Looking for some fun for the kids? Camp 30A is the only outdoors adventures camp for children in South Walton. Held at Grayton Beach State Park, the day camp gives kids ages 6-12 a chance to explore the sand and the sea, the longleaf pine forest and the coastal dune lakes. Camp leaders take kids on paddle board adventures, kayaking, hiking and even snorkeling. Book your day camp now. Michael Harrison, the camp’s director, has worked with kids camps for over 20 years and always dreamed of starting his own. The area around Scenic Highway 30A seemed like the perfect spot. “At Grayton Beach State Park, we have the Gulf of Mexico, but not only that, we have the lakes, we have hiking,” Harrison said. “It really lends itself to a great, unique camp experience.” Harrison has always loved working with kids, especially when he can introduce them to something they haven’t experienced before, like snorkeling or kayaking. “If you’re showing them something that’s maybe a little different, something they haven’t done before, they’re going to be really enthusiastic,” he said. “And kids are just fun to be around.” Learn more and book your day camp online.
By Caroline Giddis We’ve all seen the iconic, round 30A stickers displayed on car bumpers and water bottles around the country, but 13-year-old Henri Waché prefers to show off his love of 30A by collecting a different trinket — bottle caps. “I first got a 30A bottle cap when I was in Grayton Beach a few years ago,” said Henri, who lives in Haverford, Pennsylvania. “They’re a reminder of our times at Grayton Beach and the community down there. My mom grew up in Fort Walton beach because my grandpa was an airforce pilot, so we come down every year.” The bottle caps look like miniature 30A stickers and bring a little bit of small-town beach life to Henri’s collection. Henri has been collecting bottle caps for three years — and he’s dedicated to the task. He doesn’t hesitate to dig through dirt and concrete to score a colorful cap. He loves the aesthetic differences between the logos and designs on each one and the memories that come along with it. “To me it’s not just a collection. I can really relate to every moment where I found one,” Henri said. “If anyone enjoys collecting something, I say go for it. I really think that collecting helps you to remember special moments.” Instead of letting his collection of hundreds of caps sit in a drawer or a jar, Henri wanted to make something with them. One summer, he created a colorful, spiral design and mounted it to a framed corkboard. “I wanted to display my collection in a different way so I thought making it into some sort of collage would be a good way to show all of them,” Henri said. “I enjoyed having my mind expand and really seeing what I could make with them.” Henri attends The Haverford School, a private school for boys, where his artwork was recently displayed during an alumni reception in the upper school, an opportunity he is very proud of. “My art teacher requested if anyone had done any artwork outside of school, and at first I hesitated, but they really embraced it and the upper schoolers loved it,” Henri said. Henri’s mother, Robin Waché, is a native to the South Walton area and very proud that her son used 30A caps in his artwork. “Every summer since my three children were born, we have managed to spend time in Grayton Beach,” Waché said. “Slowly but surely the word is spreading that the most incredible beaches on earth are situated along 30-A. Shhh….don’t tell too many more people,” Robin said. “We hope to savor our little paradise forever.”
