If you’ve been reading Candie Travels for a while, you may have noticed a pattern in our summer travel. Every year, we tend to head for the coast at some point during the summer. And not just any coast, the stunning Emerald Coast of Florida, where our favorite beach towns are located on 30A. We love exploring the distinctive towns in the area and trying new restaurants on every visit.
We booked a condo through VRBO for a three-night weekend in August at The Village at Seacrest Beach. It can be tough to find accommodations for a tiny family for only a weekend when most tourists come with large families for at least a week at a time, but the studio condo where we stayed was just the right size for us and was comfortable and quiet. Our travel crib fit in the closet, the perfect dark and quiet area for our baby to sleep. I definitely recommend this condo to anyone traveling as a couple or with a small baby. The condo had two pull-out beds, but quarters might get a bit tight with older children.
The town of Seacrest has several great restaurants and a nice little town center, Peddlers Pavilion. It is located between Rosemary and Alys beaches and is walkable to both towns. Our condo in the Village included access to the Seacrest pool, which was a wonderful perk to cool off from the sweltering heat. The beach access was about a 5 minute walk or you could take a shuttle to the entrance, which was nice when toting beach gear. Unfortunately, the public beach area was quite crowded. Florida is currently dealing with some beach access issues that limit beach space for visitors. You can read about the issue here. Nevertheless, we’d definitely rent this condo again as it was affordable, the perfect size, and convenient to everything we needed.
The public beach area in Seacrest is very small and people were packed into the space. It wasn’t the relaxing beach experience that, growing up in Florida, I’ve come to expect. People were smoking, playing loud music, and were generally too close for my taste. It wasn’t the best vibe. Later in the weekend, we drove down to the public beach in Seaside. It was better, since the public beach area is a lot bigger, but there were still signs and ropes blocking off the private property areas, which is a change from past visits. The chair vendors also spread out their chairs and umbrellas along the shoreline to try to block the public from getting spots close to shore. The situation is a bit of a mess at the moment, but as it is an ongoing issue, I have hopes things will improve by next summer.
Over the course of the weekend, we visited most of Seacrest’s restaurant options in Peddlers Pavilion. For dinner on Thursday, we ordered two pizzas from Ticheli’s Pizza which is located in a permanent stand in the town center. The wood-fired pizzas were delicious and we were impressed by the array of ingredient options. If you’re looking for non-pizza options, Ticheli’s also offers salads, sandwiches, and chicken wings.
For lunch on Saturday, we ordered chicken salad croissant sandwiches from Chicken Salad Chick, another permanent stand in the town center. Chicken Salad Chick is one of my favorite fast casual restaurant options and a community-minded company. Stacy Brown, the founder, was recently featured on the How I Built This podcast and her story is truly inspiring. The restaurant has a variety of chicken salad options ranging from plain to fruity to spicy and everything in between. Note that sandwiches are “off-menu” at this location. The stand is geared more toward buying chicken salad and sides by the pound.
For dinner on Saturday, we enjoyed a sit-down dinner at La Cocina, a Mexican restaurant in the town center owned by a popular restaurant group in the area (we’ve been to Edward’s in Rosemary Beach and George’s in Alys Beach – both are fantastic!). We were impressed with the authentic style and beautiful presentation and enjoyed our dishes.
Two of the three nights of our weekend, we capped off the night with ice cream from The Sweet Peddler, a candy shop in the town center. The Sweet Peddler features a soda fountain, all of the candy you can imagine, and over a dozen flavors of ice cream.
During the weekend, we were able to pick up any groceries we needed at Seacrest Sundries, a small shop just off the town center. The convenience store also serves coffee and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. For baby needs or anything beyond the basics, there’s a Publix about a 5 minute drive down 98.
On Friday morning, we walked to Alys Beach for breakfast at Fonville Press. The cafe menu offers brunch necessities like coffee, rose, bubbles, breakfast scrambles, sandwiches, and salads. There is a playground with swings, slides, and a tunnel near the outside tables that’s perfect for little ones to run around and explore during breakfast.
We spent Friday afternoon in Rosemary Beach, enjoying frose at The Pearl followed by dinner at Cowgirl Kitchen. The Pearl’s rooftop lounge is one of the quintessential spots to have a cocktail on 30A. The best tables overlook the water, but any spot in the lounge will do. Happy hour is served from 12-5pm and includes $7 frose and wine and beer. Cowgirl Kitchen is a popular restaurant in Rosemary Beach that serves tacos and seafood in a casual indoor/outdoor setting.
On Saturday afternoon, we drove to the new Grayton Brewpub location, where the brewery was holding a festival to release its 7-barrel small batch beers. It was quite crowded, but we managed to find a spot at the bar where we ordered a few beers and enjoyed the $10 fish fry. During a bachelorette party weekend a couple of years ago, I visited the actual brewery. The brewery is also a fun experience, but the brewpub has a much more extensive food menu.
As usual, our visit to 30A was wonderful and so rejuvenating. We can’t wait to return soon, hopefully when the weather is a bit cooler so we can enjoy being outside for longer. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with some upcoming fall travel soon.