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Good Eats – Five family friendly eats in Seaside

Airstream Row is the place to go for a quick bite before heading to the beach.

Since its early days when only a few modest cottages dotted a couple of dirt roads, Seaside has become one of the most sought-after destinations, often garnering international recognition, including multiple awards like the Best Beach for Families by Travel + Leisure, the world’s leading travel magazine.

Every traveler knows that the perfect family-friendly beach has to deliver more than just a picturesque scene, and Seaside with its expansive sand, gentle waves, and easily accessible amenities is what parents need when the family is in tow.

There is a total sense of connectedness, from the outdoors to the community, which is what makes spending time with family in Seaside so enjoyable. But, when your bunch gets hangry, you need directions quick, on the top kid-friendly eats.

The Grits å Ya Ya from Great Southern Café is the restaurant’s most famous dish.

Airstream Row has many family friendly meals, including Meltdown on 30A. The Meltdown specializes in creating gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that are made with locally sourced ingredients. Get the classic American grilled cheese for your child, and then go on a grilled cheese adventure of your own. There’s the meatloaf melt, a comfort food favorite, or try the brie and bacon on cranberry walnut bread for a treat.

Next door to the Meltdown on 30A is Barefoot BBQ, which combines barbecue cuisine with a carefree, surfer attitude. Kids will dive into the chicken fingers, corn dogs, and cheese nachos, while parents may embrace vacation mode with some barbecue-smothered meats. Turkey legs, ribs, sausage on a stick, beef brisket, and pork all work to make this menu a tantalizing decision.

Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs is also located on Airstream Row just one block from the beach, so you can take your food to go or grab one of the outdoor seats and enjoy people watching. Order the Frank Dog, an all-beef grass-fed dog for the kids, and expand your eating horizons with the Heat Dog, a spicy pork hotdog. Top it with peppers, pickles, grilled onions, or Heavenly’s homemade chili, and a ton of cheese.

The Great Southern Café blends Southern favorites with a fresh twist to make food that both you and your kids can enjoy. The children’s menu offers a variety of favorites, from macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers, to popcorn shrimp, and fresh sides like fried okra. Parents, plan ahead and order the famous Grits à Ya Ya — blackened gulf shrimp served on a bed of smoked gouda cheese grits and topped with a sauté of applewood-smoked bacon, spinach, portobello mushrooms and cream.

The Shrimp Shack’s lobster roll is one of the shack’s fan favorites.

The Shrimp Shack with its gulf views nestled by the water’s edge goes perfectly with Seaside’s relaxed beach theme. Featuring a cottage look all the way down to the window flower boxes, hang out on the back porch while you savor your meal. Order the raw or baked oysters, royal red steamed shrimp, and succulent lobster sandwiches, while the youngsters make selections from the “little shrimps” menu that includes peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Finish off with a slice of chocolate dipped key lime pie, and favorite of all ages.
There are many memorable moments created in Seaside for the families that come to visit. It’s nice to break out of routines on vacation, and that goes for food, too. Enjoying the simple way of life in your time spent in Seaside will help you appreciate the little things even more.

Susan Benton is a freelance food and travel writer, and the owner of 30AEATS.com where she shares her passion and her commitment to promoting local farmers, fishermen, chefs, artisans and restaurants along the Gulf Coast.

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