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How to Do Seaside - Park & Ride on the Free Shuttle or Valet It

May 11, 2019 by Manny Chavez

The next time you think about visiting Seaside, think again….think how cool it would be to leave the driving AND parking to SOMEONE else. The Seaside Shuttle and Valet service is active and ready to solve your driving and parking needs.

Tucked away on the east side of Hwy 283 in Grayton Beach, just across from the Shops of Grayton, is a huge parking lot to park and ride Seaside’s free Shuttle. The parking area is available both to the general public and to Seaside employees. First-timers pulling into the parking area will see a huge space up front and then a smaller area towards the back. The rear parking area is used primarily by Seaside employees and the front by the general public, but the general public can take advantage of either space. Both areas are well-lit for nighttime users.

The free shuttle is a blessing for those wanting a break from the Spring and Summertime traffic on Scenic Hwy. 30A. The air-conditioned and heated buses work continuously from a 5 a.m.-midnight with wait times usually no more than 10 minutes. The shuttle bus drivers stay in communication with one another to guarantee smooth pick up and go’s.

Once on board, the bus will whisk you away and traverse along Scenic 30A, crossing two beautiful Western Lake bridges.  The view is stunning and its always fun to watch runners, walkers and bikers as they make their way along the Timpochee Trail which extends the length of the highway.

Next, you’ll travel briefly through WaterColor before entering Seaside. The various Scenic 30A communities all “butt up” to one another and the transition is seamless. Entering Seaside, if you look quickly to the North (left), you’ll see the top of the Truman House deck on Natchez St. The house, easily recognized from the street by its bright yellow and pink-colored deck, was made famous by The Truman Show where Seaside became Seahaven for the film production.

Continuing through Seaside, you’ll soon be at your drop-off point just South of the Seaside Neighborhood School, right in the middle of all that awaits you.

Whether you are visiting Seaside for the casual or fine dining experience, checking out the unique Fine Art Galleries, shopping at the unique Seaside shops, having your photo taken in front of the cool little Seaside Post Office, or just wanting to enjoy a cold one and stroll the beach, you’ve ARRIVED and with no worries, knowing that you’ll get back to your car the same way. On our last Shuttle ride, the trip from the parking area to the Seaside drop took a total of 7 minutes, 27 seconds!

If  you throw in the convenience of not having to deal with traffic or find a parking place, this no-hassle option is all thumbs up!

For those wanting  to visit Seaside and would rather have their cake and eat it too ( have their vehicle valet-parked), the Seaside Valet Service will make it happen. The fee for the service is $12/vehicle (credit cards accepted) and available from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday-Friday.      

The Valet Service staging area, located at the corner of Scenic 30A and Quincy Circle, has a stable of young, energetic valet employees who can be seen jogging from the valet parking area to fetch customer’s vehicles in a timely manner. All systems are GO with these parking experts who are fast, friendly and mindful of your personal vehicle’s security. If you are wondering if they will valet park your golf cart, wonder no more…they are more than happy to park your cart, although there are no charging stations while it is parked.

Both Seaside Shuttle (30A Shuttle) and Seaside Valet (Beach Valet) services began this year’s operation in early March and will be active until Labor Day Weekend.

“The shuttle service is great,” says Director of Seaside Security Jeremy Barnes. “It is a safe and reliable way to make it into Seaside and then back to your vehicle. And, the Valet is a great addition to Seaside…instead of constantly circling and hunting for a parking space, you pull into the staging area, have a polite attendant greeting you , and you are assured that your vehicle remains safe so that your only worries are which of the restaurants you want to dine at.”

Thus far this year (the first two months), records show over 12,000 shuttle rides and over 3,000 valet parking’s. Regarding the Seaside Shuttle, Jeremy is upbeat about the service.

“We repeatedly hear from both employees and guests that the shuttle is a relaxing and enjoyable way to ride into Seaside. There is less worry about the road, cyclists or pedestrian traffic and more focus on the picturesque views traveling over Western Lake and the unique architecture of the towns along the way,” he explains.

Jeremy continues, “Some of the most memorable comments and some that we hear regularly about our Valet Service, are ‘this is the best idea that Seaside has had,’ and ‘we used to just drop the kids off and come back later because we didn’t want to circle for an hour to find a parking space, now we are able to park and easily enjoy Seaside, we will definitely be back’.”

According to Seaside’s Executive Director of Marketing Kerri Parker, all is good with the Shuttle and Valet Services.

“When we (Seaside Community Development Center) first discussed these changes (the Shuttle, Valet, and reversal of the one-way traffic around the inner Seaside “circle”, we were a little worried about the response, but these processes came about very smoothly . Our purpose in instigating these changes was to get the impact of parking off Seaside and the driving off Scenic Hwy. 30A because there are so many cars on the highway, and to allow for more consumer parking. People seem to have an ownership in Seaside because they love it and that is very endearing to me.”

With Spring Break behind us and Summer around the corner, don’t let traffic keep you from enjoying all that Seaside has to offer….take that Shuttle, or Valet your vehicle….don’t worry, BE HAPPY!

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Manny Chavez's picture

Manny has been a working photojournalist his entire career and is now writing stories/taking pix for SoWal.com. He and his wife Kris live in Seagrove and have “seen a lot come and go.” Lots of stories have been told, with lots more to come!

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