Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Hello friends! I'm here, I'm really here! Even though you can't see me, I wanted to write to you before I lose ALL my Florida tan. Yep, just like that, the trip has come and gone, BUT not without some incredible memories, some delicious food, and some much needed relaxation!
Yes the three up front are our babies! Not so babies I know, but "my baby you'll be" always. The young man in back is our oldest daughter's boyfriend and he joined us for this family vacation. It was an "introduction" for him to see the chaos that leads our family!
Back in 1977, the movie Jaws 2 began filming on the white sands of Miramar Beach in Destin, Florida. The population was small and the locals were encouraged to come out and be extras. The iconic film introduced Hollywood stars to what's now become one of the most popular vacation destinations today. Many famous faces still frequent the area and some have purchased second homes. One just never knows who they'll run into!
Being that this was literally a last minute future Christmas gift vacation, there wasn't anyone in either car who dreaded getting away. We decided to take two cars and make the drive from our all swept up, clean as a whistle, (dogs sent to a kennel) home in Kentucky to our rented home in the Sandestin Resort right outside Destin beach in the Florida panhandle.
It was plenty plenty big for 6 adults, but although the home takes great pictures, there was a lot to be desired within its walls. We weren't too pleased with it's "cleanliness" and it's outdated furnishings, but we were compensated for it and decided right away we weren't going to allow it to ruin our vacation. It had been a 10 hour drive, our first family vacation in 8 years, and we were ready to have fun!
And what does one do when they immediately get to the beach house? Go to Walmart of course! 🤦🏻♀️ Our goal was to eat as many meals as possible at the house allowing us to save money so we could eat some good seafood dinners out a couple nights. I did a lot of grocery shopping at home before the trip so all we had to do was just pick up the refrigerated groceries. I love that we went in thinking we wouldn't need to spend too much, but there we were, spending just as much as if we were at home!! Seriously, have you ever seen the price of milk in Florida?😳
After getting settled in for the night, we were ready to tackle the beach. Actually, we tackled the beach all but two days. The resort is actually enormous. There's the 'beach side' which is the side we were on and this is where you'll find a few housing developments like the one we were in as well as most of the high rises. Then there's the 'bay side' which was on the other side of the main road. The bay side houses multitudes of homes, small and extremely large, some in gated communities. This truly isn't a resort, it's more like a small town! There's also a beautiful marina with stunning yachts and fishing boats. (I posted a picture of the yachts on facebook acting as if we owned one 😂 One can dream!) And there is an area referred to as the Wharf which is a quaint village filled with little shops and restaurants. All the developments are given names and have their own private and password protected pool. We spent a couple of days there, and I have several fun videos of my wonderful husband showing his true kid age...that I won't show you because he'll be upset!😂 But, I did break the video down a bit just to give you an idea!😉 It just shows you that he needed this vacation more than anyone! And on a side note, if it wasn't for him and all his hard hard work and his love for all of us, this trip, along with life's other responsibilities wouldn't be possible!
The beaches are just amazing. I've been to this area of the panhandle several times and it never disappoints. After seeing this beautiful water, it's pretty hard to want to hit the beaches on the east coast (Atlantic). The sand is so clean and white and the water is clear. In the picture above, you can see the emerald shoreline the area is known for which allowed us to get some great pictures of this little visitor one morning!
The first picture was taken above the water just standing there. The brown you see is just sea weed floating around, but look how clear that water is. The second picture was taken with the same phone camera only it was taken underwater. I was so excited to buy cases on Amazon for all 6 of our phones. It allowed us to take the phones into the ocean or even the pool and take pictures and videos without ruining our phones. Best investment ever!
And look at the little fish that surround you. There were soooo many!!!
And who doesn't love walking the beach at night with this beautiful moon glow? We loved it, except the humidity was just out of this world. Even though our feet were in the water, our bodies were sweating! Look how clear the water is even at night! This is not a black and white photo.
