I was so grateful to join a friend, Callie with It's Callie Danielle/Shop Callie Danielle for a very quick press trip to her favorite place - 30A. Now I may be under a rug but I couldn't wrap my mind around what exactly "30A" is...was it a restaurant a town, a building?...please explain.
Based off of Santa Rosa Beach…this area is a destination with a two-lane, Gulf-front road called Scenic Highway 30-A. It honestly feels like you are driving through multiple neighborhoods. Life is slow paced (off season was quiet!), pedestrians crossed the highway to walk to the beach and all the local stores and mom and pop shops were open for business.
Here is a recap of the trip should you decide off season is the perfect time for you. We spent approximately 18 hours of "free time" on our quick trip and this is what it entailed. Should you have more time to spend then I do recommend these places.
Inlet beach is where we happend to spend the most time. The afternoon was absolutely perfect and the beach was quiet. We were able to capture all the photos of the water rolling in, the sand dunes and even enjoyed the salty sea breeze. It was too cold to get in for my liking but the sun did come and heat up as the afternoon progressed and the water was the perfect temperature.
A best kept secret happens to be the Deer Lake State Park Beach - most people don't know about this hidden gem and I was just introduced to it. It does cost $3/vehicle or $2/pedestrian to access to see the rare coastal dune lake. You can't walk across the sand dunes (wildlife protection) but there is a boardwalk to walk to give you access to the beach.
Food & Drinks
We started off our evening with frozen drinks from BFF Everybody. The little stand next to The Great Southern Cafe. It may not be summer but there is always a good time for some frosé. I think what made it taste a little better was the pretty orchid garnish.
We followed the drinks by indulging in one of the food truck/spots along the highway. I got the triple grilled cheese from "the melt down on 30A". I had been craving a grilled cheese for some time and boy am I picky about it. I was happy about the Texas Toast & although I got my fill of cheese, it was missing the buttery/salty crust but maybe I have an abnormal craving for savory/salty.
Next stop happened to be Bud & Alley's Taco Bar known for their tacos, tequila and cerveza. Now I know I should've stayed in my lame, coming from tacos...I mean TEXAS. My expectations for tacos are pretty high coming from anywhere outside of Texas. Nothing beats our tacos, queso, rice and beans....and I'll leave it at that. Now if you are wanting some fresh ceviche this is the place to grab it. I would suggest going to the Bud and Alley's restaurant which has a larger selection and comes with a pretty awesome view and cocktail menu. Grab the Seaside Punch...I heard it's delicious!
The next day we went to Shades...pronounced "Sade" by the locals. I don't know what I had a craving for but obviously something heavy. This is your sports bar/restaurant and we got seated quickly. Remember this is off season so waiting for a table didn't happen too often.
I enjoyed a "Cajun" pasta with sausage and chicken...I was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful it was. It came out piping hot so that made me extra happy. The roll on the side was the perfect amount to sop up the extra sauce.
Washed everything down with a house made red and rosé sangria with fresh fruit garnish. Callie indulged in with a Bloody Mary...no thank you. I would go back to this spot to enjoy some more menu items...those onion rings looked absolutely amazing.
Callie & I decided it was a much needed stop for hydration and to visit an exclusive (open to residents only but to the public after 5pm) restaurant called Caliza. Can I first start by saying this place was absolutely STUNNING.
The vibe and ambience was so sexy! From the private cabanas to the "caliza" (limestone) floor, the attention to decor & details had me feeling myself. Ugh...I wish I had a gown on and was posing in front of that backdrop during golden hour.
The way the sky streaked with amazing colors and the subtle glow of the heat lamps throughout the space was absolute perfection.
Our server Doug was amazing and so accommodating. We made light talk and even was able to connect with a few other women in the area who were there for a girl's trip. (basically goals).
Callie indulged in a jalapeño cocktail named the "Bee Sting" because of her love of spice and I took to Instagram to look for a pretty cocktail and came upon their Frozen Peach Frosé. Although it was a summer cocktail for limited time, Doug whipped it up and served it like it was still on the menu.
We didn't try any of the lite bites because we had another location in mind for dinner that DID NOT DISAPPOINT. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to get a fun vlog & bts of what might be my fave restaurant in 30A.
Place to stay
Being completely honest, 30A is expensive. Maybe I have been jaded by the HGTV episodes of couples looking for homes that are 1 million dollars and the wife is a leave collector and the husband catches butterflies. This place is beautiful and the price tag matches. We stayed in an AirBnb called "Worth the Wait". It was a carriage house on top of another rental home. It was the perfect stay for us especially since we did not need that much space (probably could sleep 4 people) and we weren't spending that much time in the room. The sound of the rain on the covered balcony was the perfect way to unwind from the long drive in to the city.
Would I go back? Absolutely! This is one town that has a bunch of charm, gorgeous views (homes included) and a friendly crowd. If I am being completely honest, coming from the crowd and city life of Houston to a slower paced offseason is ideal. I don't think I could handle tackling this super cute place during the summer...packed city.
Oh and as promised...here is a video recap of our too quick 30A trip.
You've made it this far and if you watched the video, you know the number one place to eat (in my opinion) is Stinky's Fish Camp. That brown butter sauce on top of my catfish was pure heaven. Still drooling! It paired perfectly with their seasoned and crispy potato nuggets/cubes(?) whatever it was. Just get the dish and you WON'T be disappointed...I had leftovers because it was so much food. Wear your eating pants.
Don't forget to save this to your Pinterest board for your next inspo on where to travel. I'd love to bump into you here!