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Seaside Florida, A Hidden Gem

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I love it when business and pleasure collide and that’s exactly how I spent a weekend in Seaside Florida (the popular Northwest Florida beach community that is best known as the location for the film The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey) a few weeks back.

This was my second visit there, but my first with my family and I just can’t say enough great things about this charming beach town. I did a book signing on the porch of Sundog Books and I was really excited to bring my family and friends along for the trip and turn it into a little family getaway. I think I might make this a yearly ritual!

For those of you who are looking for a relaxing family getaway, clean beaches, blue water, friendly people, shopping, ceramics, beautiful rental homes, bike rides, food trucks, farmers markets, live music on the lawn, all within walking distance – Seaside is for you. Here’s some info on how to get there, where to stay, eat, and things to do.

How to get there:

The closest airport to Seaside is Panama City Beach, Florida, it’s about 35 minutes away from Seaside. Sunshine Shuttle picked us up in a large van, equipped with car seats and friendly faces. Seriously, we were greeted by the nicest driver which really set the tone for our wonderful trip.

Where to Stay:

The only way to truly experience Seaside with your family is renting a beach cottage. We stayed in a beautiful cottage rental called Watcha Dune with the Cottage Rental Agency which slept eight. It had a full kitchen, 2 porches with wooden deck chairs, board games, bicycles, pool passes, and beach passes all within a short walk (or bike ride) to the beach. CRA is the iconic beachside town’s original rental agency, started by its founder and remains the only on-site, full-service provider of private vacation rental properties and helps more than 100,000 guests each year make memories, plan weddings, even find the perfect bike for a daily ride.

Where To Eat:

My mornings start off with a short walk to Amavida Coffee and Tea, best place to go for a great cup of coffee (fair trade) as well as tacos, arepas, empanadas and more.

One of my favorite parts of Seaside are the permanently parked gourmet airstreams that line 30A, just off the beach. Here are a few of my favorites:

Frost Bites – Serves Hawaiian shaved ice, homemade frozen custard, fresh squeezed lemonade and cold drinks.
Raw & Juicy – Best place to get organic juices, smoothies, raw food and healthy beach
Barefoot BBQ – Hormone- and steroid-free BBQ. The smoked portabella and pulled chicken salad is a must! Murphy is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet; great food, great people.

Me and Murphy at Barefoot BBQ
Raw and Juicy
Frost Bites has the BEST shaved ice!

Best Place to Eat While Watching The Sunset:

Sunset view from The Shrimp Shack

The Shrimp Shack has the best sunset views and a casual atmosphere, not to mention the best gulf shrimp in town! The steamed royal red shrimp and ice cold oysters on the half shell are a must.

Bud and Alley’s
has the best breakfast up on the deck where you can eat great food
while you watch dolphins jumping out of the water. They are also open
for lunch and dinner with wonderful sunset views.

Eating breakfast at Bud and Alleys with this stunning view!

Best Place for a Mojito and Southern Food:

Great Southern Cafe is known for their awesome mojitos and delicious southern food. A must while visiting Seaside.

Things To Do:

Beach: If jumping waves, building sand castles or just sitting
back and reading a book while listening to the crashing waves sounds
like heaven to you, well I can confirm there’s nothing better. You can
rent beach chairs and umbrellas ahead of time with Cabana Man
and keep them set up for the duration of your stay. There’s also
surfing lessons for children as young as five years old as well as

Grab some juice and snacks at Raw and Juicy and bring it to the beach!

Bike Riding: The best way to see this charming town is by renting a bike and peddling around. We even got smaller bikes with training wheels for the kids. If it’s raining, you can hit the pottery shop and bring home a hand made souvenir.

Farmer’s Market: Saturday and Tuesday mornings stop at the farmers market where you will here live music and sample produce from the local farmers as well as baked goods, empanadas, and more.

Shopping – If you want to pick up some snacks, beer, wine, cheese and crackers, etc Modica Market is right in town. The Seaside Style has shops for kids and adults, and there’s also lots of great stores for toys, jewelry, beach ware, shoes and more.

Free Concerts and Movies  – the best things in life are free, you can see a list of free summer concerts, and movies under the stars here.

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