Things to do on the Emerald Coast of Florida

View from our balcony!!

The little area communities along 30a all offer a host of free entertainment, especially during the summer months. Thesee things include free outdoor repertory theater (sort of a not-to-miss thing there) at least once or twice a week as well as live bands/musicians. There are also usually some additional events going on like farmer’s markets or art showings. Check the events tabs of these websites for details of what is going on when you are there:

  • There is also an app called 30A with current event and restaurant info.

Sunsets on the Beach are the absolute best! (though morning coffee, morning walks, and even storms all are special here)

Other things that are a little off the grid include a 1/2 day canoe expedition of a spring fed little river. It’s a good hour(ish) drive away. Very cool but not something I would do if I was only there for the weekend. It’s called Econfina.

If you get tired of walking the gorgeous beaches and want to hike something completely different, try Conservation Park. Its only 25 minutes from our condo and offers views of flooded woodland swamps with plenty of elevated sidwalks. Bikes are welcome as well.

In Seaside, a little beach side restaurant called the Shrimp Shack offers oysters, shrimp, and drinks right on the beach…hard to beat!

Renting Beach Gear:

Dillon’s Beach services – We love Dillon’s Beach services for beach chairs, they are the only company that is permitted to place rented chairs on the beach in front of the building. Our building has an exclusive contract with Dillons’s. If you choose to rent beach chairs, umbrellas & tables please call them at 850-259-5849. They will also set up a bonfire on the beach for you and your friends!

Babies-n-Town – Crib, stroller, high chair & bike rentals. P.O. Box 1790, Santa Rosa Beach, 850-267-2346

Big Daddy’s Bike and Beach Sports – Bike, kayak, boat, and beach rentals and sales. 2217 W. Co. Hwy. 30-A, Blue Mountain Beach, 850-622-1165

Big Fish Bike Rentals – Bike rentals. 4042 E. Co. Hwy. 30-A, Seagrove Beach, 850-231-1343

Butterfly Bike and Beach Sports – Bike, kayak, boat, and beach rentals and sales. 3657 E. Co. Hwy. 30-A, Seagrove Beach, 850-231-2826

Dining — Lots of options!!

Watercolor Restaurants:

Honestly, I’ve only eaten at one place in Watercolor because I love it so and can’t go elsewhere. It is called the Wine Room. Has a small but mostly healthy, clean interesting menu and a fabulous flourless chocolate cake. They also have a wine shop right next door. There is also the upscale Fish Out of Water restaurant which is water front.

Seaside Restaurants:

In the main U driveway of Seaside there is a wine & sushi bar I like and a little gourmet type grocery called Modica Market. It should be noted that Modica Market serves rather large & delicious mimosas with fresh squeezed OJ.

Also at Seaside are about 4 airstream trailers right in the front – all with great eats.

Across the street on the oceanside of Seaside there is a little open air burger joint and an open air taco/mexican place. BUT my favorite little open air/oceanfront place is the Shrimp Shack. You walk through and order your oysters (I like the shack special) and then remove your shoes, walk across the sand to the gazebo overlooking the sea oats and the ocean right behind the place – they’ll bring your oysters right out to you. Can’t be beat.

Next to the Shrimp Shack is Bud and Alleys – a famous place there – the second restaurant opened on 30A. They have a nice restaurant downstairs and an open-air bar with appetizers upstairs.

While perusing the shops at Seaside (kind of a must on your first visit) do not walk past SunDog books. They are right on the main U of the Seaside driveway thing and have the most fabulous books and funny cards. There is a staircase in the back that leads to an old and unique record shop. I LOVE that store.

If you are with younger ones (or for those young at heart) there is a nifty little toy store called Duckies – has a lovely and inventive, imaginative selection of toys, sundries and such that are always interesting. I stop in pretty much every time I am there.

Finally – back behind all the shops and eateries in the U driveway are a bunch of little artist and gift shops (everything from ice cream to fancy soaps to unique gifts to actual art can be found back there). They are quite lovely to stroll through.

Alys Beach Restaurants:

There is an excellent airstream-type donut shop that people love.

There is also a fancier restaurant called Caliza that I have not been to but is supposed to be fabulous.

Then there is George’s which has excellent grouper sandwiches at lunch.

Rosemary Beach Restaurants:

Rosemary Beach has a fancier restaurant called Paradis . There is also the Summer Café.

Additionally if you head down the little street near Paradis (which will be on the ocean side) there is a little tapas place on the right called La Crema (tapas and chocolate). They have inventive little meals (last time I was there I had red grapes rolled in some soft white cheese and then wrapped in crushed almonds) and deelish chocolate desserts.

Next to La Crema is Cowgirl Kitchen – a sorta standard little tex mex place for a quick meal.

Down the street just a bit is a nice swanky bar with bites as well.

Across the street is brand new hotel with an excellent bar and restaurant.

Finally, right in that same area is the Sugar Shack. We like to ride our bikes down there in the evening – it has pretty much every candy that has been produced since 1950 to today

Restaurants of note that are not in one of the 4 main resorts:

Borago in Grayton Beach is about 1/2 mile west of Watercolor and is very, very good. Mostly Italian.

Cafe Tango is about 3 or 4 miles ish west of Watercolor and is likely the very best restaurant on 30A. It’s situated in a little old house and has very little seating so a reservation is recommended. This and Caliza are probably the two best/fancy (or as fancy as one gets at the beach – meaning no need to dress up but they are quite serious about their food) restaurants on 30A.

Picalo Red Bar – what to say about Red Bar. It’s Red, the band is loud, is NOT fancy, the menu is only about 6 entrees depending on what they pulled up onto their boats that day, it’s a locals type place and it’s packed to the gills on weekends and such. Anyone who knows 30A knows and loves Red Bar. (Update: Sadly, in 2019, Red Bar burned down. No one was hurt thankfully. They are working on the rebuild now!)

The Hub:

They have opened up a new conglomeration of little open air restaurants surrounding a big seating area which all face a stage and huge screen about 1 mile from Seamist. It is called The Hub. Great place to catch a game and get a variety of yummy options.

As always, we would love to have you stay at one of our two Jackson Hole Condos. You can book on Airbnb, VRBO, or on our site,, for the best rates.

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