If you’re looking for the best place to stay on 30A, you’re in luck! I recently traveled along the Scenic Highway 30A in search of the top hotels and resorts for a beach vacation.
My family and I spent time in Rosemary Beach, WaterColor, Watersound, and other nearby beach communities. After staying at various hotels and experiencing their world-class amenities, we narrowed down our list for the best resorts in 30A.
In the post below, I’ll include my candid thoughts on which of the 30A hotels is the best, depending on whether you’re traveling with kids, as a couple, or on a girls’ trip. So, continue reading to find out everything you need to know about the best place to stay on 30A for your Florida vacation!
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The Pearl in Rosemary Beach is one of the most iconic resorts on 30A. This boutique hotel offers a prime location and is surrounded by the quaint town’s shops and restaurants.
The beautiful hotel features recently renovated rooms complete with hardwood floors and updated furniture and decor. Guests can reserve regular hotel rooms or spacious suites to enjoy during their trip.
Many of the rooms even offer balconies that overlook the pool, ocean, or town. During our time at The Pearl, my family and I stayed in a Gulf View King Room (with sofa bed) that featured a balcony and ocean views.
If you’re wanting to get any even closer view of the gulf, The Pearl provides free beach setups just a few steps away from the hotel. Additionally, visitors can spend time cooling off in the hotel’s pool.
Although, it’s important to note that this is an adults only amenity. However, those vacationing with little ones have plenty of pool options.
Families traveling with kids can enjoy one of the public pools in Rosemary Beach, or they can drive over to the Watersound Beach Club to use the amazing pools and amenities there. (More on this awesome spot below!)
If you work up an appetite while on the beach, visitors staying at The Pearl have access to the onsite restaurant, Havana Beach Bar and Grill. You can also order room service from the restaurant.
Additionally, guests have several more options for restaurants that are within a 5-minute walk of the hotel in Rosemary Beach. The town of Seacrest also offers restaurants and sits just over a five minute walk away while Alys Beach dining options are located just a 15 minute walk from The Pearl Hotel.
During wedding season, The Pearl often hosts receptions in the lawn between the hotel and the beach. While we initially found this tent to be an eyesore, we quickly realized we would be able to enjoy the live band from our balcony.
They were unbelievable! And this ended up being one of the highlights of our trip! Also, they stopped playing at around 9:30, so the music didn’t affect our sleep at all.
You can read our full review of this gorgeous boutique hotel in our Review of The Pearl in Rosemary Beach.
Watersound Inn is located within the gated Watersound community on 30A. This hidden gem features only eleven rooms and sits just a short walk away from private beach access.
Each room at Watersound Inn includes a king bed, large bathroom, full kitchen, dining area, and living room (with sofa bed). The rooms also offer large balconies and some even boast gulf views.
We loved the spacious accommodations at the Watersound Inn as well as the access to a washer and dryer, which are included in each room. Since the rooms offer full kitchens, you can visit the nearby Publix to purchase groceries for dining in.
If you would rather eat out on your vacation, Bruno’s Pizza is located in the same building as the inn and offers a great menu. Additionally, The Big Chill sits just a short walk away from the hotel. This trendy area features multiple restaurants, bars, shops, and live entertainment.
The best part about staying at the Watersound Inn is that you get access to the exclusive Watersound Beach Club. Since this private club is available only to owners or guests at select hotels, it’s a great place to escape the crowds.
Beach setups are included with your stay, and the beach here feels fairly secluded and quiet compared to other areas along 30A. Not to mention the sugar-white sand and crystal clear water!
It also features rare coastal dune lakes that provided additional water for kids to play. Plus, the Watersound Beach Club provides two massive pools, a lazy river, and two great restaurants.
WaterColor Inn and Resort
The WaterColor Inn and Resort is a perfectly placed hotel near Grayton Beach State Park in Florida’s popular 30A area. The town of WaterColor is a meticulously maintained beach community that offers several restaurants and shops, which sit just outside the Inn.
Additionally, the town of Seaside is located around a ten-minute walk away from the resort. While in Seaside, guests can enjoy multiple dining options, live entertainment, and several shops.
Although, if you stay at the WaterColor Inn, you don’t even need to leave the premises in order to enjoy food and entertainment. The resort boasts several onsite restaurants, including Fish Out of Water, Gather Kitchen and Bar, and WaterColor Grill.
All of the rooms at WaterColor Inn feature balconies with views of the sand dunes or gulf. And, while the first floor rooms may not offer views of the ocean, they do provide easy walk-out access to the pool and beach.
WaterColor Inn guests receive exclusive access to the hotel’s pool, which was rarely crowded during our trip. You can also order food and drinks from Gather Kitchen and Bar to enjoy right on the pool deck.
In addition, Inn guests can use the pools at WaterColor Beach Club as well as those at Camp WaterColor and throughout the WaterColor community.
WaterColor is a good place to visit with little kids as you can basically walk everywhere you need to go without needing to mess with car seats. Just note that the beach can get busy during high season.
