Coastal Delights: 6 Oceanside Restaurants in 30A

30A is the nickname for the towns and communities along Florida’s scenic Highway 30A. This is a highway that runs close, sometimes right along, the beaches and coastal areas of Florida’s Panhandle. Those beaches and beautiful waters make for some excellent recreational pursuits, like swimming and fishing. They also make for some excellent backdrops for a good meal from a beloved restaurant.

The following is a look at just a few of our favorite oceanside restaurants to dine at along 30A:

1. Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant 

2236 E W County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 231-5900

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Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant is a local institution that sits perched above the iconic Seaside Beach. This beloved oceanside restaurant was established in 1986 and named after a beloved dog and cat duo. Today, they are well-known for offering farm- and sea-to-table dining that emphasizes quality food in a comfortable atmosphere. They have indoor seating as well as a massive patio area that overlooks Seaside Beach and its Gulf waters. 

2. Vue on 30A

4801 W County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 267-2305

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Vue on 30A is a sophisticated restaurant that’s located in Dune Allen Beach, just one block east of a popular public beach access point. The restaurant is housed in a gorgeous two-story white building with massive dining rooms that are naturally lit with floor-to-ceiling windows all along the beachfront side. These indoor dining areas look and feel very upscale with white tablecloth dining tables paired with quality padded seating and gorgeous place settings. You can also choose to dine at one of their outdoor patio tables to enjoy the feel of coastal breezes as you dine. The Vue on 30A bills itself as a fine American dining spot with a menu that features elevated steak and seafood options. 

3. FOOW – Fish Out of Water

34 Goldenrod Cir, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 534-5050

FOOW, also known as Fish Out of Water, is a gorgeous restaurant located in Grayton Beach. As you can probably guess from the name, FOOW is big on seafood with a menu that largely focuses on locally caught and sourced seafood. This oceanside restaurant bills itself as being eclectic, but the interior is more of a modern vibe with pale, natural woods emphasized throughout the decor and a very open dining set-up. In fact, FOOW boasts an exhibition kitchen where diners can look over and watch as the culinary crew works to craft each diner’s plate. Which, when it comes to plated food, the dishes here are decidedly Southern-styled, but with some nice mixes of international flavors that really pack a punch. 

4. The Gulf on Okaloosa Island

1284 Marler Ave, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548
(850) 387-1300

Photo Credit by @thegulfoi on Instagram

Okay, this one isn’t exactly “oceanside”, but it is waterfront as The Gulf on Okaloosa overlooks the Choctawhatchee Bay. This stylish bayfront restaurant is located in Fort Walton Beach and uniquely features a building that’s been made out of shipping containers and other reclaimed, recycled, and salvaged building materials. This gives the restaurant a truly unique appearance that nicely mixes salvaged manmade materials with the nearby coastal scenery. When dining at The Gulf on Okaloosa Island, head on out to the back patio where you’ll find a massive open-air dining area overlooking the water. Here, tables are covered with large umbrellas, offering a comfortable outdoor dining experience all day long. Once seated, take your time with the menu as you’ll find a lot of great American grill items here that can probably be best described as upscale American grill. Popular entrees include the Shrimp and Lobster Roll and the Fried Grouper Sandwich

5. Shrimp Shack

2236 E County Hwy 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
(850) 231-3799

Speaking of sandwiches and grill-fare, we couldn’t make a list of the best oceanside restaurants in 30A without noting Shrimp Shack. Shrimp Shack is a small, no-frills eatery that’s located in Santa Rosa Beach. You’ll find this restaurant perched atop a dune overlooking the water and with a menu that strongly focuses on those fish and shellfish that come from that very water. Shrimp Shack serves a lot of sandwiches as well as a variety of baked oyster dishes, such as the popular Shack Style Baked Oysters which features baked oysters loaded with onions and Colby jack cheese. They also have a sizable kids menu that’s coyly named the Little Shrimps menu with fewer seafood-y options for more discernible child palettes. Just don’t forget to leave without dessert as their Key Lime Pie is pretty dang good! Finally, Shrimp Shack does sell seafood by the pound for those looking to buy raw at market prices to cook later.

6. Runaway Island

14521 Front Beach Rd, Panama City Beach, FL 32413
850) 634-4884

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Runaway Island is a massive beachfront restaurant that is located in Panama City Beach. This dining spot spans an incredible 12,000 feet of space, with plenty of room left between tables making for the perfect spot if you have been looking for a place to stretch your feet and get away from the crowds. They also have their own private pier that stretches out over the water that diners can stroll down before or after their meal, or even during that break when waiting for entrees to arrive. Speaking of which, seafood is big here with popular dishes like the Grilled Swordfish that comes topped with white wine basil cream sauce with the option of added jumbo shrimp, and the Creole Redfish featuring blackened reddish topped with crayfish cream sauce. However, they also have some nice non-fish options like tacos featuring blackened chicken and a massive cheeseburger basket menu item called The Wilson that boasts a half-pound burger char-grilled and served atop a thick brioche bun with fixings. 

Learn More About 30A & Its Many Attractions

30A has become so much more than just a strip of communities along the coast. 30A is seen as many as a type of lifestyle; a way of living that says slow down and soak in the sun. Learn more about that as well as about the many beautiful, picturesque spots all along this highway by visiting our other pages and getting a true insider’s view of just what makes 30A special (and why you should put it on your vacation list).