30A might be a dream adult destination, but it’s home to kid-friendly activities ideal for having fun, making memories, and learning. Whether you want to explore the beauty of 30A or find some educational programs, you find plenty of things to do with kids in 30A.
Florida’s panhandle is home to the Emerald Coast, featuring various beach towns, all with their own flairs and personality. These towns make fantastic vacation spots for families. Over the last few years, highway 30A has become one of the most popular vacation destinations in the United States.
It’s easy to see why.
Not only will you find clear water and soft sand, but these towns offer activities for the whole family. Keep reading to see some of our favorite things to do with kids in 30A.
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21 Things to Do with Kids in 30A
1. Hit Up The Beach!
The whole reason you came to 30A was to enjoy the beach. 30A is known for having crystal clear, blue water and white sand beaches. It’s hard to find beaches in the United States that feel like you are on some Caribbean island, but 30A gives you that feel.
Set up a beach umbrella, pack a cooler of snacks, and hit the surf for some swimming and boogie boarding time. You’ll catch families here all day long.
Related: 22 Toddler Beach Essentials You Don’t Want to Forget
2. Learn to Surf
Do you want to learn how to surf? Austin Magee’s Surf School, located on Seaside Beach, provides group and private lessons for anyone visiting the Emerald Coast. They provide all the equipment you need to learn how to surf, just bring your bathing suit and be ready to learn with your kids.
3. Take Sandcastle Classes
No time at the beach is complete without sandcastle building, but if you feel like your skills are lacking, take sandcastle building classes.
Consider signing your kids up for sandcastle classes – yes really! For a fee, your kids can learn how to build extravagant sandcastles that will impress everyone!
4. Hunt for Ghost Crabs
Never heard of ghost crabs? If you head to the beach after the sun sets, you may be able to find the elusive grabs. Ocypode means fast feet, and that’s a great way to describe these little crabs since they run sideways at up to 10 miles per hour!
Add in that their coloring blends in well with sugar-white sand, and you can understand why they’re called ghost crabs.
If you decide to go hunting for them, be gentle and don’t keep them too long. They hunt at night for their food, and they need moist gills to keep breathing. You should also use turtle-safe, red-light flashlights at night; sea turtles come to these beaches and you don’t want to harm them.
5. Go Fishing
Another one of the best things to do with kids in 30A is to go fishing. Kids love to fish, and all you have to do is teach them. 30A has all sorts of places to fish whether you want to sink your hook into the Gulf of Mexico or check out the Choctawhatchee Bay.
Head out solo, fishing along the shore, or take a guided tour with experts. You’ll also find local deep-sea fishing charters and overnight trips. It’s truly a fisherman’s paradise here.
Several local fishing charters focus on children, providing them with awesome inshore fishing with all the gear and instructions required. Some charters let you keep your catches, so your kids can feed their family locally caught fish!
6. Take a Family Hike
30A is home to plenty of hiking trails for kids and families to enjoy together. South Walton has over 200 miles of hiking and biking trails, so you’ll find something for all experience levels.
7. Paddleboard Across a Coastal Dune Lake
If you’re looking for another outdoor adventure, go paddle boarding! It’s a great adventure for older kids, teens, and adults.
You’ll find plenty of paddle board rental locations throughout 30A, and it’s best to paddle on the coastal dune lakes to avoid waves that may topple you over!
8. Play Footgolf
Never heard of Footgolf? Footgolf combines soccer skills with golf rules. If you know how to kick a soccer ball, you can play foot golf. It’s a precision sport, and players kick a soccer ball into a cup in as few shots as possible.
Head to the Origins Golf Club where you can enjoy a 9-hole course with your family, and all ages and skill levels are welcome.
9. Find a Playground
30A is full of playgrounds for kids to enjoy; it’s one of the free things to do with kids in 30A. Let your kids run, jump, swing, and slide all over the place.
Check out this list of playgrounds in 30A to decide where to head today.
10. Take a Bike Ride
Bicycling is a great way to travel around 30A. You’ll discover 19 miles of paved bike paths running the length of 30A, along with various state park trails and roads in each community.
If you’re flying down, don’t worry; you’ll find plenty of bike rentals in 30A, and they also have baby seats, bike trailers, and pull alongs available to rent for an extra fee.
