Eating Gluten Free in Destin and 30A doesn’t have to be tricky but knowing some of the restaurants that offer suitable options can definitely make your trip to the beach a lot easier!
I’ve been visiting these beautiful Destin and 30A beaches since I was 8 years old and can honestly say they are my absolute favorites! The soft, white sands and emerald green waters are addictive and so is the food!
Eating gluten free here can be pretty simple, even in a sea (get it?) of fried seafood and hushpuppies. A quick google search will yield lots of options but I always find that a personal experience can really add value to the decision-making process.
When I come to the coast, I personally love filling up on blackened fish and fresh cole slaw, so you’ll see some of that here, but there are plenty of other options so check them out!
Since we’ve stayed everywhere from Ft Walton down to Panama City, and everything in between, I am trying to include some favorites that my family has grown to love over the years. But I’ll add that there are SO MANY more we’ve yet to try so be sure to do your own exploring. Also worth mentioning, if you are celiac or have a severe gluten sensitivity and/or reaction, you’ll need to communicate that with the kitchen. Even better, call ahead to speak with the manager to see how familiar they are with eating gluten free.
Additionally, these restaurants become VERY crowded with long waits. If you need extra attention with your gluten free order, make sure to dine early or cross contamination is going to be much more of a hurdle to jump!
While 30A (including Rosemary Beach, Seaside, Santa Rosa Beach, Watercolor and more) used to be off the beaten path, it has grown leaps and bounds in the last 10 years. There are now lots of options for dining, casual or upscale, many of which are great for eating gluten free!
The Meltdown on 30A is in Seaside in the food trucks. It’s got a variety of grilled cheese options and they do offer gluten free bread. Tip: Call ahead to make sure they haven’t run out of GF bread, if they have, you can bring your own bread for them to use BUT it must be sealed in original packaging (not a few slices or a half eaten loaf).
Right across the street you’ll find Bud and Alley’s Pizza Bar and Trattoria. You can order to go or dine in and they make their own GF crust in house! Make sure to call ahead as they do sell out of it, but you’ll find a wide variety of delicious pizza options if you dine there!
Next to Bud and Alley’s is Raw and Juicy who also has a food truck across the street. You can find salads, raw juices, cold press coffees and more! Also found these gluten free, grain free cookies!
Cafe Thirty A is further down and a finer dining opportunity if you’re ready to trade in your swimsuit for something a little more upscale. They have gluten free options marked on their menu to make them easy to see. The kitchen should be able to accommodate you as well!
Heading down 30A towards Rosemary Beach you’ll also find Surfing Deer which marks gluten free options on its menu as well and is a favorite of many!
Heading back to town (Destin), you’ll find some old school classics dating back to when I was a wee one visiting with my parents. I’m including some old faves as well as some more recent finds below.
We ate at 790 on the Gulf for lunch and had a great experience dining outside oceanfront. I had the blackened Grouper with homemade tarter, remoulade, sweet potato fries and sauteed garlicky spinach.
If you’ve ever been to Destin, you know Fudpucker’s as an iconic landmark. Although at this point I think people visit for the experience more than the food, they do mention on their menu their familiarity with gluten free eating so be sure to ask if you dine there. I got the Blackened Amberjack (duh) and a baked potato. You can also hold alligators there which seems to excite a lot of people.
Albeit a chain, Bubba Gump’s has their menu marked with gluten free options including this Accidental Fish and Shrimp which I’ve ordered more than once and really enjoyed.
An absolute favorite is The Back Porch, which we make sure to visit every trip down. In the heart of Destin on Scenic 98 near Henderson Park. I love the Blackened Amberjack and my kids got broiled crab claws in butter with parmesan on top. They were delicious too! This place gets PACKED so be sure to get there early or dine when it’s rainy out or you’ll be waiting!
If you want a real treat, be sure to pay a visit to Louisiana Lagniappe closer to Ft Walton. It’s on part of the harbor and is tucked away off the beaten path. They’re a little pricier but the quality speaks for itself and they have a separate gluten free menu. I got the Blackened Redfish (I warned you I love blackened fish) and it was out of this world.
If staying in Destin and looking for a great gluten free pizza delivery, you’ve got to give Merlin’s Pizza a shot! We’ve eaten here many times as they deliver to our condo and have a great GF crust. They’ve got some fun combinations of toppings too so if you just want to stay in one night, give Merlin’s a call! They’ve got wings and salads too!
If you aren’t seeking “healthy,” Destination Little Donuts is a MUST!!! They have smaller sized donuts that can be customized with a bazillion different combinations, from traditional to totally original! No seriously, I think they have over 60 options, each more delicious than the last. Tip: Gluten free orders must be placed 24 hours (the day prior) so you can’t just pop in and grab them. They are made separately from the regular donuts (but share oil most days of the week) so be sure to plan ahead! Oh and pssst, they’ll make GF breakfast sandwiches too so be sure to ask for those!
On Scenic 98, there is another local joint that offers finer dining in the evenings but a great coffee shop and juice bar for am visits called Camille’s On The Beach. They offer walk up service during the day with soy and almond milk options for dairy free coffees and fresh made juices and smoothies.
It’s worth mentioning that in the heart of Destin there is now a Whole Foods, which is a huge advantage after the old Winn Dixie days! The Destin Whole Foods has a juice bar and of course carries the Hu Kitchen chocolate y’all know I love so much!