For those who prefer a little more action in their daily diet (instead of just beach bummin’ it all day), South Walton offers plenty of activities that will get the adrenaline pumping. Here’s our list of the Top 5 activities for all of you thrill-seekers along 30A. Kiteboarding Kiteboarding combines aspects of wake boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport that is not for the faint of heart. The kiteboarder straps their feet into a board and uses their arms to control cables attached to a large kite, allowing them to catch wind and make incredibly jumps high into the air. “I think one of the most compelling aspects of kiteboarding is your ability to be completely in tune with your environment,” said local Ed Rolen of Rolen Studio. “Engaging in the surf conditions, being pulled around under your own volition and being immersed in the amazing beach environment we have along 30A makes this sport something I try to do as much as possible.” Where to find it: You can often find Ed sailing through the surf and sky along Grayton Beach. Cave Diving Around 30A, freshwater springs have formed some deep-water caves that are perfect for the thrill-seeking cave diver. To access most of these caves, divers need the use of scuba gear, so certification and experience are absolutely necessary to ensure safety. For those with the proper credentials, these caves are filled with crystal-clear water and a view of nature that only the daring get to behold. For those without certification, area springs offer guided courses and lessons. Where to find it: Morrison Springs, a free public park, boasts three underwater caverns, including one about 300 feet deep. Definitely hire a guide or instructor to accompany you. Vortex Springs, a private park, also offers equipment rental and scuba lessons on site. Parasailing Parasailing involves a parachute towed behind a boat, sending the rider about 500 feet into the air. Feel the rush of the wind and enjoy the quiet peacefulness of the sky as you sail over the emerald waters around 30A. No experience necessary for this adrenaline rush. Want to see our beaches in a way you’ve never seen them before? Fly through the sky and catch a glimpse of South Walton from a pelican’s-eye view on a Parasailing adventure! Hop on an inflatable banana boat to hitch a ride out to the parasailing boat and enjoy your time in the air. Off-Roading Throw together a rainy day and the vast amount of nature trails and back roads in the area and you have perfect conditions for off-roading! The 15,400-acre Point Washington State Forest is criss-crossed with dirt-and sand trails, popular with both off-roading motorists and bicyclists. “After a really heavy rain, splashing through the muddy trails of Point Washington Forest is simultaneous relaxing and exhilarating.” -Mike Ragsdale, The 30A Company Where to find it? Find more information and maps of the Point Washington State Forest trails here. The Longleaf Pine Trail system, which has 3.5-, 8-, and 10-mile loops, is great for off-road mountain biking as well. Surfing Although 30A’s Gulf waters are often as smooth as glass, on many days of the year, the waves are ideal for surfing (particularly when there’s a tropical storm brewing somewhere down in the tropics). Professionals and amateur surfers alike patiently bide their time, waiting for red flag beach conditions or a tropical surge that might create the perfect moment. Everyone starts off as a beginner, but kids visiting the beach this summer have a really cool opportunity to get some surf experience at 30A Surf and Stand-up Paddleboard camp! “Surfing is very different from all other board sports due to the fact that everything around you is moving and the ocean can be very unpredictable,” said Chef Phil McDonald of Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar. “The feeling you get from catching a really great wave is something I can’t quite describe. You are so focused on that exact moment and nothing else matters. I guess the best description of feeling while surfing would be freedom.” Where to find it: Anywhere along the Gulf is a good place to start. If you haven’t been on a board and want to learn, 30A Surf Camp‘s experienced instructors can get anyone riding the waves in just a few hours on the water. Book a day for you and the kids with 30A Surf and SUP Camp now! Author Jordyn Knott (who reportedly had the “best summer ever” interning at The 30A Company) contributed to this article. Knott lives in West Lafayette, Indiana, until she can get back to the beach. Check out her blog at happilychic.com.
