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Anniversary Trip to 30A and Hotel Effie Sandestin

It’s hard to believe, but this summer will mark our tenth wedding anniversary. My husband and I decided to begin celebrating a bit early with a trip to 30A! This was our first solo vacation since becoming parents. I had heard so many wonderful things about 30A, which is a scenic highway and collection of small beach communities in the Florida panhandle. We went for four days in April and absolutely loved it! After sharing on Instagram and hearing that many of you are planning your own trips, I thought I would put together a blog post. This will not be an exhaustive guide, but more of a travel diary to inspire you. I would be happy to answer any questions that I can! Here is a look at our anniversary trip to 30A.

Anniversary Trip to 30A: The Flight

view from plane, anniversary trip to 30a

We flew into the Destin / Fort Walton Beach airport. This is a view of the Mid-Bay Bridge just before we landed! After an early morning flight and a layover, arriving in Florida and driving across the bridge towards 30A felt so magical.

If you are looking for a restaurant on your drive to 30A from the airport, we loved Crackings. It is just a few miles out of the way, and has amazing reviews! We enjoyed brunch there and could not stop talking about how delicious it was. There was also a lot of shopping in this area, in case you need to pick up any essentials.

Hotel Effie Sandestin

hotel effie sandestin florida, palm trees, anniversary trip to 30a

While researching where to stay, my husband discovered Hotel Effie. It is a new luxury hotel that opened in 2021 in the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, and is absolutely stunning inside and out! There was so much to do on the larger resort property, some of which I will share below. But as for Hotel Effie specifically, we loved the Ara Rooftop Pool and Lounge, the hotel gym, included bike rentals, and the Ovide restaurant. We did not go to Spa Lilliana, but it looks wonderful!

hotel effie sandestin florida
hotel effie sandestin florida, anniversary trip to 30a

You can see the beautiful interior of Hotel Effie in my Instagram reel! Here is the view from our hotel room and the pretty floral ceiling at Ovide.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf

sandestin golf and beach resort, anniversary trip to 30a
the village of baytowne wharf at sandestin golf and beach resort

The Village of Baytowne Wharf was such a fun area that we were not expecting to have within walking distance of our hotel! It felt like a coastal version of Disney Springs with a variety of restaurants, shops, and fun activities like an arcade and ropes course. We would love to come back with our kids in a few years when they can enjoy everything! After a long bike ride one morning, we had lunch and bubble tea at Cosmo’s Robo Diner which was so cute. Another evening we had dinner outside at The Village Door which had a beautiful view and nice selection of gluten free options for my husband.

Visiting Seaside

iconic post office in seaside florida

Our first outing was to Seaside, an idyllic beach town that you may recognize as the setting of The Truman Show. Seaside has an adorable town square area with shops and restaurants, as well as a variety of vacation homes and rentals. We were able to get a reservation at Great Southern and had a delicious dinner before taking a walk to enjoy the sights.

coastal home in seaside florida

One of my favorite parts of our 30A vacation was seeing all of the stunning coastal homes! If you enjoy architecture and design, be sure to take a stroll and soak it all in. This trip restored my creative energy in so many ways!

seaside florida, sunset at the beach

We ended this day of our anniversary trip to 30A with a view of the Gulf. The sugar white sands and ambient glow of the sunset against the Emerald Coast were the perfect way to cap off our evening.

Visiting Rosemary Beach

rosemary beach florida, anniversary trip to 30a

After spending most of our second day at our resort, we headed out again on day three to explore another beach town along 30A. Rosemary Beach is a stunning community with aesthetic architecture, shops, restaurants, and vacation rentals. We were able to have an early dinner in the rooftop bar at Pescado, which is first come first serve seating and 18+ for dinner. Our meals were so yummy, and I loved the cozy coastal vibe of the restaurant!

rosemary beach florida, anniversary trip to 30a
rosemary beach florida, anniversary trip to 30a

After dinner we enjoyed a walk around Rosemary Beach. I especially loved this view of The Pearl hotel, with its black and white striped awnings and pretty clock tower.

Anniversary Trip to 30A: Saying Goodbye

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Our anniversary trip to 30A was relaxing and inspiring–just what we needed! I would love to go back in a few years, as there are several areas we did not have a chance to visit (Alys Beach, Seacrest, and Watercolor to name a few). If you would like to compare the different beach towns in the area, check out the Visit South Walton site which has information about each community.

This was our first vacation to 30A so I am no expert, but feel free to leave any questions below or message me on Instagram! XO,

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4 Comments

  1. Enjoyed your review. Next time you visit Sandestin with your family, you may want to look into a condo at Westwinds on the beach side. It’s my family’s favorite place to go in the area. It has great facilities, a year-long heated pool (and kid’s pool) and a dedicated area on the beach that is monitored. This is especially important in the summer when beaches in the area can get overcrowded. Make sure to get a place with a golf cart. You and your kids will LOVE getting around Sandestin in it. We feel totally happy just staying mostly on the resort property, especially if the traffic is bad, like in peak times.

  2. This looks so magical! I would love to go some day. The photos of Baytowne Wharf kind of remind me of Key West. 🙂

    1. It was such a cute area–we had no idea it was there when we booked the hotel. Would love to go back! 🙂

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