Shopping 30A in South Walton
The Florida panhandle is a favorite vacation destination for southerners and midwesterners. The clear turquoise water and the powder white sand keep us coming back. As beautiful as it is, I can’t lie on the beach all day. One of our favorite activities when not playing in the sand is browsing the shops along 30A in South Walton Florida. South Walton County Florida has strict building codes which have kept out the huge condos and hotels, the tacky surf shops, and the chain stores and restaurants. The drive or bike ride along the Gulf coast on 30A leads you through a series of small towns, each with their own distinct feel. We would like to share with you our family’s favorite shopping stops. We do not visit the Florida panhandle without exploring what these places have to offer. We have purchased a lot here, too! If you are staying in Panama City, Destin, or Fort Walton, take a day to explore 30A in South Walton. Here are our favorite 30A South Walton shopping destinations.
The beaches of 30A South Walton begin with Sandestin to the west and end at Inlet Beach to the east. Our favorites lie mainly in the middle.
Artists at Gulf Place
Town Center Loop, Santa Rosa Beach
On the north side of 30A in Santa Rosa Beach you will find Town Center shops. Our favorite ice cream shop anywhere was here, but it unfortunately has closed. Miss Lucille’s Gossip Parlor was wonderful, but I digress. Artist Point is a series of tiny, colorful huts stocked with the works and art of several craftsmen. Almost everything has a beach theme, but the variety is still great. You will find beautiful to tacky, modern to impressionistic. The variety is great. Even if you have no plans to purchase, stop in and take a look. At least one of the artists is always present. LINK
Shops of Grayton
26 Logan Lane, Grayton Beach
About a 1/4 mile to the north of 30A in South Walton at Grayton Beach, you will find a small, gravel parking area surrounded by pastel shacks filled with art, crafts, home decor, clothing, and toys. There is something here for everyone. We love the art and home decor. Even though we live 10 hours from the coast, our home has a coastal theme. We have actually hauled furniture all the way home in the back of an SUV. A couple of our favorites are the Andy Sarzynski Studio and the Studio Gallery. At the Shard Shop, you can actually make you own souvenir art using broken glass.
On the beach side of 30! rests the little town of Grayton Beach. Grayton Beach is older than most of the other towns and has a less polished feel. For shopping, it is worth a stop. As soon as you turn into Grayton Beach, you will see the General Store. Next door is one of our favorite shops for home decor, Beau Home Interiors. Here you will find upscale, beach furniture and decor. Driving on closer to the actual beach, Zoo Gallery awaits. Whereas Beau Home Interiors is mostly subtle and pastel, Zoo Gallery is lively and bright. Both are fun, but your kids will probably be most impressed with Zoo Gallery.
30a at Grayton Beach
Heading east out of Grayton Beach, on the right you will find our favorite shop on 30A in South Walton, Lily Pads. Lily Pads is a large warehouse-like shop in which numerous artisans rent small booths to sell their creations. The variety is amazing. You will always find something different. We can rarely leave without purchasing something. Paintings, crafts, furniture, shirts, dresses, you name it, can be viewed. We love this place.
You can spend a whole day exploring Seaside, Florida. Seaside is the heart and epicenter of 30A in South Walton. Seaside was the original new-traditional development. It has grown over the past 30 years, but is still compact. Seaside has the best and biggest variety of shops in South Walton. The Florida Cracker architecture, the thoughtful layout, and the brilliant landscaping make a walk in Seaside a wonderful experience.
On the beach side of 30A in Seaside, you will find open air clothing shops with light beach wear as well as a kids store. Our favorite shops are the Seaside Classic and Seaside Beach shops offering all sorts of things (shirts, books, buckets (?), and more) featuring the Seaside town logo. While you’re over here, you have to eat at Bud and Alley’s. Trust me.
The largest part of Seaside lies across 30A on the north side. Central Square surrounds the Seaside amphitheater and has a host of shops and restaurants. Our favorite stops are Pizitz Home and Cottage and Sundog Books. Pizitz has beautiful, but costly, beachy home furnishings. We love bookstores. Sundog Books is a classic, community bookstore with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and bookshelves filled to the brim; a wonderful variety for the whole family. It is a great place to find a book for the beach.
Directly off of Central Square is Ruskin Place, a beautiful garden with a trail, surrounded by small, family owned shops. Ruskin Place was designed as an artist colony with studios and shops on the ground floor and living quarters above. This picturesque park and shops are scenic, well shaded, and fun to browse.
You go to the Florida panhandle, or Emerald Coast if you prefer, for the sun, the soft, white sand, and the warm, clear water. Whether staying at Panama City, in South Walton, Destin, or Fort Walton, I recommend that you take at least a day to browse the shops and galleries along 30A in South Walton. It is free (as long as you don’t buy anything!), and there is a huge variety for the entire family to enjoy. The above stops are our favorites. Check them out! Do you agree with our choices? Do y0u have any recommendations for us? Let us know. Now back to the beach.