Visit the Emerald Coast and Historic Route 30A may be an under-the-radar activity to begin with. While only moments from a popular spring break hotspot – Panama City Beach – the cozy towns may be overlooked. You zeroed in 30A as your destination, and likely had some major activities and attractions to visit, but make sure you take in everything the area has to offer, including some of the 30A attractions that are as under the radar as the destination itself may be.
You came to 30A for the beach and crashing waves of the Gulf of Mexico. But there’s a different kind of water experience waiting for you here, too. Florida is one of just two states in the U.S. and five total places around the world where coastal dune lakes are a natural geographic feature. These lakes are typically shallow, irregularly shaped permanent bodies of water that are brackish and dark-colored due to a mix of saltwater and freshwater sources. Make one of the dune lakes a part of your plan of unique things to do in 30A! Rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard for some fun on the water, purchase a combo freshwater/saltwater fishing license, or just relax and enjoy the day on the shoreline.
30A Bike Trail
While you likely hopped in the rental car to cruise the historic route, or rented a golf cart for a different experience, there’s fun to be had on two wheels as well. The 19-mile paved bike path, also known as the Timpoochee Trail, runs parallel to the historic and scenic route you came to experience. Keep your eyes peeled for coastal wildlife, take in water views, and other natural beauty you won’t get from the road. Aim for more adventure and turn off onto Point Washington State Forest’s Eastern Lake Trail, which consists of a system of three-, five-, and ten-mile loop trails.
There’s no better way to go “off the beaten path” or find something a little under the radar with a hike! The area around the historic route is dotted with state parks and hiking trails that offer hours of outdoor fun – and a different way to experience the outdoors of the beach destination. Pack your sun gear, water, and trail snacks and head out to experience the land-based natural beauty of 30A. While you’re out in the wild, keep a lookout for local wildlife, including black bear, coyotes, deer, and osprey, just to name a few.
Other Scenic Drives
While you’ve cruised up and down 30A, there are a few other paths to follow. Travel through wetlands and more for a glimpse of Florida fauna and flora at its best. Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway hosts a variety of natural resources including trees, waterways full of marine life, and clay deposits that were historically used for making bricks. The visitor-dubbed “Sunday afternoon drive” puts on a great moonrise show at Bay Bluff Park overlooking Escambia Bay. U.S. Route 98 runs parallel to 30A and passes many of the same landmarks and scenic areas, but from a different perspective.
Many people leave the airboat tour to the Everglades, but you can tour the waters surrounding 30A this way, too! Explore the backwaters of the area, including rivers, bays, and the Intracoastal Waterway. Keep an eye out and your camera ready for glimpses of wildlife. Companies offer daytime tours, and select ones offer nighttime exploration as well.
Festivals and Celebrations
While the towns along Historic Route 30A celebrate things like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and several other holidays and occasions throughout the year, they throw some pretty unique parties for other occasions, too. The 30A Songwriters Festival takes place every January, and local up-and-coming as well as established musicians offer over 300 performances by over 100 songwriters. Your group’s fashionista may know about L.A. or New York’s fashion week, but South Walton has one as well. Scheduled on the heels of the Songwriters Festival, South Walton Fashion Week features the newest in high fashion from national, regional, and local designers, stores, and boutiques. Check out each town’s events calendar and start planning your trip around your favorite event.
Unique Things to Do in 30A
You came to Historic 30A along Florida’s Emerald Coast to experience Florida fun and adventure, as well as some under-the-radar 30A attractions. While you’re planning everything to make your vacation the best it can be, make sure you book a stay in a vacation rental provided by 30A Beach Properties. We have units as small as one bedroom all the way up to six bedrooms for your larger group. You’ll have access to private outdoor spaces like a pool, balcony, deck, or other outdoor space, as well as any neighborhood amenities. Relax indoors in stylish bedrooms. Units have fully equipped kitchens for all your meals in, as well as an open living area to relax in at the end of a long day of 30A fun. For a luxury staycation, choose a premium unit for upgrades like wood floors, flat screen TVs, and more to make your stay one you’ll never forget.
Contact us today to start planning a fun-filled visit to Route 30A and the Emerald Coast!