The Short Version: The quiet town of Seaside, Florida, reminds visitors of the simple things in life. The beautiful beaches, folksy residents, and vacation cottages make for a decidedly romantic atmosphere. The safe and carefree community is ideal for couples looking to get away from the stresses of everyday life. By visiting Seaside’s open-air pavilions and intimate bike trails, beach lovers can soak in the breathtaking coastal scenery of North Florida. We’ve highlighted several fantastic date ideas for couples in Seaside, so you won’t have to look very far to share a special moment with someone you love.
Jim Carrey is one of my all-time favorite actors. From “The Mask” to “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” he has played some memorable and hilarious characters, but he doesn’t have to put on a funny voice to impress me. Some of his best on-screen moments came when he took off the green makeup and showed his humanity. For instance, his heartfelt portrayal of everyman Truman Burbank in “The Truman Show” gets me every time.
I especially love the part where Truman steals away with a mysterious love interest, making a spontaneous trip to the beach in the middle of the night. Truman and Lauren laugh as they hold hands and run through the sandy dunes, and it’s just so romantic. That moment starts Truman’s quest to leave the only home he’s ever known in search of the one that got away. The beauty of the fictional town of Seahaven is undeniable, and yet Truman can’t enjoy it without someone special by his side.
You can run away with your own sweetheart and make a movie-worthy memory at Seaside, the quaint Florida town where “The Truman Show” was filmed. This popular destination offers an escape from big cities and crowded streets, and thousands of visitors have become enamored of its old-fashioned Southern charm through the years.
For couples looking to get away, you can’t do much better than Seaside’s sparkling Emerald Coast. We’ve come up with seven date ideas for visitors and residents looking to slow down and enjoy the company of their loved ones in a small-town atmosphere.
“Couples come here and focus on each other,” said Lori Smith, Director of Public Relations and Marketing for Seaside. “Seaside is a diverse, distinctive, and authentic place where you can just be.”
1. Watch a Performance at the Repertory Theatre
A good story can awaken the imagination and transport people to a romantic frame of mind. That’s why the Seaside Repertory Theatre ranks at the top of our list of date ideas. Its theatrical plays and concerts offer a unique experience you can share and enjoy with someone special.
For the past decade, the 75-seat theater has hosted symphony orchestras, Shakespearean performances, and other popular plays. You’ll come away from the theater with tons of thoughts and feelings to talk about with your date, and it’s hard to beat that for a date night. Check out the Rep’s calendar to find out about upcoming shows.
Or, if you prefer movies to plays, you can take in a film at Central Square Cinema. Residents grab blankets, pack picnics, and bring drinks to watch screenings of classic family-friendly films. The casual outdoor setting means daters don’t have to stay hushed the entire time and can chat with one another as the movie plays.
“There’s something magical about watching old movies,” Lori commented. “It makes for a great night under the stars.”
2. Go on a Leisurely Bike Ride
Lori told us that biking is the preferred means of transportation on the quiet Seaside streets, so Sunday afternoons often find her hitting the bike trails with her boyfriend. “We have a great time,” she said. “There are so many places to stop and have a bite to eat or grab a drink.”
Seaside’s winding bike trails cut through parks, neighborhoods, and coastal areas, so visitors can see everything the community has to offer at a leisurely pace. Bike riding gives daters a chance to go on an adventure together — you never know where you’ll end up.
3. Dine at a Waterfront Restaurant
Many visitors love the fact that Seaside doesn’t have any chain restaurants. They’re all locally owned eateries with locally sourced foods, so you get that true ma-and-pa feel. Seaside may be small, but it has dozens of excellent waterfront restaurants to set the mood for daters.
Bud and Alley’s has a beautiful rooftop bar where people can look out over the Gulf of Mexico while sharing a specialty drink (the Signature Bloody Mary has spicy shrimp and smoked bacon!) or a glass of wine. Since 1987, this waterfront destination has hosted many dates, engagement parties, weddings, and other memorable events for people seeking good food and good times.
Want something more intimate? Then 45 Central is the place to go. This cozy, candlelit wine bar in Seaside’s Central Square serves small brunch and dinner plates that are perfect for sharing with your significant other.
