I really can't help you. But if you want a nice place to enjoy the night breeze and soak up your beautiful surroundings, you'll thank me for these suggestions.
- Seaside is always charming, but even more so after the sun goes down.
- Ditto with Rosemary Beach, although I think the stores close earlier than they do in Seaside.
- The Hub is a great place to chill, get something to eat, and listen to live music.
- The Village of Baytowne Wharf can entertain both young and old for hours. So much to see! (They have fireworks every Tuesday night during the summer.)
- I like HarborWalk Village at night, but mostly in the off season. It's too crowded during summer nights. (They have fireworks every Thursday night during the summer.)
- Destin Commons, especially if you have small children who will enjoy the playground while you drink a coffee.
- Grand Boulevard has the best movie theater in town. If you're really lucky, you can catch a play with Emerald Coast Theatre Company, located upstairs across from Cantina Laredo.
That About Sums It Up
So, those are some of my favorite things to do on 30A and in the surrounding areas. Again, this list isn't all-inclusive, but it's a great starting point. If you have specific questions, feel free to contact us.