Nestled cozily on South Walton's Scenic Highway 30A, Seaside is a beach town reminiscent of simpler times. It portrays a coastal elegance that one might see in movies. In fact, movie producers agree, as it was used as the set for The Truman Show. You can even check out the iconic Truman House at 31 Natchez Street.
Related article: Why is 30A So Popular?
But movie chic isn't all Seaside has going for it. Seaside is also home to a quaint, white post office that is one of the most photographed in the world. Popular restaurants, wine outlets, bars, art galleries, boutiques, and specialty shops provide plenty of things to do. Walking and biking in this idyllic setting is a fun way to spend the day. And of course, we couldn't mention Seaside without also calling out the beautiful beach made up of crystalline sand and emerald tides.
With so many things to do in Seaside, we got curious – what are your favorite things to do in this laidback 30A beach community? We conducted an informal Facebook poll to get your insights, and here are the results!
5. The Beach
Okay, there are so many awesome things that Seaside has going for it that the beach – which is the main reason many people travel to this stretch of Northwest Florida – actually came in fifth. Say what?!? But just because it came in fifth, doesn't mean it isn't absolutely worth visiting. It 100% is! Created by mountain quartz carried by river to the Gulf, the beach sands are pristine, clean, and perfect. Each grain sparkles like a diamond under the Florida sun. Every step feels like a blanket of silky softness engulfing your feet. And the sand is just the beginning. Smooth, blue-green waves stretch as far as the eye can see. The water is warm and welcoming, perfect for a refreshing swim or an exploratory dive into its clear depths. Oftentimes you can see rows of colorful beach umbrellas of chairs providing a front-row seat to nature's greatest show. The beach offers a chance to experience a variety of Gulf Coast fun – building sandcastles, suntanning, swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, parasailing, and tons more!
4. Modica Market
What's not to love about an eclectic, gourmet grocery store? Modica Market was first started by lifelong grocers Sarah and Charles Modica, who moved from Alabama to Seaside for retirement. Retirement didn't last long, as they took the opportunity to start a local grocery shop that matched the relaxed and hospitable Seaside way of life. Over 25 years later, this cute family-owned business is still considered a gem by many of its new and repeat customers. The shop features everything from homemade southern staples, gourmet meals, local and imported goods, wines and craft beers, specialty coffees, and a whole range of fun foodie finds. At Modica Market, you can enjoy a meal indoors or out on the patio in the fresh coastal air. It even offers meals-to-go for busy folk or those who just can't wait to hit the beach. Besides the delicious food, the friendly atmosphere and staff make this cute shop well worth a visit. As one customer said, "The people working there are lovely folks who know their products and make you feel like family. Don't come just for the food. Soak up the experience!"
3. Bud & Alley's Rooftop Bar
The countdown continues with Bud & Alley's Rooftop Bar claiming third prize. As part of the popular Bud & Alley's Restaurant (which, spoiler alert, takes the #1 spot for things to do in Seaside), the rooftop deck overlooks the Gulf, offering panoramic vistas of the stunning shoreline. The bar is the ideal place to kick back, down your favorite cocktails or a glass of wine, snack on seafood appetizers, and take in an amazing beach sunset. Appetizer favorites include the crab cakes, tuna dip, and sweet potato fries. If you can't make it in the evening, check out the rooftop bar for breakfast. There's nothing better than chowing down on cheese grits and cherrywood bacon while watching the waves roll in. Besides the delicious food and incredible views, the rooftop bar is chill and relaxed – the embodiment of life in Seaside. When in Seaside, this is an experience you don't want to miss.
2. Great Southern Café
The Great Southern Café was just one vote off from clinching the top spot of things to do in Seaside, meaning you definitely need to go! Chef and owner, Jim Shirley, says that Great Southern "tells the story of my history, of the great food and people I've met along the road." Having traveled far and wide, he mixes his taste for international fares with southern cooking and local fish and produce. This unique twist makes for a fun menu, which includes dishes like New-Orleans Style Seafood Gumbo. Crab Cakes & Fried Green Tomatoes, Balsamic Salmon, Pensacola Pulled Pork, and more. In addition to the food, visitors love the atmosphere of Great Southern. "Vibrant," "friendly," "southern charm," and "outstanding" are just a few of the words used to describe the restaurant vibe. If you're looking for an eatery with great food, tasty drinks, and friendly service, Great Southern is your place!
1. Bud & Alley's Waterfront Restaurant
And the winner of the best things to do in Seaside goes to Bud & Alley's Restaurant. As the longest standing restaurant in this beach community, Bud & Alley's offers both a classic and modern scene. It was founded in 1987 by local surfers and named after the town founder's dog and the restaurant owner's cat. The restaurant's motto is "Good people, good food, good times." And boy, does it deliver! Bud & Alley's attracts easygoing folks, who love to unwind and take life as it comes. The menu is a fresh take on southern coastal classics, using ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. It includes a variety of delectable dishes, including seared diver scallops, grilled Gulf fish of the day, and crab cakes. Bud & Alley's serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner – so there's no excuse for not dropping by during your Seaside vacation! And after your meal, head up to the rooftop bar to catch one of those draw-dropping sunsets we're always talking about.
While these five places claimed the top five spots, the Facebook poll also identified a list of honorable mentions – there were a lot of things that you love in Seaside! These include Bud & Alley's Pizza Bar and Bud & Alley's Taco Bar, which was no surprise because the Bud & Alley's name is obviously a favorite. Other well-loved eateries include Pickles Burgers & Shakes, Frost Bites, and Airstream Row. The iconic Coleman Pavilion also made the list. Fun places to shop include Seaside Style and the Cabana Market, while Duckies Shop of Fun is a great place to find kid's clothing and whimsical toys. You can buy unique homestyle goods at the Art of Simple. If you're into reading or music, be sure to check out SunDog Books and Central Square Records. Or, visit the Truman House if you're a movie buff. Finally, riding bikes is not only a great way to get around town, but also a throwback to times of simplicity and serenity.
Are you planning a trip to Seaside soon? These are all great places. And the best part about booking a vacation home in Seagrove Beach (right next door) is that you're within walking or biking distance to all of them! If you haven't yet made your reservations, book online or give us a call at 800-782-8736.
Keep reading: 30 Things to do on 30A