Welcome welcome my friends to the first installment of our 2014 “family” vacation!. I say “family” because while we are not directly related to Matt & Erin Browne, we share a similar last name and our friendship has evolved into something greater….like a family. It was only a matter of time before we vacationed together, corgis and all. We have FOUR (yes, you heard me) Corgis between us and we treat each other’s corgis like our own.
The first step was planning. Here’s a quick breakdown of our must-haves. Follow-up posts will be far more in-depth for each category.
While the town of Seaside appeared to be pet-friendly, most accommodations are privately owned and you are at the mercy of the owner’s preference. Sadly, there were only a handful of pet-friendly houses for rent, but that made our search a lot easier to narrow down! Housing in Seaside is more expensive, so we opted for Seagrove Beach. We lucked out, because our location was next to perfect. Tucked away in a grove of live oak trees was a 3 bedroom house, less than 1/4 mile from the beach and roughly the same distance to the center of Seaside. We stayed in a rental home named Azalea Grove, which was picture perfect, complete with a private pool! And, of course, pet-friendly and for a completely reasonable fee as opposed to others who wanted to charge an outrageous amount per pet.
Aside from corgis, a mutual bond we share is food. Foodies, they call us. Or, food snobs if you prefer. That’s fine, we’re okay with being called food snobs. Luckily, Seaside and surrounding towns appeared to have a plethora of delicious eats including the famous Airstream Alley. A quaint, tree-lined sidewalk bustling with Airstream food trucks to satisfy your foodie cravings. Grilled cheeses, barbeque, shaved ice & custard, burgers….so stay tuned for the food blog! It may blow your mind.
For a relaxing vacation, a beach is a must right? Well, there is certainly no shortage of them along the 30A. The beaches were never over-crowded, even on hot, calm-winded days. The waters were a pristine clear turquoise, the sand was pillowy-white and soft, making the “squeak” noise as you walk barefoot. The beaches weren’t entirely pet-friendly because they only allow resident dogs on the beach at specific hours. Sadly, our corgi clan never got a chance to experience the ocean. Unfortunately, most beaches operate this way in general. For being such a vacation hot-spot, I was genuinely surprised at how clean the beaches were. I never saw anyone out there cleaning up. The community and vacationers must really care about the beach around these parts.
We are an adventurous clan. We wanted a place we could eat a delicious variety of food, go to the beach, go on hikes, walks, bike rides, do some shopping, and most of all…relax. Seaside is plunked down in the middle of the famous stretch of highway 30A. Home to several neat-o towns. Watercolor, Seaside, Seagrove, Aly’s Beach, Rosemary Beach all lie within a few short miles of each other, each unique unto itself. Grayton Park, Topsail Preserve, Deer Lake are all nearby for hiking and exploring. Destin & Panama City are a short drive away if you’re craving some good old fashioned outlet mall shopping. Needless to say, we never ran out of things to do.
Despite Seaside’s economy thriving off of tourism, it didn’t feel touristy at all. We rented bikes that were delivered our first morning there and we rarely ever started up the car. We biked everywhere we could at a leisurely pace. I cannot overstate the importance of how this added to the overall feel of our vacation. We never felt rushed, we always went at our own pace, knowing everything was just a short, easy bike ride away. It’s no surprise at all that The Truman Show decided to film here. It truly does feel like a picture-perfect town where everything is just as quaint as can be.