Each morning we would wake up and have our breakfast of cereal, bagel or toast, and coffee, all while dressed in our bathing suits! After breakfast, I would be in the kitchen grabbing snacks and water while the kids were grabbing beer to pack in our backpack coolers. Like the planner I am, I purchased brand new beach towels for everyone, 3 new beach bags, an easy carry beach umbrella, 3 foam body boards, goggles, dollar store sand toys (lol), the essential oils and lotions, and a queen size fitted bed sheet! We spread the bed sheet out and used our bags on each corner to hold the shape of the sheet and it was such a clever idea. Kept the sand out of the "box" we created so we could set towels in them and lie down. Between all 6 of us, we were able to carry something and not break our backs. However, going to the beach with everything wasn't a hassle, but packing it all up, after floating with the waves, fighting the waves, and baking in the sun, wears you out. Add in a not so dry hanging at the crotch swim suit, hot freaking sand burning your feet because you don't want to put flip flops on to collect more sand plus it's 103% easier to walk barefoot in the sand, fighting for the outdoor shower faucet to rinse your feet once you made it across the sand the temperature of molten lava, only to try and not slip on wood planks or concrete from your newly rinsed feet as you then walk like you rode a horse all day to the tram to take you back to your house as you drip with humidity carrying all your crap yet doing your best to look like you had the time of your life. By the last day, we were towing one beach bag with towels, one body board, one cooler and spent the $50 to rent an umbrella and two chairs! Best $50 ever at that point!
Another perk to the area is literally being a short distance from Eglin Air Force Base. (fun fact: the movie Eagle Eye with Shia Labeouf had a few scenes filmed at Eglin AFB) While on the beach we were fortunate to see many jets fly by after finishing their aerial exercises and a few other heart thumping bad boys make their way back to base! God Bless America! It was so awesome to have our own personal fly-bys!
Bill and I took one day and headed down the road a few miles to a little area called Seaside. Have you ever seen or heard of the movie The Truman Show with Jim Carrey? This is where the movie was filmed. The houses were beautiful with their pastel colors. There's a town shopping area and it currently sports about 5 or 6 food trucks where I chose to try a breakfast crepe!
Of course I went incognito and changed my name to Hannah!😂 It's a very upscale community so I could have easily been mistaken as one of Hollywood's famous! I'm not sure if he still lives here, but Emeril Lagasse moved his family here in 2015 and just recently opened another one of his famous restaurants in Miramar beach in Destin. When I say this is an upscale community...well, here's a picture of students on their playground...across the street from the beach (wouldn't you love that?) Honestly, I don't know if it's their playground or just a courtyard. We seem to think that the white buildings surrounding the courtyard are the school buildings. This was located behind the town shopping square. It was beautiful!
Speaking of Emeril, we didn't eat at his restaurant, but we did eat some wonderful seafood! Seriously, there is nothing like having dinner at an oceanfront restaurant with no windows, a nice breeze and all the seafood and mixed drinks sitting in front of you! It was heavenly!!
Yes, that's me on the left and Bill right next to me! 👋🏼 Our son, the oldest, is next to him and across from him is our baby, with her irish twin sister next to her. Below is just a little shot of the two love birds.
And here we are again on our last evening there after enjoying our last seafood dinner. As you can see, the weather was amazing and I got a really good dose of vitamin D on this trip! My son could have really used a pair of sunglasses for this last picture lol.
Sadly the end of a relaxing week had come to an end. I think I was ready to head home though. My back was itching as it was starting the process of peeling and I was seriously ready to sleep in my own bed! We were all starting to miss our puppies as well and I couldn't stop wondering if the older one thought we abandoned her!🤦🏻♀️
I just wanted to share the pink sunset we were blessed with as well. It was stunning! I hope you get the chance to visit the Destin area if you haven't already. I promise, it will be a new favorite!! Plan a family getaway and bring your appetite. Restaurants are everywhere. Also, you may want to look into going after the middle of August or before school lets out! We chose the second week of August and it was perfect timing. It actually was the perfect ending to summer which afforded me the mentality to get through July's heat and now has me staring at boxes in my living room full of AUTUMN DECOR!! That's right! It's Labor Day weekend, I told myself to hold off until the end of August and I did! As you are reading this I am tearing open all the boxes getting ready to give our house another seasonal facelift OR sitting on the couch enjoying and probably re-thinking all the decor placement I just did! Happy Labor Day, Happy end of summer, and Happy September everyone!