Living on 30A, what is it like – a local’s perspective
First off, let’s establish what 30A is. 30A, or Scenic Highway 30A, is a 28.5 mile stretch of road that runs along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico in South Walton County, FL. When people reference 30A, they are not just talking about that specific street, but the area surrounding it, from the Gulf northward to Highway 98. 30A however is so much more than just a stretch of pavement. It is community, it is art, it is nature, and it is fun.
The first thing people notice when they come here, and the thing they most remember when they leave, is the natural beauty. The white, sugar sand beaches are incredibly beautiful. For most of the year the water is crystal blue (there are the occasional flare ups of sea weed, which makes it green and is a total bummer). A large chunk of the area is State Forest. Beautiful, green, with fantastic walking trails. For those of us who drive 30A to and from work every day, it is a real treat to see this every morning and never gets old. And the sunsets over the Gulf will absolutely blow your mind.
One of the benefits of living in the 30A area is the number of great places to eat and drink all within easy driving, and sometimes walking distance. While a majority of the restaurants are in the mid to high price range, they are pretty much all worth it. Seafood of course makes up a majority of the entrees, you can find pretty much anything you want. There is a lot of good wine and beer to be had, in fact, we have our own local brewery. Grayton Beer Company has 5 different types, and you can find it practically anywhere in the area.
Food and beverage brings us to tourism. The main driver of the economy her is the tourism industry. There is an incredible influx of people, starting with Spring Break and going all through Summer. This is a two edged sword for the locals. We depend on the influx of money, but at the same time, it can make ordinary tasks a chore. When the streets get clogged with people on foot and bike, and when the lines at the store grow quite long, the locals can get grumpy. At this point, I advise everyone to take a step back, breathe, and be kind to each other. This is a beautiful place, let’s share it.
Speaking of sharing and kindness, the 30A area has one of the lowest crime rates in the area. In the State perhaps. Crime is not non-existent, but I can’t remember the last time I felt like I needed to lock my door. You can walk the streets at night and feel completely safe. It is a wonderful and beautiful area, with so much to offer to so many different people. That is why those who live here love it, and those who visit wish they did.