A Guide to 30A Architecture Styles: Everything You Need to Know

A Guide to 30A Architecture Styles: Everything You Need to Know

Are you looking for a comprehensive guide to 30A architecture styles? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Today, we're providing an overview of the architectural styles found in 30A communities, from classic beach cottages to modern contemporary homes. Whether you’re planning to purchase or build a home on Scenic 30A or are just curious about the different design styles in our area, this guide has all the information you need.

Cottage Style

The cottage-style of architecture can be seen throughout 30A communities, but perhaps nowhere more than in Grayton Beach, FL. Generations of families have been spending summers here as far back as the 1800s. While it’s now a vibrant arts community with an increasing number of modern luxury beach homes being built, numerous retro-style beach cottages and bungalows have been around for years and are considered an important part of the landscape.

In keeping with the cottage style, many homes feature charming details such as window boxes filled with flowers, shutters, and picket fences. As an added bonus, the small size of cottages often makes them easier to maintain and energy efficient. Although rarely available on the market, if you're looking for a cozy home for your family, you can't go wrong with a cottage in Grayton Beach. Get with one of our local experts who knows the deep history of this genuine Old Florida beach town.

By the early 1900s, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, became the favored location to enjoy everything between the beach and Choctawhatchee Bay. Even more beach cottages and bungalows exist here because, geographically speaking, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, is the largest beach town in South Walton. Most 30A communities, including neighborhoods south of Choctawhatchee Bay between Sandestin & Inlet Beach, exist in the zip code of Santa Rosa Beach, FL. (More on this in another blog!) 

With such a wide array of communities under one zip code, online searches for available properties can be confusing, but don't worry! Our website helps you fine-tune your search for properties within any community of Santa Rosa Beach, FL.

Coastal Style

The coastal style is one of the most popular styles of architecture in all 30A communities. Coastal design focuses on bringing the coastal outdoors indoors by featuring interior elements inspired by the sea, such as driftwood, natural materials, and light colors. Coastal-style homes often have wide porches and balconies, with large windows and sliding glass doors that provide plenty of natural light and access to outdoor living areas. Other common features include white picket fences, shutters, and lanterns. The overall effect of coastal style is an open, airy, and comfortable look that is perfect for those looking to embrace beach life.

While all communities along 30A share Coastal-style elements, these three beach towns, perhaps more than any others, exemplify coastal living in our area, SeasideRosemary Beach, and Watercolor.

Seaside, FL, was the first New Urban Town established in South Walton. And it’s best experienced on foot! Homes in Seaside incorporate bright and pastel colors, natural materials, and various coastal elements such as cedar siding, metal roofs, and latticework. Designs often feature the classic white clapboard look, with large wrap-around porches and balconies that offer stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Some architectural features include board and batten siding, window boxes, intricate trim details, and weathervanes. Inside, you'll find an abundance of exposed beams, open floor plans, vaulted ceilings, and hardwood floors. With a coastal-style home, you can easily enjoy the beauty of life near the beach.

Rosemary Beach, FL homes are reminiscent of styles found in the Dutch West Indies, St Augustine, New Orleans, and Charleston. Here you’ll find spectacular homes with warm tones and a mixture of stucco, wood, and cedar shake siding. Each house varies in design – some are brightly colored while others feature more muted hues – but they all exude a sense of old-world charm. Like New Orleans-styled courtyard homes, front porches face boardwalks and green spaces, while alleyways provide access to garages and courtyards. This Traditional Neighborhood Development is also walkable to the Town Center and other numerous amenities, including the beach!


Watercolor, FL, homes offer classic and traditional tastes combined with a coastal style. Each home is characterized by its symmetrical shapes, wood, or brick exteriors, steeply pitched roofs and porches. And there’s no shortage of unique details, such as dormer windows, shutters, and a portico entrance. Inside are spacious open concepts with high ceilings and large windows. Fireplaces and built-in cabinets add a touch of traditional style. The exterior landscaping often includes mature trees and shrubs that blend into the neighborhood's natural environment.

Watersound Beach, FL, is a luxurious, gated development on 30A reflecting a Nantucket/Cape Cod and coastal New England vibe. Traditionally, these shingle-style exteriors turn a light grey color when weathered by the coastal elements over time. Homes here blend in with the natural landscape using earth tones and pale blues and feature nautical-inspired interiors that are bright and airy. Choose from classic all-American styles, maritime-inspired cottage homes, and modern condos. 

Seagrove Beach, FLBlue Mountain Beach, FL, Dune Allen Beach, FL, and Inlet Beach, FL, each combine a mixture of architectural styles, from beach cottage, traditional, and craftsman, to modern luxury. Several small pocket neighborhoods exist within these communities, some with design restrictions and some without. If you're looking for variety and greater flexibility in design options, these neighborhoods are right up your alley!  

Modern Style

Clean, simple lines, large glass windows, and minimalistic decoration characterize modern architecture. Many modern homes in the 30A area feature open floor plans, energy-efficient appliances, and lots of natural light. They typically have a variety of sustainable building materials, such as recycled glass and low-VOC paints, making them an eco-friendly option for those who want to reduce their environmental footprint. Modern designs can be playful and colorful or more muted and sophisticated. Alys Beach, FL, could be a perfect choice if you're looking for a modern look for your home.

For a truly luxurious experience, take a tour of some of Alys Beach's waterfront estates, which boast breathtaking views and abundant outdoor entertaining space. Architectural inspirations are distinctly Caribbean style, found in Bermuda, Antigua, and Guatemala. The smooth stucco finish, all-white aesthetic, and fortified construction have become the envy and inspiration in other beach communities. Whether you're looking for an innovative design or a timeless classic, you'll find plenty of inspiration here.

No matter what kind of property you choose, home or condo, living on 30A ensures a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of time spent by the beautiful beaches on the Emerald Coast of Florida. Many homeowners choose this destination because of its laid-back vibe and eclectic selection of dining and shopping spots.  Plus, the warm climate allows year-round activities such as biking, golfing, fishing, surfing, paddle boarding, and hiking.

If you’re looking for a place to recharge, the beaches of 30A should be at the top of your list! If you’re visiting this region, don’t miss out on its incredible restaurants and entertainment venues. Whether it’s sampling fresh seafood at a local joint or attending one of the area’s annual festivals, there’s always something exciting happening in South Walton! 

Living along this stretch of scenic coastline is truly unparalleled. Whether you are interested in purchasing a condo or coastal home, we'd love the opportunity to help you find YOUR perfect “Slice of 30A”! Reach out to begin your search today.

Posted by Robin Maynard on


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