What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by visiting the quaint town of Seaside, Florida?
Nestled along the Emerald Coast, Seaside is made for walking. Literally. The town was designed with pedestrians in mind, every street leading down to the pristine white sand beaches.
My friend Caitland and I arrived at a quarter to eleven, gaining an hour on our drive over from Tallahassee. The charming town square (more of a half circle) was full of people, lined with converted Airstream food trucks and farmers’ market stalls. A Saturday tradition here in Seaside, where locals and daytrippers alike sip coconuts and munch fresh produce, smelling of sunscreen in their flip-flops and wide-brimmed hats. Even though it’s a small town, there’s a lot you can pack into one day. I’ve compiled three things that I think should definitely make the itinerary if you’re traveling to Seaside anytime soon.
What to Do in Seaside, Florida:
1. Hit. That. Beach.
I mean, obviously. It has to be said, though. When you go to Seaside, expect clean white sand. Clear, warm water. Cobalt blue umbrellas lined up down the beach as far as the eye can see. Don’t worry, it’s not a private beach. You can sit there. You can even sit under one of those enticing umbrellas if you want. There are shacks up and down the beach where you can rent them out. They rent out kayaks and paddle boards, too. Cait and I brought towels, so we decided to forego the umbrella. Although the sunburn on my ass the next day was an indicator that maybe we shouldn’t have.
The water was the perfect temperature for wave bobbing, although the waves aren’t really great for surfing. I saw some guys attempting it, but they didn’t have much luck. It is the Gulf Coast, after all. If you’re into architecture, like me, you can walk along the beach. Every boardwalk down to the sand has a unique wooden pavilion, designed by a different architect. So you get a great view whether you’re looking at the water, the shore, or the many bikini-clad bodies strewn along the sand.
2. Get Raw and Juicy.
I’m not being obscene. That’s the name of a juice bar in Seaside that sells coconuts, among other things. I’d never drunk out of a coconut before, but Cait and I were looking for something to do before hitting the beach again after lunch, and it struck our fancy. Best decision we’ve ever made.
Not only does Raw and Juicy sell coconuts to drink, they will also fill that coconut with prosecco or saki plus a flavoring of your choice. We of course went with the alcoholic option. While he was boozing up our coconuts (we had to sip out 1/3 cup of the coconut water already inside) the owner told us how he’d stumbled upon this ingenious business plan. About a year ago, he got a batch of coconuts that were too green to sell. The water inside was still bitter. In an attempt to salvage the batch, he started experimenting, eventually hitting on the perfect ratios. Now, he sells more boozy coconuts than anything else in the shop.
I can see why, too. The combination of prosecco and sweet coconut water was spot on. It felt cool and refreshing, but also nourishing. Coconut water is crazy good for you after all. Plus there’s added thrill of drinking out of a coconut, which made me feel very tropical.
3. Grab a Bite.
One thing you’ll notice as you come into Seaside’s main square is that there is no shortage of places to eat. There’s also a lot of shopping available, but that’s not what strikes my fancy. The best way to enjoy Seaside’s restaurant scene, however, is to get a table with a view of the water. Cait and I ate at the Pizza Bar and Trattoria (an offshoot of the much larger Bud and Alley’s) for lunch and snagged a couple of Aperol Spritz while we were at it. The delicious food and drink, cool ocean breeze, and stunning view made the perfect combination.
Later, we were taking a final turn about the square before heading back to the car. The Great Southern Cafe happened to have their Happy Hour menu on display. Half off wine and cocktails, $3 beer, and $10 for a dozen oysters on the half-shell. I think you know what happened next. That’s the thing about Seaside. You think you’re ready to leave, and it draws you back in again. Twelve oysters, some pinot grigio, and an hour later, I found myself wondering if we should just stay for the sunset.
Unfortunately we really didn’t have time for that. But I can’t wait to get back to Seaside, Florida to discover what else there is to see and do. I really think I’ve only scratched the surface.