A Beginner's Guide to Seaside: 5 Days in the Florida Panhandle

Frog's legs, fried green tomatoes, and my badass lady friends! Florida's pristine panhandle feels like another world. Here's what I discovered on the 30A Highway for five days in February with my besties.


Seven ladies on a relaxing winter getaway... sounds like a pretty great time no matter where we are, right?? Absolutely! And I admit, the first time I heard of Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville, and Destin, Florida, I assumed I knew where it would be. Maybe driving distance, or a short commuter flight from Miami, Naples, or Ft. Lauderdale, right?

Um nooooo. When I looked it up on the map I got a serious geography lesson: Florida goes really far west, so far that the left edge of it is in the Central time zone! This part of Florida, known as the Panhandle, rests up against Georgia, Alabama, and just a hop over to Mississippi.


This area is well known for its scenic highway called the 30A. It runs for approximately 24 miles along this part of Florida, and carries locals and visitors through many towns along this coastline. It was along this highway that we explored during our 5 days in Florida, and we filled our days enjoying the sunshine (whenever it popped out!), shopping, meeting locals, partaking in the occasional cocktail, and of course, trying unique local foods!


SEASIDE


A whole lotta fun was had in Seaside, Florida! This little town immediately felt friendly, welcoming, and super lively. Our favorite takeaways:


Great Southern Cafe


It was here that we had our first meal out, and it was the PERFECT spot! Situated on a busy patio with loud music, other nearby festive diners, and a totally kick-ass server named Britney (yeah, that's Britney bitch), we had the very best time. It was also here that we tried as many local foods as we could muster. Crispy frogs legs. Fried green tomatoes. Grits à ya ya, which is blackened shrimp, sauté of smoked bacon, spinach, portobello mushrooms, smoked Gouda cheese grits. Add a few grapefruit mojitos (nix the peach ones, sorry Britney), and you have a lunch fit for a Florida queen!


By the way, quick message to the Great Southern Cafe: we love Britney! Give that girl a raise, she deserves it.


Seaside Post Office


Not sure if I've ever seen a post office this adorable, but seeing it makes me want to do a research project for cute post offices now. Sort of. Anyway, the history of this building - and its location - is fascinating, as it's an important historical part of the town and was recently moved to where it sits now. As always is the case, the decision to do so was met with mixed opinions from locals. Where it rests today is perfect, and I would not have known it just arrived last year!