A little over a month ago, we packed up our car, loaded the girls in their car seats and headed off for our first long roadtrip as a family of 4 (well actually 6, we took Papa & Gigi along for reinforcement!) Growing up, my family considered the Florida gulf coast our second home, and I hope to raise up Elyse & Nora to feel the same! Destin, FL was our destination and the trip down was a breeze. We took our time traveling & spent the night in Hattiesburg, MS which left us only about 3 driving hours left to our destination.
Our days really aren't worth specifically documenting because it was basically the exact same routine every day...and I was perfectly happy with that.
Our mornings consisted of a toddler and a 10 month old waking up around 6:30-7, breakfast around 7:30-8, a good dose of sunscreen application, and beach gear gathering. We were on the beach most mornings by 8:30.
We'd all play on the beach for an hour or so before someone would bring Nora up for her morning nap. We'd come back down to the beach for a bit before lunch, lunch was served (typically carryout from somewhere close), and then it was naptime for both girls!
When afternoon naps were over, we'd come back down to the beach for an hour or so, and then finish up at the pool before heading back up to the condo to clean up for the evening.
Evenings were for eating dinner at any one of our various favorite Destin restaurant locations...The Back Porch, Pompano Joe's, The Surf Hut, McGuire's Irish Pub, and even carry-out pizza all made an appearance this time around!
The water the first day and a half was so incredibly calm that it was almost like a pond. The ocean waves were literally just lapping the shoreline which made for a perfect environment for Elyse to play. She played & played in the water with her puddle jumper & I couldn't have been more happy with how much she loved the ocean. She also spent lots of time building big sand holes & sand pyramids that she would promptly stomp on & knock over.
Of course our time with Nora consisted mostly of trying to prevent her from eating too much sand. She definitely ingested her fair share, but she absolutely loved the water & even became quite the pro at crawling through the white sands.
Nora was an absolute breeze as most nights we pushed her past her normal bedtime to squeeze every second of family fun we could out of our trip. I think by the end of the week she was definitely ready to get back to a somewhat normal routine, but for the most part she just went completely with the flow.
Our last night we made another stop at the Back Porch (probably our favorite for sure). And finished off the evening with a stop designed purely for Elyse...a mini-carousel, a mini-train, and other kiddie rides galore! Elyse did incredibly well the entire trip too...but I think by the end of the week she was DONE with vacation and ready to be back on familiar ground again. And honestly, I can't really blame her.
We headed out bright & early (6am) on Saturday morning and said our goodbye's to the ocean & the sand & the carefree days. We arrived home on Saturday night right at 9 pm, 15 hours & 11 stops later. I honestly could not have asked for a better family vacation, and I know that there will be many more to come. Elyse has already asked when we're going back to the beach...so I think I've definitely passed on my love of the clear blue ocean to my girls! The beach is definitely my favorite place for vacation and my second home...but there truly is no place like my first home. Back among our four walls in Missouri with the three people I love most.