Seaside Florida Girls and House

Photo: Ocean Jewel’s Images

Hailed by Time magazine as perhaps “the most astounding design achievement of its era,” Seaside is credited with founding a global town-planning movement known as New Urbanism.

Founded by Robert and Daryl Davis in 1979, Seaside’s innovative “small town” design was carefully planned by architects Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. With its nine unique beach pavilions, cobblestone streets, quaint cottages, white picket fences, and picture-perfect parks and storefronts, it’s no wonder that The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey was filmed here. Indeed, as Newsweek once proclaimed:

“with its cozy, narrow streets and its jumble of pastel-colored homes, Seaside is probably the most influential resort community since Versailles.”

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Seagrove Villas Motel

Seagrove

Families have been making the pilgrimage to Seagrove Beach’s soothing shores since the 1940s, and the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those early pioneers still return to relax in some of the very same cinder-block cottages of their youth.

That could be because, when you’re in Seagrove Beach, you’re arguably “in the middle of it all.” Seaside, WaterColor and Grayton are just a mile or two to the west, while the newer planned communities of WaterSound, SeacrestAlys Beach and Rosemary Beach are just a few miles east.

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Wonderful restaurants and numerous boutiques, including the first-ever 30A Store, there’s something for just about everyone at the colorful Gulf Place development.

With a sparkling beach just across Scenic Highway 30A, stop in at the 30A Store to load up on gear, but also grab a cold beer or cup of coffee and a treat from Sunrise Coffee, hang out at the hand-crafted bar or lounge in one of the beach chairs out front to enjoy that Gulf breeze.

The nearby beach also offers plenty of inspiration for The Artists at Gulf Place, a collection of colorful huts here that showcase a variety of local talents.

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Choctawhatchee Bay in South Walton

South Walton’s Choctawhatchee Bay

The boundaries of Santa Rosa Beach can be a little hard to define. Technically, Santa Rosa Beach encompasses a large part of South Walton, including the smaller neighborhoods of Seaside, WaterColorGrayton Beach and Blue Mountain Beach.

Basically, anything with a 32459 zip code is considered to be part of Santa Rosa Beach, although each of Santa Rosa Beach’s sub-communities strives to keep its identity distinct and unique.

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Sandestin Golf

Golfing in Sandestin, Florida

A massive (2,400-acre) golf and beach resort located just a few miles west of Scenic Highway 30A, Sandestin is home to 30 distinct neighborhoods, including pockets of beautiful villas, town homes, condos, resort homes and hotels. The lushly landscaped resort boasts seven miles of Gulf beaches and bay-front property, four championship golf courses, 15 tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 98-slip marina, shops, restaurants, nightclubs, fitness centers, a spa and 65,000 square feet of convention space. It’s big.

And yet, Sandestin somehow retains an authentic aura of community, with each of its beautiful neighborhoods possessing a unique charm.

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Spring Break in South Walton and 30A

Photo: Ocean Jewel’s Images

Cruise or stroll along Old Highway 98 (strolling is often faster), and you’ll discover some colorful shrimp shacks, t-shirt shops, condo high-rises, numerous golf courses, beach boardwalks, shoppingsurfing and more. Maybe Miramar Beach is no longer the sleepy little surf-side corridor that it once was, but the stunning turquoise waters and bustling beach life keep the die-hard regulars coming back year after year (after year).

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