Posted on 8/30/2022
"There is something magical about driving an epic car along the coast. It's the ultimate mind escape and freedom" – The Cars of 30A
Millions of people drive to the beaches of Destin and 30A every year. It's a beautiful place with beautiful roads and incredible vistas dotted by classic American beach towns just about every couple of miles. What the masses may miss is the absolute joy of driving on these incredible beach routes. There truly is little that compares with casually driving 26 miles past the crystal clear blue-green waters with the top dropped down. Driving your vintage Ferrari from Birmingham to the beach, as impractical as that may sound, could genuinely have some deeper rewards for your soul.
Here, there are plenty of instagramable places to meander. Seaside probably tops that list, but there are plent of options. From the covered walking bridge over Draper Lake in the west to the buttressed pillars of Alys Beach, countless quaint spots to stop and traverse by automobile. South Walton was practically designed for the leisurely drive. Starting very early on as a series of beach access roads for the turpentine industry, 30A was eventually fully connected, and finally, the north-south connectors were added. All make this the perfect place to park or ride, with easy access back to Highway 98 and Interstate 10.
You can still get in on the fun even if you don't have a historically significant automobile. With apps like Turo, one can rent any vehicle their heart might desire, for a few hours or the whole trip. You'll find all manner of Porsches, Maseratis, Land Rovers, and Mercedes at your fingertips. Any one of which would make the perfect canvas on which to paint your memories of the shore.
Destin Jeep Rentals is a local company that will bring you a clean late model Jeep, tailored for top-down motoring - and with an option to be packed with goodies like paddleboards and coolers. Best of all, as an Ocean Reef guest you get preferred pricing!
This opens the door, lol, to driving here in your Astro van and then posting pictures from the wheel of that Lambo (or Jeep). But don't get too ahead of yourself.
As usual, around these parts, the locals have some of the most unusual vehicles. So much so that Tabitha Miller and a few friends decided to curate a coffee table book about some of the best. Humbly titled the Cars of 30A, it takes a close look at a rainbow of vehicles belonging to locals. It's a beautiful piece, capturing them in their natural environment. It states it was created to take beach-loving car enthusiasts for a joy ride along the emerald coast and to see what some of the most influential business owners and locals choose to drive. Featured in the sand or in front of a modest, 6000-square-foot, four-bedroom beach bungalow, the cars are beautiful, and the images are visually stimulating. One of the best quotes in the book states:
"Cars are an extension and outward expression of ourselves ... and they are the best conversation-starters."
Petrol runs deep on these shores. Every month you can catch a Cars & Coffee event in Destin or Panama City, and you can always spot killer off-road vehicles on Grayton Beach, where locals are allowed to drive out on the bluff with proper permits.
Every spring, the Emerald Coast Exotic Cars Car Show brings together some of the hottest wheels in town; it's a must-see event that even includes a rally component, giving participants a chance to cruise the coast in style.
Just a few ideas to get your wheels spinning. First, choose who you want to go on a road trip with(most important). Next, pick a great place to stay at one of our 30A vacation rentals (you literally can't mess this step up - they are all great). Finally, take your favorite car, or rent your favorite car and ride the beach highway into great new memories.
We'll see you where the road meets the shore.