By Roger Cox, Editor
On the face of it Seascape is a rather unprepossessing resort consisting of four midrise towers and the typical neighborhoods of homes and condos scattered around the tennis courts, golf course, and a lake. The Gulf of Mexico is visible from many of the tower rooms, though in fact the beach lies across a road, accessible by an elevated footpath.
That said, what makes it worth looking at if you're a tennis player is its caring pro, Fernando Guarachi. He oversees the operation of the eight clay courts. Chilean by birth, he has spent more than 35 years in the resort business, including stints at Palmas del Mar in Puerto Rico and at Sandestin here in the Florida Panhandle. He moved over to Seascape in 1987 and has since developed not only a loyal clientele of property owners and local members, who are happy for the new blood represented by vacationing guests, but also a strong junior program that has turned out a number of top-ranked national players, including his daughter Alexa, who now plays, as he had, for the University of Alabama.
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Pro Shop: 850-654-4287
Tennis Programs. Under Guarachi, Seascape has carpentered together one of the most diverse resort programs in Northwest Florida. Although there are seasonal variations, the weekly roster has a something-for-everyone selection that includes adult clinics for various skill levels, drill sessions, Cardio tennis; adult, junior, and parent-child round robins, and a whole variety of junior programs (clinics for various ages, an academy, Hip Hop Cardio, and a kids night out with tennis and pizza or Subway sandwiches). In summer Guarachi adds a junior tennis camp on selected dates. And he's backed up by a strong staff, including his wife Holly.
"One of the things that we do really well is round robins," he told me. "They're very social and participants get to meet a lot of people. And they're open to anyone, even if they're staying somewhere else." The courts also draw some of the better local juniors (he coached the local high school team, which included his daughter).
Courts & Fees. There are eight clay courts altogether, six at the main tennis center, which also has a small but full-service pro shop, and two more adjacent to the golf clubhouse.
Beach. A walkway over Old Highway 98 provides access to the 2,000 feet of white-sand beach that border the resort.
Golf Courses. A 18-hole, 6,100-yard, par 71 golf course winds through the resort.
And ... There are several swimming pools at the resort, the largest of them at the tennis complex. Bike are available for rent.
Lodging one-, two-, and three-bedroom condos either in towers near the beach or lowrise units near the tennis courts or golf fairways. Pet friendly.
An elevated walkway over the Old Highway 98 provides access to the Gulf-front Whale's Tail Beach Bar & Grill. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
If you like the sound of Seascape also check out:
Lodging ranges in size from 1-to-3-bedroom condos variously located on the golf course, lakefront, or boardwalk or in the tennis village.
Visit the website for current rates
Travel Instructions. By Air: Although there are regional airports in Fort Walton Beach (VPS) and Pensacola Regional (PNS), the new major gateway—it opened in late May of 2010—is Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), roughly an hour's drive to the east in Panama City. Rental cars are available at all three.
General Tourist Information. Visit the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council website or contact them at 800-822-6877.