30a is a road that basically runs along the gulf of mexico through some of the prettiest communities and beaches. we picked it up in rosemary beach and went down as far as watercolor which is a resort and planned community. we stayed in watersound, another community that is still being built up, that's pretty much in the middle of rosemary and watercolor. the whole area has white sand beaches - literally - and gorgeous homes. it was a designer's dream to drive through these communities and nose around. :) the whole area is filled with young families and everyone was so friendly. it's not "old" florida like you would find in naples or in lots of the east coast.
rosemary beach is probably the most established and has a hotel and a really cute downtown area with shops and restaurants. as you head west you reach alys beach which is just getting off the ground but the architecture and vision for this community is incredible. the pics i got were on the only cloudy day so i've taken some from their website.
alys is clearly going to be under construction for a while but it will be SO cool when it's done. our jaws dropped as we drove through for the first time.
keep going west and you hit watersound where we stayed. it's a bunch of gated communities with some seriously gorgeous homes.
some of the houses had actual gas lanterns - so charming - i fell in love.
the houses were all connected by boardwalks for walking/biking and also separate beach boardwalks for golf carts. here's the view looking back from the golf cart boardwalk.
and that sand!!!
just before you get to where we stayed is this cool 70s style (but brand new) development called the hub that had a bunch of restaurants, a bar, and a big outdoor theatre. it was like nothing we have around here! we sat out on the turf one night and watched a movie on the big screen with the kids. i'm sure they have some great concerts there as well.
inside a restaurant - those are cement tiles on the wall!
the next area going west is seagrove and then seaside. we fell in love with seaside. it is just so cute. on the main drag there are a bunch of food trucks but not trucks so much as refurbished airstream trailers. amazing! and then a great shopping area behind with some seriously good stores. on the other side of the road is more retail, including a really cool outdoor market, and a couple of restaurants and then the beach!
and further west is watercolor which is as far west as we went on 30a. it's another planned community - a large one - well established and is part resort and part homes. we would definitely consider staying there if/when we return to this part of florida. they have pools, the beach, restaurants, tennis, etc.
the whole area is also hugely pro biking (like bicycles). and i mean like cruiser bikes not like the cycling fanatic types. i think i'm just so drawn to all of the outdoor living and cool things that we would never find at home like a popsicle shop.
overall we loved it. the whole area is super family friendly and the design is to die for. even the interiors of the restaurants were cute. as with any place there are drawbacks and for us one was the amount of construction going on. the sheer amount of building in the area is insane! we wouldn't stay at watersound for another couple of year until the houses are really mostly finished being built out. another drawback, at least from the northeast, is the travel to get there. no direct flights (panama city beach is the closest non-private airport) so it was a bit of a hike. the weather though was perfect - april is a great time to go. february would be too cold i think.
is 30a on your travel list now?!
p.s. TGIF. longest week ever - i was convinced that yesterday was friday ugh! have a great weekend!!