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We recently spent a week in 30A on vacation, and it was everything I imagined and more! If you’ve never heard of this place, allow me to enlighten you with this Rosemary Beach travel guide. The area known as 30A is a string of little beach towns along highway 30-A between Destin and Panama City Beach. Growing up, my family vacationed in PCB, but I had never heard of the hidden gem of Rosemary Beach until a couple years ago. Many still don’t know about this place which I think adds to the magic. I’m going to share about each town along 30A and our favorite things to eat see and do there!

But first, know before you go…

Photo courtesy of Discover 30A

A Note about the Beaches

Before you go, orient yourself with this map of the area. It’s important to note that almost all beaches in or around Rosemary are private. You can only access them if you are a resident or renting a place with deeded beach access. The only two public beaches in the area bookend 30A at Inlet Beach and Santa Rosa.

Where to Stay

The condo we stayed at was in the Villages of South Walton in Seacrest Beach, about a 2-3 minute bike ride (5 minute walk) to the heart of Downtown Rosemary. Would highly recommend this area! Lots of little shops and restaurants under the condos which were so fun! Our beach access was just a 5 minute walk in the opposite direction to Sunset Beach. We had the most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen the first night there. So the name is appropriate!

When to go

We randomly happened to plan our trip the first week school went back into session, so we were the first week of “slow season,” and it was perfect! The warmer temps of summer were still around, still lots to do, everything was still open, but the crowds were minimal! Would definitely recommend heading to Rosemary Beach the third week of August like we did.

Rent Bikes

Everyone rides bikes here. The communities along 30A were actually planned developments with the intention to be designed so that the community could bike and walk EVERYWHERE. Where we were staying had Peddler’s Pavilion right outside with lots of bike rental options. We actually went with Salt Air bike rentals. They delivered and picked up to where we were staying!

Sunset on Sunset Beach our very first night. The best of the best!

Rosemary Beach

If 30A were a crown, I’d say Rosemary Bech would be the jewel in the center. It’s a relatively new town- actually as old as me, so you could say we have a connection on a deeper level! đŸ˜‰ Would definitely recommend staying at or near this area and spending most of your time here. Some of our favorite spots in Rosemary Beach include:

  • The Pearl Hotel is a must-see spot. Get a massage at their spa and then grab a bite at the Havana Rooftop with a beautiful ocean view.
  • Our favorite acai bowl place is right across the street. We first had Playa Bowls in Charleston, SC and fell in love! Even though it’s a chain, it feels like a local spot and so yummy!
  • Hidden Lantern Bookstore is such a cute spot for amazing books and immaculate vibes to go with it!
  • Rosemary Beach Collection and Trading Company are the only two stores allowed to sell the registered trademark Rosemary Beach® logo. The items in these stores are not cheap, but if you want the real deal, they are a must! And they are high quality. I opted for a blue hoodie (sooo comfy) and a baby blue hat! I must say I’m very happy with my purchase.
  • We also really liked Cowgirl Kitchen for dinner one night.
  • For a splurge, make sure to plan reservations well in advance for Pescado. It’s probably the most aesthetic restaurant I’ve ever been to, plus a gorgeous ocean view and view of the town from above! We loved sharing several small plates and enjoying the ambiance.
Downtown Rosemary beach feels like a little European town. We were totally transported!
Our s’mores and creme brulee desserts at Pescado.
Playa Bowls is a favorite for us!

Alys Beach

It’s like this comedy video I watched said. “This place is like the top 1% was gentrified out by the top .01%.” Houses here anywhere from $7-14 million and probably more. Lots of celebrities have houses in the area like Britney Spears, Garth Brooks, Jessica Simpson, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Chef Emeril Lagasse, and Matthew McConaughey. We really did not spend too much time here because it’s more of a residential area with just a couple restaurants we never ate at. Although I hear Raw and Juicy would have been worth the visit!

We biked from our condo (10 minutes) one evening, and it truly was magical. For some reason, there was basically no one around, so the bike ride was equal parts eery and beautiful. Everything is all white, and the houses have a uniform aesthetic. It felt like we were on set for a perfect (almost too perfect) movie. Basically no cars around either, so that helped preserve the magic!

See what I mean? Literally felt like a movie set.
Me at future home! đŸ™‚
Bring me back for a photoshoot here, please!

Seaside Beach

Ever seen the movie The Truman Show? If so, then you’ve seen Seaside Beach without maybe even realizing it! It makes sense this idyllic white picket fence town was the location for that movie. Lots of shops and the classic Seaside® merch can be found here as well! I found the cutest souvenir to take home- a beach watercolor print from Bridget Linstead Art.

  • Bud and Alley’s is a classic staple around here. It’s a laid back coastal restaurant with really great ocean views. Noticing a theme here? We loved the mahi reuben and their key lime pie!
  • The Seaside Post Office is probably the most famous post office in the country and for good reason. It’s adorable! Walk inside, and it’s rather small. But I actually had something to mail, so that was fun. It was totally old school with no screens or even a printed receipt- just stamps!
  • Black Bear Bread Co. is a great spot for treats or breakfast. There are a couple locations, but we loved the one in Seaside. I got the egg and cheese biscuit (soo good!). Just know there is not too much seating inside!
  • The Mercantile was probably my favorite of the little shops ad where I got my watercolor print!
Such a great little spot!
We sat outside on the steps to eat our amazing breakfast!
The entrance to Bud & Alley’s next to the Seaside Beach tower.
Most famous post office in the country!
You have to try the key lime pie at Bud & Alley’s…so delicious!

More Favorites!

Of course, most of your time will want to be spent at the gorgeous beach! The white sand and emerald, crystal clear water of the gulf is so breathtaking and relaxing. Some other things we enjoyed or wish we had done more of on this trip were:

  • Escapology in Destin (about a 30 minute drive) was so fun! We are suckers for a good escape room, and we did Murder Mansion with some new friends we met on the trip. We loved it!
  • Baytowne Wharf is a great spot with more commercialized shops and restaurants.
  • The Big Chill is like an outdoor food court meets cute local shops. Salt Air bike rentals (where we rented bikes from) are also located here!
  • Old Florida Fish House was probably our favorite meal of the trip. Right on the bay, it boasted very cozy vibes with string lights all around and even lawn games while you waited for your food. They also had live music when we went! The Bahama Breeze sushi I got there was probably the BEST I’ve ever had (no joke). Okay, now I’m craving it! đŸ™‚
  • Have a beach photo session! We did this our first night with Kyler and Kait Photography. Scroll all the way to the end to see one of my faves from our session!
Lots of time spent on this pristine beach!
Comfiest sweatshirt EVER! In our cutie little Airbnb.
Sporting my new Rosemary Beach® hat.
One of my favorites from our sunset beach session with Kyler and Kait!

I hope I’ve convinced you by now how beautiful this place is and how you need to go ASAP! Already planning a trip? I’d love to hear what you tried from this post and loved. Contact me HERE.

Enjoyed this post? You will also love this Beach Engagement Session. Want to edit your iPhone photos like I did in this post? (Yes, all except the last photo were taken on my phone!) Download my mobile presets HERE.

Posted in: Personal Post, Travels

August 28, 2022

A Week in Rosemary Beach, FL | 30A Travel Guide

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Nichole Lauren is a natural light Wedding & Portrait photographer based in Greenville, SC & available for travel worldwide.

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