Seaside Florida: The Perfect Beach Town
Seaside Florida is one of the most famous beach communities on 30A perhaps because it looks exactly like what you might imagine if you were imagining the perfect beach town.
This was completely intentional. Although Seaside may look as if it has grown organically for a century the development actually didn’t begin here until the early 1980’s. You can learn all about the history of Seaside here.
Seaside Florida was one of the first towns in the US to be designed based on a concept called New Urbanism.
The idea behind New Urbanism is to create neighborhoods where people can walk to work, walk to shopping, wave to their neighbors, and develop a sense of community.
You can definitely feel that while in Seaside!
There are approximately 300 cottages in Seaside Florida, many of which are vacation rentals. They range in size from tiny cottages perfect for a romantic get-away to sprawling homes where multiple generations of a family can stay while on vacation.
Most of the cottages are connected by criss-crossing white-sand paths lined by white-picket fences
You will be able to walk to the Seaside Central Square from your vacation rental. There you will find shops, restaurants, a post office, entertainment…everything you might need!
Another claim to fame of Seaside Florida is that it was the filming location for the Truman Show. The main character in this film believes that he is living a perfect life in a perfect town only to discover that he is actually the subject of a reality show.
Things to do in Seaside Florida
Spend Time on the Beach
If you are planning a trip to 30A you will definitely be wanting to spend some time playing on the white sand beach in the gentle surf.
The beaches on 30A are some of the most beautiful in the US.
In fact, the beach at Seaside was once named the “Best Beach on Earth For Families” by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
It is important to know that many of the Seaside Florida vacation rentals are not right on the beach.
Instead they are in walking or biking distance. However, this small community has 9 beach access points to make it easy for you to get to the ocean.
Take a Look at the Seaside Beach Pavilions
One of the most interesting features of Seaside is the beach pavilions. This is something that sets Seaside apart from all the other 30A beach communities.
Those 9 beach access points that I just mentioned?
Each one of them has a covered beach entrance or pavilion. These provide protection for the dunes, act as a grand entrance to the gorgeous beaches, and provide a gathering place for beach goers.
Most interestingly, the pavilions were designed by different architects and are all completely unique, each representing the vision of their designer.
Seaside Beach Pavilions
- Tupelo (architect: Ernesto Buch)
- Savannah (architect: Tom Crist)
- East Ruskin (Stuart Cohen and Anders Nereim Architects)
- Seaside (architect: Eric Watson)
- Coleman (Architect: David Coleman)
- West Ruskin (architect: Michael McDonough)
- Pensacola (architect: Tony Atkins)
- Odessa (architect: Roger Ferri)
- Natchez (architect: Jersey Devil).
Stroll or Bike
Seaside is made for walking and all of 30A is made for biking. You will want to stroll Seaside, wave at your neighbors, go to the beach, do a little shopping, or mail a “wish you were here postcard at the adorable post office.
If you want to go a little farther afield a bike is the best form of transportation.
Some of the vacation rentals provides bicycles but there are also plenty of bike rental agencies in the area.
See the Truman Show House
If you enjoyed the movie, The Truman Show, you might want to stop by and see the house where “Truman” lived.
You will find the house, one of the original Seaside cottages at 31 Natchez Street.
NOTE: Do remember that this is a privately owned home and respect the privacy of those who live there!
Take a Photo in Front of the Seaside Post Office
The Seaside Post Office is one of the cutest buildings in an unquestionably cute town!
It is said to be the most photographed post office in the world and once you see it in person you will understand why.
Visit the Chapel at Seaside
Another unique and beautiful Seaside Florida building is the Chapel at Seaside. This is a beautiful small building in a picture perfect setting. You should definitely stop by to see it.
Although the Chapel is particularly known for its lovely architecture and the storybook weddings that are held here, it also functions as a church!
An inter-denominational worship service is held here weekly. Vacationers are invited to join the local congregation on Sunday mornings at 10:00.
Browse the Seaside Florida Farmer’s Market
The Farmer’s Market is held every Saturday, year round, in the Seaside Ampitheater from 9-1. This is a great place to pick up local fruits and vegetables for the week.
Do Some Yoga in the Seaside Pavilion
The Seaside Pavilion, one of the 9 beach pavilions in Seaside, is the location for yoga classes which are held daily during the spring, summer, and fall months.
Classes will be cancelled during bad weather.
Be sure and check the website for hours and costs.
Eat at Airstream Row
One of the most interesting and fun places to eat on 30A is here in Seaside. It is called Airstream Row and features adorable airstream food trucks at Central Square.
After you order your food you can have a little picnic on the grassy town square.
Our favorite of the food trucks is The Meltdown.
Watch the Sunset at Bud & Alleys
Bud & Alleys is one of the most well known and popular restaurants on 30A. It sits near the beach and the upstairs deck has some of the best sunset views on 30A.
They are known for celebrating the sunset by ringing a bell every day as the sun disappears into the ocean.
Have Shrimp and Grits at the Great Southern Cafe
Honestly, have anything at the Great Southern Cafe. This is one of my favorite restaurants on 30A. They take traditional southern food to a whole new level. It’s all good!
Stop at Modica Market
Modica Market is another Seaside establishment made even more famous by The Truman Show.
This is a wonderful, family owned grocery store. In addition to getting your vacation groceries here they have delicious daily lunch specials and other prepared foods.
Even More Shopping in Seaside
There are plenty of places to do a little shopping while you are in Seaside. Here are a few of our favorites:
In my opinion there is not much better than an independently owned bookstore. Sundog books in Seaside is one of the best! I have seen it described as a “book lovers paradise in paradise” and I would agree.
This bookstore is a must visit when you are in Seaside.
Duckies Shop of Fun
Duckies toy store is the perfect place to pick up something fun for the little ones in your life.
The Seaside Style
The Seaside Style is a whole family of shops! They have apparel for all ages as well as gifts and home decor. If you have seen a shirt with a simple and elegant Seaside logo it probably came from here.
Attend a Festival or an Event in Seaside Florida
Be sure and check the Seaside calendar for events in the area. There are many things going on in the amphitheater such as movies, live music, activities for children, and a variety of events for all the holidays.
There is always something fun and exciting happening in Seaside!
ENjoy the cuteness at the Halloweener derby
Is there anything more adorable than a weiner dog in a costume? The Halloweener Derby is an annual festival that happens just before Halloween in Seaside.
Do some tasting at the Seeing Red Wine Festival
The seeing red wine festival has been an annual event in Seaside for about 30 years now. It is a nationally recognized wine event with of course food and wine. You will need to purchase tickets in advance for this festival.
Artists and Art Galleries
La Vie Est Belle
Check out the jewelry designed by local artist Wendy Mignot. She is known for stunning jewelry that combines leather and pearls.
Fusion Art Glass Gallery
The Fusion Art Glass Gallery is a must visit while you are in the area. It is a beautifully curated collection of one-of-a-kind pieces perfect for any décor.
Anne Hunter Galleries
Although she is a gifted writer, Anne Hunter, says on her website that she considers her true calling to be “advocating the talent of other artists.”
At her small gallery at 25 Central Square in Seaside you can enjoy the works of some of the incredible South Walton County artists.
Seaside Florida is one of the busiest and most popular of the 30A beach towns and for good reason. It is charming and friendly and there is always something to do.
If you want to learn more about the 30A area here are some other posts that you might find interesting!