On Florida's Beautiful Gulf Coast
Our favorite beach getaway is to Seaside Florida. Located between Destin and Panama City Beach, it's the perfect place for our family to escape the busyness of our lives at home. The simplicity of each visit along with the perspective we gain or regain, make it invaluable to us and we feel the need to make the trip at least once a year.
We hope you enjoy the information shared here and even more so wish for you to have the opportunity to visit Seaside in the very near future.
You'll love it!
For the last several years we have loved taking our family vacation in Seaside Florida. Seaside is a quiet little beach town on the Gulf of Mexico. It's thirty miles east of Destin and thirty miles west of Panama City Beach. Just far enough away from these popular destinations to keep the crowds to a minimum yet close enough to catch some of the attractions they offer if that is what you like. Seaside and several other wonderful small towns are located on County road 30-A. The film "The Truman Show" was filmed here.
Seaside and the neighboring towns are on Santa Rosa Beach. This is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water has the most beautiful shades of blues and greens you can imagine, the sand is soft and white and the sky puts on a fabulous show from dawn to dusk.
Seaside is a master planned community that was established in 1981. Strict architectural codes ensure that each structure fits perfectly into the township and the beauty and eclectic symmetry are evidence of well thought out design. The town is mostly made up of beach cottages, each one unique yet balanced perfectly within its surroundings. Many of them can be rented from the owners. A great place to find one of these rental houses is VRBO.com a site that vacation homeowners use to market their cottages. There is also a motor court and a few condos that can be rented.
The town has a number of great places to eat. Our favorite is The Great Southern CafÃ©, which has a phenomenal chef. You have to try the Grits a Ya Ya . There's also Pickles hamburger joint, The Taco Bar, a sushi place, and others. For dessert you can get some great gelato at Heavenly or frozen yogurt can be found at Dawson's. We love the old Air Stream trailers that have been converted into walk up sidewalk cafÃ©s that line the main road. You'll find Frosty's for soda and ice cream, Barefoot BBQ for fantastic brisket and other smoked fare, Wild Bill's Hot Dog Stand, A grilled sandwich place and a smoothie trailer.
Seaside is a great place for shopping from groceries to artwork. There are many fantastic shops throughout the center of town. There's a great bookstore, a wonderful record store, clothing, surf gear and toys shops can be found too. Local artists display there craft in many galleries around the diminutive town.
There is so much you can do in Seaside. They have a very nice playground, tennis courts, pools, a world class croquet field, a fun lawn in the center of town for Frisbee and of course the beach.
Great Books on Seaside
Our Perfect Vacation
For us, a day at the beach begins with a morning bike ride. We take our own bikes with us each time but there are lots places you can rent bikes and many of the rental houses have their own bicycles for you to use. The bike rental shops will have various ways you can ride with your little ones. There is a 17-mile bike path that runs along county road 30-A that has views of the gulf at many spots. This is a great ride if you really want to put some miles in.
As a family we enjoy riding through the beautiful beach neighborhoods. The cobblestone streets of Seaside are a blast to ride with stops at the playground, the shops or for a snack. Riding in the neighboring community of Watercolor is a lot of fun too. There are so many streets to ride with beautiful houses along the way. Bridges that span stunning lakes can be ridden through immaculately kept gardens and my favorite riding is done on the well-maintained trails that weave through the woods of Water Color. Bridges, docks, boardwalks highlight these fantastic flowy trails.
After a morning on the bicycles, we make some lunch and get ready for an afternoon at the beach. We all like to do different things so we carry a bunch of gear with us. Sunscreen is applied before walking to the beach. We'll spend three or four hours, hunting for shells, building sand castles, swimming, boogie boarding, skim boarding and soaking in the sun. I like to catch crabs and other sea creatures to show the children but we release them at the end of the day. Then we head back to get ready for dinner.
We love to play a little Frisbee on the lawn in the center of Seaside as we wait for the sunset. We'll then head down to the beach to photograph the incredible show that goes on every night as the sun sets. The sky is so different each and every night and we are always amazed at its beauty. Then we catch dinner somewhere. One of our favorite local places is "Pizza by the Sea" which is right next to Seaside on road 395.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Then we do it all over again for the rest of the week. For us this is the perfect vacation. The simplicity of each day refreshes us while we are staying active and doing the things we love all day every day.
Here's a video from one of our trips to Seaside. Our 12 year-old son Max made this on his ipod.