Seaside is the idyllic town on the Florida Panhandle known for its perfect beaches, pastel cottages, and the kind of laid-back vacations we Southerners adore.
Where To Stay
Lodging remains much the same: Renting a cottage is the most popular way to go. Choose one- to six-bedroom homes, some with minimum night stays. The town also recently added the Inn by the Sea, a nine-room property featuring the trademark Vera Bradley company style.
September is prime time to visit because rates drop significantly in mid-August. Plus there are ways to save even more if you know the tricks. Typically, lodging costs range from $400 to $1,200 a night. (Visit www.cottagerentalagency.com for last-minute deals and packages. Cottage Rental Agency also manages the inn.) The best prices fall from August to mid-October and in the months of January and February. Rates drop as low as $199 a night.
Where To Dine
When you’re in Seaside, the meals revolve around seafood. If you choose to cook your own, go to Goatfeathers II Seafood Market, located a few miles down County 30A in Seagrove Beach. They offer the freshest fish and shellfish around. For the best selection, call ahead to order.
Another favorite is Modica Market, a family-owned deli and grocery store in the center of town. You can pick up the staples you need, as well as already-made dishes such as crab cakes, boiled shrimp, and sandwiches. It’s a daily stop. Buy basics such as paper towels and milk at Publix, which is 10 minutes away but less expensive.
Bud & Alley’s restaurant is known far and wide for its rooftop bar, where folks pile in to watch the sunset. Try the barbecue shrimp, and guess the exact moment that the sun goes down. The winner gets a free drink.
While The Old Florida Fish House and Bar isn’t actually in Seaside, it’s worth the short drive down the road for the fresh dishes and perfectly prepared sushi. Meat-lovers will find great steaks here too.