Seaside, Florida: Beach Getaway with a Neighborhood Feel

With white-sand beaches, pastel-colored beach houses, and lookout towers that catch the afternoon light, it’s no wonder that Paramount Pictures chose Seaside, Florida, along the Gulf of Mexico, as the idyllic setting for its 1998 movie “The Truman Show.” It’s also no surprise that Seaside, 35 years after its inception as a beach-side resort with a “neighborhood” feel, continues to be an upscale vacation destination for families and couples alike.

Known for mixing the quaint with the artfully inspired (think: an eclectic bookstore with an open-air front porch across from a boutique that sells luxury home furnishings), Seaside is the perfect place for someone with discerning taste who also seeks “the simple life.” It’s the kind of place where you ride a bike to the beach, get fresh fruits from the roadside farmer’s market, and then spend the evening in the open tower of your rental house watching the sun set over the Gulf.

Here are our best tips for visiting Seaside, Florida. Contact us today and we can arrange your entire charter trip!

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Photo: visitsouthwalton.com

Getting There

Seaside is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, on scenic Highway 30-A, between Panama City Beach and Destin. Charter flights can arrive at Panama City (ECP/KECP, 32 miles away) or Destin (VPS, 24 miles away).

Cars are not necessary at Seaside thanks to careful “New Urbanism” planning that places all dining, shops, rentals and the beach within walking or biking distance. A rental car might be desired to take side trips to nearby destinations, like Pensacola, Florida, 104 miles to the west.

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Photo: https://www.cottagerentalagency.com/

Where to Stay

Seaside is a planned vacation community with more than 300 rental houses built around a central square and amphitheater. Rentals have cheerful names like “Four the Girls,” “Vista Del Mar,” and “Dream Come True.”

In theory, all of the rentals are in close proximity to the town center and the beach, but if you want a truly beach-side accommodation, check the map and look for rentals directly on Highway 30-A, Seaside Avenue, West and East Ruskin Streets.

All of the houses are reminiscent of Key West and New Orleans, with their pastel colors, two-story open porches and white picket fences. Many of them have tower rooms that offer spectacular views of the Gulf. There is a range of accommodations, from rentals that sleep only 2 to rentals that sleep 10 or more.

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Photo: BudandAlleys.com

Where to Eat

For beach-side dining with views of the Gulf from the deck, choose Bud and Alley’s, which is directly across from the Seaside Amphitheater. Bud and Alley’s has a rooftop bar for a more casual experience, but it also has seated dining below with a full dinner menu, plus a taco bar and pizza bar.

Barefoot Barbecue, a food truck near the amphitheater and post office, has been consistently selected as Highway 30-A’s best place for BBQ. It’s great for grabbing sandwiches to take to the beach or back to the rental house.

For a more refined, date-night experience, head over to 45 Central, also near the amphitheater, and enjoy wine, small-plate meals and a romantic setting.

The Great Southern Café, located across from the amphitheater and Sun Dog Books, is a great place for breakfast or dinner and offers classic southern food in a cozy atmosphere. For an added touch, ask to be seated on the porch.

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Photo: Destinto30A.com

Things to See and Do

The Seaside Swim & Tennis Club has a variety of options for vacationers, from small wading pools for children to an adults-only pool on one of Seaside’s most grand streets. Besides swimming, there are 6 tennis courts, a fitness center, croquet, shuffleboard and playgrounds for children.

Near the town center, there is a variety of shopping venues, from the ONO Surf Shop to the upscale Pizitz Home & Cottage store. Check out Willow + Woods for boutique clothing for men and women or The Fitness Fetish for swim wear and shoes.

For hands-on, crafty fun, visit Seaside’s Fired Up paint your own pottery studio, or browse a collection of fine art, photography and garden sculptures are Newbill Collection by the Sea.

If you want to find Jim Carrey’s house from “The Truman Show,” look for cottage 31 on Natchez street.