As the dog days of summer draw to a close, we thought it would be fun to share our two vacation highlights from this summer season. Sue frolicked earlier this summer on Amelia Island while I romped about on the Florida emerald coast at Seacrest.
Two different Florida beach escapades, two unforgettable experiences.
Amelia Island (Sue)
- Family vacation rating: 4/5 stars!
- Travel from Atlanta: 364 miles, approximately 6 hours with one gas and lunch stop (pre packed). We departed approximately at 10 am, arrived at 3:30, and hit the beach!
- Accommodation: Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort. $160/night through a promotional deal
- Entourage: Our family of 4: Roenne (7), Arden (3), John, and me.
- Length of stay: 5 days and 4 nights, 6/29 – 7/3
- Activities: We took advantage of the water front convenience and spent every day at the beach, and eventually made our way over to the resort pool.
- Food: The resort food was no big surprise: over priced, but acceptable (though, I will say, the frozen chicken fingers were a bit much). Fortunately, we were able to find two delicious restaurants that were within a 10-15 minute drive that were so, so, good: España and Cafe 4750 at the Ritz-Carlton. They were both nice, higher end restaurants, but comfortable and with a vacation vibe. I also packed up a large cooler full of lunch and breakfast options, which gave us more beach time!
- Pros: Nothing beats being steps away from the beach when you have young children and beach gear. It’s also a nice to be able to escape to the balcony with an ocean view after the kids are in bed!
- Cons: Sharing a room with the kids is pretty much the anti-vacation, BUT going on vacation with kids is not really vacation anyway, so it is what it is–making the most of their joy. =)
- Fondest memory: I was over the moon when my 3 year old willingly laid down on the lounger on the beach and took a nap. TWICE. While Arden slept in the shade, Roenne played in the sand and Mama read, cruised the internet, or gazed upon the coastal splendor. Where was John, you ask? I sent him back to the room to watch the World Cup. Vacation for all, at least for a few blessed minutes. I’ll take it!
Seacrest Beach (Jin)
- Family vacation rating: 4.5/5 stars
- Travel time from Atlanta: 301 miles; a little over 5 hours with one quick gas stop. After work, we ate a quick dinner, gave the kids a speedy bath, and popped them in the car — thank the Lord that baby Amelia slept the whole time and Isaiah fell asleep the last half of the ride!
- Accommodation: Five bedroom house at 105 Blue Dolphin Loop. $310/night during the off season!
- Entourage: Total 3 families; 6 adults, 4 toddler boys, 1 infant girl
- Length of stay: 5 days/4 nights, 8/26 – 8/30
- Activities: Beach, pool, biking, fishing, Pier Park at nearby Panama City Beach, Silver Sands outlets at nearby Destin
- Food: We ended up cooking a lot in our awesome kitchen and patio, but did eat out a few times. Some must haves: Charlie’s Donut Truck and Donut Hole. I also shamefully admit that we might have eaten at Cheeseburger in Paradise for dinner one night because of its close proximity to the outlet shops. (Once you have kids, convenience is King.)
- Pros: Sharing a house with close friends, free beach shuttle, huge neighborhood pool with fountain, reduced end-of-summer rates
- Cons: Not directly on the beach (10 minute walk), construction on nearby houses
- Fondest memory: My son freaking out in the hurricane simulator at Pier Park while the other three year old boys (and a grown adult) were having a howling good time.
Summer may be nearly over, but we’re still thinking about those lazy afternoons lounging on the beach. We can’t wait to go back next year!