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Photo of Seaside, Seaside, FL
Courtesy Seaside


Seaside, Florida

The architecturally groundbreaking community of Seaside straddles Scenic Highway 30A in Florida's Panhandle. Inspired by New England villages, its clapboard and gabled houses, none taller than a couple of stories, fan out from a village green bordered by shops and restaurants. Some cross the highway, filling the narrow defile between it and tall, undisturbed white-sand dunes. Most, however, spread northward into neighborhoods of houses with porches and white picket fences arrayed along narrow tree-lined streets. It's award-winning design by the architectural firm of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company became a showcase for a movement called "New Urbanism," though it is probably best known these days as the setting for the 1998 movie "The Truman Show" starring Jim Carrey.

Seaside's notoriety has made it one of the Panhandle's must-see tourist attractions, giving rise to carloads of gawking tourists and a bevy of shops that cater not so to residents and guests but to visitors. Back there, among some trees at the end of a sandy path, stands the unpretentious Seaside Swim & Tennis Center.

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Tennis Features

Pro Shop: 850-231-2214

Tennis director Tracy Townsend, who is originally from Alabama, has been a tennis presence along the 30A corridor for more than two decades. He played tennis for the University of North Carolina, and then after Tracy Townsend, Seaside Tennis, Seaside, FLa brief flirtation with the satellite tour, he decided his future lay elsewhere and he went on the the University of Denver, graduating with a Master's Degree in Sports Sciences. Though he'd planned to go into exercise testing, Turned out his future was tennis, only as a teacher not a player. He formed his own tennis management company, 30A Tennis, and at Seaside his focus has been on creating a tennis community, bringing guests together with locals for 8 a.m. "Eye-Opener Clinics," round robins, and competitive matchups. His goal is a tennis program that is competitive and instructional but also fun and social. He's written a book about his approach, Look at All That Room Above the Net, full of tips and advice leavened by his good humor and wit.
Court Complex. There are four clay and two hard courts adjacent to a croquet lawn, a playground with a sand floor, and two swimming pools, one for adults, one for families (the latter covered and heated in winter).

Other Recreation

Fitness Center. There is a modest fitness center with cardio and strength equipment and free weights and optional personal trainers.

And ... There are three main pools, two of them heated in winter, as well as four other pools in various neighborhoods. Bike rentals are available as well.

Children's Programs

Camp Seaside for children 4-12 operates Monday-Thursday from late spring through summer.


Lodging options range from an inn by the sea to cottages as large as six bedrooms.


As befits a beach destination, there is a wide variety of food outlets, from ice cream and fudge to pizza and fine dining.

See Also

If you like the sound of Seaside also check out:

Rates and Reservations


Lodging choices range from a seaside inn to one-to-six-bedroom homes.

P.O. Box 4896
Seaside, FL 32459
Toll-free: 866-966-2565
Web Link: Seaside

Travel Essentials

Seasons. Year-round.

Travel Instructions. By Air: Although there are regional airports in Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS), 30 minutes west, Pensacola International Airport (PNS), 90 minutes west, and Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP), roughly an hour's drive to the east in Panama City.

General Tourist Information. Check out the Visit South Walton website.

©2023 Roger Cox