11. Book a Backwater Tour
It’s easy to forget, when you’re staring at Caribbean-like waters, that you aren’t too far from swamps. If you want to investigate what is happening elsewhere, consider taking a boat tour through the mangroves.
These guided tours teach you about the area and give you wildlife encounters you won’t get anywhere else. Plus, you get gorgeous views of the area. Backwater Tours is one of the best in the area and offer one-of-a-kind tours throughout these historic waters.
12. Go to Baytowne Adventure Zone
Head over to Baytowne Adventure Zone, located in the village of Baytowne Wharf. This is one of the area’s exclusive adventure zones, and you can get a gorgeous aerial view of the area on the ziplines. Head over to the Sky Trail Ropes Course to test your balance and agility skills.
Thrill seekers love the Tower Climb and Eurobungy.
13. Check Out Sea Life Discovery Center
Head over to Grayton Beach and check out 30A Sea Life Discovery Center. This center provides interactive sea-life programs that kids love. It gives them the opportunity to see sea turtles, starfish, shark pups, and more unclose and personal.
While visiting the Sea Life Discovery Center, kids can snorkel with sea turtles, kayak across coastal due lakes, and partake in the evening scavenger hunts. It’s so fun! The kids will ask to go again.
14. Sightsee on a Dolphin Cruise
A dolphin cruise is a great way to see and enjoy dolphins without having to swim with them. Many cruises in the area head out for several hours each day, taking you to various spots along the Gulf to find dolphins.
The captains take you to the dolphins’ favorite spots, so you can watch them jump in the air, swim along the boat, and catch fish. It’s great fun for everyone.
15. Go to Gulf World Marine Park
Are your kids obsessed with marine life? The Gulf World Marine Park is more than just a local aquarium; it also has indoor and outdoor tropical gardens. Your kids will see penguins, flamingos, sharks, sea turtles, and so much more.
Gulf World also hosts daily live shows, showcasing their dolphins, sea lions, reptiles, and more. This is a great stop for all families, especially on rainy days.
16. Explore the Biophilia Center
Go north to Freeport, and spend time exploring the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center. This center focuses on environmental science lessons for all, teaching kids about the importance of biodiversity, sustainability, preservation, and restoration.
The center is open to the public during the summer, and they regularly host special events. They even have summer overnight camps for kids to attend and learn!
17. Consider Taking an Art Class
Don’t let a rainy day get you down; let your child’s creativity soar by exploring the various art studios in 30A. Many local galleries and studios offer kid classes or mixed-age classes, sun has Estella Studio & Gallery in Freeport.
Another favorite is Rock, Paper, Scissors; kids can let their imagination run free. Head over during their open studio hours, and kids can pick a project to enjoy. The prices range based on what they are, and most only take up to an hour to complete.
18. Catch a Theater Performance
If your kids love performances, you’ll be happy to know that 30A is home to two premier theatre companies. The Repertory Theatre Company travels throughout the 30A area, performing in various outdoor venues like Alys Beach, Rosemary Beach, and more.
Emerald Coast Theatre Company, located in Miramar Beach, hosts professional and local youth performances. They also provide youth classes and camps.
19. Visit a Local 30A Farmers Market
30A is home to Seaside Farmers Market and other local markets. You’ll find tents with all sorts of things being sold, live music, and food trucks to enjoy.
It’s a great place to pop in after spending the morning at the beach. You might find the ingredients for dinner you want to make or find some local handmade items to take home with you.
20. Enjoy Some Sweet Treats
Nearly every little town that dots 30A has various ice cream shops. One of my favorite things to do with kids in 30A is to check out as many as possible. If you tell your kids this is a goal, they will be down to accomplish it!
21. Get Some Yummy Donuts
Who doesn’t love some delicious donuts? Charlie’s Donuts are an experience that everyone needs to have, and they have multiple locations including Alys Beach. Grab a dozen to start your day, but make sure you get there early. The line tends to form before the truck opens, especially if you want some of their unique flavors.
30A is one of our favorite places to relax with our family, and it feels like there are endless things to do with kids in 30A. Our family is never bored, and I bet you have a fantastic time as well!