I remember decades ago when Wayside Park was just several concrete picnic tables and pavilions painted in the seafoam green and white popular back then. Today, this park is a fully developed beach park with amenities galore. It attracts young adults and families with children of all ages.
No other local beach gives you as wide of a choice for playing in the surf and sand all day, and then grabbing a meal to get yourself refreshed before taking a sunset stroll along the beach.
You can enjoy a beachside meal at several restaurants such as Floyd's Shrimp House, The Crab Trap, Lobster Tail, Angler's Beachside Grill, Rocking Tacos and Al's Burger Bar. For a treat, you can visit Pino Gelato for some great authentic Italian gelato.
Playing in the surf and sand is easy here. You will see more surfers here than anywhere else in the area (there must be a reason...) The beach is wide and deep and can accommodate 100's of beach goers without feeling crowded. You will often see fathers teaching their children how to fly a kite in the good breeze coming in from the Gulf. A lot of people bring their frisbees and footballs too. Down by Al's Burger Bar, you can play corn-hole with your friends and family.
There are several volleyball nets for those great pick-up games. This park is even a host to several professional volleyball tournaments each year.
Wayside Park Details
This park features two deck levels for amazing views of the gulf. If you get too hot on the sand, move up to one of the 41 picnic tables conveniently scattered among several pavilions.
There is generous parking available across 4 different lots containing about 440 spaces. During peak summer times though, it will get filled up and you may have to park across the street (Hwy 98) and walk over. My observation is that there is a lull in parking demand from about 2:00 pm to about 5:00 pm most days during the summer. After that, the restaurant crowds start showing up!
The changing rooms/restrooms are large and decent.
There are several great shops if you are looking for some souveniers T-shirts or other items. I particularly like the store called Life is Good. Although it has a broad selection of cool stuff, I think their wind kite selection is the best around.