30A Guide

You asked, and here we have it! My 30A guide is up today and it’s making me crave another Happy Hour at La Crema. We’ve been going to the 30A area since I was in high school and it’s a beach spot, unlike any other. This is where we took our pregnancy announcement photos! 30A is a little area nestled in between Destin and Panama City, Florida. It’s made up of different beach communities like Seaside, Watercolor, Grayton, Alys, Rosemary, etc. Each community is unique to its own with charming details, luxurious spots, and a friendly atmosphere. Now ask any 30A frequenter, and they’ll all have a go-to beach for different reasons. In high school and college, we stayed in Seaside. Now, we stay in Rosemary since having a little one. If I were to go with Paul sans Maxi, we’d stay in Alys. Rosemary feels part European, part Highland Park Village in Dallas. Alys feels, well, exquisite! It’s all white and pristine! Seaside is unbelievably charming and colorful with food trucks and children laughing everywhere. You get the idea! Honestly, you could pick ANY location and not go wrong. In fact, you’ll probably spend most of your week bouncing around the communities because everything is quite easy to get to. As a toddler parent, I think we love 30A even more because no side of the family sacrifices. Paul and I were talking about how so many trips with kids feel like you are either deciding, “Are we going for just kid stuff or just adult stuff?” The 30A area blends both beautifully by making most spots kid-friendly while appealing to an adult crowd.

This past trip, we stayed in the Water’s Edge neighborhood. We loved it because it’s a 4-minute walk to the Rosemary Beach shops, 10-minutes to Alys Beach, and a 2-minute walk to a private beach. This is the house we stayed in.

This year we also went in May, while we typically go in July. We actually loved this trip due in part to the time of year and the weather we got so lucky to experience. The ocean was warm enough to get in, but you could be outside all day without too much heat or humidity. I’ll break down my personal favorite spots below, but if you would like to download this guide to your phone so you can save it while you plan you trip, download it here or here.

A note about Alys Beach, this isn’t to say you can’t snap an iPhone photo while at dinner there. I just don’t want to lead anyone astray to shoot for the blog down there and anyone get in trouble. Some areas are more picky with photography than others!

Photography Recommendations:

Per a friend’s recommendation, we hired Jade Lott Photography to do some family photos. We thought it would be a great opportunity to capture Maxi at this sweet age and knock out the Christmas Card. 😉 I mean better to shoot it on the beach in 80 degrees in May than 98 degrees in Texas come September, no?!

If you are headed to 30A you have to book with her! She’s incredibly sweet and makes taking photos feel like you are just hanging out. She has a gift with toddlers {has little girls herself!} and you know how tricky it can be shooting with toddlers. When she sent us our gallery, I just cried over every single photo they meant so much to me. I plan to do a gallery wall in our master with these images!

Packing List

Here’s what you saw me wear on Instagram in 30A, or shop it on my like to know it page here.

My top 5 picks for you to pack:

  1. Headband: I never did my hair at the beach! I would just do a low ponytail, throw in some brow gel on my baby hairs {I think this works much better than hairspray!} and this headband. They never give a headache and I felt perfectly overaccessorized which is just how I like to feel!
  2. Straw Tote: My painted straw tote {size Large!} acted as my diaper bag for the week. We carried it to the beach and brunch and back. It fit everything we needed for Maxi but never felt heavy or bulky.
  3. Heart Sunglasses: I wore my heart sunglasses daily to the beach because they felt like the perfect way to brighten any look and I wouldn’t cry if I lost them in the ocean, as they were $9. Luckily, they were never lost and held up great!
  4. Floppy Hat: This $25 find rivaled many of my more expensive sun hats, and it had the right amount of weight to it, where it didn’t go flying off in the wind!
  5. Solid Swimwear: I think a solid one piece, is incredibly chic and can be paired with any cover up to maximize your suitcase! I wore this white one piece and this black one. Both fit TTS and I’m wearing a size Small.

Beach Picks on Sale

Shopbop is currently having a major 40% off sale, so here are some of my beach picks if you want to get designer vacation pieces for less!

I hope this guide helps you plan your next trip! Are you taking a beach vacation this summer?!

