Its quaint village design makes everyone feel like family and its white-sand beach is drop-dead gorgeous. Check out the best places to eat, shop, play, and stay in glorious Seaside, Florida.
Call it what you want—beach town, waterside community, planned paradise—but this sweet town has the makings of a perfect coastal escape. Seaside, Florida, a community on 30A in South Walton, boasts restaurants, shops, activities, and lodgings to appease even the most particular beach-goer—all wrapped in a picture-perfect package (the town was used as the filming site for The Truman Show’s utopian Seahaven, after all).
Whether you’re an old hand at Seaside’s bricked streets or you’re not sure how to start planning your stay, these restaurants, shops, activities, and rentals will make your trip a memorable one.
Photo: Clark Maxwell
That craving for coffee won’t go away just because you're on vacation, but Seaside has your fix: Amavida Coffee. This Florida chain of cafes offers coffee made from Fair Trade beans, sweet pastries, and a variety of teas. Stop by to get your caffeine fix before hitting the sand, and your whole day may feel a little brighter.
Photo: Courtesy of Modica Market
Seaside’s Modica Market serves as the area’s gourmet grocery, offering foodie finds, craft beers, and basic beach necessities like toilet paper and wine. The family-owned shop also sells homemade sandwiches and sweet treats—stop by for a pre-beach treat or for lunch after a day of shopping.
In typical Seaside fashion, the food trucks in the heart of the community aren’t food trucks at all, but permanently stationed Airstream trailers. This so-called Airstream Row offers some of the best beach food around, from barbecue to shave ice to fresh-squeezed juice from its five vendors: Barefoot BBQ (pictured), Frost Bites, The Melt Down on 30A, Raw & Juicy, and Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs. Could there be a better beach-food set-up?
Photo: Kurt Lischka/Moon Creek Studios
No beach town is complete without a joint that’s more institution than restaurant; in Seaside, Bud & Alley’s fits the bill. The Roof Deck Bar enjoys clear views of the Gulf and offers fun, classic cocktails such as Rum Runners and Mojitos. Dinner service begins at 5:30 p.m., but don’t be afraid to stick to taking in your cool drink and the even cooler view (and maybe an app or two).
Photo: Sollina Images/Getty Images
This one is just for spring and summer visitors: Austin Magee’s Surf School. Stop by its location right on the beach in Seaside for a patient, accomplishable surfing lesson from one of the friendly surf instructors. Children ages five and up can take lessons, as long as they can swim and are comfortable in the water, and private lessons, group sessions, and mini-lessons are also available.
Photo: Ron Calamia
An official rental bike provider may sound silly, but in Seaside, where your own two feet are the go-to method of transportation, it’s much needed. Enter the Seaside Transit Authority, which offers bikes in various sizes, in addition to specialty gear such as tandems and trailers (for children and for beach gear).
Photo: Michael Granberry Photography
Another Seaside institution—though not of the culinary kind—is Perspicasity, an outdoor market selling women’s beach fashion and boho accessories like woven hats and dangling necklaces. This charming beachside bazaar is a must-see, even if you just want to take in its clothes-strung cottages and peruse its collection of beach totes.
Photo: Madeleine Frank
Sundog Books, on Seaside’s Central Square, can fulfill all your reading needs. The beauty of this beach bookstore isn’t its endless assortment of books—Sundog’s appeal lies in its friendly, helpful employees who will help you find the book you’re looking for, even if you’re not sure what that is yet.
Photo: Courtesy of Seaside Community Development Corp.
If there’s anything more adorable than Duckies Shop of Fun’s name, it’s the store itself. This colorful bonanza of children’s toys, accessories, clothes, and gifts is Santa’s workshop gone coastal.
Photo: Kurt Lischka/Moon Creek Studios
They don’t call this one Center Stage for nothing—this picturesque apartment sits in Seaside’s Central Square, in the heart of the laidback town’s shopping and dining scene. Managed by Sunburst Beach Vacations, the property sleeps up to 12 guests across three bedrooms and two bathrooms—and is only 125 steps from the beach.
Photo: Courtesy of CottageRentalAgency.com