Grayton Beach is one of the small handfuls of beaches in 30A — a stretch of charming beach towns between Panama City Beach and Destin along Florida’s Panhandle. 

However, unlike the European charm in Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach and the picture-perfect architecture in Seaside and Watercolor — Grayton Beach has a unique, fun, and funky vibe that completely sets it apart from the rest of the 30A communities. Grayton Beach was actually the first developed beach town in 30A, established in 1885, making it more than a hundred years older than most of the other beach communities in 30A! 

There are plenty of things to do in Grayton Beach for a jam-packed day trip. Keep reading for all the best things to do, places to eat, and what to see while spending one day in Grayton Beach! 

Getting to Grayton Beach  

Grayton Beach is located about halfway between Panama City Beach and Destin on Florida’s Scenic 30A Highway — it’s about a 45-minute drive from PCB (29 miles) and a 35-minute drive from Destin (23 miles). 

If you’re flying into Grayton Beach, you will likely arrive at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, which is about a 45-minute drive from Grayton Beach (33 miles), or the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, which is about an hour’s drive from Grayton Beach (43 miles). Alternatively, you could fly to Pensacola International Airport, which is about a two-hour drive (74 miles) from Grayton Beach. 

Getting Around Grayton Beach 

You technically don’t need a rental car to get around Grayton Beach. Everything (for the most part) is within walking distance, and there is a free shuttle (Grayton Beach Trams) that will take you from the northern part of Grayton Beach down DeFuniak Street to the public beach access point. If you do choose to use the tram — take advantage of the free parking in the parking lot. 

However, there are not many options for places to stay in Grayton Beach. Because of this, we recommend staying in a nearby beach town with more options, like Rosemary Beach or Seaside, or a larger city, like Panama City Beach or Destin, and making the short drive into Grayton Beach to visit for the day (or longer!). 

Best Places to Eat in Grayton Beach 

There aren’t a ton of places to eat in Grayton Beach, but the places that are there are excellent! While spending the day in Grayton Beach, check out a few (or all!) of these restaurants: 

Black Bear Bread Co. 

Black Bear Bread Co. was hands-down my favorite spot in Grayton Beach (and honestly, my favorite coffee shop I’ve found so far in 30A!). If you’re only spending one day in Grayton Beach, this is definitely where you need to grab breakfast. 

This Parisian-style bakery and cafe offers delicious breakfast sandwiches, other breakfast items, like Smoked Salmon Tartines and French Toast, and delicious pastries and bread, including sourdough, croissants, cinnamon rolls, scones, and more. The coffee and espresso drinks are also amazing — I loved the Bear Latte! 

An iced coffee with a blue straw in front of a while building with greenery on the outside. Black Bear Bread Company - one of the best things to do in Grayton Beach
A plate with a croissant, two breakfast sandwiches, and a coffee sitting on a white table.

Roux 30A 

If you’re looking for an upscale dining experience in Grayton Beach — look no further than Roux 30A. This would be the perfect spot for a celebration dinner or fancy date night! 

Roux 30A offers a six-course tasting menu that is constantly changing with the freshest, in-season local ingredients. The open kitchen concept and community tables offer a warm, inviting atmosphere. Just be sure to make reservations for the standard tasting from 5 PM to 8:30 PM on Tuesday to Thursday or at 7 PM on Friday to Sunday. Roux 30A does not accept walk-ins. 

Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill 

If you like oysters — and even if you don’t — you have to pay a visit to Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill in Grayton Beach. This laid-back establishment offers tons of seafood options, including oysters (duh), as well as fish, shrimp, and lobster tacos, fish sandwiches, gumbo, and more. 

Even if there aren’t seafood lovers in your group, you’ll also find salads, burgers, sandwiches, and other options on the menu. Be sure to check out the daily happy hour from 3 PM – 6 PM for $2 draft beers, $5 margaritas, and $6 glasses of wine. 


