The Beaches of 30A
WaterColor: While 30A starts well before you reach WaterColor, the beach community atmosphere really doesn’t. WaterColor is the neighbor to my personal favorite, Seaside. What’s wrong with WaterColor? Absolutely nothing. Just know that when you rent a house you are going to be a little farther away from the water than my family likes. In the summer they have a farmers market which is a must visit. If you see a guy selling hush puppy mix you must stop and get a sample … yum! And, here’s what I would consider a fairly important note: I once stayed at the WaterColor Inn for an evening. It is beautiful. The bathrooms, however, are not “family friendly” unless, of course, yours is a family that likes to be able to see the person in the shower (while they are taking a shower) from the bedroom/sitting room. I asked ... all of the bathrooms are that way!
Seaside: The most famous, and my personal favorite, 30A community is Seaside. If you've even seen The Truman Show and thought … I wish that place was real … you're in luck. It is.
Here's the deal with Seaside. It's beautiful. It's charming. There are delicious restaurants. Adorable Houses. People riding their bikes through the streets. Outdoor movies. Outdoor concerts. An airstream trailer that serves snow cones. Picturesque doesn't even begin to describe it. There are also a ton of people. If you like seclusion, Seaside is not for you!
My Dad says the thing he loves most about Seaside is that no one cares what they look like - in his words "everyone knows how much you're spending to stay here so you don't have to get dressed up or try to show off." He's right. You don't. Most of the time it your uniform will be shorts, a tshirt, wet bathing suit, no makeup ... perfection. Getting "dressed up" for dinner often means a clean pair of shorts or a sundress and the glowing skin that comes from time by the water, not an hour spent in front of a mirror. If you're looking for "Laid Back Luxury" this is it!
Seagrove: Seagrove is probably the least develop of the communities on 30A, and I think they like it that way! Think individual houses for rent without the town square/restaurants/shops of Seaside and the neighboring communities. The good thing about being in Seagrove is that you’re just a short walk (or golf cart ride) away from the neighboring communities so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on all of the extras!
WaterSound: The total amount of time I’ve spent in WaterSound is exactly zero minutes so I don’t feel like I can comment on what it’s like at all. The WaterSound website describes itself as, “an extraordinary lifestyle community nestled amongst nature yet within 3 miles of the pristine South Walton beaches and Northwest Florida’s famed 30-A corridor.” I’d say the vibe I get is rustic luxury. If that’s your thing, you might want to consider it!
Alys Beach: Home to Charlie’s Donut Truck, Alys Beach is one of the most visually stunning of the communities on 30A. If you live for black and white cabana stripes then you’ll definitely feel at home here. My Dad, on the other hand, will not. While we’ve never stayed at Alys Beach we visit for donuts at Charlie's and Dad says that he feels like he would need to get dressed up to get coffee. (Side note: by dressed up he means that he doesn’t think he can wear his swimsuit to the coffee shop.) It may not feel that way at all when you’re staying there though. I’d certainly be willing to find out first hand! Here’s what I do know. Alys Beach has the same beautiful beach that all of its neighbors share plus some pretty Instagrammable spots. Dad might understand the appeal if he had Instagram!
Seacrest: Where Alys Beach is white stucco luxury, its neighbor, Seacrest beach (we haven’t stayed in Seacrest before) seems to be more of a Seaside/Seagrove combo. My main note if you’re considering Seacrest beach – or any of these beaches – is to make sure you know how far it will be from your house to the beach! Gulf View doesn't necessarily mean that you don't have a trek to the water!
Rosemary Beach: We’ve never stayed in Rosemary Beach before but I imagine it’s what you get if Seaside and Alys Beach had a baby. It’s visually … charming … and has the small town feeling of Seaside. Rosemary Beach has been named one of America’s most romantic small towns and you do get a more grownup vibe here so you'll want to keep that in mind if you’re planning a trip for the whole family!
Can you go wrong with any of these communities - or any of the others that our family has yet to explore that dot 30A? Absolutely not! Each community has its own personality and you are the only one that can decide which community, and which vibe, is right for you.
As my countdown to our summer trip to 30A begins, watch for a rundown of my favorite houses to rent, favorite places to eat, favorite shops, and my tips and tricks for making the most out of your trip to 30A. If you have questions, let me know. Dallas might be my home but 30A is my home away from home. I'll tell you anything you want to know … in exchange for a snow cone at Frostbites!