Travel Like A Local: Off-Season On 30A
Words by Laura Bento
What if I told you my favorite time to visit 30A is in November? High temperatures still float around the 70s, the bumper-to-bumper traffic has subsided, and what we are left with is the beauty of the coast and the secrets you can only uncover in the off season.
I have discovered that most of our Good Grit family (that’s you by the way, if you are reading this) has an affinity for the Florida panhandle. And why wouldn’t you? It’s beautiful, rich in culture, has an amazing food scene, is home to tons of events, and is ideal for family vacations or a romantic get away with the one you love. And some of the best memories you are going to make here will be in the months that don’t seem “beachy.” Over the years, during my countless visits, I have made so many lifelong friends who are native or at least claiming the “local” title to some of the many beaches along one of my favorite stretches of 30A. And thanks to these friends, I have discovered how to travel like a local here. The secret I am most excited to share is that you can do this spontaneously or plan it out, travel on a shoestring budget or be ready to splurge. A wild hair on Thursday can easily lead to being pampered at The Pearl with a view of Rosemary Beach on Friday…
Benefits of an off-season trip to the coast:
1. The traffic is gone! The traffic is gone! I mean, do we even need to go further?
2. Prices are a third- to half-off compared to the summer!
3. You can finally wear the lightweight beach sweaters you’ve been collecting.
4. Get in and out of your favorite restaurants with minimal waits–and maybe even finally get into Red Bar for brunch or watch the sunset from the deck and Bud & Ally’s Roof Deck Bar.
5. The weather is incredible. The temperature floats around the 70s this time of year.
6. Crisp evening temperatures make it the perfect time for bonfires on the beach!
7. Go for a hike at Grayton Beach State Park without risking dehydration.
Where To Stay:
The Pearl (Rosemary)
Hibiscus Coffee and Guesthouse (Santa Rosa)
The Henderson (Destin)
Henderson Park Inn (Destin)
Fancy Camp (Beachside glamping in Grayton and Santa Rosa)
Black Bear Bread Co. (Santa Rosa)
Red Bar (Grayton)
The Great Southern Cafe (Santa Rosa)
Fonville Press (Alys)
Havanna Beach Bar & Grill at The Pearl (Rosemary)
Donut Hole (Santa Rosa)
Grits & Grind (Rosemary
Sunset Bay Cafe (Destin
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate (Rosemary)
amici 30A Italian Kitchen (Inlet)
The Hub (kid friendly) (Watersound)
Food Truck Row (Seaside)
Stinky’s Fish Camp (Santa Rosa)
Old Florida Fish House (Santa Rosa)
The Bay (Santa Rosa)
Back Beach Barbecue (PCB)
Beach Walk Cafe (Destin)
Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer (Destin)
Everkrisp (Sandestin & Destin)
Chanticleer Eatery (Santa Rosa)
La Cocina Mexican Grill & Bar (Seacrest)
Shunk Gulley Oyset Bar (dog friendly) (Santa Rosa)
Cafe Thirty-A (Santa Rosa)
723 Whiskey Bravo (Santa Rosa)
Local Catch Bar & Grill (Santa Rosa)
Cuvée 30A (Inlet)
Pescado Seafood Grill & Rooftop Bar (Rosemary)
Boshamp’s Seafood & Oyster House (Destin)
Cuvée Kitchen + Wine Bar (Destin)
Marlin Grill (Sandestin)
Restaurant Paradis (Rosemary)
Slick Lips Seafood & Oyster House (Sandestin)
Vin’tij Wine Boutique & Bistro (Miramar)
Bud & Alley’s Rooftop Bar (Seaside)
Sundog Books (Seaside)
Willow Boutique (Rosemary)
Gigi’s Fabulous Kid’s Fashion & Toys (Rosemary)
Nicole Paloma (Santa Rosa)
Alys Shoppe (Alys)
Margaret Ellen Bridal (Rosemary)
Things To Do:
30A Bike Rentails (Various Locations)
Arnett’s Gulfside Farm and Stables (Santa Rosa)
30A Farmers’ Market (Year-round) (Rosemary)
Grayton Beer Company (Grayton)
Regatta Bay (Destin)
Justin Gaffrey Gallery (Santa Rosa)
The Honey Hutch (Santa Rosa)