Christmas on 30A- How to Enjoy the Holidays at the Beach

Christmas on 30A- a magical vacation

Are you ready to embark on a family adventure that will create cherished memories to last a lifetime? Picture this: a serene stretch of coastline known as the Emerald Coast surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico’s gentle waves and framed by pristine, white sand beaches. Imagine experiencing Christmas on 30A during the most enchanting time of the year.

Welcome to 30A, Florida – a destination that transforms into a winter wonderland with a coastal twist during the holiday season. The 30A region, nestled in the heart of Florida’s Panhandle, boasts some of the most exquisite white sand beaches in the United States. It takes on a magical aura perfect for guests of all ages.

30A is a great place to visit in the winter because there are fewer crowds, and you’re escaping the intense summer heat. We visited one winter break with the kids and had the best time exploring the beaches of South Walton. 

visit 30A

December 30A is when the coastal communities come alive with festive cheer. Twinkling lights adorn palm trees, and quaint towns like Seaside, Rosemary Beach, and Alys Beach transform into a winter paradise. Stroll down charming streets, enjoy local holiday events, and savor seasonal treats at cozy cafes. The weather during this season is mild and pleasant, making it the perfect time for beach combing, building sandcastles, exploring local state parks and even the occasional dip in the Gulf.

Follow along as I guide you through the unique experiences, family-friendly activities, and hidden gems that make 30A an idyllic destination for a Christmas getaway with kids. Join us to explore the joy of celebrating the holidays on the sugar-white sands of the Gulf Coast.

🚨🚨Short on time? Book my favorite condos on 30A!🚨🚨
Rosemary Beach
Blue Mountain

Christmas on 30A- The Perfect Spot for the Holidays

30A is a set of unique communities scattered along a two-lane road in South Walton County, Florida. It is sandwiched between the larger communities of Panama City Beach and Destin. The region is known for its gorgeous white sandy beaches and offers many Christmas events in December. Make sure to drive around the quaint communities of the areas such as  Santa Rosa Beach or Inlet Beach to embrace the Christmas spirit.

Seaside Holiday Market

There’s no better place to experience the holiday spirit than to explore Seaside, where there’s a magnificent Christmas tree for all to enjoy. it’s a community that offers many events for the whole family. For instance, on weekends in December, there’s a holiday market selling crafts of local artisans. Typically, the market is open on Saturdays from 10-4 p.m.

Seaside Florida

Every Christmas Story Ever Told 

Every holiday season, Seaside’s REP Theatre puts on a great production of Every Christmas Story Ever Told. The production is in front of the Seaside Post Office, so grab a meal at Great Southern Cafe before heading over. I love their fun cocktails and Grits YaYa. 
The event is free for all guests, so grab a chair, blanket and snacks! Don’t miss out on this annual event.

watch a holiday production in front of the Seaside Post Office

Holiday Pops Concert

During December, the community of Seaside hosts complimentary holiday concerts for all guests. Grab a blanket or chair to listen to live music to put you in the holiday season. What an excellent opportunity for some family fun.

Check out my guide to the best condos for families!

Photos with Santa

Starting in mid-December, Seaside offers complimentary photos with Santa. It runs from mid-December for about a week leading up to Christmas. Expect heavy crowds on the weekends, so plan accordingly.

Rosemary Beach Foundation Holiday Tour of Homes

Every year, the Rosemary Beach Foundation hosts a tour of homes to showcase the beautiful Rosemary homes decorated for the holidays. It is usually one of the first Saturdays in the month, and proceeds from the tickets go to local charities like Habitat for Humanity. 

Rosemary Beach Community at Christmas
Rosemary Beach at Christmas

Rosemary Beach Holiday Markets

Rosemary hosts a holiday market in late November on fall Saturdays to prepare for the upcoming festivities. Over 60 local vendors set up homemade crafts, artwork, pottery, baked goods, photography, and holiday gifts. 

It is the perfect way to start the holiday season while supporting the local community. The event is free for all guests. 

Destin Activities

Although Destin isn’t technically in 3OA, they are close enough to visit for their amazing holiday activities. If you are staying on the western end of 30A, then it’s just a short drive. If you are on the eastern side of 30A, hop on Highway 98 and go west towards Destin. Make a day out of it and hit up several events. 


