Family Vacations are not for everyone especially when extended family is involved.  We love taking our annual Family Vacation to Destin, Florida.  It is a great time for us to relax and to connect with our family in a very special way.

Family Beach Time!

Early on the morning of June 22nd, 19 family members headed to the Florida Panhandle.  The Master Class (me, David, Jane and Mike) love getting up at O dark thirty and missing tons of traffic.  5:15 is early for the kids and their kids but hey, it works.   We typically arrive at the beach between 11 and 11:30 AM.  We eat lunch, hang out on the beach and wait for our accommodations to be ready.


When we reach the MidBay Bridge, there is a collective sigh of relief from the entire car.  We know that we have arrived, and vacation has begun.

MidBay Bridge

Call me crazy but it seems that the people and/or property management companies that run these places keep moving the arrival time further back.  It used to be we could get in at 2 PM, then it went to 3 PM and now this year, 4 PM.  That’s an entire day that we are paying for wasted!   We make the best of it but it still seems a bit unfair.


Our house this year was on Luke Street in the Crystal Beach area.  This street is at the back of this development closer to Highway 98.  Luckily they provided us with a golf cart to haul the “little people” and all their toys to the beach.  This year’s house was two identical units in one house with a large pool.  Having such a large group, it’s better for us to have two of everything – refrigerators, washers, dryers, diswashers, etc. 

The Pool

The cleaning people were still there when we went arrived and they were kind enough to let us in a bit early.  We unloaded the cars and then headed to Publix.  We arrived later than our norm and the place was packed.  There were only four watermelons left (no bueno).  Shaun was able to pick a good one from the four!

Unloaded groceries and headed out to the pool area to chill.  Day one was pretty uneventful!

We love walking the Crystal Beach neighborhood each morning and most evenings. We reminisce about all the places we have stayed and all the antics that went on at each place!

The beach was beautiful this year.  The first three days, we have large waves and a red flag.  The undertow was significant.  The last three days, the water was like a lake and so clear. 


Puzzle #1

This year we did two puzzles.  It is a great time.  Several of us gather round one of the tables and start working on the puzzles.  70’s music plays in the background.  Most everyone contributes to the finished product even some of the kiddos.  They get into it.  It’s hard to leave the unfinished puzzle on the table but we do.  It typically takes us about 5 or 6 hours to complete one!



Shopping Date this year was on Tuesday!!  Silver Sands Outlet is one of my favorites places to shop.  We hit it early (10 AM), when they open.  I was not looking for anything in particular but found some great buys at Old Navy Outlet, Loft Outlet and White House Black Market Outlet

We tried a new restaurant this year – Camille’s at Crystal Beach.  We had been there once before years ago and didn’t care for it.  This time is was spectacular and we will be going back!

The rest of our time is filled with puzzles, reading, hanging out by the pool, trips to Barnes and Noble, Beach Zone and Alvin’s Island!  Oh, and we make several trips to the grocery store over the course of the week!

We love our annual Family Vacation.  We laugh, mess with each other, have great conversations by the pool and enjoy watching all the little people play in the water and sand.  There is just something about the sand and the blue-green waters that makes you forget about all the stuff at home and just enjoy the moments!

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