The Best 30A Beach Rentals for Every Budget
Looking for the perfect 30A beach rental? Florida’s Highway 30A is full of beautiful beaches and quaint seaside towns, so it’s tough to decide where to stay on 30A. We’ve rounded up the best 30A beach rentals for every budget on Florida’s Emerald Coast to help you decide.
On the Florida panhandle, nestled between Destin and Panama City Beach, lies a secret little place with clear emerald waters and pure white sandy beaches. It’s called ’30A’, and if you haven’t been eyeing it as your next beach getaway, you definitely should start.
30A gets its name from Highway 30A, the stretch of road that runs along this beautiful piece of coastline. And while the most coveted section of 30A is only 10 miles long, it’s surprising just how many unique beach towns you’ll find along it’s path.
Looking for a 30A beach rental that’s perfect for your family? Let’s break down the best 30A beaches and why you should consider each:
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30A Beach Rentals: The Best 30A Beaches
If you’re planning a trip to 30A and want to visit multiple beach cities, you’ll most definitely want to have a rental car secured in advance. While you could hypothetically bike the whole 30A, it’s a long journey to take with kids. We love to book with RentalCars.com for it’s guaranteed low rates and flexible cancellation policies.
But, where should you base yourself? Starting from the west and moving east, here’s the best 30A beach cities to discover in search of your perfect 30A beach rental:
Are you looking for chill, surfer vibes? Perhaps a more local type of experience? Then Grayton Beach may be perfect for you.
This tiny enclave carries a ‘too cool for school’ kind of vibe, but if you can snag a beach rental in this secluded community, you won’t be short on things to do.
And with Grayton Beach State Park next door, you’ll have plenty of outdoor activities to explore beyond the typical beach scene.
Seaside (& Watercolor)
If you’re looking for the classic 30A beach city experience, look no further than Seaside! The original master planned community along Highway 30A, the town was founded in 1978 with just a handful of simple cottages built for beachside summer vacations.
Today, Seaside touts itself as a “way of living”. Seaside’s beach is public and easy to access, making it great for families who want a no-fuss experience. The town square is a happening central meeting point, lined with ice cream shops, restaurants, airstream food truck eats, and beachy shops.
Parking is extremely limited in Seaside, so be sure to book a place with a parking spot if needed and plan to spend the rest of your time getting around by walking or bike.
Beachfront Hotels in Seaside/Watercolor
Watercolor Inn & Resort ($$$$) | In neighboring Watercolor, you’ll find Seaside’s only true “hotel”. Guests at the beachfront Watercolor Inn are just a few steps away from Seaside and enjoy the perks of 6 on-site bars and restaurants, 5 outdoor pools, a playground, and childcare services.
Compare Prices at: Hotels.com | Agoda | Booking.com
Like Seaside, the stretch of Seagrove Beach along 30A runs right along the beach, making access a breeze. But this area is missing a bit of that quaintness you’ll find in other 30A beach cities, as it lacks one central “town square” area.
That said, there are a ton of private condo and house rentals in this area, many at budget-friendly prices. With plenty of beach access points along the highway, the beach is just a short walk across the highway, making it ideal for families wanting a low-key vacay. We also loved that is was close enough to Seaside that we could ride our bikes into Seaside any time wanted.
READ MORE: Packing List for a Family Beach Vacation
The quite gated community of Watersound is a bit more tucked away and off the beaten path. You’ll find a lot of families here in an area with quieter beaches a bit more of a suburban family-friendly neighborhood kind of feel.
If you plan to leave Watersound and visit the neighboring cities along 30A, you’ll definitely want a car for ease of travel. Or hunker down and hang out at The Hub when you want some time away from the beach. This lively area calls itself the “greatest backyard party of all time” with it’s mix of shops, restaurants, and outdoor entertainment.
Beachfront Hotels in Watersound
WaterSound Inn ($$$) | Families wanting to take advantage of nearby Deer Lake State Park should consider a stay at the WaterSound Inn. This boutique hotels features bright, modern decor, a pool, 2 restaurants, and is a short walk from nearby nature activities.
Compare Prices at: Hotels.com | Agoda
Travel a little further down 30A and you’ll reach Seacrest, a small community of brightly colored home and condo rentals. Like Seagrove Beach, Seacrest doesn’t have much of a central “downtown area” but it’s close enough to the upscale towns of Alys and Rosemary Beach that you could easily bike over for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Plus, most of the beach rentals here are right by the public beach access, which is located a short walk away over Highway 30A.
If you’re looking for luxe accommodations, look no further than Alys Beach. This super swanky new development looks like it’s straight out of a movie set.
There’s no doubt, Alys Beach is gorgeous. With perfectly manicured lawns and stunning, bright white homes inspired by the architecture of Bermuda, it’s a place like nothing we’d seen before. And the town boasts quite a few places worth checking out too, from arguably 30’s best restaurant, George’s at Alys Beach, home decor shops like MAST, and the nearby Alys Beach Nature Trail.
Just be prepared to spend a pretty penny to stay in this coveted community. Rentals are managed directly through the town property management.
Last but not least is Rosemary Beach, a 30A favorite by visitors and locals alike. While still rather upscale, Rosemary Beach is much more approachable, with a “main street” kind of feel and plenty of dining options for foodies.
The architecture is a mix of the South meets Europe, with a variety of influences that give it a sort of Caribbean feel. The beach here is beautiful, but private, so you’ll have to be staying at a Rosemary Beach property to have access to this exclusive bit of 30A.
Beachfront Hotels in Rosemary Beach
The Pearl Hotel ($$$$) | Looking for a luxury hotel experience in Rosemary Beach? The iconic Pearl Hotel is just that. The beautiful hotel sits across the street from the beach while still being close to all the downtown eats and shop. Or, indulge in the rooftop restaurant, hotel pool, or spa.
Compare Prices at: Hotels.com | Booking.com
Got questions about 30A beach rentals? Leave them in the comments below!
planning a trip to 30a?
Here’s a few final tips…