We visited Inlet Beach, Florida for a vacation from June 17th through June 24th, 2023. This was our second time vacationing in this general area. Back in June 2021, we stayed in a vacation rental in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. Both homes were located in the area along County Highway 30A, often just referred to as 30A.
This area is known for its powdery white beaches and its emerald green, crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. What also makes the area great for vacationers are the many small towns that line 30A. Grayton Beach, Rosemary Beach, Watercolor, Inlet Beach, and Santa Rosa Beach are just a few. Each one has its unique vibe. Local restaurants, live music, boutiques and shops, cafe’s and more speckle the the towns. Most have a “town center” where the shopping and dining is centered.
In this blog, we will cover where we stayed and some of the things we did and places we ate. All in all, it was a fantastic family vacation. We love this region and can definitely understand why so many people return year after year. Let’s dive right in!
Our Home for the Week- Annie’s Song
This home met our needs pretty much perfectly. Annie’s Song has 4 bedrooms and will sleep up to ten guests. Two bedrooms have king beds, one has a queen bed, and the fourth bedroom has four built in bunks that are perfect for kids. There are bathrooms attached to both king bedrooms and there is a third shared bathroom in the main hallways. The kitchen and dining area were open and spacious. The living room was filled with windows looking out on the beach and Gulf.
Outside the home is pretty amazing. Just outside the living room is a spacious deck with plenty of seating. For those that want shade while enjoying the sounds of the surf, there are large patio umbrellas. Go around to the side deck and you will find stairs leading to the upstairs deck/crow’s nest. There is no shade up here, so those wanting to work on their tans will love it. There is an outdoor shower for rinsing off the sand. There is also a nice large grill/smoker that we used several times (bring or buy your own charcoal).
One nice perk is how Annie’s Song is situated on the beach. Most beach homes usually have some time of dune crossing or walkover. With Annie’s Song, you simply walk off the deck and then down onto the beach. Each day, a service set up four beach chairs and two large umbrellas on the beach for us. Annie’s Song is situated between two public beach entry points, but the beach never got crowded at all.
Scroll to the bottom for a link to many more amazing 30A vacation rentals!
What We Did
We decided to rent golf carts to use during the week. Golf carts in this area are legal to be on most roads with a speed limit of 35MPH or less. Around here, that is virtually all roads except for US Highway 98. The kids loved cruising around on the golf carts to go shopping, out to eat, or just joy riding and sight seeing. We got our carts from Bike The Beach. We reserved the carts online and had them deliver the carts to Annie’s Song so that they were there as soon as we arrived on Saturday. The process was simple and their communication with us was great. They picked the carts up on the morning we left. Truly a breeze.
Of course we spent plenty of time on the beach. The beaches here are one of the regions biggest draws. The sands are so soft and clean. The water is crystal clear with an emerald green color. The house came with a decent amount of beach goodies. Sand toys, shovels, boogie boards, and even a beach wagon for bringing everything down to the beach. The provided beach chairs and umbrellas were definitely appreciated. The person would set them up early in the morning and then come back to take them down around 5PM. If you are still using them, that is fine, he will tell you where to put them when you are done. Items can NOT be left on the beach overnight.
We did plenty of shopping. The two areas we frequented the most were Rosemary Beach and Watersound. Rosemary Beach has a great farmer’s market on Sunday mornings. Candy shops, beach wear, souvenirs, artisan crafts, bike rentals, cafes and more are the predominant shops. We loved wandering the streets and popping in and out trying to find some cool finds.
Where We Ate
We cooked at home this trip more than we usually do. But, we did go out to eat a few times, and they were all great experiences. One evening we took the golf carts down to Watersound. There is this AWESOME area called The Big Chill 30A. There are several restaurants in a row. Some have indoor seating, but there is a large outdoor seating area with large and small tables, benches, and more. There was great variety in food, so there is something for most tastes. There was a burger type joint, a BBQ place, a seafood option, and a place that served Mexican food. In the middle of all of that was a stage. There is free live music nightly.
Another night we drove toward Panama City Beach and ate at Salty Sues’s located right on US 98. The food was phenomenal. Everyone in our group loved their meal. Portion sizes were large and the quality was top notch. The ONLY low point was the time to get our food. It seemed like it took forever and we purposely arrived before the dinner rush. But the food certainly made up for it once it arrived.
No trip to the 30A area is complete without getting donuts from the Donut Hole. This 30A has been serving the area for decades. It is easy to see why. Their donuts are top tier and so flavorful. Don’t freak out when you arrive and see a line wrapped around the building. If you are there just for donuts, they have a separate carry-out only door. We have yet to eat there for their full breakfast, but if the line of people waiting to be seated is any indication, it MUST be good.
We love the 30A region of Florida. It is so laid back! The beaches are amazing. The water is amazing. There is an abundance of things to do for people of all ages. For families traveling with kids, you will find activities in the region to entertain kids of all age ranges. Couple all of that with great food and drink, you have a vacation that is sure to provide memories for a lifetime!