Seaside, Florida Travel Guide! September 12, 2016 | As requested, I put together an entire post as a Travel Guide to Seaside Florida! Where to stay, where to shop and where to EAT on this beautiful piece of Florida coastline. I grew up vacationing in nearby Destin, Florida, which is really beautiful, but also really popular and usually super crowded. It wasn’t until I became an adult and actually valued a more laid back vacation that I realized that Seaside is really where it’s at. Seaside is located on Highway 30A (what’s categorized as a relatively short piece of road that runs along the beaches between Destin and Panama City) and is a quaint, yet chic beach town like nothing else I’ve seen stateside. I also love the crystal clear emerald blue waters and white sand beaches, truly a gorgeous scene. If you don’t believe me, Travel + Leisure just named Seaside as the “Best Beach on Earth for Families!” So if you’ve never heard of Seaside OR have been dying to go, here’s what you need to know! Warning, this is a long (but really fun!) post 🙂 The tiny post office anchors the entire community and is located dead center to everything. Behind it is an outdoor amphitheater and a semi circle of shopping and dining! On each side of the post office, permanent food trucks line the streets, making grabbing a quick bite on a beach break super easy. p.s. Any of you watched The Truman Show?? Yep, filmed in Seaside! We always choose to drive down to Seaside (about 9 hours from Charlotte), but there are certainly alternatives if that much car time isn’t exactly your idea of a vacation! There are 3 airports within 50 miles of Seaside: Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS) Pensacola Regional Airport (PNS) The great news is that you really don’t need to worry about renting a car if you don’t want to! There are quite a few very reputable shuttle services from all 3 airports to Seaside (Sunshine Shuttle, Destin Shuttle, and Uber), all with vehicles in varying sizes to accommodate your party. Seaside is a walking + biking community, so there’s truly no need for a car, but if you want to explore other beaches along 30A (which I HIGHLY recommend) you also have alternatives. Uber runs all the way to Rosemary Beach (the Eastern most part of 30A) and the Sunshine Trolly has stops all along 30A and is a fun way to explore the beaches as a family. If your accommodations don’t come with bikes (most do, actually), you can always rent them for the week to buzz around. Try the Seaside Transit Authority, as they will deliver the bikes to you free of charge with 24 hour notice. So, I know that where you will stay largely depends on the size of your party, but I will share my thoughts and opinions in general. Overall, Seaside is privately owned and accommodations are handled though rental agencies or third party sites like VRBO and AirBNB. To be completely honest, we feel like it’s fairly expensive for only a small family to head there for the week, since most rentals are larger homes. It’s worked best for us when we have joined families and rented a larger house (I wrote a full post on the BEAUTIFUL home we stayed in last time HERE). BUT this time I hit the jackpot and found a darling home on AirBNB that I truly feel is the best value in Seaside. The owner, Delphine, is so kind and lives around the block from The Watermelon Cottage should you need anything. Yes, the cottage is a bit older and might not be as super chic as the other properties in Seaside, but it’s quaint and it was all we needed and more! Dan and I really enjoyed nights on the porch and Landry was obsessed with the loft beds. There was free WIFI, a washer and dryer, and we walked to the beach and the square daily. We will definitely stay there again! See more HERE. If you want to explore most properties in Seaside, check out The Cottage Rental Agency, they offer a full scope of rentals in Seaside and make it easy to find more of what you are looking for. You can also check Airbnb + VRBO for other options. Okay let’s talk necessities first! We knew that we would need a few groceries upon our arrival…bottled water, snacks, etc. If you have a car or golf cart, there’s a Publix within about 1.5 miles, but if not, you can get all of your necessities at Modica Market which is conveniently located in the square. They also have pre-made food, yummy desserts and an amazing selection of beer and wine. Now on to real shopping! The beaches of 30A have tons of amazing shopping, but here are a few of my favorites! If you head to Seaside Beach, you won’t be able to miss Perspicacity! It’s an open air market (photo below) and comprised of lots of smaller shops, all with a beachy-chic vibe. I always find the BEST jewelry and gifts there and really recommend staying and browsing! Duckies is a kids store and it always just makes me SO happy! They have the most on-trend kids brands, cutest toys and best gifts for infants through kids. This is a must stop, especially with kids. Deia Vu is a trend boutique for women, with a slightly boho vibe and I always find wayyy more than I need to there. Alys Shoppe (in nearby Alys Beach) is a gorgeous shop of mixed home decor, women’s apparel and men’s apparel. It’s so beautiful both aesthetically and merchandise wise. If you like high end pieces, you definitely need to head here. Seaside Classic …You can’t leave Seaside without a Seaside t-shirt for the entire family. I always grab a long sleeve one and it’s always a cozy favorite for lazy days at home. If you like a bit of an off beat shopping experience, you