Even in a state that is mostly coastline - filled with world-famous beaches - 30A is a standout. Its 26 miles worth of highway wind along zinc-white beaches, through pine forests and over dune lakes. Gulf waters, often a flat ultramarine, are layered in distinct bands of color here - a watercolor effect synonymous with 30A.
For many years, the Florida Panhandle was the South’s best-kept secret. An easy drive from Alabama, Georgia or most anywhere in the Southeast, the Panhandle’s powdery-white Gulf Coast beaches provided the vacation of choice for many Southerners.
The twisty road along 30A’s beguiling coastline is packed with award-winning restaurants and eateries. And yet, two establishments are standouts, having withstood long winters, tropical storms, fickle tourists and fluctuating economies to not only survive, but become beloved icons within the beach communities.
Food and travel journalist Susan Benton is the owner of 30A EATS and a partner in Gulf Coast Restaurants. While writing about food, Susan also develops and tests recipes and frequently serves as a judge in food competitions. Simply put, Susan is the go-to food expert in the Florida Panhandle.
First-time visitors might be surprised, but 30A’s reputation for wine is well established. Driving along the scenic highway - amidst the gorgeous sunsets and powder white beaches - are lots and lots of wine bars, wine retail shops and hotels advertising wine flights.
From sweet cabins in pine forests to Victorian cottages and posh mansions - lodging options along 30A are numerous. Visitors wanting quick access to restaurants and nightlife may want to stay closer to WaterColor and Seaside - midpoints along the scenic highway with many attractions.
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