Travel Diaries: Seaside, Florida

When I first moved to New York, I received a great piece of advice: have a February/March beach trip planned so you don’t get stir crazy in the cold when the NYC winter is STILL dragging on in full force. So about a month after I moved, my sister who goes to Ole Miss Law and I planned a vacation to Seaside, Florida during her spring break. It was so rejuvenating and exactly what I needed – especially because a full fledged blizzard came and went in NYC over the course of our beach trip.

To get to Seaside, I flew into Birmingham, and her and her golden doodle named Goose drove from Ole Miss to pick me up, and then 3 hours straight south to the beach. We drove through Alabama backroads the whole time and the clouds were puffy and beautiful, it was exactly what I needed after 3 months in New York City with all my transportation taking place underground.

We decided early on that this trip would be all about health/wellness/de-stressing from our crazy lives. We cooked whole30 dinners every night (with the exception of red wine), read our bibles every morning, went for long runs on the beach, and lived life slowly.

We stayed at this adorable guesthouse behind this big house on one of the main streets in Seaside, Tupelo Street. Come to find out, the house our guesthouse was behind was the founder of Seaside’s house while they were building the town! And our street was the first street in Seaside – SO COOL!

We found our house on airbnb, and it was one of the only options that was within our budget and could accommodate a pup. If you’ve never used airbnb, you should check it out! You’ll get $40 off and I’ll get $20 off #blessed if you use this link. Our house had a cool loft area for the ‘bedroom’, and a cozy little kitchen only one person can really fit in comfortably, so we took turns cooking meals for each other. We loved hanging out on the porch in the mornings with Goose in the little yard.

On Monday we went to an adorable coffee shop to work/study a bit. It was too cold for the beach on Monday, so this was the perfect indoor activity.

I know some people say when you’re on vacation to totally shut down your work, but I say do whatever makes you less stressed. It totally made me happy and de-stressed to work for 2 hours, check up on things, and get ahead on a couple projects while my sis studied. Also, how would I have discovered this Salmon toast if we didn’t go to this coffee shop to study??

Several of my friends and co-workers have asked me about my overall experience in Seaside, and if I’d go back again. The answer is a resounding YES. I’ve come to the conclusion that the ideal time to go would be in early May when it’s warmer and when kids are in school. See my pros/cons list below for details:

 

Pros:

  • The beach/water is incredible. The water is turquoise and the sand is squeaky white. I love Florida panhandle beaches but this water is for some reason the most pretty of all of them
  • The town itself is almost utopian it’s so perfect. It reminds me of Main Street USA at Disney World. It’s just SO cute there are no words
  • There’s lots of similar surrounding resort towns we got to visit. Seagrove, Watercolor, Rosemary Beach. They’re all on this road called 30a. Apparently lots of people in the south are obsessed with the 30a beaches. It’s a thing. They have bumperstickers. And I can totally see why.
  • There’s a church and it’s beautiful and perfect and the pastor did an excellent job of preaching a sermon catered to all denominations and to believers and non-believers alike. It was an incredibly well rounded sermon, and a breathtaking chapel building. 

Cons:

  1. This town is overrun by teenagers! Not college kids, but high schoolers who I guess are there with their parents? Or their friends invited them on their family vacation so there’s big groups of kids? I’m not sure of the logistics but there’s representation from every college prep high school in the south and they’re all going to run you over on their bikes
  2. The traffic is terrible. Basically plan to not drive. Do like the teenagers do, and bike (or walk like we did)
  3. There’s no really good foodie food. And the food is expensive…and a little greasy. I mean I live in New York so I guess it makes sense to be underwhelmed by beach town food. But we made most of our meals because it’s cheaper anyways, and I’m NOT complaining about our food! My sister literally brought her Vitamix so we could make acai bowls and bulletproof coffee…now that’s commitment! Also, I’m writing another post soon about our gulf shrimp salad we made. YUM!

Neither pro/con but worth noting:

  1. Everyone in the town gets around by bike. Driving is pure hell because there’s one (yes, one) big street in the whole town
  2. It’s not as warm as the rest of Florida like Miami or Palm Beach. This is great in July, but in March it means can be 55 degrees still (not always, but it can be, and it was for us). Hence the jackets and pants and cloudy skies in a lot of our pictures
  3. It’s basically all houses/vacation rentals. This was perfect for us because we had Goose, and we wanted to cook a lot. But if you’re a hotel person you may be out of luck. But luckily the houses are cute!

To wrap up, here’s a list of all the places we went that we would recommend in the Seaside/Santa Rosa Beach area:

  1. Grayton Beach Area:
    1. Black Bear Bread Co. (Coffee shop; 26 Logan Ln Unit G)
    2. Chiringo (Coastal/Spanish sitdown restaurant; 63 Hotz Ave)
  2. Seaside
    1. Amavida (Coffee shop; 2236 E County Hwy 30A)
    2. 45 Central (Wine bar; 45 Central Square)
    3. The SEASIDE Style (Store; 121 Central Square)
  3. Misc
    1. Goatfeathers Seafood Market East (Seafood market; 4042 E County Hwy 30A)

That’s all folks! Now go plan your vacation to Seaside! Thanks for reading 🙂

Comments

  1. Love this post! You girls live life fully and I’m so proud! What will you obsess about when you’re 50 if you already have things figured out now?

  2. Love your sister beach retreat. You two really know how to have fun. I am delighted that you managed to miss that last blizzard.

    • I was SO happy to be at the beach instead of in a blizzard! And shocked that it didn’t delay any travel at all! That made for a perfect ending to a great trip.

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