The Perfect Beach Town: 7 Things to Do in Seaside, Florida, This Summer

30A Seaside
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

The 1998 cult-classic film The Truman Show, shot in Seaside, features a town so idyllic that it could exist in a movie. This place, however, is absolutely real—from the pristine amphitheater lawn to a charming string of food trucks to the crisp white, Instagrammable Seaside Post Office.Seaside was created as a "new old town," inspired by classic beach communities across the South. All of the secret bike paths, white picket fences, and blue umbrellas work together to reflect the motto "A simple, beautiful life."And there's plenty of cause for celebration in Seaside, especially for those who still remember its beginnings. This picturesque coastal community, which was brand-new a few decades ago, now feels like home. Here's everything you need to hit on your next trip to 30A.

01 of 08

7 Ways to Navigate Seaside Like a Local

02 of 08

Grab breakfast at Modica Market, the town's family-run grocery and deli

Modica Market
Robbie Caponetto

Modica Market, the one and only grocery ever opened in the town circle, continues serving customers, dawn to dusk, after 30 years in business. Here, freshly squeezed lemonade makes the summer weather feel just a little bit cooler; the house-made, meringue-topped banana pudding is the stuff of legend; and the founding family are still minding the store.

Baseball-capped deli workers start taking orders at 7 a.m., peering over fresh chicken biscuits and chocolate croissants. In the small market, second-generation owner Charlie Modica stocks wooden shelves, while his sister, Carmel Modica, works one of two registers up front.

Undoubtedly, this is exactly what it looked like here yesterday, the day before, and the year before that. For locals and visitors alike, there's a peculiar comfort in knowing that, no matter how many years go by, some things at Seaside never change.

03 of 08

Head to Sundog Books to find your next beach read

Sundog Books
Robbie Caponetto

It's not just Modica Market that seems to be immune to all the hustle and bustle of the high season. Next door to the post office, which recently moved less than a block away, a two-story blue building remains home to the town bookstore and record shop.

Step inside Sundog Books, and you'll be hit with the heavenly smell of stacks and stacks of titles. Just find anybody on the Sundog staff, and ask where a certain read is. They'll hunt it down, pulling it from a shelf in some obscure corner.

"When you come in here, you're thinking about when you were young and you'd go on a family beach trip," says co-owner Linda White. "It was simpler. We're just trying to put a good book in everybody's hands to enjoy while they're here."

A creaky staircase in the back leads customers to Central Square Records. The selection of old-school vinyl here celebrates rock 'n' roll, jazz, country, R & B, and every genre in between.

04 of 08

Book a lesson at Austin McGee's Surf School

Austin McGee’s Surf School
Robbie Caponetto

Prepare to make your kids' day or cross off a bucket list item for yourself. Walk onto Seaside's beach via its public access—through its iconic obelisk—and you'll see Austin McGee either teaching a surf lesson or tending to his surfboards at the ready. Reserve a private lesson or a group lesson, and all you need to bring is yourself. You'll be shredding those waves in no time! Book your lesson here.

05 of 08

Find a table upstairs at Bud & Alley's for 30A's best sunset view

Airstream Row
Robbie Caponetto

Bud & Alley's is an icon along Highway 30A. Founded by a couple of 24-year-old surfing buddies (and named for a cat and dog in a town that only boasted twelve houses at the time), it was the first restaurant and watering hole to open in Seaside, and it's still serving up its famous crab cakes today. Take in the sunset from its Rooftop Bar, and you'll never want to go back to real life.

Looking for something more casual? Try one of its sister restaurants, Taco Bar and Pizza Bar, just steps away. Bathing suits are welcome. Great Southern Café, a little farther up from the beach, makes a mean breakfast for those desiring dishes like its fried green tomato Benedict or chicken and waffles.

But, really, no trip to Seaside is complete without hitting Airstream Row and making out like a bandit, with barbecue, grilled cheeses, hot dogs, smoothie bowls, and shaved ice. Lining the main road, you can't miss it.

06 of 08

Take an afternoon stroll through Ruskin Place to the Seaside Chapel

Courtesy Seaside; Photo by Jeremy Harwell

Keep walking north, straight up and away from Central Square, and you'll land on Ruskin Place, a quiet little park filled with art galleries, boutiques, and private residences. With benches cozied up under shady oak trees and a wooded patch called the Fairy Forest, you'll have found your calm in the storm. Keep walking, and you'll hit the stunning Seaside Chapel. Sunday services are held at The Chapel at Seaside each week for locals and vacationers, and you'll often catch a wedding spilling out at dusk.

07 of 08

Cool off with a frozen treat (or two, or three)

Frost Bites
Rush Jagoe

We have a feeling you'll hit all of these spots before leaving. But act fast! In the dead of summer, the lines at It's Heavenly Shortcakes and Ice Cream, Dawson's Yogurt and Fudge Works, and Frost Bites aren't made for the faint of heart. Every scoop is worth it.

Frost Bites features too many shaved ice flavorings to choose from, so best check out the list before making it up to the airstream's window. We recommend going wild with its "Piggly Wiggly," which has frozen custard on the bottom and cream on top, sandwiching the flavor of your choosing.

08 of 08

Shop the Seaside Farmers Market on Saturdays in the Amphitheater

Seaside, FL
Robbie Caponetto

From 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday, find something tasty to take home at the Seaside Farmers Market. Besides housing some of the most beautiful fresh vegetables to bring home for dinner, you'll find local honey, jams, pastries, nut butters, dog treats, and a vendor punching holes in coconuts to drink (that's how you know you've made it to paradise). With live music and enough cute dog sightings to last a lifetime, it's worth the break from your beach chair. And, while you're at it, check the Amphitheater schedule for movie nights, concerts, and plays. There's always something fun on the horizon.

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