Lots of fun memories made in Destin this year! We stayed at probably one of our favorite places. We stayed at Crystal Dunes on the ground level with a walk out straight to the beach! We try to stay on the water each year, and even though it’s more expensive, it’s just a life saver when you have small kids who whine about having to hold a towel on the way to the beach. This place wasn’t super luxury, but it was close to everything and had a decent outdoor pool and hot tub. We love the larger high rise condos, and mega pools with zero entry but they’re always set pretty far back from the water. This one was nice because even though it didn’t have fancy amenities, it was so nice to be close to the water and just open the sliding door and hear the waves morning, noon and night!
We skipped the last week of school, missing field day and a few other fun events in order to beat the rush, and save money in the process. The prices skyrocket the following week. This is the last year we’ll be able to miss school since Parker will be in Kindergarten next year, so we took advantage of it! The only downside is that with the smaller crowds, sometimes they don’t offer as many boat tours as they do with the larger groups. So this time instead of doing a snorkel cruise and shelling tour, like we’ve done in years past, we opted to do a pirate cruise since it was offered at a time that worked better for our schedule. That was really our only scheduled thing that happened during our trip. That and the date night… and we’ll get to that later. So, other than the pirate cruise, we just did went to the beach, pool, visited Destin Commons, etc. We asked the kids if they wanted to do the Aquarium, and they didn’t want to. So… we didn’t force it. We just took our time and relaxed at the condo between our beaching, eating, pooling, going to dinner, waking up and repeating… It was amazing!
As for pictures during our trip… I started to use my DSLR, but then I didn’t want to lug it around, so I mainly used my iPhone 6. I just didn’t want to risk getting a bunch of sand in it, or not being able to enjoy my time in the water, for fear that it was going to get stolen. So, I left it behind and brought my phone that was more portable and easier to conceal. I’m also three weeks late in posting this, so I have not edited my photos, but that’s okay! It’s either I post my unedited photos in all their imperfections, or my posts don’t get done.
One of my very favorite days of our trip was Mother’s Day. For obvious reasons, because I felt a little more celebrated and appreciated, but one of the things I really loved was visiting Baytowne Warf. We found a fun restaurant overlooking the bay, and they had live music. They played some of my favorite beach tunes and the kids were laughing and dancing. It was the best!
The kids really loved the Buccaneer pirate cruise. We would’ve loved to have done the snorkle cruise where we go shelling, go down to the jetties and ride the kayak, but their timing just wasn’t good during our trip. The pirate cruise was definitely the highlight of the trip in the eyes of the kids. They loved it! It wasn’t too bad for the parents either since we got to enjoy some adult beverages and just let the kids have fun with several planned activities they had on the boat with the pirates!
We made some great memories during our trip! The kids did have a few moments of grumpiness that I would credit to the lack of sleep and excitement of the vaca and the expectations that came along with it. We found a sitter one night to go out to dinner (thanks to a referral from a neighbor who used to live in the area), and Dan and I enjoyed a fun evening alone without the kids in Destin. We went to McGuire’s Irish pub and ate dinner, had drinks, and then enjoyed a nice walk in Harbor Walk where we had a funny character drawn of us. When we got home, we found out that the kids were less than well behaved with the sitter. We were so embarrassed that they didn’t behave. We of course disciplined them by removing privileges, but we were just really bummed and disappointed that they represented our family in such a bad way. It’s just a reminder that even when you do the best you can to teach and raise your kids the right way, they’re still just kids, and they are full of sin and mistakes sometimes. So we didn’t dwell on it, we dealt with it and moved on, but it may be the last time we do a sitter on vacation. Especially one that our kids don’t know.
This is probably our last trip to Destin for a while. We will have a kindergartener next year who will have to abide by ‘normal school’ scheduling. It’s just so expensive during the summer peak times, so we’re not sure if we’ll be able to swing it for a while. We plan to go to NC and PA next year to visit family and get our beach fix that way, although we know it won’t be the same. We really enjoyed the beach time we had on the Emerald coast. Until we meet again!