NOTE: Scroll down for a complete schedule of Independence Day activities. By Jessie Taylor Here on Scenic Highway 30A, July Fourth is not only a national holiday, it’s a deep-rooted local tradition. From all-day beach parties on Grayton Beach to symphonies and fireworks shows, this is one of the busiest weekends on 30A. For my family, this is the assumed “schedule” that we go by each year: 1. Wake up at 5:30 a.m. to brave the fierce battle for the best spot on Grayton Beach. 2. After helping my dad set up, we go on a short run down each road in Grayton in advance of the parade to scope out the other decorated cars and see if we have any chance at being honored as the best float. (Unfortunately, this has never happened). 3. Arriving back from our run, we frantically wake up the lazy members of the Taylor family, explaining that we have exactly 30 minutes to make the best float in Grayton Beach. 4. Throwing on our best red, white and blue bathing suits, we grab duct tape and the box of Fourth of July decorations and get to work, while dad yells not to rip the paint off of the Jeep. (This happens every year). 5. The Grayton parade starts around 8:30 a.m., with plenty of candy-throwing and children waving from the sides of the road. 6. The parade ends around 9:15 a.m. at Grayton Coast Properties, my aunt, Kitty Taylor’s business. They serve watermelon and popsicles for everyone that shows. When all of the watermelon is gone, we all agree to go home, pack our coolers, and “meet ‘ya at the beach.” So after reading this, I’m sure you’re ready to weigh out your options and create your own 30A traditions for your family. In addition to Grayton Beach, there are plenty of events planned all over South Walton, and they’re included below. Happy Fourth! Learn more about the Grayton Beach parade from local Grant Blackwell of Coastal Insurance: Looking for more freedom-centric fun? Here’s the full-line up of local activities: ALYS BEACH 6 – 9 p.m. 4th of July Concert featuring the Atlanta Party Band 9 p.m. Fireworks GRAYTON BEACH 8:30 a.m. Old Fashioned 4th of July Parade Decorate your bikes, golf carts, cars, jeeps, boats, scooters, etc. and take part in the parade. Parade line up starts at 8 a.m. at Red Bar. Everyone is welcome! After, enjoy watermelon and lemonade at Grayton Coast Properties. Rosemary Beach 7:30 a.m. Bike Decoration Contest & Breakfast at North Barrett Square 8:30 a.m. Bike parade through the Town Center 9 a.m. Family field day on Western Green Sack races, water balloon toss, games, prizes and more! 6 p.m. The Like Totally Hep Cats on Western Green 6-9 p.m. 4th of July Picnic Dinner Party Join us poolside for an All-American full buffet, craft beer bar available for purchase. $45 per adult | $25 per child (12 and under) 8:45 p.m. Fireworks on the beach SEASIDE July 3: 7:30 p.m. Stars & Stripes Pop Concert featuring the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra July 4: 8 a.m. South Walton 4th of July Parade (from Seagrove to downtown Seaside). Make sure to register in advance to have a float in the parade. Please note that a portion of Scenic Highway 30A will be closed for a few hours to accommodate the parade. 7 p.m. The Victory Belles Concert 8:30 p.m. Fireworks Spectacular over the Gulf of Mexico WATERCOLOR INN & RESORT 7 – 10 p.m. Fourth of July Picnic on the Beach (behind WaterColor Inn). Enjoy live music, refreshments and fun. Advanced reservations or tickets required. Please call 850-534-5041 for more info. 9 – 10 p.m. Kick back and enjoy the Fireworks show over the Gulf of Mexico on WaterColor Beach VILLAGE OF BAYTOWNE WHARF 6 – 9 p.m. Red, White and Baytowne runs all day long with lawn games, inflatables, kids crafts and face painting at Baytowne Wharf. 7 p.m. Live Music by Soul Track Mind 9:15 p.m. Fireworks over the Choctawhatchee Bay! Also, check out our 30a.com/events calendar for plenty more fun events happening throughout the weekend! Did we miss something? Please let us know so we can add it to our official schedule.
