Highway 30A is a scenic 26-mile byway through a diverse collection of coastal villages along the Emerald Coast in Northwest Florida. You might call it the “panhandle,” but “Emerald Coast” is much more intriguing. The highway runs along the Gulf of Mexico, from Inlet Beach on the east to Beach Highlands on the west. We gals spent a day exploring the boutiques, galleries, eateries and, of course, the beach:
Fonville Press in Alys Beach is an upscale coffee shop and café that serves breakfast and lunch, pastries and ice cream, and a curated selection of craft spirits. Linger over the art and history books also for sale, or relax in the shaded courtyard. Check the schedule for special events and musical performances.
With coffee in hand, our morning stroll through soft, sugary sand at Seacrest On our morning stroll through soft, sugary sand at Seacrest Beach, we met up with playful gulls.
BUD & ALLEYS ON THE WATERFRONT
We lunched in Seaside at Bud & Alleys Waterfront Restaurant, a popular rooftop gathering spot bar overlooking the gulf waters. Known for Southern coastal classics and a hefty menu of beach libations. The fried shrimp po boy and sweet potato fries were delish!
AN AFTERNOON OF SHOPPING
No samey-same national chain stores here. Instead, gorgeous indie boutiques enticed at every price point, from retro candies to four-figure fur booties. A few of my faves:
SUNSET CRUISE on LAKE POWELL
We set sail on Lake Powell, a rare coastal dune lake that invites water-sport enthusiasts and bird-watchers alike. In our case, Captain Matt of Motorboatin30a served wine and cheese and steered us toward a glorious Florida sunset!
HAVANA BEACH RESTAURANT
As the signature restaurant of the 55-room boutique Pearl Hotel in Rosemary Beach, the Havana Beach Bar & Grill is an area hot spot. The menu is infused with Spanish, Portuguese and French influences that merge with the harvests of local producers. The bar is Hemingway-worthy. Our selections included in-house smoked ahi tuna with tortilla chips, crab cake and a dessert trio of sweet goodness.