9 Very Best 30A Beaches For a Memorable Vacation in 2023

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By Erin
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Looking for the best 30A beaches? Living in Florida most of my life, I’ve spent countless hours at the beach. Let me help…

I love taking a beach vacation on 30A. This says a lot since I live near some of the top-rated beaches in the US, such as St Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach. However, there is something unique and special about the beaches along 30A.

Perhaps it’s the combination of white sugar sand, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and the laid-back, charming atmosphere of the small coastal towns. I also love biking along scenic trails and exploring the beach towns of 30A.

As Jimmy Buffet once said, and I’m apt to agree:

“If there’s a heaven, I’m sure it has a beach attached to it.”

Jimmy Buffet, Beach Sayings β›±

Located along the Gulf of Mexico, the 30A beaches are known to be some of the best in the United States. They’ve got crystal-clear waters and powdery white sands, all nestled among the charming beach towns of Northwest Florida.

Regardless of your plans, you’ll find something for you along Scenic Highway 30A. Here’s my round-up of the absolute best 30A beaches you should have on your radar when planning a visit, with all the important details to make a spectacular weekend.

πŸ“30A Beaches Map

What are the beaches in order on 30A? Starting from west to east, here are the best 30A beaches:

  • Inlet Beach
  • Seacrest Drive Beach Access
  • Seaside Pavillon Access Point
  • Grayton Beach State Park
  • Blue Mountain Regional Beach Access
  • Ed Walline Regional Beach Access
  • Dune Allen Regional Beach Access
  • Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

While most of these beach areas are considered part of Santa Rosa Beach, each varies and has a different vibe. Some are located within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and bars, while others are remote and require transportation.

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Santa Rosa Beach

santa rosa beach with beautiful sugar sand and clear water waves

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Ed Walline Regional Beach Access (4447 W Scenic Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: Free!

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Santa Rosa Beach is expansive, having more than ten access points with varying amenities. From Ed Walline Regional Beach Access, there are restrooms, picnic shelters, and ample free parking. This access point is also ADA-accessible and you can get beach wheelchairs here.

🐬 Pro Tip: There’s a viewing platform from which you can view the beach and the ocean. It’s an awesome spot to people-watch and look for dolphins!

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse

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Seaside Beach

Seaside Beach Access in Seaside Florida.  Beautiful blue cabanas in the distance sitting next to the turquoise water.

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Seaside Pavilion (E County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: Rental costs $80 & up + parking fees

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Seaside Beach is primarily a private beach for those that appreciate a chic experience.

It has public access, but it’s not free. To visit, you must reserve a spot and rent beach chairs. The price varies, but they’re typically in the $80 & up ballpark.Β Β Parking is also at a premium.

Nonetheless, the somewhat exclusive access does mean that the beach is pristine and tranquil. It’s great for lounging, swimming, and paddle boarding.

This is my favorite beach for a partial beach day since it’s surrounded by delicious restaurants, cute beach shops, and places right out of the Truman Show to see too!

🍹 Pro Tip: Seaside Pavilion, where the beach access is, is right by Bud and Alley’s. It’s an excellent spot for a drink at sunset.

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Watercolor Inn & Resort

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Blue Mountain Beach

Best 30A Beaches photo at sunrise with beautiful pink peach colored sky and white sugar sand with an empty beach.

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Blue Mountain Regional Access (2365 W County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: Free!

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Blue Mountain Beach has restrooms, picnic areas, and a rental facility for beach essentials. There are also lifeguards during peak season. This is an especially great spot to try fishing in the coastal dune lakes. Big Redfish Lake, Little Redfish Lake, and Draper Lake are all clustered together on the beach.

πŸš— Pro Tip: The parking lot is pretty small considering how popular the beach is. If you’re not staying within walking distance, try to get here early.

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse

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Dune Allen Beach

Dune Allen Beach

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Dune Allen Regional Access (5999 W Scenic Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: Free!

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Located towards the western end of 30A, Dune Allen Beach is delightfully secluded. It’s 1.5 acres of tranquil beachfront with restrooms and a lifeguard station.  I love it because I prefer quieter beaches.

To recharge after a full day of swimming, kayaking, or doing nothing, just go across to Stinky’s Fish Camp for Southern seafood and live music.

