What Does 30A Mean in Florida
Highway 30A means a scenic roadway that has a special designation because of the natural beauty along the route.
Florida has some photogenic beautiful drives on highways around the state. None are more picturesque than Highway 30A in the panhandle of Florida. When you hear 30A, you know this is a designated Florida Scenic Highway.
Beaches on the Gulf, quaint towns, colorful homes, unique restaurants, and some of Florida’s best state parks are packed into this scenic Highway 30A in Florida. This is eye candy for photographers and fodder for even the pickiest tourists.
Why is Florida’s Highway 30A a Dedicated Scenic Highway?
Around the state, from the 100-mile plus drive from Key Largo to Key West in the south to the far north drive between Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach in the far north to Highway 30A in the west, there are 27 Florida Scenic Highways.
We haven’t quite traveled them all, but most are near the most postcard-perfect parts of Florida. Highway 30A is 28 miles long with 24 miles of it designated as a Florida Scenic Highway.
We have captured the details of scenic Highway 30A that most travelers want to know.
Map Of Highway 30A
What To Do on Highway 30A
We cannot describe the multitude of opportunities for every imaginable outdoor activity along this Scenic Florida Highway 30A. Plenty of beach sports, hiking, people watching, biking and picture taking.
The most popular things to do are;
- Visiting the many beaches along 30A.
- See the colorful homes and commercial structures designed just for this area.
- Shopping at the many quaint retail locations.
- Biking and/or hiking the many trails.
- Enjoy the many culinary treats along the colorful path.
Highway 30A Beaches
It could be arguable, but it is highly doubtful that any other 24 miles in Florida has more beaches. It seems the whole drive is one big beach. However, different towns, beach communities, and state facilities have their own access and amenities.
The most popular beaches along scenic Highway 30A – mile by mile with public access are;
Inlet Beach – From east to west, this is the first beach along Highway 30A. There are two public accesses after the turn onto 30A from Rt. 98.
Rosemary Beach – This beach is mostly private but has one small public access point near the eastern end of the beach.
Seacrest Beach – Public access is available near Seacrest Drive and two more access points further west. A popular beach with locals and tourists also.
Deer Lake State Park – Traveling west, you will go over a small bridge at Camp Lake Creek and a few blocks west look for Deer Lake State Park. The beach at the park is overshadowed by the long boardwalk and big rustic grass flats. There is a $3 fee per vehicle.
Grayton Beach State Park – As you drive through the town of Seaside and community of Watercolors, you will come to one of the best state parks in Florida. Grayton Beach State Park has it all. A large public beach, expansive campground, cabins, grass flat dunes, a lake access, kayaking, trails and much more. One of our favorite beaches along Highway 30A.
Blue Mountain Beach – A mile west of Grayton Beach is one of the more popular communities along Highway 30A. Blue Mountain Beach gets its name from the 65-foot-high sand dunes that appeared like a mountain to early explorers. This is a relatively less crowded beach with public access points on ends.
Dune Allen Beach – Another 30A community with identical attributes – beautiful homes, sun-drenched beach, turquoise clear water and waterfront activities. Great place to rent a bike.
Topsail Hill Preserve Beach – As Highway 30A turns slightly northward back to the junction of US Rt. 98, we would be remiss not to describe Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. Not only does Topsail have over 3 miles of pristine, forever-preserved white sand beaches, but the park has over 10 miles of trails. If you are a camper, this is the place where you can go “glamping”, pull your favorite camper or pitch a tent. Topsail is a very large state park with the capacity for just about any type of recreational activity. One of the less crowded of the beaches along Highway 30A.
Other Beaches Along Highway 30A
While the most popular beaches on Highway 30A are listed above, there are a dozen more. Some are small private beaches located behind condominiums, resorts and home associations. The entire Highway 30A corridor is in demand by people looking for short-term rentals for vacations in north Florida.
Popular Restaurants on Highway 30A
Our listings are again from east to west along Highway 30A or just off hwy 30A.
Cowgirl Kitchen – Multiple locations along 30A, but the one at Rosemary Beach is also a hangout for locals.
Crabby Steve’s – If you want something right on the Gulf, try Crabby Steve’s (if you can find a place to park?). West end of Rosemary Beach.
The Citizen – Near Aly’s Beach, a private community beach, is Citizen’s. They call it coastal cuisine, but it is a refreshing place away from the sun and bustle.
The Big Chill – This aptly named location is a place for families. There are multiple choices and a common area. Choose tacos, burgers or ice cream – it’s all at The Big Chill.
Ambrosia Prime Seafood & Steaks – For a little more upscale dinner, Ambrosia is known for their quality and service at dinner. They are off Watersound Parkway which is far west on Rosemary Beach. Near Rt. 98, it’s worth the drive.
Old Florida Fish House – When you reach Santa Rosa Beach, look for the Old Florida Fish House. The name is exactly what it is. Lunch and dinner will find a menu of oysters and fish.
The Perfect Pig – Just down the road from Old Florida is The Perfect Pig. While they do have some seafood, this is a place for some items other that something that swims. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Bud and Alley’s – The view from the deck is worth the visit. Pizza to tacos are on the menu.
Stinky’s Fish Camp – Don’t let the name throw you. This is one of the best restaurants in Santa Rosa Beach. Just ask the locals.
The above restaurants are the ones we recommend. However, there must be over 100 choices on this 24-mile scenic highway in Florida. We haven’t tried them all, but happy to get your favorite recommendations.
The Amazing Timpoochee Trail Along Highway 30A
One of the most unbelievable things about Highway 30A is the Timpoochee Trail. This 18-mile stretch of asphalt-paved biking and walking path runs parallel to the roadway. The name comes from an influential Indian Chief who lived in the area long before we settled the panhandle.
One of the fun things to do is to walk or bike this pathway. You get an up-close look at the towns, homes, shops, restaurants and novelties. The pathway runs from Seaside to the Topsail Preserve.
There are numerous locations where you can rent bikes, regular and electric. You can spend an entire day exploring the Timpoochee Trail.
Much More To Do on Highway 30A
One blog post cannot describe the many sights of Highway 30A. From colorful architecture, beaches, magnificent parks, sand dune bluffs, trails of all types and vibrant communities, you could write volumes about each.
Don’t forget the four unique Florida State Parks on Highway 30A. They are some of the best in the state. Fees generally are per vehicle, not persons. They range from $3 to $6.
Stop at one of the restaurants. Get a box lunch of your choice and head into one of the parks for a picnic.
If you travel Florida, this designated Florida Scenic Highway 30A must be on your bucket list.