Have you ever heard of the 30A scenic route in Florida? It assumed the nickname the “Hamptons of the South” because several celebrities like Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon call it home. The name gives you an idea of how amazing the place is, not to mention that a number of stars own beach houses there (including Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson). This 38km road runs along the seafront of the Florida Panhandle between Destin and Panama City, with paradisiacal beach views of the Gulf of Mexico. Imagine walking along miles of crystal clear beaches.
To mark the launch of new episodes of Wanderlust: Florida, a series airing on The Weather Network starting February 20, I’m offering a four-stop itinerary to explore this scenic route on your own.
1st stop: Destin
Start your journey to the 30A highway from Destin! This beach destination is recognized as the “luckiest fishing village in the world.” If you are adventurous, you can book a fishing excursion or explore the seabed with a snorkel in the bay. If you’re into shopping, head to Destin Commons. If you want to take it easy, you can walk the famous HarborWalk Village.
2nd stop: Sandestin
After shopping at Silver Sands Premium Outlets, continue your adventure to Highway 30A, stopping for the night in Sandestin. To spoil yourself, stay at the Hotel Effie and experience the elegance of the South.
Nomadic Tip: By booking a night at this hotel, you’ll have access to the only rooftop pool in Northwest Florida. IIt’sthe perfect spot to work on your tan!
Take the opportunity to enjoy a gourmet meal at the Ovide restaurant. Get ready for a grand culinary adventure led by Georgian celebrity chef Hugh Acheson.
3rd stop: Seaside
It only takes a few minutes of driving to get onto the majestic 30A highway from Sandestin. Make sure you stop in the town of Seaside! With a modern vibe, Seaside is known for its divine beachfront, various restaurants and food trucks in the central plaza. The pretty, colourful houses create the quintessential backdrop for a model beach community.
Nomadic Tip: Get yourself a coffee at Amavida Coffee Roasters, Florida’s best organic coffee!
If this place sounds too good to be true, you are right! This residential area was featured in the famous blockbuster film The Truman Show!
Nomadic Tip: You can visit several of the locations used to film scenes for The Truman Show! You can even go to the Truman House, located at 31 Natchez Street in Seaside. The owners have kept house number 36 above the door just like it appeared in the movie. You can see where Jim Carrey bellowed his customary “Good Morning!”
4th stop: Rosemary Beach
Towards the end of State Road 30A, you will fall in love with Rosemary Beach. The architecture and overall energy will transport you to a small Mediterranean village. It feels like Spain or Greece! At Rosemary Beach, you can treat yourself to upscale casual dining or browse clothing boutiques, art galleries, bookstores and more!
Rosemary Beach has been named one of “America’s Most Romantic Small Towns” by CNN. This chic seaside town will charm you with cobbled streets and winding paths. The beach is obviously beautiful too!
Nomadic Tip: Rent a bike from Bamboo Bicycle and explore the neighbourhood. The pretty wooden paths will lead you to incredible villas.
As you will see in the Wanderlust: Florida series, the beaches of the Emerald Coast are breathtaking and waiting for you to explore!
Want more inspiration from off-the-beaten-track destinations in Florida?
- This breathtaking four-part docuseries will blow your mind with stories of unique destinations in Northwest Florida narrated by the people who live there. Don’t miss this new series on The Weather Network!
You can also plan your next trip via:
This article was originally written in French and adapted in English by Britney Claveau.