Submitted by South Walton Fire District New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, a time many Americans observe the start of a new year by sending bottle rockets into the sky, exploding miniature bombs and unfortunately, breaking a state law. Most fireworks are illegal for consumer use in Florida, even if they’re available for purchase. That can make […]
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2016 SANTA ROSA GOLF & BEACH CLUB PRESENTED BY Each year, 120 players meet at Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club for the 30A Charity Golf Classic — a wild one-day tournament that’s raised over $73,000 for charity so far! The 4th annual tournament — PRESENTED BY THE AESTHETIC CLINIQUE — will held on Saturday, October 22, 2016. This year’s tournament will benefit Children’s Volunteer Health Network. Learn more or make a donation at their website. Player check-in and breakfast will begin at 7:30 AM, with a shotgun start at 8:30 AM. Complimentary snacks and Bloody Marys will be served along the course, and carts will be making the rounds, serving ice cold beer. The team that wins the 30A Charity Golf Classic scores fantastic prizes donated by 30A friends, sponsors, partners and local businesses. Just like previous years, there will also be tons of fun prizes, raffles and giveaways throughout the day. THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! We would like to sincerely thank THE AESTHETIC CLINIQUE along with all of our 2016 sponsors: PRESENTING SPONSOR: The Aesthetic Clinique $1 Million Hole-in-One Challenge: 30A Television Driving Range: St. Joe Club and Resorts Putting Green: Kiwanis Club of Freeport – South Walton Breakfast Sponsor: Another Broken Egg Beverage Sponsor: Henderson Barrett LLC Beer Cart Sponsor: Rent 30a Signage Sponsor: Press Print Graphics and Eloquent Signs Trophy Sponsor: Mercantile Hole #1: Shore Thing Cigars Hole #2 (Par 3): 30A Television Hole #3 (Par 3): Howard Hospitality Hole #4: Maison Bleu Properties Snack Station #1 Sponsor: Roux 30a Hole #5: Pelican Real Estate and Development Hole #6: EcoCentric Brands Hole #7: Red Bar and Louis Louis Hole #8 (Par 3): 30A Cottages and Concierge Hole #9: Berkshire Hathaway Beach Home Services | Beach Properties of Florida Bloody Mary Bar Sponsor: Stinky’s Fish Camp Hole #10: Summer House Lifestyle Hole #11: T-Formation Hole #12 (Par 3): O.B. Laurent Construction Hole #13: Maurice Stouse, broker Snack Station #2 Sponsor: Chiringo Hole #14: Cafe Thirty-A Hole #15: Think It Wear It Hole #16 (Par 3): Aqua Title Hole #17: Bud & Alley’s Hole #18: The Aesthetic Clinique Lunch Sponsor: Barefoot B-B-Q Click here to sponsor our 2016 30A Charity Golf Classic! 100% for Charity Again this year, 100% of all proceeds from the 30A Charity Golf Classic will be donated to charity. In its first year, $23,000 was given to Off The Mat and Shelter House Domestic Violence Center. In 2014, $27,000 was raised for Alaqua Animal Refuge. In 2015, $23,000 was donated to Food for Thought. This year, all proceeds from the tournament will be donated to Children’s Volunteer Health Network (CVHN). CVHN seeks to enhance the lives of uninsured or underinsured school-aged children by facilitating free, immediate access to medical, dental and mental health care in Walton and Okaloosa counties. Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club Hugging the Gulf of Mexico, this hidden gem in Santa Rosa Beach has it all, including a highly sought after Gulf Front view. And if the view isn’t enough, this “member-owned” semi-private Club boasts an immaculate golf course that masterfully winds through natural habitats, making this course a must-play in the area. Holes three through five wind around a complex of dunes, all within a few hundred yards of the Gulf of Mexico. The 18th hole is a beauty and a superb finishing hole, as it doglegs hard right before rising to the green, perched on a hill with the club house in the background. Click here to learn more about Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club. Click here to become a sponsor or register to play! SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2016 SANTA ROSA GOLF & BEACH CLUB PRESENTED BY
The fifth annual Easy on 30A benefit concert will take place on Sunday, July 3, from 5 to 10 p.m. at WaterColor’s Marina Park. This year’s performers are Geoff McBride, The Courtyard Saints, Chris Alvarado and Scott Rockwood. Admission is free and open to public. South Walton locals Beth and Randy Carroll founded Easy on 30A in 2012. The non-profit organization works together with the local community, businesses and musicians to host a benefit concert for Northwest Florida charities. Check out this 30A Radio interview with Randy and Beth Carol: The event also features a craft market and a silent auction. Silent auction and raffle items will include donated vacation stays, restaurant gift certificates and much more to benefit The Sonder Project, Muscogee Nation of Florida, Lighthouse Family Retreat and Alaqua Animal Refuge. Picnic blankets and chairs are welcomed. Food and beverages will also be available for purchase. Easy on 30A works together with the WaterColor Community and WaterColor Resort to bring this fun charity event to fruition during one of the busiest weeks of the summer. For more info, follow Easy on 30A on Facebook.
