When you drive into Seaside, it feels right.
You’ll find this South Walton village nestled against the Gulf of Mexico in northwest Florida. Designed so you can walk everywhere you want to go, it’s so charming it played the perfect town in the movie ‘The Truman Show.’ It’s brimming with pastel colored cottages, white picket fences, and white sand beaches.
Though it’s undeniably upscale, it’s more than relaxing. Like letting out your breath when you didn’t even know you were holding it.
One of the town’s biggest draws is its beach, which boasts empty sweeps of sugar sand. Its waters tend to be clear and calm, and it’s a place where nature thrives. You can take a stroll along the shores, swim, or just kick back on the sand.
The town itself, designed to be totally walkable, is hailed as a model of new –urbanism around the world. It centers around the aptly-named Central Square, where your kids can let off some steam.
Everything – the shops, restaurants, and people – come with distinct personalities. Nothing is cookie cutter.
Even mailing a post card is fun. The Post Office is the cutest ever!
The art galleries encompass a wealth of talent. You can spend the day nibbling through eclectic paintings, sculptures and jewelry.
The food in this little village is noteworthy too: you can enjoy the best grilled cheese on the planet at the Meltdown on 30A, dig into burgers at Pickles Beachside Grill, or tempt your taste buds at the Great Southern Café. But a must-do is feasting on fresh seafood in the pavilion behind the Shrimp Shack.
Another foodie-tradition is dining on the roof of Bud and Alley's, where you can raise your glass or nosh on fab food.
The views aren’t bad either.
And words could never do Seaside justice. These pictures come closer to conveying its vibe, though to truly understand what it’s like, you should visit in person.
I don’t imagine it will be too much of a hardship.
All photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA