There’s this little stretch of road in Walton County Florida affectionately known as 30a. It’s a 28-mile corridor hugging the Gulf of Mexico coastline in Northwest Florida. If you’ve ever been there (or dreamt of going there), you probably now notice the iconic logo for the area everywhere – on the back of car windows, on shirts, even on wine glasses. There’s good reason for all of that. Once this little piece of the Gulf Coast makes it into your heart, it’s not a place you easily forget. From the white-sand beaches and emerald green water to the mouthwatering cuisine, I was hooked with the very first visit.

30a is made up of 12 distinct beach communities. Each one has their own personality, architecture and charm. They include Dune Allen Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove, WaterSound, Seacreast, Rosemary Beach, Inlet Beach and Carillon Beach.

Grayton Beach, Florida

I was fortunate enough to visit Grayton Beach for three nights in a quaint cottage with two of my favorite girlfriends, Melanie and April. Grayton completely changed my opinion of what a beach vacation should be. I’ve always thought you have to have a beach view if you’re going on a beach vacation. I love the sound of the waves, the smell of the salt air and the gentle breezes coming off the water. But, this little beachside community made me do a complete 360!

Few homes line the beaches of Grayton. Instead, the community is comprised of several tree-draped streets fingering off perpendicular to the beach. Each of these roads is home to cottages, some being owned by the same families for generations. With hurricanes and tropical storms, it’s amazing they’ve all made it through decades of storms and weathering. I think that’s another thing that makes them so special.

We stayed in the quintessential beach cottage – the type of place I imagine families flocking to during the summer for their annual beach pilgrimage. The kind of place I would have loved to visit as a little girl. Traffic moved slowly on the (barely) two-lane streets in Grayton, and we saw kids riding their bikes up and down the streets during our entire visit.

The Lazy Magnolia

The Lazy Magnolia is a charming, three-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage that was recently renovated in 2015. The kitchen was complete with stainless steel appliances, and the décor was very “Joanna Gaines.” Everything was fresh and white. The subway tile sparkled with the rustic floating shelves lined with drinking glasses. Every detail was thought of, down to the paper towel roll with a burlap bow tied around it.

The bedrooms at the Lazy Magnolia are spacious and offer plenty of room to spread out. And, there wasn’t a single mattress or pillow that was uncomfortable. Yes, I tried them all! I’m a little particular about pillows and usually bring my own, but forgot it. I was pleasantly surprised with a good night’s sleep every night. One evening, I even fell asleep on the porch swing bed. Maybe it was the atmosphere. Maybe it was the fresh air. I don’t know, but I was at home in Grayton at the Lazy Magnolia.

The bathrooms are even oversized and appointed in a cottage chic décor. They were also stocked with a starter supply of Molton Brown bath products, which smelled absolutely heavenly. I came home and immediately ordered the body wash online!

The best part about our little beach cottage may not even be the interior, but what we found on the exterior. The screened-in back porch provided the perfect setting for relaxing, laughing and living. We drank too much wine, devoured smoked Gouda and soft brie and just enjoyed each other’s company with the crickets chirping in the background.

My friend, April, has been coming to Grayton Beach since she was a little girl and shared all of her memories of 30a with Melanie and me. It instantly made me feel more connected to this little piece of paradise on the Florida Gulf Coast.

Grayton Beach is such a special place that it’s difficult to put into words, and the Lazy Magnolia made the experience that much better. Thanks to April and her introduction to Grayton, there’s a special spot in my heart for this sweet little beach town.

Grayton Beach Must-Have’s

  • Golf cart. That’s right, I said golf cart! You can rent a street-legal golf cart from a number of companies along 30a, and it’s definitely worth it! It’s a fun way to explore all the little streets in the community. We even used it to drive to the neighboring towns, and to get to the nail salon for pedicures! You can also use a golf cart to drive to the public parking area for the beach.
  • Bicycles. Bring your own or rent them and have them delivered. Just like the golf carts, it’s a fun way to explore.
  • Sunsets. You came all the way to Grayton Beach. You can’t miss the sunset! Sit in the cool, powdery sand and take in the spectacular view.

What’s New

Since we stayed at the Lazy Magnolia, the owner added a swimming pool to the backyard. The pool makes it an even more tempting vacation rental, and I hope to return one day for a family getaway so they, too, can discover this unique community.