🏞️ Pro Tip: Budget your time to allow for a visit to the nearby Topsail Preserve State Park.

🏨 Recommended VRBO Nearby: Gulf Place Caribbean

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Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach with beautiful sand dunes and fence along the shore.

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Grayton Beach State Park (357 Main Park Road, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: $5

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

The best stretch of Grayton Beach is inside Grayton Beach State Park. Not only is it an incredibly scenic park, but it also has plenty of amenities. There’s a boat ramp, shower facility, and picnic pavilions. There’s also a campsite that accommodates both tents and RVs. On a boat or paddle board, you can explore both the Gulf of Mexico and Western Lake.

πŸ—ΊοΈ Pro Tip: If you plan to hike the nature trail, make sure to pick up one of the self-guide leaflets at the ranger station. 

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hibiscus Coffee & Guesthouse

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Seagrove Beach

Seagrove Beach

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Deer Lake State Park (357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: $3

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Plenty of Florida beaches have greenery around them, but the magnolia trees at Seagrove Beach are especially beautiful. Similarly to Grayton Beach, Seagrove Beach is at its finest within the grounds of a state park: Deer Lake State Park. 

This is a peaceful beach with basic amenities: bathrooms and a picnic area. You can lounge, swim, hike the nature trail, or try surf fishing.

🩴 Pro Tip: The stretch of Seagrove Beach within Deer Lake State Park is a quarter-mile boardwalk away from the entrance of the park. It’s a nice walk but not ideal if you plan to carry a bunch of stuff, so it’s best to pack light.

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Seagrove Highlands

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Seacrest Beach

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Seacrest Drive Beach Access (8514 E County Hwy 30A, Panama City Beach, FL 32413)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: Free!

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Admittedly, the public areas of Seacrest Beach don’t have great amenities. There are restrooms and showers but no parking. There is, however, a bike rack. Rent a bike and head on over! If you prefer to travel by car, it might be difficult to visit. In my opinion, however, the quiet and intimate atmosphere makes up for it.

Seacrest Drive Access is a half-mile from the mellow Camp Creek Lake. Stop by for a round of golf at Camp Creek Golf Club.

🚲 Pro Tip: At the beach access, you’ll see a sign that says “Seacrest Beach Access” rather than “Seacrest Drive Access.” You’re in the right place, the sign is just misprinted.

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Watercolor Inn & Resort

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Topsail Hill

Topsail Hill Sunset at Santa Rosa Beach

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park (7525 W. Scenic 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: $6

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park boasts 3.2 miles of untouched beach in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. There are basic amenities like restrooms and showers, but that’s just scratching the surface. This park has a fully decked-out campground with tennis courts and a pool. This is one of the top state parks with a campground in Florida.

Topsail Hill gets its name from the sand dunes that are shaped similarly to a ship’s sail against the turquoise waters.

A tram runs to the beach for easy access from the park’s main area. There are also several guided tours and ranger-led programs you can participate in. You’ll also get plenty of opportunities to see wildlife, including bird-watching and a rare, Choctawhatchee beach mouse.

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘¦ Pro Tip: Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is best suited for families with kids, as there are lots of family-friendly activities and tours.

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: Hotel Effie Sandestin

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Inlet Beach

πŸ–οΈ Best Beach Access: Inlet Beach Regional Access (438 S Orange St Center, Inlet Beach, FL 32461)

πŸ’Έ Admission Fee: Free!

Why This Beach Is Worth Visiting

Inlet Beach Regional Access is the largest public beach access in the county in close proximity to Rosemary Beach. There are over 100 parking spots! There are also restrooms, three dune walkovers, and lifeguards during peak season. 

Inlet Beach is to the far east on 30A, near Panama City Beach. There is an artificial reef just off the coast of the beach. Needless to say, it’s great for snorkeling and scuba diving!

This is one of my favorite beaches because of its proximity to one of my favorite beach communities, Rosemary Beach. This quaint village has plenty of excellent restaurants and its oozing in charm!

🐒 Pro Tip: Inlet Beach is perhaps one of the best Florida beaches for spotting sea turtles. The artificial reef helps to attract wildlife, including dolphins and sea turtles.