can’t miss Sundog Books and Central Square Records. …there are tons of other darling boutiques towards the back of the Seaside square and there’s also an AMAZING outlet mall on the eastern end of Destin making it only about a 15 minute drive. Always good options in case of a rainy day. My Dress | Bag I kept an entire food journal for you guys, are you proud?? Here’s the scoop on everything we ate and which places made my favorites list for breakfast, lunch and dinner! First Row: Photo 1 + 2: Ceviche + Beet Walnut Salad from Bud and Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant (not pictured, Dan’s Crab Cakes that were definitely the best choice). Expensive but a gorgeous view! Photo 3: Raw and Juicy cashew yogurt breakfast bowl + Green smoothie. Definitely yummy and refreshing but the cashew yogurt is a bit sour and took some getting used to Second Row: Photo 1: Meanwhile, for the same breakfast, Dan chooses this bad boy while I watch from the sidelines drooling. It’s a breakfast sandwich from The Meltdown on 30A. Photo 2: Steamed Lobster Roll from The Shrimp Shack. Dan and I both chose this and we agreed that the steamed shrimp might have been a better choice. Photo 3: Shrimp Platter from George’s Alys Beach. So good! Third Row: Photo 1: Calamari Sticks from George’s Alys Beach. We are used to thinner calamari, but this was absolutely delicious! Photo 2: Breakfast sampler from The Great Southern Cafe. Not shown, Dan’s YaYa grits and chorizo sausage which is what they always win awards for. Definitely don’t miss the grits! Photo 3: Chips and Guac from Bud and Alley’s Taco Bar. Nothing especially fancy (or overly delicious) here, but the guac was refreshing and this was a quick lunch then back to the beach. Fourth Row: Photo 1: Dinner (Pecan Crusted Mahi over grits and a Shrimp Po’Boy) back at The Great Southern. Photo 2: Donuts from Charlie’s Donut Truck in Alys Beach. The red velvet with cream cheese frosting was a favorite. Photo 3: Pizza night at Bud and Alley’s Pizza Bar. We created our own (sausage, goat cheese and arugula) and it was yum. Also loved the beachside patio and cocktail list. …keep reading for more of my favorites! Best Quick Breakfast: Raw + Juicy: Lots of healthy options to fuel up for a day at the beach. The Meltdown on 30A: Definitely not healthy, but certainly delicious biscuit breakfast sandwiches. Charlie’s Donut Truck: The donuts are good, but they won’t knock your socks off. We go for more of the overall experience. There are splash fountains to play in (so bring your swimmy!) before or after you eat and it’s a great early morning activity if you have early risers. Amavida: They have GREAT coffee and even offer coconut milk. I was there every day for an iced coconut milk latte. Best Sit Down Breakfast: The Great Southern Cafe: Definitely our favorite all around restaurant in Seaside. Don’t miss their beignets or YaYa Grits! The Donut Hole: This is a little bit of a hike, located past Rosemary Beach at the end of 30A, but it’s a yummy breakfast for a reasonable price. …We didn’t get a chance to try it, but so many people love The Perfect Pig for breakfast as well! Best Lunch: Barefoot BBQ: Located along the square, you’ll wake up smelling this BBQ and crave it all day long. Pickles: Easy beach eats like hotdogs, hamburgers…and of course their fried pickles. Always a kiddo pleaser, too! Best Dinner: Georges Alys Beach: One of our favorite meals from the trip was definitely at Georges. Yummy food, with a southern flare. Caliza: If you want a romantic date night, Caliza is your place. A gorgeous Greek inspired building that’s centered around a gorgeous modern pool. Everything is served al fresco and is as delicious as it is beautiful! The Great Southern Cafe: Can you tell we REALLY like their food?? While we’ve never been, a lot of people also suggest The Red Bar in Grayton Beach for dinner. Best Snacks: Frost Bites: Cool off with a shaved ice from Frost Bites and then come back for one of their famous root beer floats. It’s Heavenly: Always our after dinner ice cream destination. They have a great selection of sorbets, too! Modica Market: Trust me, and get one of their cakes by the slice…or just get the whole thing! **Side Note: Don’t forget to check the schedule for happenings around the square. They usually have kid friendly activities at least twice a week. We watched a wonderful band play on Wednesday night at the amphitheater and then watched a kids movie under the stars on Friday night. Landry thought that it was the coolest thing ever and all of the kids run around and play together. We didn’t end up eating here, but how cute is this little pizza truck in Alys Beach? They’ve built an oven into the truck and will whip you up a fresh pie made to order and you can enjoy the sights and scenes of Alys Beach. This Sunset might have been one of my very favorite moments of the trip! This Sunset might have been one of my very favorite moments of the trip! On our last night there, I got my big camera out and we took some family beach photos. We did the same thing on our last trip and it’s so crazy how much LK has grown in 2 years! See them HERE. Landry’s Dress | Landry’s Dress | My Jewelry Dan’s Shirt | Shorts To the stranger on the beach whom I begged to take this photo of us, thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for a family photo that I will treasure forever! I really hope that you guys enjoyed this Seaside, Florida travel guide! I’m no expert, but if you have any specific questions, don’t hesitate to email me!