Say what? There are unpopular beaches along South Walton's famed 30A? If you've been here recently, you know that is certainly not the case. Or is it? Yes, it's true this special part of the Florida Panhandle is indeed one of the top destinations in the country right now (if not the world). However, with this diverse collection of tiny beach towns strung along the coast, some are indeed less popular than others. No, we didn't call them unpopular; Google sort of did.
We know many of you absolutely love the coastal communities contained in the following list of "unpopular beaches" along 30A. Trust us; we do too. And let's put down your pitchforks (and pick up our paddleboards). Google didn't really make this list - you did! Well, not you per se, but web surfers. So long story short, these are the least searched 30A communities. And, least popular, isn't a bad thing for many beachgoers. So, now you know the backstory - let's get to this already controversial list!
5. Inlet Beach
Inlet Beach is located at the far eastern end of Scenic 30A, just past Rosemary Beach. It has the distinction of being beside the Camp Helen State Park, which straddles land between the gorgeous gulf and Lake Powell - a giant natural treasure. Coastal Dune Lakes of this kind are very rare and found hardly anywhere else in the world. It features a creek-like tributary across the white dunes, which intermingles the salty gulf with fresh artisan spring-fed waters with ever-flowing tidal action. This tributary actually flows in each opposite direction depending upon the time of the day. An exotic mixture is created, which provides a highly unique natural habitat for abundant wildlife and a wide variety of fish. This lovely park setting spans across 180 acres providing opportunities to enjoy swimming in the gulf, beachcombing, lake exploration aboard paddleboards or kayaks, nature trail hiking, as well as both fresh and saltwater fishing.
4. Grayton Beach
Grayton Beach is probably not Googled often because it is actually well known since last year when a study conducted by "Dr. Beach" proclaimed it as the Best Beach in the United States. This distinction is an incredible tribute since the United States coastline covers 12,383 linear miles. The extensive criteria used for this study included natural beauty, sand quality, cleanliness, annual weather temperatures, number of sunny days, average water temperatures, sand and water color, the width of the beach, varieties of wildlife, vista views available as well as on-site amenities. This 2,000-acre park includes an extensive forest with towering pine trees, scrub oaks, magnolias, palmetto palms, rosemary bushes, lupine, and other wildflowers. The forested shores embrace Western Lake, which itself encompasses 100 acres and spans across to its connection to the open gulf. A nature trail follows a nine-mile loop around the water's edge and through the woods for adventurous hikers a well as rugged bicyclists. The northern forested lake shoreline can be seen when you cross over an isthmus on Scenic 30A, where it also provides a pristine glimpse of heaven as it extends over to the bright white dunes that border the jeweled waters of the gulf.
3. Seagrove Beach
Seagrove Beach is an Old Florida settlement that sits high up on a dune originally covered with groves of scrub oaks, rosemary bushes, and blue lupine flowers. It was established many years ago as a popular place to have a beach house after WW II in the late 1940s and borders the newer internationally renowned coastal village of Seaside. The dune top gulf front views are dazzling since this route is nestled beside thousands of acres of preserved woodlands that border the sugary white beaches which overlook the glittering jewel-toned waters. Seagrove Beach is the halfway point on Scenic County Highway 30A in between Dune Allen Beach and Rosemary Beach. This outstanding central location is minutes away from the picture-perfect coastal villages which have been newly established along this idyllic route. They are fun to explore since they feature wonderful restaurants, friendly beach bars, shopping adventures, delightful festivals year-round, outdoor concerts, and exciting seasonal firework celebrations.
Related article: The History of 30A Vacation Rentals
WaterColor is a wondrous coastal village that sits on the beautiful beach and forested shores of Western Lake. It is aptly named since, besides the glowing emerald-toned gulf, the coastal dune lake often mirrors sunsets on the usually serene watery surface, which provides a dazzling watercolor pallet. WaterColor was distinctively designed to have a golden Americana feel, reminiscent of an enchanting summer beach town from the early 20th century. Meticulous village planning is apparent in each individual neighborhood which includes custom-built homes, many with wide front porches or columned verandas and charming detailed architectural styles. The village center includes specialty shops, a café, a fountain waterfall, and the Watercolor Inn Resort with an award-winning Five Star restaurant known as "FOOW." There is a long, lush lawn bordered by a park and a flowing spillway that splashes down all along the side. Swimming pools are scattered throughout the lovely neighborhoods. There is a tennis center, an outdoor amphitheater for concerts with a lakeside pool, as well as an amazing boathouse on the lake with a dock, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards for fun.
1. Dune Allen Beach
Dune Allen Beach is the "least popular" sugary shoreline on 30A per Google searches, perhaps because the many people "in the know" are well aware of its understated natural beauty, laid back lifestyle, and awesome location! It is tucked in between the gleaming gulf and two precious coastal dune lake treasures where it adjoins the vast expanse of the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. This amazing state beach park covers 1,640 forested acres, which border the western edge of Dune Allen, just an easy stroll down the beach from our Ocean Reef Resorts vacation rental properties. It is named for the ancient sand dunes (and the Allen Family) that tower above the gulf besides this remarkable remote stretch of beach where you may spot dolphins frolicking in the distance. You can easily cross a cola-colored creek that flows to and from the gulf at the Stallworth coastal dune lake to walk beside the beach dunes for almost three miles in lovely relative isolation. The beach is wide open along the soaring dunes, and the old-growth natural landscape in the expansive forest is almost otherworldly. If you wish to hike the interiors of this park, the main entrance is right off 30A. Ten miles of scenic trails meander around two more coastal dune lakes named Campbell and Morris, where you may go fishing or explore the wildlife. Expect to see American Bald Eagles, Great Blue Herons, Snowy White Egrets, rabbits, raccoons, and an occasional fox. The vast rare unspoiled old-growth forests surrounding the lakes have an almost primeval look, and sometimes you can even see deer grazing on the sea oats near the gulf close to sunset.
Well, now you know that Google's "unpopular" 30A beaches can be another word for undiscovered treasures! Enjoy taking some time checking out our user-friendly Ocean Reef Resorts website. We have bird's eye views of each beach location, multiple images of our wide range of 30A vacation rental properties, varying seasonal rates, and calendar dates available to easily make your reservations. Pick your favorite for a fun family reunion at the beach, and come on down!
Keep reading: Why is 30A So Popular?