Destin/30A Beaches – Grayton Beach State Park and The Henderson

I almost hesitated to write this post because sometimes you love a place so much that you don’t want it to get too popular, you know? But I am a supporter of the Florida State Parks system so I want anyone who reads this to know what a fantastic vacation you can take in Grayton Beach State Park.

We have loved visiting the 30A beaches in the panhandle for the last 12 years and it’s been fun to stay at different places. The cabins at Grayton Beach State Park are now at the top of the list. They are located a short walk or drive (depending on which cabin you pick) from the beach which is only available to guests in the park. It is very pristine with no development filling up the horizon.

We saw all kinds of wildlife during our week at the beach, including sea turtles, turtle hatchlings, stingrays, and seagulls. We swam for hours and splashed in the waves.

The cabins are the perfect size for a family and are very comfortable. Each cabin has two bedrooms – one with a queen-sized bed and one with two twin beds. There is also a pull-out sofa bed in the living room if you need extra space. Each cabin has one bathroom with a stand-up shower. The kitchen is fully stocked with cookware and servingware. The living room is stocked with books and games. Each cabin also has a screened-in porch and private picnic area. The cabins include bed linens and towels, but as room service is not provided during the stay, you may choose to bring extra towels or do laundry. You should also bring anything you want for the beach (e.g. beach towels, umbrellas, wagon, etc).

The cabins are very popular. In fact, the only way we got our reservation is because of a cancellation during Covid. The cabins typically book as soon as they open 11 months out. However, people can book for several weeks at a time, so not every cabin is available 11 months out. Rather than try to explain the booking process here, I think it’s really helpful to call and speak to someone at the park. The reservations number is 800-326-3521. The people we spoke to were really helpful with walking us through the process which was instrumental to securing our week for summer 2022.

As far as food, there are plenty of restaurants nearby – both casual and fine dining. We shopped at Publix and stocked our cabin for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks for the week, opting to dine out for dinner at some of our favorite restaurants. We ate at Red Bar, a local favorite that has reopened after it was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it in 2019. The food is delicious, but the best part is looking around at all of the unique decor. They did an incredible job of restoring it. If you didn’t know it had burned down, you would never be able to notice the difference. If you choose to eat at Red Bar, arrive early as the wait can be long!

Another night, after a little shopping in Seaside, we ate at the Melt Down on 30A food truck, which serves the best gourmet grilled cheese. We also shared a bowl of ice cream while listening to live children’s music in the Seaside Ampitheater. Unfortunately, the town of Seaside started charging for parking during Covid, so I recommend arriving early to try to find a free (or any) spot. You can find an events calendar for what’s happening at the beaches along 30A here. There is always something fun going on!

We spent our last night of vacation at the Henderson Beach Resort in Destin, swimming in the pool and lazy river, playing in the splash pad, and teaching the boys how to play bocce. We’ve stayed at the Henderson a few times (I wrote about a previous stay here) and we always enjoy our visits. It is a beautiful hotel and the rooms are the perfect size for a family with small kids. We ate dinner by the pool and had drinks at the rooftop bar before enjoying the sunset from our balcony. In the morning, we drove to the Donut Hole for a special donut breakfast before driving home.

We loved our visit to Grayton Beach so much that we already booked a week at the cabins next summer with my parents. They’ve never visited the area so we are looking forward to sharing some of our favorite places, as well as discovering new ones. We can’t wait to return!

Stay

Grayton Beach State Park, 357 Main Park Rd, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Henderson Beach Resort, 200 Henderson Resort Way, Destin, FL 32541

Eat/Drink

Red Bar, 70 Hotz Ave, Grayton Beach, FL 32459

Melt Down on 30A, 2235 E County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Donut Hole (Destin), 635 Harbor Boulevard, Destin, FL 32541

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