With the Choctawhatchee Bay to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, there are so many beautiful views to be found along the shores of South Walton. One great way to keep that “on vacation” feeling going whether you are only here for the week or a longtime local, is to have your meal outside with a breathtaking view of the shore! Here are four great options for alfresco dining along or near Scenic Highway 30A.
One of the newer restaurants on the list, North Beach Social is nestled at the foot of the U.S. Highway 331 Bridge in Santa Rosa Beach. Find a casual and welcoming atmosphere with a sandy beach, covered and open outdoor seating highlighted by bright umbrellas and string lighting, and a dock perfect for catching spectacular sunsets over the bay. The newest offering from local chef and restauranteur Jim Shirley, the menu features some of Chef’s most famous dishes from his other restaurants along with a few signature items with counter service for both food and drinks. Let the kids play while live music fills the air at this breezy new hangout.
A beloved longtime favorite among both locals and tourists, Bud & Alley’s has been serving customers since 1986 – and offers some of the best gulf views around from its waterfront bar flanked by the signature Coleman Pavilion tower in Seaside. A recent expansion of its outdoor dining space now allows for 360-degree views of both the beach and the charming gulfside town. Enjoy casual fine dining with menu favorites such as crab cakes, barbeque shrimp, and sweet potato fries. Be sure to arrive in time for sunset with the classic Seaside tradition of ringing the bell as the sun dips into the horizon.
Open since 1971, Vue on 30A offers some of the most spectacular dining views found in South Walton. Practically on the beach, enjoy panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico as you dine on a variety of fresh fare based around the principles of quality and creativity. Named “Best Waterfront Dining” by Travel + Leisure Magazine, diners enjoy varied menus for lunch, happy hour, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Highlights of the menu include the Vue Gourmet Lobster Grilled Cheese, the Three Seed Crusted Tuna, and the Crab Stuffed Scallop. As their slogan says, “Come for the views – stay for the food!”
Located along Scenic Highway 30A in Santa Rosa Beach directly across from the Ed Walline Public Beach Access, Shunk Gulley Oyster Bar offers incredible views from each level of the two-story, mostly open-air restaurant. Serving seafood and casual fare, diners enjoy oysters both grilled and raw, salads, burgers, fresh fish, and the famous Duck Fat Gulley Fries. Shunk Gulley offers live music daily inside the tent on their downstairs green, and a welcoming environment for customers of all ages. The restaurant gets its unique moniker from the legendary fishing reef located directly off the coast that served historically as a point of navigation for boaters.