If you’re looking for a casual spot to grab some grub right off the beach, pay a visit to Chiringo. Chiringo describes itself as a “casual beachside bar and eatery that blends global beach flavors with Southern charm” — and it’s a fun spot to hang out, too! 

On the menu, you’ll find lots of delicious things to eat, like bowls, salads, sandwiches, tacos, appetizers, and more. They also offer tons of fun cocktails, including the Ringo Rita, The Jolt, and the H2 “OH.” You’ll also find beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks on the menu. 

A two-story bar in Grayton Beach called Chiringo, with tan horizontal siding and surfboards out front that say "YOLO" and have blue wings.

Chanticleer Eatery 

Chanticleer Eatery is a casual, unfussy eatery that serves delicious lunch and dinner at Grayton Beach. The menu includes items like appetizers, salads, entrees, sandwiches, and drinks, including wine, beer, and cocktails. 

Best Things to Do in Grayton Beach 

There are plenty of fun things to do in Grayton Beach to keep you busy during your day trip. These are some of the most popular options for things to do in Grayton Beach! 

Boutique Shopping 

There are a few local shops that are worth checking out in Grayton Beach, including the following: 

  • Shops of Grayton — Shops of Grayton is a small (but mighty!) shopping center where you’ll find local vendors, eateries, and art galleries like La Duna Gallery, The Shard Shop, The Studio Gallery, Saczynski Gallery, and Tip Top Design Company. There are also a few small shops across the street. 
  • Hotz Avenue — Hotz Avenue is the street right next to Grayton Beach (the actual beach — not the town) and offers a few boutiques and galleries to explore. The Zoo Gallery is an eclectic art gallery with tons of unique gifts, and Tribe Kelley Surf Post is a beach clothing boutique that sells clothes, accessories, and other items. Fun fact: country music lovers — Brian Kelley (of Florida Georgia Line) and his wife own this store! 
An old black and white VMW bus outside a building with palm trees and American flag in the background.
A giant giraffe sculpture that is red, blue, yellow, and purple standing in front of a store called The Zoo Gallery, one of the best things to do in Grayton Beach.

Grayton Beach State Park 

Grayton Beach State Park is the primary reason tourists come to visit Grayton Beach! In addition to the beach itself, this 2,000-acre state park offers tons to do and see, including Western Lake and two other natural coastal dune lakes — only found in Florida and Oregon! 

These are a few of the best things to do at Grayton Beach State Park. Whether you like adventuring or relaxing, you’ll have an awesome time at this outdoor venue! 

  • Fishing — Fishing is a super popular attraction at Grayton Beach. You do need a Florida fishing license, but many local tour providers, like Grayton Girl Fishing Charters, Dead Fish Charters, Captain Harry’s Coastal Adventures, and Fish on Charters, carry a state license and provide all the gear you need for fishing at Grayton Beach. You can catch snapper, triggerfish, grouper, flounder, mahi-mahi, mackerel, and more! 
  • Paddleboarding & Kayaking — Think the choppy ocean waves are too much to handle? No problem! The coastal dune lakes in Grayton Beach State Park are the perfect stop for kayaking or SUP. Bring your own gear or rent some from Yellowfin Ocean Sports Grayton. 
  • Camping — Grayton Beach offers a couple of cabins you can rent, as well as campgrounds you can rent for tent camping. If you want to spend the night at Grayton Beach, this is a fun option! Reservations can be made through Florida State Parks
  • Hiking — If you want to explore some different scenery besides the white, fluffy sand, you can spend some time hiking on the four miles of trails in Grayton Beach State Park. You’ll see gorgeous oak trees and magnolias and will have the opportunity to see tons of wildlife, like eagles, pelicans, egrets, squirrels, deer, and more! 
  • Beachgoing — If getting a tan is more of your thing, you can lounge around on Grayton Beach. This beach has public access. You might even have the chance to see a sea turtle. Both loggerhead and green sea turtles make their nests along Grayton Beach! 
A few people in the turquoise waves just off the golden sand of Grayton Beach.