Santa will visit The Village of Baytowne Wharf on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Guests of all ages are welcome to meet with Santa from 6-9 pm and partake in face painting, crafts, and a fireworks show. What a festive night to kick off the holiday season. 

Santa at the beach

12 Nights of Lights

Sandestin offers a bright and colorful light show every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday night. Three shows are offered daily at 6, 7, and 8 p.m., perfect for those with early bedtimes. The Wednesday night show aligns with their weekly concert series, so I’d aim for that night. What a great combo of a holiday concert and a festive light show. 

Movie Night

In Sandestin on the weekends, you can watch holiday films such as The Grinch or Polar Express. Every Saturday night, a free film is available for guests of all ages. 

Baytowne Ice Rink

Watch a magical performance on ice in December with their annual Ice-Skating Extravaganza. There are two shows, and in between, guests can grab a pair of skates and practice with the best of the best!

go ice skating at Baytowne Ice Rink

Your Beach Packing list

Although you may not swim all day like in the summer, you want to protect your skin from the elements. The weather is ideal for playing in the sand, walking, biking, and exploring state parks. You’ll need to be prepared!

FAQ: Christmas on 30A

🎄What is 30A like in December?

December is a great time if you want to be outside without the scorching sun or cold temps of the north. Typically, the highs are in the 60’s but can be a little warmer. Bring a light jacket as it will be cooler at night. 

The holiday season is also an excellent time to try some of the best restaurants in the area.

🎄How warm are the temps in December?

Temps range from the mid 50’s to the 60’s. Sometimes, it can be slightly warmer or cooler. Check the weather before you leave because they do randomly have cold spells. Bring light layers, just in case.

🎄Where should I stay?

Seaside hosts many holiday events, so I recommend that area or the Rosemary Beach Community for a similar environment. Both communities anchor around a town center covered in holiday lights. If you want a beach resort, look into Watercolor. 

If you want a quieter area, one of my favorite communities is Blue Mountain Beach, where we have stayed numerous times. We love the Adiago condo complex. Dune Allen Beach is another quiet area closer to Miramar Beach. 

Book my favorite condo HERE!

30a at sunset

🎄What makes 30A so special?

30A is special for its pristine white sand beaches, crystal-clear emerald waters, and charming coastal communities. What sets it apart is the perfect blend of natural beauty and small-town charm, creating a relaxed and family-friendly atmosphere. 

The region has unique boutiques, exquisite dining, and a vibrant arts scene. It’s an idyllic escape, perfectly balancing relaxation and adventure for all who visit. We’ve spent almost 2 decades visiting this region; it is one of my favorite areas of Florida. 

🎄Can you swim during the holidays?

The water is a bit too cold for swimming, but some brave souls may enjoy it. The temps are ideal for playing on the sand, but I wouldn’t suggest swimming. Temps do increase in the Spring, so start planning your return trip. Some of the larger resorts like Watercolor have heated pools.

🎄🎄If you are dreaming of a white Christmas, consider heading north to Ogunquit or Kennebunkport, some of the cutest towns in Maine, for the holidays.🎄🎄

In Conclusion: Christmas on 30A- How to Enjoy the Holidays at the Beach

Christmas on 30A will leave you with hearts full of warmth and cherished memories. The enchanting white sand beaches, the festive coastal communities, and the welcoming atmosphere create a holiday escape like no other. I hope my guide inspires you to create your own family traditions on 30A’s magical shores, where emerald waves meet the holiday spirit in perfect harmony.

30A Resources
Best 30A Beaches
Best 30A Tours
Breakfast in 30A
Ice cream in 30A
Best Seafood on 30A
30A State Parks
30A Winter
30A Fall
Christmas in 30A
Spring Break on 30A
How to Vacation at 30A on a Budget
Vacation Rentals on 30A for Families
Beach Packing List for Families
The Best Review of Seaside vs Watercolor, Florida
Ultimate Guide to Watercolor, Florida
Is Watercolor, Florida, Worth it? 12 Reasons why I love it
Best Things to do in Rosemary Beach