Travel Guide to 30a Florida with Kids


30a with kids is a trip that should be added to your travel list! One of our family’s go-to trips is to South Walton, Florida – more popularly known as 30a Florida. 30a is the 24 mile scenic highway running from Panama City Beach to Destin in the panhandle of Florida.

Ultimate Family Travel Guide to 30a Florida with Kids

Hugging the Emerald Coast, with white sand and turquoise water, this 30a route is unique in that it has 12 individual beach communities each with their very own personality and flair (here is a map to get a better layout of the land). *Scroll down to get a brief snapshot of the communities I am most familiar with!

Guide to 30a with Kids Florida TravelGetting Around 30a with Kids

We drive 16-17 hours from Wichita, Kansas every year to 30a. We love having car access because we like to explore all the different communities, though you do not need a car to get around 30a. If you do not have a car, many of the rentals come with golf carts or bikes (though some communities do not allow golf carts).

If your rental does not come with bikes or a golf cart, I highly recommend getting one of the two to get to the beach. (We always go with a bike rental place near where we are staying with strong google reviews). And if you plan to stay in the community you are in, you can walk most places as well!

Where to Stay in 30a with Kids

Until you get a feel for the area, it can be a bit overwhelming on deciding where to stay because you can’t exactly search 30a in AirBnB or VRBO because 30a is not a city. You really have to narrow down by beach or town. 

Where to stay really depends on which community you want to visit, the vibe you are going for (sharing some thoughts below on each community), and I strongly recommend staying somewhere near beach access especially if you have little ones. Depending on the community, many of the entry points are private beaches or do not have spots to park a car or golf cart – which simply means many walk to the beach. So as you are looking up where to stay, be sure to look at a map for beach access points or ask the host of the AirBnB or VRBO.

30a with kids
  • Our go-to spot is a home rental in Seagrove (technically the address is Santa Rosa Beach). We have stayed in a neighborhood called Grove by the Sea for several years with another family and love everything about it! There are pools (which is a daily visit after our trip to the beach), and it is a bike ride from Seaside and a walk to the beach (we drop the little ones off with all the beach gear and a parent or two via golf cart and then an adult takes the golf cart back home and walks to the beach). 
  • If you have little ones or are looking more for a resort vibe, a really great option is the Watercolor Inn in Watercolor. You have direct access to the beach and multiple pools, but you also have access to Camp Watercolor which has 2 pools with slides, a lazy river, delicious poolside food, and a fun little walkup pool bar. And it’s within walking distance of Seaside.

Tips for Navigating 30a with Kids:

  • Book early! Any of the homes along 30a fill very quickly, especially in summer months (most popular months). 
  • Most house rentals are Saturday to Saturday. So if you are hoping for a weekend trip, your best bet is Watercolor Inn, The Pearl in Rosemary, or The Pointe 30a
  • Know going in, the 30A area is one of the pricer areas in Florida. It’s stunning though!

  • Early is better at the restaurants when you can’t make reservations.
  • Expect long lines at the grocery story (mid-week is less busy). We often order our groceries in advance and either pick up or have delivered! We love to frequent the local seafood shops too. Buddy’s is a frequent stop for us – highly recommend the smoked tuna dip. 
  • Expect rain. It rains almost 3-4 days we are there, but the storms tend to roll through. And then you will have the most unbelievable clear waters afterward!
  • Be on the lookout for sea life – it is all around! We have seen sea turtle nests, dolphins, crabs (“crab hunting” at night on the beach is a must!), land turtles, and so many sand dollars at the sand bars.
  • I do recommend chair and umbrella rentals if your accommodations do not include.
  • Beach evenings are so much fun! They are less crowded than the daytime, and we love to fly kites and look for ghost/sand crabs when it gets dark. 

Now let’s get to know the area a little better. These are the places I personally am most familiar with! 


WATERCOLOR | 30a with Kids

This darling, family-friendly area has beautiful homes and condos for rent, along with my personal recommendation, The Water Color Inn which offers more of a resort vibe (great for young kids)! The Inn has several pools, delicious restaurants, and has direct access to the beach which is such a plus with kids, and our favorite part was access to Camp Watercolor which has slides, a lazy river, and a pool cabana with food and beverage. And complimentary bikes are included in your stay – our family uses bikes everywhere we go! And Seaside, where a lot of 30a action takes place, is a short walk from Watercolor.

Watercolor Inn

Watercolor Favorites: 

  • Fish Out of Water for incredible dinner with a view 
  • The Candy Bar is a must-stop for the kiddos for unique little treats. 
  • Watercolor is also where the Publix market is located! 
  • We loved everything about Water Color Inn (for a more resort feel). 

