Explore the seaside in Seaside, Fla.

Credit: Carrie McLaren

Credit: Carrie McLaren

Selected as one of the "Best Beaches on Earth" by Travel + Leisure, Seaside, Fla. is known for its locally owned eateries and a bike and pedestrian way of life along the waterfront. The quaint town served as the primary filming location for Jim Carrey's classic movie "The Truman Show."

Between Destin and Panama City on the charming Highway 30A, the Seaside community prides itself on great eats, quaint cottages and a laid-back atmosphere for those looking to enjoy its pristine beaches. Seaside is no longer a hidden community -- families are returning to make memories each year and telling their friends, too.

Here's a look at where to stay, eat and shop during your visit to Seaside:

Where to sleep

Cottage Rental Agency

The Seaside community prides itself on having no chain accommodations, offering quaint cottages to regal homes and penthouse suites for visitors to rent. Cottage Rental Agency (CRA) features more than 200 properties in the South Walton area. In addition to accommodations, guests of CRA receive two complimentary bike rentals, a complimentary bottle of wine upon arrival, a welcome beach tote, unlimited complimentary movie rentals and popcorn and access to Seaside's three swimming pools, tennis courts and fitness center. Cottage Rental Agency. 2311 E. County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach. 866-966-2565. www.cottagerentalagency.com.

Sunburst Beach Vacations

With 110 rental properties available in the Highway 30A area, Sunburst Beach Vacations provides a variety of prices ranges for families looking to visit the Seaside area. Property listings and availability are available directly on the site. You can even view the listing of how many steps it takes to get to the beach from each particular cottage. Sunburst Beach Vacations. 59 Canal St., Santa Rosa Beach. 866-310-5718. www.sunburstbeachvacations.com.

Where to eat

Bud & Alley's

A fixture for more than 30 years, Bud & Alley's provides visitors fine dining and a beachfront view. Each evening at the rooftop bar, the dinner bell tolls celebrating the sunset. From fresh seafood to oysters and a large cocktail menu, Bud & Alley's offers indoor and outdoor seating for lunch and dinner. Bud & Alley's. 2236 E. County Road 30A, Seaside. 850-231-5900. www.budandalleys.com.

The Great Southern Café

Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Great Southern Café offers great views of Central Square. For breakfast, try the bacon and pecan waffle – a tasty spin on Southern favorites. From fresh seafood straight from the Gulf and locally farmed ingredients, the Southern menu items offer a local spin to dining al fresco. This local hot spot doesn't take reservations, service is first come, first served – grab a drink at the bar and enjoy people-watching along the square. The Great Southern Café. 83 Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach. 850-231-7327. www.thegreatsoutherncafe.com.

Meltdown on 30A

The food truck movement has made its way to the Seaside community with permanent air stream trailers lining Central Square, commonly known as AirStream Row. Meltdown on 30A offers a variety of specialty grilled cheese sandwiches and soups. From pimento cheese to goat cheese with prosciutto, pepper jack cheese with smoked turkey and bacon – the sandwiches are melty and creative. Meltdown on 30A. 2235 Highway 30A, Trailer C, Santa Rosa Beach, 850-231-0952. www.facebook.com/meltdownon30a/.

Where to shop

Duckies Shop of Fun

From children's clothing to whimsical toys, gifts and a variety of rubber ducks, Duckies Shop of Fun is a brightly colored shop filled with excitement. From the perfect beach toy to journals and surprises, Duckies is a favorite for children – and parents, too. Duckies Shop of Fun. 45 Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach. 850-231-4800. www.shopduckies.com.

Central Square Records

As an independent record store, Central Square Records provides new, classic albums and hard to find records on vinyl – both new and used. Compact discs and a variety of turntables are also available. Discover local acts and new music as the shop features all genres of music. For music lovers, there are unique gifts available, too. Central Square Records. 89 Central Square, Santa Rosa Beach. 850-231-5669. www.centralsquarerecords.com.

For more information on Seaside, go to www.seasidefl.com.