You can read our full review of this gorgeous hotel in our Review of the WaterColor Inn. In that post, we provide tips and photos to use as a guide when visiting this amazing resort.
The Lodge 30A
The Lodge 30A is located in the Seagrove community and is a great option for those looking for more budget friendly accommodations in the area. This new hotel features regular rooms as well as more spacious suites, and all rooms at the hotel include kitchenettes.
The Lodge 30A offers a pool onsite, but guests can also pay extra during booking to add-on access to the exclusive Watersound Beach Club.
The Seagrove area of 30A is continuing to develop with the new Greenway Station sitting just outside the hotel. Once complete, Greenway Station will offer multiple dining options and shops for visitors to enjoy.
Camp Creek Inn
Camp Creek Inn sits in the Watersound community by Camp Creek Golf Course. While not located directly on the beach, this brand new hotel will offer access to the Camp Creek Pool, which features a water slide, lazy river, and restaurant.
After opening in August 2023, Camp Creek Inn will feature various types of rooms and suites. Some will also include balconies that overlook the golf course.
Additionally, Camp Creek Inn guests will be able to dine at one of the hotel’s onsite restaurants. Or, visitors can make the short drive over to Watersound Beach Club, which is an included amenity for guests at Camp Creek Inn.
Best Hotels near 30A
If you’re wanting to expand your search to just beyond the 30A area, the following resorts and hotels are worth mentioning:
Hotel Effie recently opened in the Sandestin area and sits right at the popular Village of Baytowne Wharf. This beautiful hotel offers modern rooms (some with balconies), multiple restaurants, and a rooftop pool.
Hotel Effie is a great option for visitors who want easy access to The Village of Baytowne Wharf. The free resort shuttle is also available to take you across the street to the beach and to other areas around the resort.
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa
The Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa is also located in the Sandestin resort area. This large hotel sits right on the beach and features indoor and outdoor pools.
The hotel offers several types of rooms that range from regular hotel rooms to suites. Many of the balconies have impressive views of the Gulf of Mexico as well. Just note that the beach can get crowded during peak season.
Guests at the Hilton can enjoy multiple onsite restaurants. You can also take the free shuttle to the other side of the resort area for additional dining and shopping options at Grand Boulevard and The Village of the Baytowne Wharf.
The Henderson Beach Resort and Spa
The Henderson Beach Resort sits in Destin, Florida beside Henderson Beach State Park. This beautiful resort offers multiple pools with lazy rivers, several dining options, and easy beach access.
The Henderson Beach Resort provides classically decorated hotel rooms and modern lofts similar to condos. The service at this resort is impeccable, and the common areas are all really grand and beautiful.
This hotel sits within a short drive of both Harborwalk Village and Destin Commons for those who want to venture out for additional food and entertainment options.
While my family and I thoroughly enjoyed our time spent at the 30A hotels mentioned above, we also like to rent condos and beach homes when traveling with an extensive group of family and friends. I like to use the VRBO website when booking vacation rentals on 30A and along the Florida panhandle as they offer a huge selection of properties.
You can narrow down your search results based on all kinds of preferences, including the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, amenities, etc. Additionally, we like to read the reviews from previous guests to learn even more about each property.
If you’re looking for a condo or beach house in the area, we highly recommend using the VRBO website to find the perfect spot for your vacation. You’ll find rentals of all sizes throughout the beach towns of South Walton County. In addition to the beach communities listed above, some of the best places to rent a home on the Emerald Coast include:
- Santa Rosa Beach
- Blue Mountain Beach
- Seacrest Beach
- Inlet Beach
- Panama City Beach
- Grayton Beach
- Dune Allen Beach
Each of these areas provides the perfect place for a beach getaway by offering pristine beaches, local shops, unique restaurants, and more!
Final Thoughts on the Best 30A Hotels
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with any of the resorts that sit along Scenic Highway 30A!
If you’re visiting the area on a couple’s trip or girls’ trip, you may be more inclined to book a stay at The Pearl in Rosemary Beach. The Pearl is located near lots of trendy restaurants and lounges, including a piano bar. While Rosemary Beach is certainly family-friendly, we noticed that most of the guests were adults.
The Watersound Inn is a great option for visitors looking to escape the beach crowds since it offers the most spacious beach. It’s also the best choice for a family vacation since the rooms include a ton of space, full kitchens, washers and dryers, and balconies. The easy access to The Big Chill and to the fun pools at Watersound Beach Club are just icing on the cake.
WaterColor Inn and Resort really can’t be beat since it offers gulf front accommodations, multiple pools and restaurants, and access to Camp WaterColor for the kids. Plus, its close proximity to Seaside and the WaterColor restaurants and shops make the WaterColor Inn a prime destination for visitors to 30A.
Furthermore, The Lodge 30A and Camp Creek Inn provide even more options for visitors looking to save money without skimping on amenities.
If you end up choosing one of the resorts mentioned on our list, we would love to hear your review of the property! We hope you have a great beach vacation no matter where you ultimately choose to stay!
Did we forget to include your favorite 30A hotel?
Where is the best place to stay on 30A?
Comment below to share with us!