30 Best Things to Do on 30A in Florida

shops in Santa Rosa

Looking for the must-do activities to add to your 30A bucket list? Well, we’ve got you covered!

The Florida panhandle is home to the beautiful Emerald Coast, which features many quaint beach towns and serves as the perfect vacation spot for families, couples, and singles.

Scenic Highway 30A has become a really popular destination for those visitors looking for super soft sand and amazingly clear water. Not only do the beaches provide family friendly play areas for kids, but the towns along 30A also offer lots of activities and entertainment options for guests of all ages.

In this post, we will provide our top picks for the best things to do on 30A in Florida. You’ll learn about all the hot spots to add to your trip plans, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun in 30A!

Shop at Gulf Place Town Center

Located in Santa Rosa Beach, Gulf Place Town Center features shops, restaurants with live music, and stores with ice cream and candy. Depending on the dates of your visit, you can even take part in the Gulf Place Wine Walk.

Gulf Place town center

This recurring event takes place on the third Thursday of the month and features live music, wine tastings, food, crafts, and more. You can check out the events calendar before your trip to see if Gulf Place Town Center is offering any special activities during your visit.

Visit Grayton Beach State Park

Grayton Beach State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks on the Gulf of Mexico. This spot that’s located off of Scenic Highway 30A boasts beautiful beaches with white sand.

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beach travel planner

This is the perfect place to visit on your Florida vacation if you’re looking for outdoor activities. Grayton Beach State Park offers experiences like paddle boarding, fishing, boating, camping, and more. You can even enjoy lunch at the picnic tables on sight.

Walk the Timpoochee Trail

The Timpoochee Trail stretches along Scenic Highway 30A and allows you to easily access the various communities on foot. You can follow the Timpoochee Trail to the nearest ice cream shop or just explore the area on foot.

Timpoochee Trail on 30A

Since the trail is paved, it’s a great spot to get in a daily run or jog. Additionally, this pathway easily accessible with a stroller if you have a baby or toddler in tow.

Swim in a Fancy Pool

If you reserve a hotel or rental property with a pool, you can take breaks from the beach to enjoy a swim. If you’re looking for the absolute best pool experiences on 30A, we highly recommend checking out the Watercolor Resort or the Watersound Inn. Both of these luxurious resorts feature elaborate swimming pools that offer lots of beachfront amenities.

Boogie Board

My family and I never visit Florida beaches without boogie boards in tow. You can find available options to purchase on Amazon, but I find the prices to be much higher than those in the local stores. On our last trip, we found boards for around $5 a piece at the local Publix grocery store in 30A.

Visit Gulf World Marine Park

The nearby town of Panama City Beach is home to Gulf World Marine Park. This fun attraction features various animal viewing opportunities. Additionally, visitors can pay extra to participate in dolphin encounters as well as experiences with other animals.

dolphins at Gulfarium in Destin

On another note, if you plan to spend time in the Destin area, the Gulfarium in Fort Walton Beach is another great place to visit. You can read our full review of our experience at this aquarium by checking out our post on Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park.

Rent Bikes

You will find many different shops along 30A that offer bike rentals for reasonable prices. You can easily ride bikes from one town to the next, which allows you to forgo the need for a vehicle or fight for a parking spot.

Additionally, many of the beach house rentals on 30A come with bikes that are free to use during your trip. When searching for rentals in the Scenic Highway 30A region of Florida, my family and I like to use the VRBO website.

bike rental on 30A

VRBO allows you to search available rental properties while narrowing down your results by number of bedrooms/bathrooms, price, location, etc. You can also specify certain amenities like houses with private pools or rentals with golf carts.

This is a great way to secure plenty of space for your vacation as most of the properties include full kitchens and laundry rooms. I particularly like to use VRBO to read in-depth reviews of a property before renting it.

We have always been incredibly pleased with the condos and homes rented through VRBO. If you want to price out available rentals for your travel dates, you can check out VRBO-Vacation Rentals by Owner.

Paddle Board

Similar to renting bikes near the beach, you can pay a small fee to use paddle boards and kayaks on the water. Some of the rental companies even deliver them to you, which is hugely convenient when you’re on vacation!

Hang at The Big Chill

The Big Chill (formerly known as The Hub) is a laid back spot in Watersound that features restaurants and shops. You can order food and grab a spot outside on the gathering lawn. The Big Chill offers entertainment and special events throughout the year, including crafts, face painting, yoga, family movies, and live music.

Go Fishing

In some of the less crowded areas along 30A, you can fish directly on the beach. On our last visit to Santa Rosa Beach, my family and I saw others setting up fishing poles right on the sand. You will also notice fishing opportunities at many of the beachfront state parks in the area.

Marvel at Alys Beach Architecture

The Alys Beach community is located between Seacrest and Rosemary Beach. This unique community features all white architecture that transports you to the Greek Isles.

Raw and Juicy in Alys Beach

The town of Alys Beach is also home to to popular dining spots like George’s and Charlie’s Delights.

Take Sandcastle Classes

For a fee, you can sign up for classes and learn how to build extravagant sandcastles. Although these private learning opportunities don’t come cheap, they are super popular for kids and adults visiting the area. Since my kids are small, we haven’t tried the sandcastle lessons yet, but it’s definitely on our summer bucket list.

Catch a Performance at Seaside Amphitheater

Visit the town of Seaside to dine at one of the amazing restaurants or to grab food from one of the airstreams. The Seaside Amphitheater often features live music and and entertainment. 

