2 Aug 2021
More than just a road, Scenic Highway 30-A is treasured by longtime locals and loyal visitors. This 18 mile stretch features towns with individual character and every glimpse of the beautiful gulf highlights what makes this area a very special place. With schools back in session, it seems like a smart time to share a little lesson on 30-A. Long before electricity, only a few farms settled where the communities of 30-A now stand. South Walton and its stunning coastline were mostly isolated from DeFuniak Springs due to the Choctawhatchee Bay and lack of paved roads.
Tourism as an industry did not emerge in Walton County until the Louisville & Nashville Railroad railroad tracks connected Pensacola to Tallahassee in the late 1800s. In 1939 a drawbridge connected DeFuniak Springs over the bay to the southern part of the county and by the late 1940s small beach towns began to emerge.
Finally, in 1956, they paved the road that would be known as 30-A, connecting the new coastal communities of Seagrove, Grayton Beach, and Blue Mountain Beach to each other. The road was progressively built in phases and was completed in the 1970s. While hard to believe nowadays, few people used 30-A at first. They often stayed inland and chose U.S. 98 for expedience. In 2006, the Florida State Legislature first designated 30-A as an “official” Florida Scenic Highway. Did you know in the Spring of 2021 30-A was added to a group of only 184 nationally recognized scenic roadways in the U.S.? This National Scenic Byways Program honors roads with notable scenic, historic, natural, and archaeological qualities.
Whether you call 30-A home year-round or it is your family’s annual “home away from home”, the storied history of this highway is a rich one. And yes, depending on the time of year, traffic can become busy. But we always recommend: take the scenic way home.