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  • Writer's pictureKids Life Magazine

Are We There Yet? Family Memories in Seaside, Florida

By Linda Holloway

Photography courtesy of Seaside®

Selecting a family beach destination is as simple as following the famed northwest Florida highway, 30-A. Forget the air conditioning, roll down the windows and treat your senses to the feisty Gulf breeze sprinkled with salt. The Kids’ final whispers of “Are We There Yet?” turn to squeals of joy as the rolling waters of the Gulf of Mexico are spied. You have arrived at the ideal family vacation spot in a perfect beach town simply tagged, Seaside.

Seaside is so perfect in fact, that the 1996 filmmakers abandoned their Hollywood stage lots and headed straight to Seaside to film the iconic movie, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carey. Unlike Truman, you will not want to leave. At some point during your vacation, walk to Natchez Street to view the Truman House and of course, take a selfie. 

Family-Friendly Accommodations: Seaside combines a welcoming community atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, and family-focused amenities to create an ideal destination for families seeking a fun, yet relaxing vacation experience. Here, you will find award-winning shopping, culinary experiences, and, most importantly, a wholesome quality of life to the community and visitors.

 Seaside offers a variety of accommodation options suitable for families, including vacation rental homes, cottages, and condos. These accommodations often come equipped with amenities such as gourmet kitchens and multiple bedrooms providing families with the comfort and space they need.

Our first family vacation in Seaside was in 2006, with our son Lance and grandson, Gunnar who was five at the time. On May 3, 2024, Gunnar will graduate from the University of Alabama, and he still declares Seaside his favorite vacation destination. Today, this famous beach town draws visitors from around the world. Our cottage rental home was awash in pastel colors and adorned with a white picket fence along a brick-paved street. Many of the wooden porch sanctuaries come with prime amenities, rocking chairs. You will not find loud city noise here.

Biking, Walking and Beach Fun:  Seaside was designed to encourage people to walk and be outdoors. Seaside’s urban elements make walking and biking more convenient than driving.  This concept makes navigating easy for families. The numerous recreation options are designed with ease and flexibility in mind.

Along the shoreline are nine beach pavilions that serve as gateways to the acclaimed emerald surf.  Seaside boasts stunning white sandy beaches along the Gulf Coast, providing families with opportunities for swimming, building sandcastles, and enjoying water activities together. The calm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico are ideal for children to play in safely.

It is a natural occurrence to find parents picking up their kids and allowing their toes to touch the whitecap of the rolling surf.  Nets with wooden handles are commonplace where swatting through the shallow waters for sea critters is always a popular activity. Seaside offers a surf school for kids and adults, available seasonally every spring and summer. Plus, there are two pools for families to enjoy and a playground to explore. Night brings out the stars and planets while the moonbeams streak across the sky. Before you leave home, arrange a family beach bonfire set-up with Seaside’s partner, CC Boone for a favorite memory-maker. 

Community Events, and Activities: Seaside hosts various family-friendly events and activities throughout the year, such as outdoor kid’s concerts, children’s theater, movie nights, famers’ markets, and holiday events. I love relaxing in the chairs and watching children run and play in the Seaside Amphitheater area. Surrounded by the Merchants of Seaside, this large grassy amphitheater is the hub of all activities. Seaside is a place where even time takes a vacation. Order a picnic lunch from Modica Market and relax. Of course, you will want to rally the family after resting for a competitive game of tennis, pickleball, or take it back a few years and play croquet.

Family Dining Options and Shopping: Seaside features numerous restaurants and eateries that cater to families, offering kid-friendly menus and relaxed atmosphere.  Pickle’s Burgers and Shakes is a must-have for its burgers, fried chicken and more!  The grilled cheeses from Airstream Row’s Meltdown are popular. Enjoy a sweet treat from Nigel’s, which offers frozen bananas dipped in chocolate with your favorite toppings. Establishments also provide outdoor seating, allowing families to dine al fresco.  

Everyone will enjoy Bud and Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant for seafood delicacies. For breakfast try the Parisian-style Café, Black Bear Bread Co. This bakery serves breakfast all day, along with sandwiches, pastries, and other specialties. The Great Southern Café is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This establishment is known for its “new -fashioned” southern cuisine.

For shopping, take the younger kids to Duckies Shop of Fun, a whimsical store full of toys, beach gear and kids clothing. Another option is Bump + Baby for mother and baby.  Everyone wants a Seaside T Shirt from the Seaside Style flagship store and Seaside Style for Kids. Shop at Seaside’s unique shops for your home.  An Apartment in Paris is brimming with Parisian-inspired original art. Fusion Art Glass is my favorite store for glass jewelry and items for the home.

Seaside is so impressive that I can still close my eyes and go back to the front porch of our upscale cottage. I can see the natural Florida vegetation that fills the yard--where palmettos and loblolly pines grow at will. The slight scent of Carolina Jessamine and wild Rosemary wafts through the screen enclosing the porch. The only audible is the best memory of all. I can hear Gunnar making a slight hum as he rolls his toy cars across the planks. Yes, it is a short ride from the days of childhood until adulthood. Make your vacation time count by reserving your family memories in a perfect beach town…Seaside, Florida.

For more Seaside information, visit or email


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