It’s finally summer. You know what that means. Vacation, no school, no schedule. Basically heaven. So what's girl to do? You know I love to travel and it was absolutely, definitely, positively time for a beach trip!
So this past weekend I took a beach trip down to Seaside, Florida. I was visiting a friend from when I used to live there, and let me tell you, I had the trip of a lifetime. As I’m writing this I’m just remembering the constant sand between my toes, the worry free days, and salty hair. Everything I took for granted when I lived there! This trip was JUST what I needed, and I’m so thankful that I got to go. I am even starting a “no spending” spree so that I can save up enough money to be able to go back down at the end of summer. Yes, I had so much fun that I’m willing to stop shopping and save EVERYthing just so that I can go back for Beach Trip #2!
If you’ve never been to the panhandle of Florida, or Destin, Panama City or 30A area of Florida (or even if you have) you’re in for a treat. I’m about to share some local hot spots so that when you go visit, you can have as much fun as I did! 30A is basically a beachfront highway that goes straight through about five main “towns.” I put “towns” in quotation marks, because these are all probably smaller than the neighborhood you live in. Let me put it this way... I used to go for family bike rides almost from one end of the highway to the other! OK, it took all day, but it's a fab way to spend the day!!
Shades - bar and grill style, but the perfect family restaurant. the french fries and nachos are to die for.
Summer Kitchen - light and easy lunches and dinners. katie holmes was even recently spotting dinning here.
La Crema - if you’re a chocolate lover you must go here. literally the best cookies and fondue ever. they also have other tapas (like hummus) if you don’t have a sweet tooth. tell the Neals we say "hello!"
Amavida Coffee - morning coffee drinker? this is your place.
The Trading Company - this is the place to buy that Rosemary Beach t-shirt. there are also tons and tons of awesome home goods/accessories here! And yours truly had my 1st real job here - and it was awesome!
Bombora - wishing for a new swim suit or a new pair of glasses? then definitely visit here.
insider tip: the annual easter egg hunt is amazing for little kids, check out the indoor pool, and be on the lookout for outdoor movie nights.
Calypso Pool - this pool is what i hope heaven will look like. it’s gorgeous, and everything that you dream of when you think of the word “vacation.” there is a restaurant and bar attached that you can go to even if you’re not staying in Alys Beach.
George’s - this restaurant has amazing options, but is more of an adult restaurant - at least in my opinion. it’s super yummy and fresh though!
insider tip: the best place to watch a sunset is upstairs inside the pool area, rent a cabana and feel like you are not even in the USA, & check out the bathrooms (architecture is amazing, even in here.) there are trails at the back of the resort - and they are open to the public (instagrammable to the max). the cute little bookstore (Fonville Press) has great outdoor seating. Digital Graffiti is a must-do.
The Juice Bar - juices and smoothies and snacks, healthy and delicious, and i used to eat here daily. DAILY. simply the best and our family's favorite place on 30A. tell Jen and Christin we sent you!
Frostbites - if you just need a sugar fix, this is the place to go.
Modica Market - if you’re in need of a quick bite or an appetizer, this is your place! groceries are also sold here, but warning, they’re very expensive (try Publix right down the road). if you’re a sweet tea lover, then you will fall in love with this place - they literally have the world's best sweet tea.
Pickles - hot dogs, fried pickles, and smiley face french fries. this place is bound to be any kid’s new favorite restaurant.
The Taco Bar - i’m a huge mexican food lover, and this place has my heart. the tacos are super fresh and the salsa is too die for. i have a feeling you’ll be wanting to eat here more than once.
Wendy’s Pearls - all the locals are wearing pearls on leather! it’s the hottest trend on 30A, and it’s definitely a trend you don't want to miss out on. it is pretty pricey, but the jewelry lasts forever. Think boho + classic and you get the idea.
Mercantile - this store has pretty much the cutest items i’ve ever seen. it has a very beach yet artsy feel, and the prices are very reasonable!
Pizza By The Sea : literally the worlds best pizza. worlds. best. pizza. you MUST go here!
Bud & Alley's Rooftop Bar (Tarpon Club) - yep, kids can go upstairs and guess the time the sun will set, even though it's technically a bar. go early.
Perspicasity - hard to say, easy to find something you didn't know you needed.
insider tip: the house filmed in "The Truman Show" is located at 31 Natchez Street. check out the fab Farmer's Market on the weekend! There is always an event here. always. film festivals, flea markets, 4th of July parade... you'll find something for everyone!
Hibiscus - when i lived in florida, this was probably my all time favorite breakfast restaurant. i don't like breakfast at all, but at hibiscus wanted everything on the menu! it also functions as a bed & breakfast, so if you’re looking for a place to stay....
Red Bar - i ate here twice while on my weekend trip and i have no complaints. the atmosphere is awesome and there might even be a band playing in the restaurant while you enjoy your meal! best part? no shirt, no shoes, no problem.
Allison Craft Designs - remember those pearls we told you about. they're here too... for a lot less.
insider tip: yes, that just might have been Sheryl Crow who showed up at Red Bar for an impromptu concert. if you have a beach license, you can drive your car on the beach. ditto for dogs, but you need a dog license!
I could go on & on & on, but just check out our favorite website for the area: 30A.com. And be sure to grab a sticker, plop it on your car, and look like a local after you go home. Or at least feel the beach vibe every time you gaze upon the bright yellow and blue logo - one of the tops in my humble opinion! I'm already dreaming of my next beach trip :)
Where's YOUR favorite beach?? Tell me all about it!!