What is 30A?

More than Just a Road

Posted on 12/9/2016

Scenic 30A is a sensational two lane county road in South Walton that meanders along the shores of the Emerald Coast, which is famous for being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!  This scenic corridor hugs the forested sugary shoreline offering spectacular views of crystalline white sands and the luminescent glowing waters of the jewel toned gulf. Scenic 30A begins just east of Sandestin in Santa Rosa Beach where it jogs down to the coast from Emerald Coast Parkway. It crosses through the picturesque charming beach side communities of Dune Allen, Blue Mountain Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Watercolor, Grayton Beach, Seaside, Seagrove Beach, Watersound, Alys Beach, Seacrest and Rosemary Beach. Many of these relatively new coastal villages were preplanned to perfection creating their own unique individual personality with architectural designs and lifestyles. Ocean Reef Resorts has been representing fine vacation rental residences along this route for 35 years.

Scenic 30A has an esteemed double distinction. First of the state specially selected this route as a one of a favored few Florida Scenic Highways due to its natural beauty. Secondly, this gorgeous route travels beside shores that are designated as a "Blue Wave Beach", which is the nation's highest honor for cleanliness and beauty. There are numerous public access points along the way to the sugar white beaches below sand dunes that rise up from the edge of the emerald green Gulf of Mexico in this very precious part of the world. The Beaches of South Walton are blessed by spectacular pure white quartz crystal sand that is considered among the finest in the whole world. The finely ground quartz here is so pure that it literally squeaks when you rub your feet along the beach. The shimmering sand was created many eons ago during the last Ice Age with the arrival of pure quartz crystal pushed down by glaciers from the peaks of the Appalachian Mountains and they are dazzling. The bright sand also reflects sunlight underwater creating a brilliant jewel like color so this shoreline is aptly named The Emerald Coast. The expanse of land along the gulf is heavily forested with pine trees, magnolias, live oaks, palmetto palms and other indigenous shrubs. A number of rare coastal dune lakes are also found here nestled beside the gulf. These are quite exotic since the only other part of the world where they may be found is Madagascar, Australia and parts of the Pacific Northwest. The unique combination of salty fresh water is created by sandy dunes next to the gulf that open and close periodically. It creates an unusual natural habitat that supports a huge array of flora and fauna. Most are undeveloped and protected with almost 25,000 acres of state forests, preserves or parks that stretch across this scenic route. Running from west to east the Coastal Dune Lakes include Stallworth, Oyster, Draper, Big Redfish, Little Redfish, Alligator, Western, Eastern, Deer and Camp Creek Lakes. Although Ocean Reef Resorts has provided accommodations here to literally generations of happy families, this pristine part of Florida has been considered one of the state's last frontiers due to its remote location.

30A Bike Trail Map
A bike trail follows Scenic 30A from one end to the other which starts and ends at both ends of Emerald Coast Parkway, also known as Highway 98. There are also sandy forest bike trails that interconnect at different points along the way off the smoothly paved path. At one point the paved bike trail runs under a covered bridge with glimpses of Draper Lake as you cross into the rolling hills of Blue Mountain Beach, which marks one of the highest elevations in the United States on the Gulf of Mexico. Sensational seascapes and lovely lake views are found everywhere along this route. The bike path also travels and connects each one of the picture perfect villages. Each one has a wide assortment of locally owned restaurants, friendly beach bars, patio bistros, galleries, boutiques and specialty shops. Seasonal festivals occur here throughout the year celebrating holidays, wine, beer, cultural art, and music. Santa Rosa Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, Watersound and Rosemary Beach each feature town greens or grassy lawns where outdoor concerts and other festivities are held.

Coastal Dune Lake

Three awesome state parks parallel the coast here, which includes Topsail with thirty foot dunes, award winning Grayton Beach and forested Deer Lake which is named for the doe are sometimes seen eating Sea Oats along the shore.  Grayton Beach State Park is particularly lovely since Scenic 30A crosses Western Lake which borders the forest on one side and runs all the way to the beach. A narrow isthmus that crosses the lake into the aptly named Watercolor community offers spectacular sunsets from Fall till early Spring that are reflected on the mirror-like surface. The gentle alabaster colored dunes and shimmering Gulf on the beach side of Western Lake complete this panoramic picture and it is quite heavenly. Couples and families can often be seen here enjoying nature aboard kayaks, canoes and paddle boards when not enjoying the beautiful beach.

30A Company
The interest in this piece of paradise has increased substantially over the years not just through "word of mouth" but also thanks to the 30A Company. You may have seen their bright blue round 30A stickers on the backs of cars. They have distributed over 1,000,000 of them in recent years which are proudly presented on cars across the southeast. Mike and Angela Ragsdale founded the company nine years ago to help promote the special lifestyle here that they so passionately endorse. Their website 30a.com has over 500,000 Facebook Fans, 90,000 App downloads, 60,000 Instagram and 20,000 Twitter Followers. 30A Radio has over 30,000 regular listeners. There is a Digital Newsletter with 70,000 subscribers and the site was ranked the "Number One Independent News Site in America" by the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism in 2015. They also have four stores and sell 30A Gear and products with retail partners. The recently introduced 30A Beach Blonde Ale is now the number one selling craft beer in all of Northwest Florida. The 30A.com website consistently rates in the Top 30 on the Social Business Index outranking such notables as Expedia, Travelocity, Trip Advisor, Orbitz, Margaritaville, Sheraton, Hyatt and the Disney Vacation Club. They are also a generous philanthropic company who have helped raise almost $1,000,000 in recent years for reputable local charities.  

Although Ocean Reef Resorts represents plenty of private distinctive vacation rentals in Destin and Miramar Beach we have lots more along Scenic 30A. Take a quick peek at our user friendly website and discover the wonderful world of Scenic 30A on your own to spend warm memorable family vacations with us on your next trip down!

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