30A had been on my “dream trip” list for years before we finally decided to make it happen two weeks ago. I’d been to Destin, Florida many times but had never visited the little strip of beach just above it and we decided a road trip to the Sunshine State for our last family trip before the baby comes would be a Spring Break dream. Looking back on these photos even just one week later I realize how different everything is. In the midst of the global pandemic Covid-19 and under strict rules to stay home I’m just so grateful we had this sweet little trip to the beach. I’ll never forget it.
I won’t dive into all the road trip details now because that will be a whole post within itself (maybe when a road trip sounds like a possibility again?) but I will say the drive was just under 12 hours so we left at 5am and arrived as the sun was setting. It was pure magic to park the car at our little carriage house, walk down to the beach and see the water lit in gold and diamonds for us. We let the kids splash around for an hour just getting their pajamas soaked and sinking their toes into the sand. It was exactly how I dreamed of starting our trip.
favorite matching kids swimsuits:
Where to Stay:After much deliberation, we decided to stay in Rosemary Beach. We chose to rent a home through VRBO which is the best option for sure. You’ll be faced with two choices: rent the home that is stunning with everything you could ever want or rent the home that has just what you need. We knew we’d be taking this trip just two weeks after a more glamorous trip to LA so after debating many properties I chose to stay in this little carriage house for our beach stay. It has a little bunk room on the first floor and the master is in a loft upstairs (i.e. no wall or door on the master bedroom but the kids room does have a door.) There is only one bathroom and not too much kitchen storage but it was so beautiful, so clean and had absolutely everything we could have needed.
It also had a garage which was so nice, but our vehicle didn’t fit in it so we utilized the free parking pass that came with renting the house and were able to park right outside anyway. Most importantly for us, it was a three minute walk to the beach. Be sure to check the walk-to-the-beach time when you’re browsing houses. Other area families recommend staying in most are Seacrest, Seaside, and Watercolor Beach. I think we’ll continue to stay in Rosemary Beach for years to come because it was everything we were looking for and the other locations are between a 1 and 10 minute drive away anyway.
I also chose to rent beach supplies since they came with the house rather than renting the ones directly on the beach since that costs at least $70 a day. They drop off your umbrella, chairs and wagon the day you arrive and pick them up the day you’re set to leave. It was perfect.
What I Wore: I lived in maxi dresses, swimsuits and coverups this whole trip. I was sure to bring my favorite cardigan which came in handy for early mornings and evening walks. This has been the only top layer I’ve brought on our past couple trips and I’m so glad I scooped it up in January. The smaller sizes have since sold out but currently M-XL are still in stock (I chose XL for myself because I love the oversized look.)
top: (also raved about it in this post here) Parker.
another peek at the dress + cardigan combo in action. I snuck out early in the morning while everyone else was sleeping to take photos of the stunning beach and homes before it got too busy. You can read all about my cameras here.
Where we ate: To be honest, we didn’t eat too many places on this trip. 30A is decently gluten-free friendly but not necessarily grain-free friendly. If you have a true gluten allergy, there aren’t many options to indulge in here which I definitely prepared for. We packed a cooler full of our essentials after checking Google Maps to see that the nearest Whole Foods was an hour away. I packed some Beyond Meat vegan sausages, beef hot dogs for the kids, our cereals and freezer waffles, ingredients for our daily smoothie and a good amount of organic fruits and vegetables. I brought pantry staples too so we’d have snacks on hand as well as a box of Daiya gluten free + vegan pasta and frozen Applegate turkey burgers for quick dinners after a long day at the beach. The kids and O had (and LOVED) local gluten free and vegan pizza as well as a great burger. I enjoyed some delicious blackened fish and a burger myself so we did have a couple meals each and everything was absolutely delicious.
Raw & Juicy: We went to Raw & Juicy 3/4 days of our trip. I cannot recommend it enough-especially if you’re vegan and/or gluten free. O had the vegan breakfast sandwich many times over and couldn’t stop raving about the biscuit let alone the whole sandwich. The kids loved the smoothies and I got the breakfast hash twice. They also bake grain-free cookies, gluten free baked goods and raw vegan desserts every day. Also- they made me a custom decaf latte with frothed almond milk and some maple syrup to sweeten it. My goodness, I already miss it so much! They also have a play area outside the restaurant which makes it so perfect for kids to run around while you have a slower start to the day.
Southside Slice: This was the pizza place right across the street from our little house and I wished so badly I could eat an entire pizza by myself. The gluten-free crust isn’t grain-free (it has corn and rice) so I didn’t indulge but they kids had the gf pizza with pineapple, Italian sausage and vegan cheese and O had a regular crust pizza with the works and vegan cheese. They said both were 10/10.
The HUB: This place is awesome. We spent an entire evening here one night and the kids danced and sang and played games with the other kids on the lawn for hours.
Big Bad Breakfast: I took a little walk up the road to grab a burger to-go from this place because it came HIGHY recommended from everyone we met in 30A. The menu looks incredible and I will say, despite not being able to indulge in all the yummy stuff my plain burger patty was delectable and I wish I could have gotten 5.
We decided to bring two coolers-one we kept in the trunk for the actual transportation of food during our 11 hour drive and another small one to be able to keep near us in the front of the car come to the beach with us. I packed the kids lunchboxes, a dry snack (I like ‘Hippeas’ Chickpea puffs for them) and hands-free options like applesauce pouches. I also let the kids choose a pack of juice boxes in the grocery store before the trip which also was a big exciting treat to whip out on beach days.
What to do: Again, we knew the priorities for our trip were to have quality family time, rest and let the kids explore and play at the beach. There are so many fun activities offered for families every day including outdoor movie nights, kids karaoke, dance parties and more which is posted on a schedule every day. We did meet a fellow Texan group and met up with them for dinner at the HUB on dance party night one night but aside from that, we preferred nights at home this trip. I’d shower the kids after a long day at the beach, change them into their pajamas, we’d eat dinner and usually watch a movie together and that’d be all that was on the agenda for night time. We weren’t party animals this trip (and tend not to be) but if that’s your thing, there are tons of options to do so! Definitely take advantage of the little play area outside of Raw & Juicy if you’re looking to let your kids run around while you sit and relax with some delicious coffee, breakfast or a smoothie.
I will cherish this trip for all of my days. The last trip with just the four of us. I hope you find this helpful and that it serves as a bit of a bright spot in these dark times-I know these photos warm my heart and they’re reminding me warm weather and sunshine are just around the corner.