30A Beaches vs. Naples

Comparing Naples to the various 30A beaches may seem like a tall order but, that’s exactly what we’re going to tackle in today’s Battle of the Beaches! While both areas are on the West Coast of Florida and boast beautiful beaches that may be just about all they have in common. Let’s dive deeper into these two beach areas so you can decide, “Which is the right Florida beach for my next vacation?”

Which beach is right for your FL beach vacation: Naples or 30A? Learn which beach is the best, which destination is more affordable, compare the areas and more.

August 11, 2021

Comparing Naples to the various 30A beaches may seem like a tall order but, that’s exactly what we’re going to tackle in today’s Battle of the Beaches! While both areas are on the West Coast of Florida and boast beautiful beaches that may be just about all they have in common. Let’s dive deeper into these two beach areas so you can decide, “Which is the right Florida beach for my next vacation?”


Naples is in southwestern Florida, between the Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico. Naples faces the western gulf with a narrow bay in the east. Well-known for luxurious, upscale living, Naples has the second highest proportion of millionaires per capita in the U.S. You’ll be living in the lap of luxury in this beautiful area. But you’ll still have access to unique Florida ecosystems- from the beach to the Everglades like in the Big Cypress National Preserve. Naples also has an iconic and popular pier- a popular spot for fishing.

Now let’s travel eight hours north, up the coast to Destin and our favorite area: 30A. This area of Florida’s panhandle is right on the Gulf of Mexico. 30A is a scenic Florida highway in South Walton that connects a cluster of charming beachside communities like Watercolor, Seaside, Rosemary Beach and Seagrove Beach. These planned 30A communities are picturesque coastal villages with classic Americana style ambiance, sugary white sand beaches and loads of untouched dunes, forests and parks. Forget towering high-rise condos and hotels, there aren’t any massive structures on the beach: just miles of untouched, undeveloped beaches and charming 30A beach cottages.

Sand and Beach

30A beaches are perfection: lots of powdery white, soft, sugary sand. It’s so fine it actually squeaks under your feet! It reflects sunlight and doesn’t get painfully hot under your feet. Overall, the beaches on 30A are less busy than Naples. One factor is that the beach in Naples isn’t as wide as 30A. It’s more compact with less room for visitors to spread out. If you’re looking for some good, old-fashioned seashell hunting, Naples is the only choice. They have far more crunchy seashells in the sand. Both are fantastic Florida beaches you’ll enjoy spending a day of fun in the sun at.


Not only does 30A have amazing sand—the water is a light, clean blue-green. It’s called the Emerald Coast for good reason, after all. Major magazines like USA Today and Forbes say this area has the most beautiful beaches, excellent water quality and clarity and high standards for cleanliness. Naples beach is similar but, the water is just a bit darker and not as clear or clean. In 2018, for instance, Naples was hit by the biggest “Red Tide” in living memory, killing sea life with giant algae blooms. Usually slightly warmer than the more northern waters in 30A, you can enjoy more comfortable year-round swimming. Naples is a spectacular place to see the sunset over the water. The wide-open western view makes it the ideal vista for sunsets—especially from the pier. Destin also has lovely sunsets, especially in Baytowne Wharf where their long pier is a popular sunset spot. In the winter, the sun sets over the Gulf but, during the summer, it sets over the Choctawhatchee Bay.


This is one of the biggest questions for most tourists: Which Florida beach city is more affordable? Planning your FL beach vacation has a lot to do with your budget and both Naples and 30A are upscale, luxurious beach towns. The bottom line is that Naples is more expensive and 30A is more affordable. Here’s why: the average daily cost per person, per day is approximately $150 in Destin and 30A and $177 in Naples. This cost includes accommodation, food, transportation and entertainment. Hotels, hostels and rental homes are generally more expensive in Naples than they are in 30A. Even food and taxis are more expensive in Naples. If money is a big factor in your FL vacation plans, knowing this information can help determine which FL beach is right for you.

Whatever beach you ultimately choose, we hope you have an AMAZING Florida beach vacation! If you, like us, are convinced that 30A has the BEST BEACHES in Florida, we’d love it if you stayed with us. At Love to Stay 30A, we love helping you find the perfect 30A vacation rental home for your 30A vacay. Check out our website, look at our charming 30A beach cottages and find out why you’ll love to stay with us!

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