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    Seaside is an Iconic Beach Town on 30A in the “Emerald Coast”

    Seaside is a picturesque town along Scenic County Highway 30A in Walton County, Florida, and has been called a local gem by vacationers who come here again and again. The town is so picture-perfect, it was used as a backdrop for the movie The Truman Show in 1998.

    Seaside began as a vision. In 1946, J.S. Smolian purchased 80 acres of pristine land along the 30A corridor. He intended to build a summer camp for his employees. That vision didn’t pan out, but he loved bringing his family and drinking in the serenity and beauty of the area. He and his family spent their time hunting for shells, swimming, lounging and fishing.

    In 1978, J.S. Smolian’s grandson, Robert Davis, inherited the property, took his grandfather’s initial vision and expanded on it. Robert and his wife, Daryl Rose, began making plans for an old-fashioned beach town – and one of the first New Urbanist towns in America. The town was designed so you’d have everything you need within a short walk or bike ride away. The idea comprised traditional wood-framed cottages popular in the Panhandle with deep roof overhangs and front porches offering a chance to get to know your neighbors, and to walk or bike to shops, restaurants, and cafés. 

    Seaside, Florida OverviewGorgeous White Sandy Beaches and More

    Seaside is a vacation paradise, with gorgeous luxury beach rentals available and so much to do within walking distance. The white sand beaches and emerald waters of the Gulf are gorgeous, but there is more than just the beach to enjoy. You can shop at art galleries, boutique shops, and some unique stores such as Central Square Records and Sundog Books where you can browse for hours. Seaside hosts concerts, farmer’s markets, festivals and more in the Central Square with an open-air amphitheater. Check out their calendar of events here.

    You can even walk for groceries. Modica Market is a specialty and gourmet market in Central Square offering standard and gourmet groceries as well as made-to-order scrumptious sandwiches, bakery items, sundries, souvenirs and more. The store was founded by Charles Sr. and Sarah Modica in the days of Seaside’s beginnings. Now their son, Charles, Jr., and daughter, Carmel, run the store. Charlie, Jr. loves living in Seaside and views their store as a place to keep in touch with his Seaside family. There are outdoor tables with adorable views to sit and enjoy coffee in the mornings or a foodie’s delight of meal or snack options.

    Dining Options in Seaside

    Bud and Alleys drinkVisitors and residents can enjoy the weekly farmer’s market. One local favorite restaurant with coastal cuisine is Bud and Alley’s, where you can sit outside and revel in the sunshine shimmering on the water while you enjoy your meal. You can enjoy more casual dining along Airstream Row with grilled cheese, hot dogs, barbecue, donuts, organic juices and so many more tasty things to try from the food trucks. Great Southern Café with its “new-fashioned Southern cuisine” has some excellent menu items and is famous for its Grits A Ya Ya. You won’t run out of delicious dining opportunities in Seaside.

    The Seaside Beach Neighborhood is a Must-Visit

    Seaside has become one of the most sought-after beach communities to live in and visit.  Locals from Walton, Bay and Okaloosa counties spend a lot of time in Seaside dining, shopping and exploring. Some places you visit once and, though you had a great time, never go back, but that’s not the case with Seaside. There’s something about the setting and feel of the place that draws you back again and again.

    Bethany Edmonson, who moved to the Panhandle about eight years ago, loves Seaside.  “Ruskin Place is the hidden gem of Seaside. If you go just a little way out of the main thoroughfare, you’ll find yourself in a little square with a park in the middle and art shops and eclectic boutiques along the sides. They have everything from appointment-only galleries to affordable local art pieces. In the Fall, they have an open house where you can watch artists do plein-air painting.”

    Seaside has a managed parking program and seasonal shuttle service. Get details here.

    Visiting Seaside for the first time? CLICK HERE to check out Visit South Walton’s First Timer’s Guide.