Over Memorial Day weekend, we took a family vacation to Seaside, Florida to celebrate my mom’s 60th birthday. It was a great place to go as group and was pretty easy to get to coming from Houston. The flight was only about an hour and a half, and it was a quick 30-minute drive from the Panama City airport. This is key when traveling with a little one!
We opted to all stay together in a house versus getting hotel rooms. We chose this three story home. It had plenty of space for six adults and a baby. Adeline was even able to have her own room, which made the evenings much more enjoyable for us. The home wasn’t right on the water, but it was an easy walk across 30A to get to the beach.The rental came with two bikes, four beach chairs and two umbrellas provided by Live Well 30A. The beach chairs and umbrellas are a must have. This company sets them up for you each day and then comes and picks them up around dusk. It was so nice not having to lug them around with us.Seaside is definitely a town where everyone bikes around (which is so cool!), but I thought our particular location was just a little too far from the cute town of Seaside for this to really be enjoyable. I believe we were about 2 miles. We did rent additional bikes so all of us could ride to Seaside, but the combination of having a baby in a behind-the-bike trailer and the being out in heat of the day, it was less enjoyable than we had imagined. I recommend really looking at the distance you are from Seaside and considering the group you are traveling with before committing to rent bikes.Another plus of this home rental was the gated community had a pool, which we used each day after the beach before heading back to the house.
Pro tip – You will save SO much money by renting a place that has a full kitchen. We went grocery shopping and cooked most of our meals at the house. This is also ideal if you have little ones because their eating schedules don’t always align perfectly with the group. It was nice to be able to easily feed Adeline whenever she was hungry.
We rented a car seat for Adeline, but traveled with her pack and play for sleeping and our Inglesnia Table Chair. This portable high chair easily attached to the granite island in the kitchen and worked like a charm!
While we did eat at the house a lot, we did make it to a few popular spots for meals. When we first arrived we checked out The Perfect Pig. I got the open-faced gulf shrimp sandwich with cherry tomatoes, crisped prosciutto, creamy goat cheese and a lemon dill vinaigrette (two thumbs up), but I think Marcus and my dad won for best orders – the parmesan crusted pulled pork grilled cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!We also went to Bud & Alley’s Roof Deck Bar. I wasn’t as impressed with the food here, but it had a beautiful view of the shoreline. We even saw someone get engaged on the beach!Pro Tip – We almost dined downstairs at Bud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant, but it was a little more upscale than what we were looking for. The roof deck was more casual (i.e. better for a baby) and had most of the same food offerings.They also have a bunch of food trucks in the middle of the action in Seaside, and on the recommendation of a friend, I had to try out The Meltdown on 30A. They sell gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and after much deliberation, I settled on The Smokin’ Turkey. The only downside to this place was the very long line. Just don’t wait until you’re starving if you want one of these popular sandwiches.Seaside has a lot to do, including fun shops to wander in and out of, a huge green space for playing (this was one of Adeline’s favorites) and the cutest post office I’ve ever seen. My white romper below was purchased at Focus Lifestyle Boutique right there in Seaside. We also stumbled across The Chapel at Seaside, which I loved! The ocean was stunning in Seaside. White sand, blue and turquoise water and a very minimal amount of seaweed was the perfect way to introduce Adeline to the beach! Adeline’s suit is Cat & Jack. I love that it has long sleeves – less skin I have to cover in sunscreen!My suit is from Amazon – and only $10! Be sure to size up, and just know that it takes longer than usual to ship.
Pro tip – I bought some inexpensive beach toys in the Target Dollar Spot to bring with us!
I recommend traveling to Seaside in their off season if you can. We were there in May, which is technically not their peak, and it still seemed like there were a good amount of people out and about. I would venture to say during the summer it is probably very crowded. You will also be able to find better deals on lodging during the off season. Lastly, it was also nice going a bit earlier because it wasn’t terribly hot!
Overall, Seaside is great for families, especially if you are traveling with different generations. We are definitely putting this small Florida town on our list of places to return!
For my mom’s birthday, we had family photos professionally taken on the beach. It was the most beautiful sunset that evening. I am so happy we captured these memories. Photography by Laura Jennings.