Seaside Amphitheater

During special nights in the summer, you’ll also find family-friendly outdoor movies at the Seaside Amphitheater.

Hang out at the Village of Baytowne Wharf

Located in Sandestin, FL the Village of Baytowne Wharf features lots of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. You can dine at one of the many venues or grab food and beverages to enjoy as you stroll through the streets.

zip line at village of baytowne wharf
Zip Line at the Village of Baytowne Wharf

Kids love the carousel, arcade, and adventure zone at Baytowne Wharf while adults enjoy Rum Runners dueling piano bar and other live entertainment that takes place each evening. For more information on this popular spot, we highly recommend checking out our Review of the Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin.

Shop at Grand Blvd Towncenter

Also located in Sandestin, Grand Boulevard Towncenter is a popular area offering shops and restaurants. This trendy spot also features a splash pad with fountains that kids love to run and jump through.

Eat Ice Cream

You’ll notice the town centers along 30A tend to offer quaint, little ice cream shops. These small stores serve as a great spot to cool off or to just enjoy some tasty treats.

printable beach planner

In addition to the ice cream shops at Gulf Place Town Center and in Watercolor, check out Blue Mountain Beach Creamery for some delicious treats. You can even find special adult-only flavors!

Fly Kites

In the evenings, we love to take time to fly kites right on the beach. I bought the kite below from Amazon several years ago, and it’s super easy to use. The kids love watching the dolphin shaped kite fly through the air. 

Visit Eden Gardens State Park

Check out the natural beauty of Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach for some hiking, paddling, or fishing. You can also tour the beautiful Wesley House and gardens at this Florida state park.

Watch the Birds

I have to admit that I typically don’t take time to watch and appreciate birds in my own backyard.

Things to Do on 30A Pin

However, bird watching at the beach is a totally different story! My whole family loved watching the pelicans and seagulls hunt for food by diving right into the ocean over and over again.

Build a Beach Bonfire

Guests at the WaterColor Inn can book a beach bonfire to enjoy during their stay. The resort will organize and set up the bonfire for you to enjoy at the time of your choosing.

Watercolor Beach Club Pool
Watercolor Beach Club Pool

Additionally, guests in the WaterColor Resort community have access to exclusive amenities like the Beach Club, Camp WaterColor, and more!

Play on a Playground

If you are visiting the 30A area during a time of year with mild weather, you can visit one of the community parks to experience lots of fun on the playground equipment.

Camp Watercolor Playground
Camp Watercolor Playground

The community of Watercolor provides a playground beside their Camp Watercolor Pool, but you can also find public playgrounds in neighboring towns as well.

Attend an Event

As mentioned above, make sure you check out the local event guide before your trip to Florida. You will often find free entertainment like musicians, festivals, farmers’ markets, magicians, and more. 

Stroll through Rosemary Beach

The Rosemary Beach community is such a cute, quaint place, and you’ll definitely want to spend some time here. The various shops and restaurants in the town offer plenty of options for brunch, lunch, and dinner. The Farmers’ Market is also a great event to attend as you’ll find all sorts of merchandise and food items for sale. While you’re in town, check out the iconic Pearl Hotel.

Search for Crabs

You can often find sand crabs running back into their holes in the sand while on the beach during the day. If not, take a flashlight down to the beach at night, and your kids will love watching all the crabs running around just after sunset.

Find Coastal Dune Lakes

30A is home to several coastal dune lakes where the lake water sometimes runs into the ocean. These rare dune lakes are super interesting finds and are great for bird watching.

Build Sandcastles

We typically drive to the 30A area for our family vacations, and we like to pack our sand toys in the car. Just a few sand pales and shovels can provide hours of entertainment for kids on the beach.

mesh bag of beach toys

 *Mom Tip- store your sand toys in a mesh laundry bag like the one pictured above. It helps make it super easy to rinse off all the sand. The strap also helps make carrying the bag back and forth much less of a hassle. Plus, this laundry bag is super easy to pack in your beach bag.

For more packing tips, you can check out our post on what to pack for the beach. This article also includes a free printable beach packing list.

Search for Shells

As you walk along the beach or sit in the sand, take time to search for seashells. You can often find tiny shells right where the water rushes onto the sand.


The 30A area is close to several golf courses, including the exclusive Camp Creek Course at Watersound. If you’re planning a golf getaway in 30A, we recommend checking out the Camp Creek Inn. Guests of this resort can enjoy easy access to the golf course along with access to the new Camp Creek pool and Watersound Beach Club.

Take a Hike

Take time to hike at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, which is located right on the beach near Santa Rosa Beach. Spending time at Topsail allows you to get in your daily steps while enjoying beautiful scenery.

Walk on the Beach

If you don’t get to visit the beach often, take time to enjoy your surroundings by strolling along the sand. While on your walk, you may even find additional spots or communities to visit on your next trip.

Final Thoughts on 30A Activities

The beach towns along 30A offer so many fun things to do for families and visitors of all ages. No matter which town you choose to visit on your Florida vacation, you’ll find all sorts of family friendly restaurants, entertainment, and activities.

shops with text overlay 21 Things to Do on Florida's 30A with Kids

Whether you enjoy taking part in active outdoor activities like hiking and paddle boarding or you’re more interested in lounging by the pool or beach, the towns along Scenic Highway 30A have something fun for you!

Plus, you’ll find that it’s super easy to drive, bike, or even walk between the beach communities on 30A. This means you can experience all the fun activities that each town offers. What are your favorite things to do on 30A? Comment below to share them with us!

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printable beach planner

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