What to Do in Seaside, Florida for Families
By Carrie McLaren
Nestled between Panama City Beach and Destin along Highway 30A you’ll find the quaint beachfront community called Seaside.
Known for its picturesque cottages, emerald waters and great dining, Seaside has a bike and pedestrian way of life and locally owned waterfront dining options. Those looking for what to do in Seaside, Florida won't be disappointed.
After our visit, it’s easy to see why Seaside was named the “Best Beach on Earth” for families by Travel + Leisure Magazine.
There are so many Seaside, Florida activities for families that include slowing down, relaxing, getting back to the basics and creating new family memories.
Where to Stay in Seaside
Within the 80 acres of Seaside, more than 300 homes and cottages line the brick-paved streets of the community. From quaint two-bedroom cottages to mansion-like beachfront homes, these houses are what makes Seaside so magical.
South Walton’s Cottage Rental Agency helps match families with private Florida vacation rental properties throughout the northwest with the largest selection of homes in Seaside. Rentals are individually owned and furnished, providing families with a wide variety of accommodations for their beach vacation.
During my family’s visit, we called the “Moore Fun” cottage our home. Just two blocks from Central Square and close to Seaside, Florida activities, this nautical-themed cottage provided us with great views of the waterfront from atop the lookout tower and relaxing porch swings after a day at the beach. With plenty of room for us to spread out during our stay, my kids especially loved the reading nook and bunk beds.
Added amenities, courtesy of the Cottage Rental Agency, include two complimentary bike rentals from the CRA Bike Shop, a complimentary bottle of wine, a welcome beach tote with souvenirs and unlimited complimentary DVD rentals and popcorn, including “The Truman Show,” filmed right here in Seaside. Kids can also enjoy complimentary use of beach toys, including bodyboards and skimboards.
Our home came complete with a full-sized kitchen, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try the local eateries in Seaside.
Where to Eat in Seaside
Seaside is home to “food truck row,” with six permanent Airstream trailers in Central Square that serve up some of the area’s best eats. You can definitely add eating good food on your list of what to do in Seaside, Florida.
Meltdown on 30A offers gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, delighting our girls who munched theirs at a nearby picnic table. Or try Barefoot BBQ for some tangy beachside fare and, for organic smoothies and snacks, check out Raw & Juicy. Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs features hot dogs with no antibiotics, hormones or nitrates and plenty of tasty toppings.
Help yourself throughout the day; the trucks are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If you’d rather have a beachfront view for dinner, make your way upstairs at Bud & Alley’s waterfront restaurant. Choose from local coastal dishes and don’t miss the restaurant’s sunset tradition when they ring a bell each evening to mark the official time of sunset.
For a more casual atmosphere great for all ages, check out Bud & Alley’s Taco Bar and the adjacent Pizza Bar. And if you’re in need of a burger and chili dog, Pickles Beachside Grill is the place to go. This streetside grill is known for its fried pickles and is a hot spot for people watching, too.
Seaside, Florida Activities for Families
During summer weekends, head over to Central Square for nightly entertainment, from live jazz concerts to movies under the stars. Bring your beach chair and a picnic and enjoy a memorable night out with your family.
Each Saturday morning at Central Square, don’t miss the Seaside Farmer’s Market. We loved meeting the local farmers and trying out their baked goods. I even picked up a few homemade doggie treats to take home with us.
My family and I also were delighted by Fired Up: Paint Your Own Pottery, where we painted our own art on a unique piece of pottery – perfect souvenirs to take home.
I had intended on letting my kids play artists, but I couldn’t help but get in on the fun, too. We got messy, created our own masterpieces and enjoyed a full afternoon of fun. Check out Fired Up’s calendar of events for special nighttime events just for kids.