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  1. Cassie wrote:

    I mean, you are the BOMB! Not only is this info priceless, you made us a PHONE LIST!!! Thank you, KH! Going to 30A in July and am armed and ready!

    Published 22 May 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      This made my day, Cassie! Thank you so much for your sweet comment and reading my blog! xx, Katey

      Published 22 May 19Reply
  2. I love the way you laid out this blog post – so fun to read! Thanks for the fun guide, Katey! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

    Published 22 May 19Reply
  3. Jeni wrote:

    LOVE this!! How cute are those suits!!?? Also, THANKS for the book recommendations yesterday. Have them downloaded and ready to go for this long 3 day weekend!!

    Published 22 May 19Reply
  4. This makes me want to go back to 30A so badly! We had never heard of it until we moved to Texas and then kept hearing about it all the time and seeing bumper stickers and we were like “what is this “30a” thing?!” After googling we decided we needed to go haha and finally went a couple weeks ago and fell. in. love.

    We don’t often travel back to places we’ve already been, but we both agreed this is 100% a place we want to come back to time and time again.

    Will definitely be saving all these recommendations, as we were only there for a weekend so missed a ton of these!!

    xo Mary-Katherine

    Published 22 May 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Oh my gosh, cracking up you say that! We always joke that Texas {and majorly the DFW} makes up a quarter of the tourists of 30A. Of course, that’s not true, but it’s like everywhere you go there and every person you meet is from the DFW! We agree with that, too! I always want to try new spots, but here there are so many little communities you feel like you have a different vacation in each neighborhood! xx, Katey

      Published 22 May 19Reply
  5. Carly Hill wrote:

    So glad you had the best time – you shared so many of my fave spots! xx

    Published 22 May 19Reply
  6. Lindsey Stroud wrote:

    I am THRILLED you posted this! We leave in 2 weeks and I haven’t been to 30A since I was a kid. Literally putting each of your recommendations on our “to-do” list. Love your sweet family pics as well.

    Published 22 May 19Reply
  7. Ana Finck wrote:

    I love this!!! You are the best. Thank you so much for putting this list together for us. We are going in July and I can’t wait to try all this places 🙂
    One quick question. Are all the places to eat that you recommended kid friendly?

    Published 22 May 19Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Ana! Aw thank you so much, I hope y’all have the best trip! Pescado and Caliza aren’t kid-friendly, but other than that everything else is! 🙂 Now, I did see a few babies at Pescado but I think that’s because we went on Mother’s Day. xx, Katey

      Published 28 May 19Reply
  8. Jaime wrote:

    This is perfect! Thanks so much! We are heading to Destin and Seaside in July with my 2.5 year old!

    Published 22 May 19Reply
  9. Paige Rowe wrote:

    We were in Rosemary at the same time as you, and OMG the weather!!! Missing my morning walk to Amavida already!

    Published 23 May 19Reply
  10. B wrote:

    I have been going down to 30A since I was little! I am 31 now! My dad is a beach lover so we go multiple times a year. I am due in July with my first babe and can’t wait to take him to one of my favorite places on earth next March!

    Published 23 May 19Reply
  11. Clarissa wrote:

    Omg this is probably the most detailed travel guide I’ve ever seen!! SO good. 30A is on my list of places I need to visit soon, and I’m definitely going to be referring back to this guide! Love it!


    Published 29 May 19Reply
  12. Megan Bontke wrote:

    Hi! Love this guide! I keep referring back to it in planning our trip in July! Can you tell us where you got your white embroidered photo dress?

    Published 21 Jan 20Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Megan! I got it from Free People! 🙂 xx, Katey

      Published 22 Jan 20Reply
  13. Erin wrote:

    Thank you so much for this list! We are flying with our 4 littles in a few weeks and my anxiety is through the roof. We’ve been to Destin pre-babies, but this is a whole new experience. Do you have any tips/tricks for beach umbrella hauls, etc.?

    Published 30 Jun 21Reply
    • Katey wrote:

      Hi Erin! I’m so sorry, I just saw this!! We have always rented the umbrellas and chairs so someone sets it up! How was your trip, any tips that worked for you? xx, Katey

      Published 04 Aug 21Reply