Family Travel: The Beaches of South Walton, Florida
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An 80-acre beach community designed and developed around the concept and standards of New Urbanism, Seaside is home to a bustling main street. The layout of streets is pedestrian- and
bicycle-friendly, and the cottages, each built behind a white picket fence, have an architectural style that combines West Indian and Caribbean flavors and colors with English charm. The idea behind Seaside, when it was first constructed more than 30 years ago, was to create a "new town with old ways." Everything here is modern: There are yoga studios, art galleries, bookstores, trendy sushi restaurants and wine bars, and of course a stunning beach just feet away. Still, the charm of a low-speed existence runs underneath all of that.
Rent a cottage with the Seaside Cottage Rental Agency and discover whether you pass the "lemonade test." Passing means you can happily sit on your porch with a glass of lemonade, have a book in your hand, or talk to your neighbor and just relax - and be content with the simplicity of life's joys. Designed so the visitor cannot stress about anything, Seaside is a place to enjoy the ocean air, take a bike ride, and eat delicious seafood with your family.
Trip Planning for a Panhandle Vacation
While these beach communities are some of the highlights of the Beaches of South Walton, there are more to choose from, each with its own flair and personality. To learn about each neighborhood, visit the local tourism office's site, www.beachesofsouthwalton.com.
For family travelers coming to the region via airplane, the addition of the new Panama City Beach airport in May, 2010 now makes the destination even more accessible. Of course, families who find South Walton Airport to be a better option can still opt to fly into VPS. Note, that there are no direct flights from New York City, so families will need to connect. For transport to and from the airport consider arranging for a pick-up from Seacoast Transportation; the company has private cars and serves all of 30-A (888-822-6278).
Jillian Ryan is a freelance travel writer and social media consultant living in Brooklyn. She was pleasantly surprised to see the Gulf of Mexico flourishing during her first visit to The Beaches of South Walton - where she learned that the seafood is fantastic, the people are warm, and the area is relaxing yet still boasts a flair for sports and adventure.