SEASIDE | 30a with Kids

The OG beach town of 30a, Seaside is picturesque yet casual, served as the backdrop for the movie “The Truman Show”, and really is the center of all the 30a action. With its darling town square, iconic 30a post office, row of airstream food trucks, shops, and restaurants – it can be one of the more popular places to hang out making it crowded at times and difficult to find a parking spot. Seaside has gotten busier over the years, but it’s still such a great spot for families, especially if you stay in one of the towns on either side and can walk or bike over. 


Seaside Favorites: 

  • Bud & Alleys great daytime spot for delicious pizza or tacos with casual outdoor seating (and they also have a rooftop deck with a beach view). 
  • Any of the food trucks along Airstream Row are delicious!
  • Nigel’s Frozen Bananas is an absolute must with their insanely delicious chocolate dipped frozen bananas and toppings. Just trust me. We typically make 3 or more trips for a sweet treat. 
  • Black Bear Bread Co. has incredible baked goods and coffee. We love to ride our bikes here in the mornings. 
  • Duckies is the iconic toy store and Seaside Style has uber popular Seaside sweatshirts.

ROSEMARY BEACH | 30a with Kids

Rosemary is breathtaking and has a high-end yet approachable, laid-back European vibe. With tree lined cobblestone streets, a local book shop with daily story time, tennis club, outdoor dining, a charming town square, and a Sunday morning farmers market – it’s hard not to adore Rosemary Beach! You will see a lot of bicycles in Rosemary as there are no golf carts allowed in this community. This is such a great spot for families as they have town square family events and movie nights (you can pick up little calendars with lists of family things to do in the book shop or in boutiques around the area). 

*Pro Tip: I’ve heard from friends to stay in Seacrest as it is a very short walk to Rosemary and lodging can be a little bit less expensive. Seacrest also has Pizza by the Sea which is delicious! 

30a Florida with Kids


Rosemary Beach Favorites: 

  • Amavida and 3rd Coffee for delicious iced lattes and caffeinated beverages.
  • Sunday morning Farmers Market is a must with fresh beverages, produce, treats, and handmade goods. 
  • Gallion’s for dinner (suggest making a reservation and trying the pineapple margarita), Cowgirl Kitchen for casual lunch or dinner, La Crema for dinner (and order the fondue for dessert – a hit with the kids!), and Sugar Shak for ice cream. 
  • Crabby Steve’s was a hidden gem we stumbled upon (this is technically Sea Crest I think but we walked from Rosemary Beach). You can only access it from the beach, and it is open until 2pm. I highly suggest as it was quite the experience – the kids loved it!
  • Playa Bowls are a must. I crave these everyday of the year after leaving Rosemary. 
  • GiGis Toy Store is a must-top for our family with unique and adorable toys. 
  • Storytime at the Hidden Lantern Bookstore is always a fun activity. 

ALYS BEACH | 30a with Kids

There is no mistaking the moment you enter luxurious Alys Beach (pronounced “Alice”) with its unique white architecture and coastal Mediterranean vibes. With a bit of a members-only atmosphere, there is no access to the beach without being a resident or guest. Providing eye candy everywhere you turn, Alys undoubtedly has the most stunning backdrops and Architectural Digest-worthy homes. And it has a cute little park our kids love to run around (right next to a delicious smoothie spot). 


Alys Beach Favorites: 

  • Raw & Juicy has the tastiest smoothies and acaí bowls, perfect after a bike ride into Alys. Also right next to the cute little playground. 
  • Charlie’s Delights used to be a food truck called Charlie’s Donuts near a splash fountain (that typically sold out each morning by 9am), but it’s grown over the years and is now a donut shop with the BEST donuts. 
  • Citizen is delicious (I’m still dreaming about the whipped goat cheese appetizer) and George’s is a 30a must! No reservations allowed at Georges so my best advice is to begin standing in line at 5pm and put your name on the list! 


I couldn’t possibly cover all the ground along 30a, but there are still a few more spots I feel like I can’t gate keep! So a few more favorites:

Grayton Beach Favorites: 

  • Badass Coffee has incredible caffeinated beverages. 
  • Hurricane Oyster Bar is a quaint little unique oyster bar. 
  • The Red Bar is quite unique, and you really just have to see it yourself. 
  • Rock Paper Scissors is an adorable walk-in art studio, perfect for a rainy day. We love this place and are frequent visitors!

Seagrove, The Big Chill (formerly The Hub), & Blue Mountain Beach: 

Angela Green
Angela is the founder of Wichita Mom, the premier parenting website and digital guide for families as they navigate life in Wichita, KS. She is a wife, business owner, avid reader, proud gymnastics & dance mom, Peloton lover, and is always planning her next trip.


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