Cooler temperatures and the holidays bring family and friends to the beach. While activities together are always important, so is the need to eat good food, and together is the way we like to do it!

I’m grateful that my parents are doing better after their accident last December, and that my son, daughter, and new son-in law will be home too! I have already begun cooking, four pounds of turnips and their greens yesterday…and, they don’t call it a labor of love for nothin’!

We have never dined out together as a family on Thanksgiving, but the one time my former husband decided to take the kids out of town (they were so little), my husband and I hit the road for Tennessee, and I bought a turkey sandwich at a gas station. I also cried.

Now that our family is transitioning, I think the luxury of dining out in one of our wonderful restaurants on Thanksgiving might be in my future. But, as long as my family wants to come home… I’ll be here with open arms and with food on the table.

Below are a few of my favorite side recipes and  a handful of restaurants offering dine in, carry out, or a free meal-with or without donation. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter at my sister site, to always be on top of the food scene, and Happy Thanksgiving!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

– Melody Beattie

Southern Cheese Ring Appetizer

Holiday Ham Rolls, Bama vs Auburn

Holiday Potatoes

Here is what is happening in Seaside, with Turn On The Town, at Bud & Alley’s, Pizza Bar, Taco Bar, plus …my Oyster Dressing recipe.  

Local Catch Bar & Grill, Blue Mountain Beach is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, and the owners of this establishment know how to plan a party. Their Sunday Funday has become well know in the southeast, and so has their annual Thanksgiving buffet dinner. Offered from 11am to 3pm, it is not to be missed. Another not to be missed event is their Thanksgiving party taking place on Friday, with tunes by Luke Langford from 8-12 pm. Call (850) 622-2022 for details and to make reservations.

Vue on 30A, Santa Rosa Beach Chef Giovanni Filippone is well prepared each season and knows how to do brunch in style. The Vue on 30A annual Thanksgiving Day brunch usually sells out, so think about making a reservation. Offered from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., expect traditional sides with a coastal flair. Pricing is at $49.95 for adults, $15.95 for kids 6 to 12. Call (850) 267-2305 to RSVP.

Marie’s Bistro, Blue Mountain Beach is a family friendly locals hangout that will be open on Thanksgiving Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and serving a special buffet as well as a holiday menu. Carry out is also an option if ordering by Nov. 21. Pick-up is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 23; or 10 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving Day. The buffet cost will be $29 for adults, and $12 for children ages 4 to 12. Children under 4 are free. Expect favorites like herb roasted turkey, bourbon ham, shrimp cocktail, smoked tuna dip, plus all the traditional sides you have grown to love. Phone (850) 278-6856 for more information.

 Modica Market, Seaside
Orders for turkey’s are closed, but MM will havethe following side items available, first come, first serve:
Cornbread Dressing, Oyster Dressing, Corn Souffle, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Squash Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Cranberry Relish, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Apple Pie. Remember to order your holiday gift baskets from MM too!

Harbor Docks, Destin located in the heart of Destin has a long standing practice of giving back to our local community, and invites your family to be a guest at their 23nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner. Everyone is welcome. While there is absolutely no charge, donations will be accepted from those capable of making them. All proceeds will benefit Okaloosa Habitat and Destin Harvest projects. This traditional, homestyle Thanksgiving Day feast will be served from 11 am until 7 pm. Call (850) 837-2506 for more information or to make a donation.

Brotula’s Steamer & Seafood, Destin
With a bountiful Thanksgiving Buffet, Brotula’s wants to give you a stress free holiday and do the cooking for you! The appetizing buffet menu includes conventional Thanksgiving fare: Cajun Fried Turkey, Roasted Turkey Breast, Candied Honey Ham, Slow Roasted Strip Loin, Traditional Stuffing and Cranberry Dressing. After dinner enjoy Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie and Turtle Cheesecake for dessert. Reservations highly recommended. Pricing is $34.95 per guest, $17.95 for guests 11 years of age and under, and free for guests under 3. Call 850-460-8900 for reservations.

Cuvee Kitchen + Wine Bar, Destin
The hottest new ticket in town, Cuvee Kitchen + Wine Bar, is celebrating  Thanksgiving by preparing a feast that will be served 11 am to 5pm! Expect a Carving station with prime rib and wood-fired salmon, soups, salads, appetizers, traditional stuffing + sides, desserts and so much more!
Adults are $38.95, children 11 and under are $19.95, and everyone under three eats for free.Call 850-460-2909 for reservations or more info. while the to-go menu offer has ended, you can view the entire buffet menu here. 

Marlin Grill, Baytowne Wharf
Already decked out for Christmas, enjoy the sights and sounds of Baytowne Wharf while enjoying your
elegantly plated four-course meal.  The menu includes artichoke & corn chowder, a wedge or Caesar salad, roasted turkey, smoked ham, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, cranberry relish and a trio of desserts to choose from. Adults are $34.00, Children $17, and seating begins at 4pm.
Call 850-351-1990 for reservations or more info.

Saltwater Grill, Panama City Beach
Saltwter Grill is serving a bountiful Thanksgiving Day buffet from 11am to 8pm. Soups, salads, entree’s, and desserts will be available. Lobster bisque,  mixed greens, roasted turkey, prime rib, pork tenderloin, and broiled salmon, along with creamed corn, sweet and mashed potatoes, andouille cornbread stuffing, green beans, and a trio of desserts are but a few menu items to choose from. Adults are $35.00, children under 12 are $17.00, and under 3 eat for free. Reservations are not necessary, but you can call 850-230-2739 for more information.

The Love Locals Program at The Henderson in Destin is worth checking into, they will also serving a Thanksgiving Day buffet in the Crystal Ballroom from 11am to 1:30pm.

Please go to our sister site There you will find a highly curated collection of the best restaurants on 30A, in Miramar Beach, Destin, Niceville, Ft. Walton Beach, Pensacola, Panama City Beach and Panama City. Maps, menus, photos and more will guide you with ease to the top restaurants to fit your needs whether seeking fine dining, breakfast, lunch, child-friendly or dog-friendly establishments.

And, follow 30A Eats on Instagram here, and Gulf Coast Restaurants here. 

Please feel free to share a link in the comments  to your favorite recipe or tell us about your favorite local restaurant!


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