Guide to Florida’s 30A Beaches: What You Need to Know

Plan a memorable getaway to Florida's 30A beaches and earn or redeem your hotel loyalty points.
Ramsey Qubein
By Ramsey Qubein 
Edited by Giselle M. Cancio

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If you're looking for a charming beach vacation without the crowds and expensive prices, consider putting north Florida on your list.

While others flock to South Beach or Fort Lauderdale, head north to the 30A beaches of Florida, where the stretches of sand are long and the water is crystal clear along Highway 30A.

Where can you find the best 30A Florida beach?

With many communities along the Florida Panhandle coastline, there are plenty of places to explore for some fun in the sun.

On County Road 30A and between Panama City and Fort Walton Beach, these communities overlook the Gulf of Mexico and provide vacation value at a fraction of the cost of other resorts in the state. They have plenty of Southern flair, too, where you can dine on excellent seafood, shrimp and other decadent treats during your stay.

Searching for popular places to visit along the Emerald Coast?

  • Rosemary Beach.

  • Santa Rosa Beach.

  • Blue Mountain Beach.

  • Grayton Beach.

  • Sandestin.

  • WaterColor.

  • Dune Allen.

  • Seaside.

  • Gulf Place.

  • Seacrest Beach.

  • Seagrove Beach.

  • WaterSound.

  • Miramar Beach.

  • Inlet Beach.

  • Seascape.

  • Alys Beach.

How to get to 30A beaches

There are several airports nearby. These include Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) in Panama City and Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS).

Major U.S. carriers like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and Allegiant serve both airports. This means you can earn or redeem miles or points for your trip. A little farther away, but another good option, is Pensacola International Airport (PNS).

What to do at each of the 30A Florida beaches

If you love water sports or just want to lie on the sand and take in the sound of the waves, these beach towns have it all. Just keep in mind that not all beaches are free. When traveling during the busy summer months and renting bikes or golf carts, it’s best to book them early. Here’s what to do when you get there.

Alys Beach

Home to a nature preserve and Timpoochee Trail, the beautiful community of Alys Beach is great for enjoying the beach, shopping and dining. The world comes to Alys Beach during Digital Graffiti, a digital projection art festival that takes place annually.

Blue Mountain Beach

Blue Mountain Beach is known for its sand dunes and Draper Lake. The area is home to South Walton’s highest elevation (only 65 feet). It’s a great spot for biking, dining and visiting local art galleries.

Dune Allen

The five coastal dune lakes in Dune Allen are beautiful and surrounded by nature and wildlife. It’s the perfect place to go camping, try out new water sports or simply enjoy the beach. This is also a popular fishing spot, but you'll need a license.

Grayton Beach

Grayton Beach has Grayton Beach State Park, a bohemian town center and wooden beach bungalows.

Gulf Place

Gulf Place is a new and growing community along the shoreline and is home to Gulf Place Town Center, which has interesting shops and restaurants.

Inlet Beach

Inlet Beach has the largest beach access point along the coast so bring your chairs, umbrellas and towels. You can also shop for hours at 30Avenue, an open-air shopping center, and enjoy nature at Camp Helen State Park.

Miramar Beach

The sparkling water is beautiful, but Miramar Beach is known for great shopping thanks to Silver Sands Premium Outlets, which has more than 100 options. Grand Boulevard is home to even more shops. Hikers and bikers will enjoy the Scenic Highway 98 Trail, which stretches for 3 miles. Tennis players can spend time at the Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort.

Rosemary Beach

The quaint architecture of the cottages in Rosemary Beach shows off a French and Dutch colonial style that gives them a lot of character. There are plenty of interesting shops and places to spend the afternoon on Barrett Square if you need a break from the beach. There are also weekly markets like a farmers market and the West Indies Trading Market, plus outdoor movies.


One of the more familiar names along the Emerald Coast, the sprawling town of Sandestin has numerous places to stay as well as Grand Boulevard with its entertaining shops and restaurants. Golf courses, beaches and water sports activities draw plenty of visitors to beautiful Sandestin.

Santa Rosa Beach

Santa Rosa Beach is one of the oldest towns on the coastline and is known for great dining. It is also known for Topsail Hill Preserve State Park and Point Washington State Forest. Many visitors rent golf carts to explore the area.

Seacrest Beach

Camp Creek Lake in Seacrest Beach is a great spot for bird-watching and hiking. Seacrest Beach also offers many outdoor activities like kayaking, golfing and fishing.

Seagrove Beach

In Seagrove Beach, gorgeous trees surround the many cottages and homes near the beach. You can explore Point Washington State Forest or shop in many of the area’s boutiques.


Hop on the free beach tram in Seascape to explore the region and get to the 2,000 feet of shoreline. The new Seascape Towne Centre has excellent shopping and dining options, too.


Seaside’s pastel-colored homes appeared in the movie “The Truman Show.” Seaside is home to a popular arts festival and an outdoor amphitheater. Be sure to check out the farmers market.


A tennis club, a boathouse, restaurants and a beach club are all on offer in the eco-friendly beach community of WaterColor. Walk along its beautiful boardwalks to enjoy the sand dunes and bright blue water.


The gated community of WaterSound has beautiful boardwalks along the water, Camp Creek Golf Course and The Hub, known for great shops, restaurants and art galleries. The par 72, Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course is a big draw.

Where to earn and redeem points at 30A beaches in Florida

Many travelers like to rent private homes or condos, but if you want to earn or redeem points, there are some options.

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa

(Photo courtesy of Hilton)

You can earn or redeem Hilton Honors points at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, as well as take advantage of the free night certificate that comes with a Hilton co-branded credit card. Hilton Honors uses a dynamic pricing model, which means the number of points needed varies by night.

Hyatt Place Panama City Beach

(Photo courtesy of Hyatt)

World of Hyatt fans can redeem points at this Category 4 hotel. Redemption costs between 12,000 and 18,000 points per night.

You can also earn points when staying here; those with World of Hyatt Credit Card earn bonus points, too.

Courtyard by Marriott Sandestin at Grand Boulevard and Residence Inn Sandestin at Grand Boulevard

(Photo courtesy of Marriott)

These Marriott Bonvoy options provide a great way to earn or redeem points close to Grand Boulevard’s many shops and restaurants.

Marriott Bonvoy uses a dynamic pricing model, with the number of points you need for a redemption based on the date. The Residence Inn has roomier accommodations with kitchens and complimentary breakfast, making it popular for families.

Emerald Coast’s 30A Florida beaches

With plenty of variety and so many communities to explore, this family-friendly destination is a great place to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico.

There are options to earn or redeem points, but if you prefer a larger accommodation, you can rack up credit card points for a short-term vacation rental, too. State parks, shopping outlets, great dining and aqua-colored waters await on Florida’s 30A beaches.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

Cards for Hilton from our Partners
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.


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Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate


Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases.


Intro offer


Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

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