This post is sponsored by Kia. Kia saved my family from having to road trip in my small 4 door sedan, and provided a Kia Sorento for us to drive from Texas to Florida and back. It was amazing! Besides having a car with great storage, build in sun shades, and an awesome navigation here are 16 more tips for making the most of a road trip with toddlers and preschoolers.
Seaside, Florida has been on my list of beach towns to check out for years, well at least since my days as an architecture nerd in college. Although I got my degree in psychology, I took as many architecture classes as possible and studied the development of Seaside, a master planned community, and how it was designed on the principals of new urbanism. Most of the homes in Seaside are within a 5 minute walk from the center of town, there is a playground within a short walk from every house, and the streets are narrow and tree lined which forces traffic to slow down and encourages bikers and walkers. Not to mention, the beach is amazing!
10 Fun, Free Things to do in Seaside, FL
1. The Beach
There are not enough wonderful words to describe the greatness of the beach at Seaside! It’s perfect. The water is the perfect temperature and the sand is perfectly white and silky and doesn’t burn your feet. Even in the middle of high season, the beach is not packed. Also, if you are going to the beach with kids who can’t swim, this next tip is a must do! Bring a plastic shower curtain, a decent shovel, and a bucket to the beach. Dig a big hole and line the hole with the shower curtain. Use your bucket to fill the hole with water. Bam. Baby swimming pool that lasts all day! I grabbed a shower curtain and sand shovel at the Dollar Store. The shower curtain does not need to be fancy. I would bring one per kid, the ability to make a few small pools is awesome. Our big kids ended up in the baby pool every day. (Here is a plastic shower curtain on Amazon for $8 and an awesome sand shovel for $5.—affiliate links)
2. See the 9 Seaside Pavilions
Like I said above, I am architecture geek so this little fun fact really stood out to me. Each of Seasides 9 streets have a uniquely designed pavilion to showcase where the street meets the beach. My very favorite thing? Each pavilion is designed by a different architect. The pavilions are just one of many charming features that make Seaside special. Check out this site for more information and pictures of all 9 pavilions.
Here is a list of the 9 pavilions:
- Tupelo, Architect: Ernesto Buch
- Savannah, Architect: Tom Crist
- East Ruskin, Architect: S.Cohen and A. Nereim
- Coleman, Architect: David Coleman (pictured above)
- West Ruskin, Architect: Michael McDonough
- Pensacola, Architect: Tony Atkin
- Odessa, Architect: Roger Ferri
- Natchez, Architect: Jersey Devils
- Wedding, Architect: Eric Watson
3. Attend Free Shows at Seaside Amphitheater
From the end of May until Mid August the Seaside amphitheater hosts free shows, concerts, outdoor movies, and story times everyday of the week! For Summer 2017, a performance of Pinocchio happened every Monday night, kids concert on Tuesday, family concert on Wednesday, and kids movie night on Friday. When a show is not on stage, you will likely find a slew of kids running, rolling, and playing in the green grass in front of the stage. It’s also the perfect spot for a picnic and a frisbee.
4. Attend Free Shows at Alys Beach Amphitheater
The Alys Beach Amphitheater is only 7 miles down 30A from the Seaside Amphitheater, and the shows are just as free and fun! This summer there was a concert on Wednesday nights and improv hour onThursday mornings at 10am. Be sure to check out The Reparatory Theatre’s free show schedule for more fun, free things to do with kids in and around Alys Beach, Seaside, and Rosemary Beach.
5. Stroll Through the Farmers Market
The Seaside Farmers Market also happens at the Seaside amphitheater every Saturday morning from 8am-noon. Of course you’ll find fresh fruits, veggies, milk and cheese but there is also baked goods, pancakes, handmade soaps, crafts, dog treats, fresh squeezed juice, kombucha, and live music! See the latest updates at Seaside Farmers Market on Facebook.
6. Airstream Row on 30-A
Airstream row is directly behind the Seaside Amphitheater. There is ample seating and plenty of shade! Plus, the airstreams are perfectly situated to grab a quick dinner before a show on the amphitheater lawn. Here are the 5 food trailers on Airstream row for Summer 2017:
- The Meltdown on 30A– Fancy Grilled Cheese
- Barefoot BBQ
- Raw and Juicy– Smoothie and Juices
- Frost Bites– Sno Cones, Frozen custard, Lemonade
- Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs
7. Walk on the Beach at Sunset
We stayed in a condo on the beach (not in Seaside proper) and evening beach walks that led to swims proved to be our favorite time of day. The water is so warm that you can happily swim even as the sun goes down. And best of all, no need for more sunscreen! Don’t forget to bring out the flashlights and look for crabs after sunset. Another bonus, evening on the beach is perfect for pictures, look at that cotton candy sky!
8. Window Shopping at the Seaside Merchants
If you need a break from the sun, take a stroll around town. Grab a snack (snow cone, juice, ice cream) and window shop. Another great snack stop is Modica Market, home of the 32oz mimosa! Once you have snacks in hand, here are a few shops you don’t want to miss:
- Duckies: Known for the giant rubber duck that sits outside of the store and adorable kids clothes and toys
- The Art of Simple: The perfect gift shop
- Sundog Books: We met a local children’s book author and got our book signed!
- Seaside Style: If you’re looking for a souvenir t-shirt or hoodie, this is the place to go
- Mercantile: Casual, fun women’s clothing and accessories
9. Family Movie Nights
Family movie night happens every Friday of the summer at 8pm at the Seaside amphitheater. The kid friendly movie is different each Friday. Check out the Central Square Cinema movie schedule here. Bring a blanket, lawn chairs, and snacks and enjoy the show!
10. Stories by the Sea
Every Monday- Friday at 4pm in June, July, and August, The Rep preforms Stories by the Sea for children of all ages at Solomon Square. There is a different story each day and participation is encouraged. Solomon square is next door to Duckies! (Photo courtesy of Meltdown on 30A)
Here is the one and only Seaside vacation picture of my whole crew! Maxwell was attached to that boogie board the entire trip and Mila ended up loving the ocean. It took her a few days to warm up, but by the end of the trip she was begging to go in the water.
Here are a few more tips for enjoying Seaside to the fullest:
- If you’re not staying in a resort, pay to have chairs and umbrellas set up and taken down each day. Worth every single penny! Bonus: this ensures that you get a get the best spot on the beach since they set up before 8am every day.
- The Rep is local theatre company that puts on a lot of free shows, but they also have some amazing paid shows, including the Awkward Improv Hour.
- If you are not staying in Seaside proper renting bikes is a fun activity and a great mode of transportation to get the whole fam to Seaside for dinner and shows. 30A can get pretty crowded in the evening, but the designated bike lane is always flowing.
Have you ever been to Seaside, FL? Did I miss anything? What are your favorites? I’d love to hear…