If you follow along on Instagram then you know that Hal, Rory, and I took a quick vacation down to the Emerald Coast in search of sun and sand! I've also been eagerly awaiting a chance to visit some of the adorable seaside towns along the 30A highway (and join the 30A car magnet club!). The area is rightfully a hot tourist destination - we couldn't believe the colors in the water! No photo could really do it justice, so you're just gonna have to get down there yourself! Just be sure to plan ahead - rooms get booked almost as soon as they become available now that it's warm out!
Where We Stayed
Sheraton Bay Point Resort - Panama City Beach, the ultimate Spring Break destination, was not my ideal location. We chose this almost solely by the fact that it is pet-friendly and has a pet-friendly private beach - beaches that allow dogs are pretty much non-existent along 30A itself. However, it ended up being such a wonderful spot. Because it's on the bay, it isn't as busy as hotels in PCB proper would be - we felt like we practically had the place to ourselves! The advertised private beach is quite small, but it suited us perfectly (again, hardly anyone was there!) and Rory got to experience the beach with us! Also, there were avocado fries. Need I say more?
We popped by Rosemary Beach on the way to our actual destination on a 30A day-trip but almost didn't want to leave! It's a gorgeous, quiet area, mostly residential with the exception of The Pearl hotel. The European architecture is stunning and I wanted to stop in every little adorable store and restaurant. We grabbed caffeine and pastries at Amavida Coffee - a 30A area chain that has an incredible selection of teas (I had a coconut oolong that I might drive back to Florida just to have again...); some also serve Latin food, we later discovered. Definitely worth a visit. The beach at RB is only accessible by residential or guest codes, so no walking on the sand if you're just passing through. But Hal and I loved walking through the sleepy neighborhood and pointing out our favorite houses. Which was the majority of homes!
As peaceful as RB was, I would move to Seaside in a heartbeat! Traffic was a little messy coming in, and though it took a hot minute to find parking, the parking spaces were free! The traffic, it turned out, was partially due to Seaside's Saturday farmer's market, a darling semi-circle of tents around the city's center. Beach access is for everyone (except dogs) and is easily one of the prettiest beaches I've seen. I run the risk of babbling eternally about what I love in the town so here's a list of our most favorite things:
Sundog Books - Whether or not you typically visit bookstores, I'd pop in this one. It's got an incredible selection for it's size, including quite a few locally-inspired picks. I definitely couldn't leave without buying something.
The Seaside Style - Yes, it's the tourist shop for Seaside. But if it isn't the chicest darn tourist shop I've ever seen then I don't know what is. From Seaside tees to Supergoop sunscreen to French-style picnic baskets to elegant home decor... this place has it all! I wanted to buy everything in sight. There are a few around, but I wouldn't miss the one on the square!
Raw & Juicy - They have a food truck on the square, but across the street is their little oasis of a bar/shop where they serve up healthy and not-as-healthy coconut mixed drinks. I HAD to try the coconut prosecco, and we loved their boho sitting area behind the bar. So many people stopped us to ask about the coconuts drinks - obviously, a tropical vacation must!
Per*spi*cas*ity Shops - The most darling outdoor bazaar ever. I think it's owned/operated by Seaside Style, but it's so perfectly boho/beachy/Southern. Think espadrilles with tassels, flowy jumpsuits and caftans, and lots of straw bags.
Five Daughters Bakery - Admittedly the only food truck we stopped at in the line, and they aren't even really local to 30A (they're from Franklin, TN). But we (read: I) wanted doughnuts for the road the next day and boy did they deliver. I stuck with the theme and got their 100 layer "Emerald Coast" doughnut, a glorious croissant-esque confection filled with the most delicious coconut creme known to man, rolled in sugar, AND topped off with buttercream frosting and a white chocolate coconut turtle. Insert major heart eyes here. They're opening up in Ponce City Market soon and I can't wait to see what the local ATL doughnut will be!
There's way too much adorableness to take in on a trip as brief as ours was, so I am already planning our next trip back. Have you ever been to the 30A area? Did I hit on or miss something truly fabulous? Let me know!