Favorite beach destination in the US- scenic highway 30A! While many have never heard of this tiny stretch of white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, those who have rarely share the secret. It’s a picturesque jewel in between crazy busy stereotypical beach tourist locations (Destin and Panama City). The best way I think to describe it is by asking if you’ve ever seen the movie The Truman Show? Ok, now that you’re remembering the picture perfect town (or you’ve clicked _2990.jpg” rel=”attachmenthe link and caught pictures of the town) you should know that that town actually exists. The town in The Truman Show is actually Seaside, Florida, right in the heart of 30A.
Growing up my family has visited this area for one week each summer. Those vacations hold some of my favorite memories of my family, minus the long car drives in of course. Then roughly 6 years ago on one of my family trips here my boyfriend at the time drove into town, took my to a fabulous dinner in Watercolor, and then proposed on the very beach in front of the restaurant. The area will always hold a special place in my heart and I’m excited to share a few of my favorite spots with you.
These are my must eats!
1. The Great Southern Cafe, Seaside, FL- This restaurant has one of my all time favorite dishes. This is a rather serious statement of course coming from me. I love this restaurant so much on my most recent trip it felt so much like coming home to a familiar memory of my childhood, I didn’t even remember to take a picture of my food. Sometimes drinking that moment in is worth more than a picture, so I’m really hoping my description gets this across to you. You have to order the Grits A Ya Ya. This dish is so amazing, I actually had my caterer use this recipe to serve at my wedding…its that good.
2. The Perfect Pig Gourmet Market, Santa Rosa Beach, FL- Don’t let the “Gourmet Market” fool you, this is an absolutely fabulous restaurant. Good, fresh, local ingredients are used to make unique but familiar dishes. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner they will have something new to surprise you with. This is one of the few places you will find many locals dining at the tables around you in this tiny restaurant. When you come for dinner the restaurant takes on a wonderfully warm feel with twinkle lights covering the bar area.
3. Georges at Aly’s Beach, Aly’s Beach, FL- Aly’s Beach is like the Santorini of 30A. Seriously if your having withdraws due to the shakeyness of the Greek economy and missing your Euro vaca spot, head to Aly’s Beach. Anyone at Aly’s Beach would tell you, George’s is a can’t miss while your in town. I don’t think I’ve eaten a single bad meal at this eatery but after this last trip I have to give a shout to the watermelon and tomato salad with the grilled greek cheese (appropriate for the setting, right?). The salad is light and fresh and a fun spin on some of your favorite summer ingredients.
4. Fish Out of Water, WaterColor, FL- This restaurant is where I had dinner before my husband drug me out to the beach in a cocktail dress for the sweetest most genuine proposal any man has ever given. While my memories of things like eating my first soufflé here may cause me to have some bias (One of their signature desserts, of which the flavor changes daily), this restaurant is actually that good. The grilled dish pilled high with lobster, fish, and a couple shrimp is ridiculously good. I had a mocktail take on a berry mojito on this last trip that was ridiculous. Either way for a special night out, request a good seat on the deck, take in the fabulous views, and make sure to order the evenings souffle before you check out!
Places you can’t miss for a little shopping while in town, completely unique to 30A.
1. Perspicacity Seaside, FL- A fabulous beachside open air market like you’ve never been to before, Expect to see fabulous beaded necklace, fun tunics, and a few Free People dresses. Truly a Seaside market, I can’t imagine it being anywhere else.
2. Shops at Rosemary Beach, Rosemary Beach, FL- Possibly one of the newest and tiniest shopping spots on 30A is shops that line Rosemary beach. You get a touch of European flair with this picturesc town. Its truly gorgeous and there are so many darling shops I can’t possibly nail it down to one.
3. The FUSS Boutique, WaterColor, FL- Great sundresses at great prices! If your noticing your lacking a little color in your wardrobe once you hit the beach, this is the place to grab a hot pink sundress to wear to dinner.
4. Sundog Books, Seaside, FL- This store is my go-to to grab a good beach read while I’m in town. Make sure to check out the fabulous record store up stairs as well, again a truly unique to Seaside merchant. Oh and I’d recommend picking up a copy of the Good Grits cookbook (Written by the owner/ chef of The Great Southern Cafe) in their local author section. One of my all time favorite Southern cookbooks! I’ll leave you with a quote from their weekly changing chalkboard hanging on their porch.
Enjoy the jewel that is 30A!