Pin on the map of Florida showing the location of Destin

Stay and Play along National Scenic Byway Highway 30-A

We’ve long known that Scenic Highway 30A is special. In fact, in 2006, the state of Florida took notice designating it as an “official” Florida Scenic Highway. Now, 15 years later, the iconic road has been named a National Scenic Byway by Scenic America, placing this scenic stretch of coastal highway among the ranks of six other scenic Florida roadways, including A1A Scenic and Historic Coastal Byway, Big Bend Scenic Byway, Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway, Florida Keys Scenic Highway, Indian River Lagoon National Scenic Byway, and Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.

Scenic Highway 30A has many unique features, including 15 rare coastal dune lakes (only found on 30A in remote areas of the world including Africa and Australia), the historic beach town of Grayton Beach, the first new urbanism community—Seaside, and access to three state parks and a state forest.

Meandering along an 18-mile stretch of Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, Scenic Highway 30A demonstrates it has scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational and archaeological significance, which are the benchmarks of the National Scenic Byway program, which was established in 1991. Here’s how Hwy 30A makes the grade:

30a view

30A - A Scenic Roadway

The road is naturally scenic by nature. It runs along soft white sand beaches, over coastal dune lakes, through quaint beachside towns with pastel cottages, and through large swaths of natural lands.

Grayton Beach History

30A - Historic Significance

While the towns along Highway 30A are relatively young, the beach town of Grayton Beach is historically significant. Celebrating its 130th anniversary on July 4, 2020, it is one of the area’s oldest communities. In 1885, Army Major Charles Gray built a homestead in Grayton Beach. In 1890, Army General William Miller and William Wilson moved to Grayton with their families and mapped out the village’s streets. Around the turn of the century, the Butler Family envisioned Grayton Beach as a vacation retreat for families. With a handful of cottages available for rent, the Butler’s would run the General Store and rentals each summer and teach school during the winter/spring. During World War II (1942), the US Coast Guard established a 40-man station with the federal government renting many of the cottages for barracks and offices. Named after Major Gray, Grayton Beach’s oldest home, named Wash-A-Way, dates back to 1890 and is still standing today.


30A - Celebration of Culture  

Grayton’s cultural significance is on land and under the water. Along this stretch of highway, dozens of art galleries are teeming with original artwork from talented local artists. From individually owned galleries to the Art Cooperative at Gulf Place and the Artist Colony in Seaside, Hwy 30-A is filled with artistic renderings of the area as well as multi-media pieces of all kinds. Under the water, the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County has established the first underwater art museum. Local artists have created metal sculptures that have been submerged to create a home for marine species, creating an artistic reef beneath the surface. Visitors can make their own art with recycled glass at artist Mary Hong’s Shard Shop in Grayton Beach.

Grayton Beach State Park sign

30A - Natural Attractions

With three state parks and Point Washington State Forest, it’s easy to enjoy 30A’s natural attractions. On the west end of Hwy 30A, Topsail Hill State Preserve is home to two coastal dune lakes, the tallest sand dunes along the coast, pristine beaches, and miles of hiking/biking trails. In the middle, Grayton Beach State Park surrounds Western Lake and features hiking trails, and access to miles of pristine beaches and the coastal dune lake. Toward the East, Deer Lake State Park is a primitive park with nature trails, a wooden boardwalk through towering sand dunes, which leads to miles of white sand beaches. Add to this an extensive trail system through Point Washington State Forest and one could consider Hwy 30A a nature-lovers paradise.


30A - Recreational Opportunities

With so many natural attractions, recreational opportunities are extensive. Hiking, biking, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, fishing, swimming, snorkeling, and surfing are all popular pastimes along Scenic Highway 30A. The Friends of 30A are working to continue to beautifying 30A and adding amenities including wish list project Friends Corner, which will include a Gazebo and informational signage about Eastern Lake.

30a bike path

30A - Experience this National Scenic Byway  

With a vast array of vacation rental homes and condominiums along Scenic Highway 30A, Newman-Dailey Resort Properties offers travelers many ways to experience this National Scenic Byway. From luxury 30A condos at Sanctuary at Redfish in Blue Mountain Beach to beach homes in Dune Allen to Gulf-front condominiums in Santa Rosa Beach, Newman-Dailey's 30A vacation rentals are ready to welcome travelers to experience the joy of a 30A beach vacation. View our 30A vacation rentals online or call one of our friendly vacation specialists at 1-800-225-7652.