Seagrove Beach, Florida on Scenic 30a Part 1: The East Side
Updated: Aug 15, 2019
Hello and welcome everyone. We’re starting our series about the Villages of 30a in SoWal, and I’m so excited. This time we’ll focus on Seagrove Beach and work our way through Rosemary Beach, Alys Beach, Watersound, Seaside, Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain and Gulf Place. So… here we go.
Several of our artists are inspired by the laid-back vibe of Seagrove Beach, so if you’re ready for that true family vacation, this is the spot. I consider Seagrove Beach to run from Deer Lake State Park all the way to Seaside.
It’s a pretty long stretch, so this time I’m focusing on Eastern Seagrove, which begins at Deer Lake and heads west to the Y where 30a splits with Eastern Lake Road. Seagrove is still a pretty residential area, but has some wonderfully unique shops and restaurants. As a matter of fact, this is where our boutique, Art & Soul, is located.
Seagrove has 2 coastal dune lakes. These lakes are only found in a very small portion of the world, (as a matter of fact, Oregon is the only other state to have them here in the U.S). These lakes are fed through ground water, rain and streams. When the tides rise, the salty Gulf waters flow in, causing the water to be brackish and look kind of funky, but it’s great for our environment and keeps lots of fish and critters alive, so don’t be afraid to wade on through.
Deer Lake State Park is on the East side of Seagrove Beach and right next to Watersound. When I first moved here this was the park we visited the most. First, you’ll drive down a small dirt road, (don’t forget to pay the $3 cash fee to get a parking pass, if the ranger comes along, and you haven’t paid, he will not be happy), once parked you walk a pathway through the woods, and then, Tah Dah!, you come out of the woods to see what looks like a landscape from another planet. The dunes are rolling, Deer Lake is to your right, and the beach is directly in front of you with a cool breeze blowing in your face. Enjoy your walk, take some pictures, and realize, this is what all of 30a looked like at one time: pristine!
The beach at Deer Lake is wonderful, but there are A LOT of stairs, (also a long, back and forth ramp). Spend the day here or go and see the sunset, no matter which you choose it will be worth it. I will say, on a very hot day that walk back to the car seems to take FOREVER. Be sure to save some water for that one. And, just an FYI, they only have porta-potties, so if you’re opposed to those, just know you’ll have to make a quick break for home. For more info on Deer Lake visit their website here: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/deer-lake-state-park
Just past Deer Lake, heading west is Art & Soul, located in Lakewood Shopping Center. Stop by and see us and check out the other cool people in our building. The guys over at 30A Bikes are awesome and will be happy to help you get the perfect fit for you and any kiddos you bring along.
Maybe you’ve already visited RealJoy Vacations as they may have had the keys to your rental home. They are always ready to help you out, give you local info and make that vacation home clean and ready for you visit. https://realjoy.com/northwest-florida/south-walton-30a-miramar-beach-sandestin/30a/rentals/11
The massage therapist at 30a Pure Massage is amazing. Relax with a real massage that will refresh you after all the fun stuff you’ve been doing on the beach. You know, those activities that you never do at home, that made all your muscles hurt. They also do reflexology. https://www.yelp.com/biz/30a-pure-massage-santa-rosa-beach-4
Seagrove Beach Neighborhood
If you are staying on this side of Eastern Lake, you’re probably in the neighborhood directly across from Art & Soul. This neighborhood is a wonderful place to stay, uncrowded, quiet and family friendly. I really like it because it’s one of the very few places you can actually drive along the beach. You used to be able to park here, but alas, they now have a parking lot for this, which, I suppose, is probably for the best. Stay to the left and drive all the way out to the beach and take some pictures of you on your car right there at the beach. This area is also where Mar-a-Lago is located. Now, I’m not saying this is where Trump lives, but you never know who you may see around here, after all, Luke Bryan does own a house in the neighborhood. There is also a gorgeous lake with tons of lily pads and flowers. Drive around some while you’re here and check out the divided streets with trees growing in the middle.
Food, Dessert, and Fun
Continuing on 30A, just past Art & Soul is The Old Florida Fish House. http://oldfloridafishhouse.com/ If you’ve never eaten there, you should definitely give it a try. The wait usually isn’t too long, and the food is good. They serve everything from sushi and seafood to steaks. If you do have to wait, they have a lot of fun stuff outside for the kids and those pretty string lights to sit under and have a cocktail. You can also walk onto the elevated dock and have a look across Eastern Lake to the beach.
After dinner walk over to Coast Creamery and have some ice cream. www.yelp.com/biz/coast-creamery-santa-rosa-beach-2 It’s so close and so good. Or you can walk over to Kahve & Cream. They have ice cream (even dairy free options), donuts and coffee among other things. It’s got a hip, cool vibe, and free Wi-Fi. They are very friendly. The last time I was there, they offered me 6 samples before I made my final choice of Banana Pudding Ice Cream, yum! https://kahveandcream.com/ While in this area, if you get a chance, the 30A Historical Society just opened in May. They have tons of memorabilia from the area, a working Coke machine with those tiny bottles for 10 cents, and a great gift shop. http://www.30ahistoricalsociety.com/
After you drive across Eastern Lake, keep an eye out on your left for Clay 30a. This seems like
a very cute garden and plant shop, but it is much more. Stop and take a walk through their local plants and outdoor spaces. They have some very cool planters and décor outside. They usually have a giant swinging bed to hangout and take pictures on. I did ask where it was recently, and they said they sold the last one, but are expecting a new one shortly. It could be yours! Inside, the shop is filled with lots of kitchen items, local art signs and air plants. You can’t go wrong stopping here. http://www.clay30a.com/
When you leave Clay, instead of getting back on 30a, take the dirt road back into the neighborhood. If you head left, you can park and walk out to Eastern Lake and the Gulf. There is a very nice walkway there with a wash off hose, so you don’t get too much sand in your car. Ha! I know that was funny, huh? This is that spot where you must wade through the brownish-red, brackish water I mentioned earlier. As soon as you pass through this warm water, you are greeted by that gorgeous white sand and aqua water that you’ve been dreaming of swimming in. This area is so pretty with the lake on one side and the Gulf on the other, you’ll feel like you’re on the best beach in the world. Now, be forewarned, the beach changes every single day, so if you get a nasty seaweed day or a bunch of baby jellyfish, we can only hope it will change the next day.
This is the area of Seagrove that local artist, Bill Horn, and his brother and author, Garrett Horn, vacationed as children and now as adults. Bill Horn, an avid surfer in his past glory, goes out daily when in town to photograph the gorgeous waves that gently roll across the Gulf. Bill’s brother, Garrett Horn, has authored a book, Postcards of Seagrove, about the area back in the day, and their adventures as children and young adults here. It’s so interesting, and shines a new light on those two quiet men. Drop by Art & Soul to add one of these beautiful photos to your collection, and while your here, pick up a copy of Garrett's book.
So, those are my suggestions for Eastern Seagrove Beach. I’m sure I’ve left a few places out for you to find on your own. If you know of any please let me know. I’d love to hear from all of you.
Until next time when we head to Western Seagrove Beach, enjoy the beach!