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A Full Service Vacation Management and Interior Design Firm

Complete Guide to Freediving, Snorkeling, and Scuba Diving 30A

4th February 2019

With a reputation as one of the premier vacation destinations in the country, the Emerald Coast—especially the 30A beach--has some of the most diverse activities available for a beach getaway. Whether you enjoy relaxing in the sun, swimming, biking, nightlife, art, music, food, or something else, the area offers a wealth of options for guests to enjoy. For those that have an adventurous spirit and are looking for outdoor activities that allow them to explore some of the more untouched areas of 30A, we’ve created this complete guide to freediving, snorkeling, and scuba diving in some of the best locations that the area has to offer.

Artificial Reef Sea Life

Home to a diverse collection of marine life such as red snapper, grouper, mahi mahi, and sea turtles, the clear green waters of the Emerald Coast offer the perfect viewing conditions for these magnificent creatures. There are several undersea attractions to visit for viewing this sea life, one of the most famous of which is The Turtle Reef. Just off the shore of Grayton Beach, the reef came about as a project from the South Walton Artificial Reef Association (SWARA) and is just one of 16 sites that guests can choose to explore. These reefs are designated for different types of activities so that safety for visitors is ensured, zoning 4 sites for freediving or snorkeling, 9 sites for scuba diving or fishing, and 3 sites for fishing.

30A Artificial Reef Map

After witnessing the success that the artificial reefs had, the Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County decided they wanted to help contribute to the underwater attractions in the area, so they partnered with SWARA to create the Underwater Museum of Art. The first of its kind in North America, the museum features sculptures from six local, national, and international artists. Made of limestone, concrete, and aluminum, the artwork is designed to become a deep-water artificial reef. This unique project that combines art and nature in to one masterpiece, is a 30A attraction that you must see at least once.

Underwater Museum of Art

Once you’ve decided what area or areas you would like to explore, your next decision is choosing whether you would like to free dive, snorkel, or scuba dive, and if you would like to join a tour or go solo. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages, however perhaps the most important factor to consider is the attraction you would like to visit. For example, the Underwater Museum of Art is at a depth of 60-feet so it can only be reached by scuba diving. It is also important to note that scuba diving requires you to be an open water certified diver, so an abundance of time and planning is required if you choose this option. You can find more information about completing your certification on 30A at these websites:

Snorkel 30A

If you have never snorkeled before or are a bit unsure of the location of the structures, a great way to experience the artificial reefs is by joining a tour. These businesses bundle all the required gear and their excellent knowledge of the area along with its wildlife in to one package. Check out some of the local businesses that are offering tours here:

Adventure 30A Paddleboard

Due to their proximity to shore, many of the artificial reefs are located within paddling distance, making them accessible by paddle board or kayak. If you’ve decided you want to enjoy the sea life in private and are not lucky enough to be renting one of our luxury vacation rentals that includes complimentary paddle boards, or if you’re looking for any other equipment, we’ve compiled a list of businesses renting gear in the area:

No matter how you choose to explore the emerald waters of 30A, our customer service team is here to make sure you can make arrangements with the least amount of difficulty. We represent the most desirable vacation rentals in the area. Call (844) STAY-30A or (844) 782-9302, email us at or contact us through our website here: Plus, remember to follow us on Twitter @exclusive30a, Instagram @exclusive30a, or “Like” the Exclusive 30A Facebook page for more information.  We’d love to hear from you!