When I-10 beckons you to hop in your car and travel to parts unknown, head east to the charming serenity of Florida’s 30A.
By Dana Donovan
Traveling to Seaside, Florida is like traveling back in time to a place when life was simple and moved a little slower. Best known as the backdrop of the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show, the master-planned community is full of pastel colored houses with white picket fences along a stretch of white, sand beach with beautiful emerald green water. To be fair, all of the beaches along 30A running from Rosemary Beach to Miramar are fabulous. Each one has its own unique look and feel. For all of Seaside’s elegance and charm, families take center stage.
Seaside was the brainchild of Robert Davis. In 1978, after inheriting 80 acres from his grandfather, Robert set out to create a town tied by a common sense of community. Over 30 years later, everywhere you look, you can see his dream has become a reality. Standing out in Robert’s vision are the many pavilions that dot the landscape along the beach. Each pavilion is different and was designed to entice beach goers to play in the waves and enjoy the sun and the sand. They also stand as a beacon to find your way back home after a long day on the beach.
If the beach is the soul of Seaside, the city center is its heart. Restaurants and shops surround the centrally located outdoor stage with nightly entertainment. Behind the stage, Food Truck Alley runs parallel with 30A and creates an almost festival-like atmosphere whether it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday night. Through it all, kids roam freely though out the town square riding bikes and eating snow cones.
My favorite part of Seaside is that there is something for everyone. Be lazy or be active, spend your day shopping or spend a day driving to the other beaches along 30A. Eat lunch at one of the many food trucks then have a nice dinner looking out over the water at Bud & Alley’s. There truly is something for everyone. Just slow down, breathe in the salt air and enjoy the 30A life.
Fly into Destin or Panama City, or take the approximately 10-hour trek down I10 East. I like driving because I’m able to load the car with supplies needed for the week. You can even break the trip up with an over-night stay in New Orleans.
Renting a house in Seaside can get expensive. One week rentals will vary based on location and size. Look for rates to start at about $2,000, with many options in the $3,000-$4,000 range. We recommend booking at least 3 months in advance. One way to save money is to stay in neighboring Seagrove. The rental rates are less expensive, but the trade-off will be the distance from Seaside city center.
Cottage Rental Agency Seaside
GRS Beach Rentals
Vacation Rentals by Owner
Places to Eat
I love Food Truck Alley! I could have eaten every meal at The Meltdown on 30A. The Brie and Bacon on Cranberry Walnut Bread and the Muenster Mushroom Melt are to die for amazing. Try to pull yourself away from the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches to try The Great Southern Café and Bud & Alley’s. Reservations are recommended for both. Also, you’ll want to add $20 per kid per day to your budget for Frostbites. I know you are saying to yourself, “Really? Twenty dollars a day for snow cones?” Yes, take my word for it. You’ll easily spend $20 a day at Frostbites.
Bud & Alley’s
The Great Southern Café
The Meltdown on 30A
Besides on 30A, there is very little traffic in Seaside. I highly recommend renting bikes for the kids. They’ll love riding around Seaside as well as exploring neighboring beaches like Watercolor. Bike rentals start at $15 per day and include a helmet, basket and lock.
Seaside Transit Authority Bike Rentals
Chair, Umbrella and Kayak Rentals
Rates vary based on the number of chairs and umbrellas and the number of days. I’m not going to lie, it’s expensive. On the flip side, it’s really nice to have your chairs and umbrella waiting for you each day as you head down to the beach.
Modica Market is located in the main square in Seaside. It’s a small market and can be a little pricey. I recommend you make the 5-minute drive to Publix. You’ll find a much bigger selection and lower prices.
109 Seaside Central Square
Publix Super Market
110 Watercolor Way
Santa Rosa Beach