Bored of Theme Park Florida? Come to the Beaches Fit for a King
UK Sunday Times award-winning reporter Hugh Graham recently visited our little piece of the beach and his article sings the praises of this exquisite 24 miles of sugar white sand and sparkling turquoise waters. To many Brits the pictures and Instagram posts of Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach will be more reminiscent of Mustique or St Barths than Florida, especially for those whose only experience of the Sunshine State is the strip malls and theme parks of Orlando.
Florida is a diverse state. They say 'the further north you go, the more southern it gets', and this is definitely true of the North West Florida Panhandle - only 4 hours drive from New Orleans but 14 hours from Miami. For years, this little-known and unexplored stretch of coast between the old city of Pensacola and MTV's Spring Break mecca of Panama City Beach was the exclusive playground of the rich, the famous and the well-connected from Atlanta, Nashville and Dallas.
With two airports less than an hour away from 30A - the 24 mile Scenic Highway which runs the length of this sand bar island between the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay - is a direct flight from most of the South's biggest cities and for British visitors is an easy 1hour connection through Atlanta with Delta, Virgin and British Airways.
After flirting with fame as the backdrop for the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show, more curious visitors arrived and now wealthy families from Chicago, St Louis, Denver and Toronto see it as their own 'secret escape', combining world class beaches, wonderful architecture and a food and drink scene which regularly wins awards for the quality fare served up by local restaurateurs like celebrity-chef Emeril Lagasse, Jim Shirley, Phillip MacDonald and Jim Richard.
Now, The Sunday Times has brought this piece of paradise to the attention of a British audience with glowing references from non-other than the heir to the throne, Prince Charles. For Brits worrying about the impact of Brexit and what it means for home ownership in Spain, Portugal and France, the Emerald Coast may be the next 'hot spot' they are searching for.
Fed up of the package holiday experience, the 'same-old same-old' feel of many resorts and the 'been there, done that' of all the usual destinations, this upscale beach community is now on the "2020 must visit" list for those in the know. And with good local schools, independent shops and weekly farmers' markets, championship golf courses and miles of walking and biking trails it is fast-becoming a favourite place for second homes and those looking to move from the city and suburbs.
Having lived and owned property here on 30A since 2004 I am biased, of course, but for those looking for an authentic modern-American beach town experience, a kind of Norman Rockwell meets Lily Pulitzer, we look forward to welcoming you to our pristine shores soon.
Martin Liptrot runs 98Republic a PR, Marketing and Advertising agency working with real estate companies, property developers, rental management firms and others looking to drive economic growth and community prosperity. He is also a licensed realtor @inletrealtygroup specialising in homes along 30A and international sales.