Bar Hopping 

Grayton Beach offers a couple of popular places to grab a drink. Don’t miss the chance to check out these popular spots for a refreshing beer or cocktail during your day trip — it’s one of the best things to do in Grayton Beach!

  • The Red Bar The Red Bar is an iconic bar in Grayton Beach that serves cocktails and appetizers all day long, like tuna dip, jalapeño poppers, cheese sticks, and chicken wings. They also serve a few entree options for lunch and dinner, like salads, sandwiches, burgers, and fish. 
  • Beach Camp Brewpub Beach Camp Brewpub is a popular hangout with local events, like Monday “Smoke Night” (for wings), Thursday Trivia Night, Saturday and Sunday Football Specials, and Happy Hour from 3 PM – 6 PM on the weekdays. Though they serve food and drinks, the highlight is the beer. Try some of the Beach Camp Brews, including Crab Island Blonde, High Tide Hefe, Dune Lake Brown, and Double Citra Warrior — just to name a few options from their tap list! 
  • Black Bear Bar Room — Remember Black Bear Bread Co. from earlier? They also have a bar (Black Bear Bar Room) that serves wines, beer, oysters, and small plates, like cheese and charcuterie, pasta, and more. This is a cozy, quiet spot to enjoy a drink. 
  • Grayton Beer Company — Although it’s technically a 15-minute drive from Grayton Beach, Grayton Beer Company in Santa Rosa Beach is a great spot for a brew. The 30,000-foot industrial taproom is both kid and dog-friendly and offers tons of games, like Jenga, darts, and cornhole, so bring your whole family along for some fun!  

Art Experiences 

Grayton Beach is an “artsy” community. Here are a few of the art experiences you can enjoy in Grayton Beach, in addition to all the art galleries listed earlier in the “shopping” section! 

  • GRAYT Wall — The GRAYT Wall is a free outdoor art gallery showcasing tons of artwork created by local artists. Stop by this wall, admire the artwork, and snap a few photos of your favorite pieces! Checking out this wall is one of the best things to do in Grayton Beach for art lovers.
  • Underwater Museum of Art — The Underwater Museum of Art is … you guessed it … an art museum that is underwater. If you’re looking for one of the most unique things to do in Grayton Beach, you should book an excursion to the Underwater Museum of Art! 
A wall of eclectic artwork In Grayton Beach, including a white bird, a cabin, a girl on a bike with a dog in the basket biking along the beach, and more.

Best Things to Do in Grayton Beach: FAQs 

What is Grayton Beach known for?

Grayton Beach is known as the first established beach town in 30A and is loved by visitors for its beautiful beaches, coastal dune lakes, and funky personality.

Does Grayton Beach have public access?

Yes, Grayton Beach has a public access point just off Hotz Avenue in front of Chiringo, where Grayton Beach Trams drops off visitors at Grayton Beach. 

Can you swim at Grayton Beach State Park?

Yes, you are permitted to swim at Grayton Beach State Park. Just be mindful of the beach warning flags. A red flag or double red flag means that it is not safe to swim due to high surf, strong currents, and other unsafe conditions.

Plan the Perfect Beach Day with These Things to Do in Grayton Beach 

Grayton Beach truly offers the perfect number of things to do for a day trip from a nearby location, like Rosemary Beach, Destin, or Panama City Beach. With this list of things to do in Grayton Beach, you’ll be able to enjoy a delicious breakfast and coffee, see some unique artwork, shop for some local souvenirs, and spend some time exploring the outdoors — either hiking, kayaking, fishing, or paddleboarding — at the beautiful Grayton Beach State Park. 

Have the best time with these things to do in Grayton Beach — it’s a quirky, colorful gem along the 30A Highway! 

Save These Best Things to Do in Grayton Beach for Your 30A Roadtrip

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About the Author

Hi, I'm Brit! I'm a writer from Phoenix, AZ who loves coffee, golden retriever puppies, and obviously, travel! I help ordinary women (like me!) dream, plan, and do extraordinary travel experiences.