A DAY TRIPPER'S GUIDE
State Road 30A (SR 30A) is a Florida Department of Transportation designation shared by four alternate routings of SR 30 in the Florida panhandle. Two segments have SR 30A signage; the other two do not as they are segments of U.S. Route 98 (US 98). Three of the four SR 30A segments are next to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico for most (if not all) of their length.
CR 30A: Point Washington State Forest segment
Just west of Santa Rosa Beach CR 30A branches off Reddick Road (US 98/SR 30) and heads southeastward toward the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. While US 98/SR 30 continues through the heart of Point Washington State Forest, CR 30A follows the shoreline, passing through Dune Allen Beach, Gulf Place, Blue Mountain Beach, Grayton Beach, Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove Beach, Watersound, Alys Beach, Seacrest Beach, and Rosemary Beach before rejoining SR 30 near Inlet Beach.
While US 98/SR 30 spans the length of Point Washington State Forest, CR 30A doesn't avoid it completely: the westernmost mile forms the boundary between the state forest and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park, and along, the Gulf of Mexico, CR 30A cuts through approximately three miles of state forest between Blue Mountain Beach and Seaside... and another 3 miles (4.8 km) of Deer Lake State Park to the southeast of Seagrove Beach.
SR 30A: Panama City Beach segment
About 2 miles (3.2 km) to the east of the eastern terminus of the Washington Point State Park segment of SR 30A, and 1 mile (1.6 km) west of Hollywood Beach (not to be confused with the city of Hollywood between Miami and Fort Lauderdale), US 98 and (unsigned) SR 30 separate. While SR 30 continues along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico as Front Beach Road, US 98 continues roughly 1 mile (1.6 km) inland (as Panama City Beach Parkway) with the unsigned FDOT designation SR 30A. The Panama City Beach Segment ends 16 miles (26 km) from the western terminus, as traffic on US 98/SR 30A rejoins SR 30 on the approach to the Hathaway Bridge (via Thomas Drive flyover) crossing St. Andrews Bay and entering Panama City.
SR 30A: US 98 through Panama City and Callaway
On the eastern approach to the Hathaway Bridge, SR 30 and US 98 separate at the corner of 18th Street and Beck Avenue in Panama City (marking the turndown to Historic St. Andrews). US 98 and SR 30A continues eastward along 15th Street, passing through Cedar Grove and Springfield before a southward 90-degree turn onto North Tyndall Parkway in Callaway. As US 98/SR 30A approach the New DuPont Bridge across East Bay, its 11-mile (18 km) run ends with the merge with Business US 98/SR 30 near Long Point.
Former and current SR 30A: a loop near Port St. Joe
(Gulf and Franklin Counties)
After FDOT started phasing out a set of Florida State Roads in the late 1970s and early 1980s and reverted them to county maintenance, many State Roads disappeared from road maps, and many others were greatly truncated or transformed. One such drastically-affected road was SR 30A, which formed a 19-mile (31 km) loop in Gulf and Franklin counties. Historically, SR 30A veered southward from US 98/SR 30 1 mile (1.6 km) south of Port St. Joe and followed Sand Bar Road along the shoreline of St. Joseph Bay past the St. Joseph Point Lighthouse (looking out to Black’s Island) before turning to the east to follow the shore of Bay San Blas, Indian Lagoon, and Saint Vincent Sound before rejoining US 98/SR 30 1 mile (1.6 km) east of Nine Mile. Today, only the north–south section is still signed SR 30A. The east–west stretch is now County Road 30A.