Jami Ray 30A Beach Chairs and Umbrealla Business & Pleasure

If you’re headed to 30A for spring break, I bet you can’t wait! There’s so much to look forward to – pastel sunset skies, delicious food, stunning architecture and plenty of memories to make. A few things have evolved and for that, you might want to educate yourself with the latest news. Read through a few of these frequently asked questions covering topics like private beach access, what’s new in Seaside and what I do instead of making a Publix run on Saturday.

What’s the Deal with Public vs Private Beach Access on 30A?

Great question because this is a major topic right now. Some say it boils down to out-of-towners moving here and trying to change things, but that’s a rant for another day. In the past few years, our county has had to scramble to deal with legal aftermath of private vs public beach claims after decades of not having this issue. As it stands today, each area of the beach is a little different with designated private beaches, county-owned public access, public beaches, resort-owned areas. Here’s the full interactive public and private beach map.

30A Private and Public Beach Access Points Interactive Map South Walton Rosemary Beach Seaside

Also, it’s important to note that even though you might not be able to get to the beach at a certain location designated as private, you can still legally access the wet sand up to the mean water line (aka the tide line). This means you can access at any public point and enjoy the full length of Walton County beaches as you please. You can place your chair here, sunbathe, swim, walk, jog, etc. You just have to stay close to the wet sand.

Which beach setup do you use?

If it’s a quick beach trip, we just grab a towel and a bag to make it easy, but if we’re staying more than a few hours, I’ll take my umbrella and chairs. If you’re headed to 30A for spring break, you can rent chairs or consider bringing your own. My exact umbrella goes in and out of stock so I’m linking a few similar options here. Also, these chairs on Wayfair / Joss and Main don’t say this, but they’re actually Business & Pleasure at a major sale price. Grab them while you can! My cabana striped towels are linked here.

Why is the Van Ness Butler Access Closed?

While technically not in Seaside, this is a hot topic because the access between Seaside and Watercolor is one of our regional beach accesses and a prime location between two busy communities. This means there was ample parking, restrooms and public beach access for locals and visitors to enjoy. Without getting into the nitty gritty legal detail, the short story is that the county was granted this access years ago and when the county passed a customary use ordinance for the public in 2017, the Watercolor community association sued to have the access abandoned by the county, arguing that it was not being used as intended in the original agreement. (article here) Cue legal proceedings. Fast forward to 2024 and the access is now owned by Watercolor and closed to the public. 

The next closest public beach accesses are now Coleman Pavilion in Seaside and Grayton Beach State Park. For Coleman Pavilion, which is the access under the iconic obelisk, the only access requirement is that you must reserve a chair and umbrella rental through Cabana Man beach service. 

Does your husband take kids on fishing charters?

Yes, absolutely! Florida Boy Adventures is the fishing charter run by my husband, Capt. Hunter Ray. He offers inshore fishing with 2 and 4 hour trips for up to 6 people. He takes tons of families and is great with kids. You can even send your kids off on a spring break “camp” if you want a few hours to yourself. He also does sunset charters and bay cruises. Check out his website and more info here.

What happened to the Seaside Shuttle?

It hasn’t gone away, it’s just a little different this year! The county changed the parking lot in Grayton Beach where the shuttle to Seaside used to drop off and pick up, so new this year are multiple shuttles to Seaside looping to and from a lot on 331 just south of The Bay restaurant. 

What else is new in Seaside?

If you know Seaside, you know it’s ever-evolving and changing, which is exactly what is designed in the long-term plan. Here are a few updates and edits this spring:

  • The Shrimp Shack has a brand new bar on the back side along the Gulf with tons more seating and gorgeous Gulf views. I highly recommend 
  • The Seaside Farmers Market has a cute new look with this year’s posters. Artwork by yours truly.
  • The Seaside Style Sport has added new colors of the iconic Seaside tee as well as lots of cute athleisure and sporty styles. New SEASIDE® tee colors linked here. The Spanx set on the mannequin below is on my shopping list.  
  • New vendors are open in The Pop-Up District to peruse. Plus don’t miss the Good Afternoon, Good Evening & Goodnight photo op in the Pop-Up District.

Are you still doing local delivery for your shop?

Yes! For 30A Mama orders over spring break, you can use a local or rental zip code to trigger the local delivery option. It covers Inlet Beach to Miramar Beach to Freeport. It’s an easy way to shop 30A tees, 30A sunset prints and colorful fashion without having to leave your spot in the sand.

Here are a few current favorites:

Where are the Easter services on the beach around 30A?

Even though we go to a traditional church with indoor services, we loved doing this one Easter to switch things up. Being on the beach barefoot to worship together on Easter Sunday with the sun coming up over the Gulf was a beautiful moment.

Check out: 

  • 6:30am Sunrise Easter service on the beach at the Ed Walline Beach Access, plus another service at 8:00am, hosted by Hope on the Beach Church, shell hunts following each service
  • 6:00am Sunrise Easter service on the beach at Henderson Beach State Park, hosted by Destin United Methodist church
  • 8am Easter service on the beach at The Crab Trap, hosted by Destin United Methodist church

I saw your reel about avoiding Publix on Saturday. What do you do instead?

Oh yes, this reel. I love Publix and we make multiple trips or orders from there weekly, but Saturdays in season are another story. Depending on where you’re staying along 30A, you can opt for an Instacart delivery, a Shipt delivery or even Whole Foods delivery using Amazon Prime.

For Instacart, you can USE THIS LINK or my code JRAY1A348 for $10 off your first order.

— continue reading & explore more —