In the last blog, I talked a bit about getting ready for our family vacation and how hectic that week can be.

True to form, the week before our family vacation was extremely hectic.  My hubby is an electrical contractor and has been working on two of the houses that the Property Brothers are filming here in Nashville.  And of course, things were kinda crazy.  He was super busy and not getting home until close to 6 PM (he leaves at around 7 AM).  So, I was trying to keep things moving along and getting stuff ready for vacation.

A couple of times he said to me that this was the worst possible time to go on vacation.  I worked really hard not to let that effect my excitement about vacation.  I told him that this was probably the best time for a family vacation.  Turns out, I was right.

We headed to Destin, Florida bright and early (5:15 AM) on June 23rd.  There were 14 of us on this trip.  Typically, we have 21 but one family was unable to join us this year.  We like leaving this early because we miss a lot of the traffic headed down I-65 and we get to Destin in time for lunch.  We arrived around 11 AM.  Great timing.  The past two years, we have had lunch at The Surf Hut.  Pretty good beach lunch.  I had fish tacos – yummy.  We were able to get into our unit early so we headed to Publix to pick up our groceries.  Publix is crazy later in the day, so we were happy that there was no crowd yet which meant the staff is still pleasant at this time of day!  We make at least four or five trips to Publix while we are there.

We stay in the Crystal Beach area.  Our house was on Pompano Street with beach access one short block away!  This year’s house was a carriage house, big house and a pool.  We opted to stay in the carriage house with my SIL and BIL.  We had a little more privacy and our own small kitchen.

Day one came to a close with several rounds of “beach ball” in the pool.  We have been playing this game for years.  We stand in a circle and hit the beach ball up in the air (trying to keep it in the air).  My SIL counts how many times it is hit without hitting the water or leaving the pool.  We were just average this year – I think our highest count was close to 200 – our record is around 400.

Days 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7

We have a routine when we go on our family vacation.  The younger crowd gets up and goes to work out and the “master class” (that’s what they call us) walks each morning.  We have breakfast together and then head to the beach.   Where we are going to eat at night is extremely important, so we decide ahead of time what restaurants we want to visit.  We decided on Boshamps on Sunday night, Jackacuda’s on Monday night, and our date night (Tuesday), we choose Emeril’s Coastal Italian, Wednesday we stay with the little kids so the bigger kids can have a date night too, Thursday is Louisiana Lagniappe and Friday is Café Thirty-A.

The rest of the days at the beach typically go like this:

Beach for a couple of hours after breakfast – then home for lunch.  My SIL and I each bring a Honeybaked Ham.  We have fruit, chips, etc.  Typical lunch fare.  Some head back to the beach and some stay and enjoy the pool.

Two years ago, we relented and started renting chairs for the week.  Not really a big fan but I do like having a designated place to sit on the beach without much worry about where we will be each day.

The beach was beautiful this year.  Clear water with no “green slime” in it.  Perfect temperature for cooling off.  We have not seen the water this clear in many years!

Day five – Wednesday – SHOPPING DAY!!

Silver Sands Outlet is one of my favorites places to shop.  We hit it early (10 AM), when they open.  This year I wanted to get new sunglasses so we visited the Oakley Vault.  They had great deals and I got my new polarized glasses for under $50 and hubby got his for right at $100.  Other shops I must go to are White House Black Market, Ann Taylor and Loft.  I had the most success at WHBM this year.  There is a very nice saleslady (Cindy) there.  She has waited on me the last two years.  She is very helpful.  We eat pizza for lunch at Ciao Bella at the mall.  Great pizza.

After shopping this year, we headed down to the beach for a couple of hours.  Relaxing in the chairs watching the ocean is such a stress reliever!

Recap of the restaurants we visited on our Family Vacation and what I ate:

Boshamp’s  Seafood and Oyster House – I had the catch of the day – Swordfish.  Never had it before.  It is probably the best fish I have ever eaten!   I had it grilled with creamy Spanish Mahon cheese grits and local okra-tomato maque choux.  Not an okra fan but the maque choux is amazing.  We sat out on one of the decks over looking the harbor.

Jackacuda’s Seafood and Sushi – this was a new restaurant for us.  It is in the Harborwalk near the bridge in Destin.  I love sushi so that’s what I had.  The O.V.O. roll is the best sushi roll I have ever had.  The downside to this restaurant is the $10 parking fee for Harborwalk and the parking lot is extremely crowded.  Our waiter here was new and really good!

Emeril’s Coastal Italian – We chose this place for our date night.  It is in the Grand Boulevard area of Destin.  Great atmosphere, open kitchen, tag team servers.  We will be going back to this restaurant.   The open kitchen is a cool sight and the food was wonderful.  The appetizer Calamari is a must!  I had one of their specials with bay scallops and pappardelle pasta.  It was just the right amount of decadent food.

Louisiana Lagniappe – We frequent this restaurant.  It is tucked away in a condo development off the main road in Destin.  Their main courses come with a great house salad, twice baked potato and some of the best hushpuppies around.  I always get their fried shrimp.  I don’t typically eat fried food but these are really good and light on the batter.

Café Thirty-A – this is always a must for us.  Located down in Seagrove beach, we drive the 30+ minutes to get there.  Between 5 PM and 6 PM you can get your entrée’s BOGO!  Their food is amazing.  Reservations are a must here.  I started with an Oyster Salad – all I can say is OMG.  My entrée was large pan seared scallops over risotto.  I ate every bite!

The rest of our time is filled with puzzles, reading, laughter, a quick trip to Barnes and Noble, and of course, our beach trip would be incomplete without a trip to Beach Zone and Alvin’s Island!

We have been taking this trip since our boys were little.  It is something we all look forward to.  Sometimes the timing is not the greatest but once you cross over the Mid-Bay Bridge and you see the white sands and blue-green waters, you breathe a sigh of relief and know it is going to be a great family vacation!

You can check out things I wore and ate on my Instagram feed!



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