Tips and tricks for surviving Spring Break – from a Local.
Spring Break in South Walton starts February 22nd and runs through April 11th. While this is a very exciting time for the college students taking a break from their school, and also for the local businesses needing an influx of cash after the slower winter, it can be a frustrating time for the folks who live here. With THOUSANDS of people flocking to what is actually a small town, just basic everyday errands like going to the grocery store or getting gas can turn into an all-day task. The aim of this article is to help those looking to avoid the masses to still be able to get those things accomplished.
Eats: 30A is home to many fabulous places to eat and drink. During Spring Break you are going to want to plan on wait times that are quite long. Bring a snack, a book, and your patience. If you do decide to brave the crowds along 30A, please also remember to be understanding of the staff, and tip you servers and bar tenders well. If you are not wanting to brave large crowds I would recommend considering the fantastic food choices on Highway 98 between Santa Rosa Beach and Miramar Beach. Some of my favorites are Los Rancheros, Jin-JIn 1, The Marigny, and Crust. Again, they will still be busier than normal, but nothing like along “The A”.
Gas: The Tom Thumb in Seagrove Beach is centrally located on 30A, and also the only gas station for MILES. In the off season, this is where I go, but during Spring Break, you are going to want to try another option. Normally, you would think the main Tom Thumb at the intersection of Highway 89 and 331 would be a good idea, but on the weekends you will get trapped there for hours IF you can even get in. This is only an option during the week. My best recommendation would be the Chevron at the West end of 30A, where the highway meets Highway 98. Most Spring Breakers and tourists will be coming down 331 and heading east, easing the traffic towards the West end of 30A.
Grocery Shopping: One of the most popular places to grocery shop along 30A is the Publix at WaterColor Crossings. It is centrally located, and they offer great products and fresh produce. You will want to avoid this store COMPLETELY. Even with all registers open, the checkout line has been known to wind around the ENTIRE STORE. Depending on where you are located, your best options are going to be the Publix in Santa Rosa Beach on Highway 98, or the Publix at Grand Boulevard in Miramar. While they will still be busy, it won’t be anything compared to the WaterColor Crossings store.
As always during this time of year, be patient, be kind, and do not drink and drive.