Vending machines are not just for chips and candy bars any more. At least not the kind Scott Turner runs. Turner’s business, TBOX, operates a series of high-tech vending machines across Northwest Florida where customers can purchase t-shirts, hats and now even 30A Gear. Turner’s concept is part of a growing movement for businesses to provide higher-end products in vending machines. Red Box, the movie rental kiosks, may be the most popular in the United States, but people across the globe have started using vending machines to sell everything from iPods and phone chargers to shoes. “Once we got into researching it ourselves, we found these kind of machines are popular in Asia and Europe, but not a whole lot of people are doing it in the states,” said Turner, who started out with ice vending machines, but quickly saw a need for something more. A vending machine can serve as a pop-up store — without the expense of overhead — and the concept is catching on. “It helps businesses expand to an area they might not be able to otherwise, to have a presence without having to have a storefront, staffing and all that goes with it,” said Turner. The technology has come a long way since the days of coin-operated soda and snack machines. Turner’s machines use LED lights and a system of infrared sensors so the machine conserves energy when not in use. All merchandise is tracked electronically, as well, which helps decrease the business’s ecological footprint. In years past, vending machine stockers had to travel with a big semi-truck full of products and assess what needed to be restocked on site. Turner can use a compact car to visit and restock machines. He knows exactly which products and how many he needs before he ever leaves the warehouse. Customers make purchases with credit cards and if any problem arises, the machine sends a text to Turner and he can operate it remotely to provide whatever customer service is needed. 30A Gear vending machines are in place at HarborWalk Village, Destin Commons, Silver Sands Premium Outlets and Pier Park. You can buy t-shirts, hats, drink huggies, license plate decals, Tervis tumblers and even coffee. “With the technology available, these things are pretty amazing,” Turner said. “They’re eco-friendly, business and customer friendly. We’re really excited to have them out there for people to use.”
Cruising every week from Sandestin‘s Baytowne Marina, Sunquest Cruise’s SOLARIS yacht is a truly unique 30A experience, and it happens to be one of the very best places to enjoy a South Walton sunset. (In the summer months, the sun sets over Choctawhatchee Bay, not the Gulf). The family-owned 5,300-square-foot fine dining and dancing yacht (built right here in Walton County) features two dining salons, a full-service gourmet galley and a full-service bar. Enjoy an afternoon or evening cruising around the Bay, hanging out on one of the yacht’s open-air decks, dining on a gourmet meal, kicking up your heels to a live band and dancing under the stars. Book your cruise now. Learn more about the story behind the SOLARIS in this interview with owner James Murray: After the cruise, hop on the boardwalk that leads away from the marina and meander through moss-draped oak trees over to The Village of Baytowne Wharf. There you’ll find some seriously fun and funky blues, a dueling piano bar and tons of other nightlife options. It’s the perfect way to wrap up an evening on the bay. The Solaris is also a perfect venue for special occasions, including banquets, corporate retreats, V.I.P. functions, and of course, weddings and rehearsal dinners. Learn more at 30aweddings.com. Check out this 30A Video Tours episode, featuring the Solaris: Book your cruise now.
Just a stone’s throw from the white sands of Sandestin and Miramar Beach, Silver Sands Premium Outlets is a shop-a-holic’s paradise. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is home to 110 designer and name brand outlet stores with 465,200 square feet of retail space. You’ll find impressive savings of 25% to 65% every day at Banana Republic Factory Store, Calvin Klein, Coach, Cole Haan Outlet, Columbia Sportswear, Gap Outlet, J.Crew Factory, Kate Spade New York, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Nike Factory Store, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Swarovski, Vera Bradley and more. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is visited by over 7 million shoppers each year in search of those deeply discounted bargains and the annual “After Thanksgiving Weekend Sale” hosts over 60,000 shoppers burning the midnight oil in search of unheard-of deals. Silver Sands Premium Outlets is also home to a few great restaurant chains, including Panera Bread, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Cheeseburger in Paradise. Click here to visit Silver Sands Premium Outlets website.