4. Enjoy the Scenery at a Picturesque Pavilion
Seaside has nine specially designed beach pavilions to shelter guests staying in Seaside on their way to and from the beach. These gorgeous architectural wonders offer 360-degrees of scenic views, so many couples linger here to watch the sunrise or sunset.
These pavilions can provide a perfect backdrop to an engagement photo, a romantic picture, or just a day out in nature. “They are beautiful and enticing,” commented a SoWal article about the pavilions. “The nine pavilions help make our community stand out from other beach destinations.”
People come from all over the country (and the world) to enjoy the natural beauty of Seaside. Texas resident Sarah Zimmerman has been visiting the town since she was 5 years old and has fond memories bike riding, playing soccer, and swimming with friends. In 2015, she chose to have her wedding in the Seaside Chapel. Sarah said she felt it was a fitting location because, “Seaside became the place where friends became family.”
5. Take Surfing Lessons or a Pottery Course
Eager to get out on the water? Why not take surfing lessons with your date. Austin Magee’s Surf School is a family-run business that offers private, group, and mini surf lessons from March through October. Austin is Seaside’s local surfing expert, and his patient teaching style is ideal for beginners of all ages.
Couples can also rent a paddleboard for the day and explore the area’s unique coastal dune lakes together. There are plenty of engaging daytime activities for visitors who want to enjoy a memorable time in Seaside.
“If it’s a rainy day, you can always go paint your own pottery,” Lori suggested. “Some people really get into it.”
Fired Up, a paint-your-own-pottery studio, has been entertaining Seaside residents of all ages for over 20 years. It’s an excellent creative outlet, and you wind up with a personalized souvenir to take home with you or give to someone special.
6. Sit Outside on Steps, a Patio, or a Rooftop & Take in the Sunset
The pastel-colored cottages along the Emerald Coast draw in a lot of honeymooners. It’s like a home away from home. You can cook a dinner for two in your own kitchen, heat things up in an outdoor jacuzzi, or find a new romantic perspective on a rooftop patio. The views create romance and set the stage for a lasting memory.
A new walkway from Bud and Alley’s down to the beach has become a fast favorite for couples taking engagement photos or looking for a quiet escape with a gorgeous view. The stairs were specially made so people would feel comfortable sitting on them and looking out at the water.
You can take a drink with you and spend time just taking in the wonder of your surroundings. This is a great way to dry off after a dip in the Gulf or to digest a meal before going back to the water.
7. Go Window-Shopping in a Quaint & Artsy Setting
On the first Friday of every month, Seaside sees a lot of foot traffic as stores showcase their finest products, many of which have been handcrafted by local artists. “It’s like an art walk,” Lori said. “This is a great time to stroll around and look at many beautiful works of art.”
From the glassworks of Fusion to the jewelry of La Vie Est Belle, daters can find plenty to ooh and ahh over during a shopping trip. What a great way to get gift ideas for your partner and meet talented locals in town.
Seaside’s marketplace is packed with fun shops, and it’s easy to spend the day walking idly from one to another. “Part of the experience of Seaside is that everything is a five-minute walk,” Lori told us. “You park your car, and you don’t need to get back in it during your visit.”
Seaside: A Serene & Safe Dating Destination
Jim Carrey’s sincerity, wit, and enthusiasm makes me root for him whether he’s playing a penguin-loving divorcé or an unwitting television star. He makes even the most outlandish storylines both believable and heartwarming. In “The Truman Show,” he’s desperately trying to escape his tranquil hometown so he can reunite with a long-lost love.
Ironically, vacationers often escape to the romantic beaches and quaint neighborhoods of the fictional Seahaven by visiting Seaside, Florida.
Seaside is the real-life haven tucked away in the Florida Panhandle. Whether you’re biking down a nature trail or strolling down the beach, you’ll soon be charmed by this unforgettable Southern destination.
“There’s a lot to do — and a lot not to do,” Lori said. “Seaside is about literally just being in the moment, having no agenda, and focusing on each other. What’s more romantic than that?”