🏨 Recommended Hotel Nearby: The Pearl Hotel 

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Where to Stay in 30A

I wouldn’t blame you if reading about all of the awesome beaches on 30A leaves you unsure of where exactly to stay. Any beach community in the area would make a great home base, but I’d recommend Santa Rosa Beach if you’re looking to explore other areas, such as Destin and Pensacola.

Santa Rosa Beach is one of the largest beach towns along 30A, with plenty of attractions and restaurants. It also has some of the best public beach access in the area, including ADA-accessible areas. 

The town is towards the west end of 30A but is centrally located in terms of where the action is. Sandestin and Miramar Beach are to the west; Topsail Hill and Grayton Beach are to the east.

However, if you’re looking for a quiet getaway and a high-end experience, then you’ll want to consider Watercolor Inn or The Pearl Resort in nearby Rosemary Beach.

Helpful Tips for Visiting 30A Beaches

You could walk onto any of the 30A beaches and have an awesome time, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Consider the off-season for a more tranquil beach vacation. The beaches of 30a feel quaint but they’re far from hidden gems. Many get crowded in the summer. Consider visiting during spring or fall. Winter on the Emerald Coast is pretty darn nice, too!
  • Rent a bike or golf cart. These are the two best ways to get around the 30A beaches. Bikes are especially great, as they allow you to skip the traffic that comes with peak season.
  • Double-check the location of your prospective accommodation. Addresses are confusing along 30A. As you might have noticed, Santa Rosa Beach is the de facto address of many of the various beaches and beach communities. Check to make sure that your accommodation is really where you think it is!

Frequently Asked Questions on 30A Beaches

What is the best beach along 30A?

The top beaches along 30A are primarily located in Santa Rosa Beach:
Inlet Beach (Inlet Beach)
Seacrest Drive Beach Access (Santa Rosa Beach)
Seaside Pavillon Access Point (Seaside)
Grayton Beach State Park (Santa Rosa Beach)
Blue Mountain Regional Beach Access (Santa Rosa Beach)
Ed Walline Regional Beach Access (Santa Rosa Beach)
Dune Allen Regional Beach Access (Santa Rosa Beach)
Topsail Hill Preserve State Park (Santa Rosa Beach

What is the white town in 30A?

Alys Beach is a cute white town in 30A. Every detail is pristine, with white-roofed houses and white walls with gorgeous Bermudan architecture. The homes were styled after Antigua, Guatemala but with a more rustic modern feel.

What is the cutest town on 30A?

The cutest town on Florida’s emerald coast truly depends on your style and preference, but Rosemary Beach, Seaside, and Alys Beach are frequently ranked at the top of the list.

What is the least crowded beach on 30A?

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a top choice when it comes to uncrowded beaches in 30A. It boasts 3 miles of untouched beaches, along with 1,640-acre state park to explore.

How far is it from Topsail campground to the beach?

The beach at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is a little over a half mile (.70 miles) from the campground. However, it is easily accessible by the state park tram provided that runs on the hour that drops you off in front of the boardwalk. You can also choose to walk or bike.

Final Thoughts on Best 30A Beaches

Visiting some of the most beautiful beaches on 30A is a wonderful way to unwind and experience the beauty of the Gulf Coast. With their stunning white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and unique coastal towns, you’re destined for an unforgettable vacation experience.

So if you’re traveling on 30A, head down to the public beach access that suits you best. These beaches are among the finest in the Florida Panhandle. And if you’re like me, you’ll look forward to returning year after year.

If you’re traveling throughout Florida, you may want to check out my other beach articles on some of my other favorite beach getaways, including Pass-a-Grille, Madeira Beach, and Indian Rocks Beach.

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Authored By: Erin
Welcome to Erin’s Travel Tips, a Florida Travel Website. I specialize in unique family travel destinations, outdoor getaways in Florida and beyond! I’m a proud Floridian who loves a good cup of coffee, boating, and of course, traveling with my family to some of the most interesting places in the world.

4 thoughts on “9 Very Best 30A Beaches For a Memorable Vacation in 2023”

  1. I love the beaches on the Gulf coast, although I haven’t been there in a while. And the seafood is as good as the beaches.

    Reply
  2. I am 100% a beach girl and this list is super helpful! I’m definitely saving it so I can start planning my next beach trip. Thank you so much! In a perfect world, I’d be able to take a long road trip and hit them all!

    Reply

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