Finally winding down from summer travel and already getting excited to plan for next summer!
I always say we are a family who likes experiences. Rather than spending $$$$ on a 1.5 hour birthday party or buying all the “things”, I’d much rather explore and make memories with my littles. Experiences are also much more memorable when you can share them, too. So, with that said (or, written… you get my point!) – I’m going to share with you all the reasons why you should pack up your family and head down to Destin, Florida!
My family loves road trips, or mostly just me and they try to make me happy by obliging to my insane ideas. But, I somehow convinced my husband to drive from Chicago to Destin with our two boys in late July. When you have a toddler…. or a toddler like my toddler – you drive, not fly, to destinations. His meltdowns are much easier in the car verses on an airplane with hundreds of other people.
With this in mind, we agreed the road was the best way to go. We made a pit stop in Nashville over night and made it to Destin the following afternoon. It really wasn’t that bad of a drive, so if you’re coming from afar…you got this!
Luckily, we were vacationing with some good friends so we went in together and rented a house across from the beach. I definitely recommend going this route because having a kitchen and separate bedrooms for everyone was the key to our sanity. We stayed in Miramar Beach and went through Southern Vacation Rentals to find this little gem of a home.
This was a great area to stay in as you were right in between the other amazing beach areas like Seaside and Santa Rosa, and then Destin to the other side. Destin has so many great kid activities, shopping centers, the board walk and family fun centers with miniature golf, go carts – you name it, they have it. Since it rained several of the days we were there, we headed over to Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl and Grill to bowl and play some arcade games. Word to the wise: get there 30-45 minutes before they open if you want a shot at getting a bowling lane. They don’t take reservations and it fills up FAST. The kids loved it and thankfully we got there early and got the last lane available.
The Destin Harbor Boardwalk provided hours of entertainment as well for the kiddos. You can book dolphin cruises or just walk and check out all the sites. There were options to zip line or even get into a giant blow up ball and roll around on water. Looking at that ride made me want to vomit, but the kids loved it!
When it’s nice outside, it’s time for the beach! A lot of the rentals have private beaches where you have access to chairs and such, but we brought our own with a beach canopy. I highly recommend a canopy because it allowed us to stay out for hours without getting too hurt or burned. This is the one I bought and it was extremely easy and fast to put up and down. The sun shade for the side was key! We packed a lunch and snacks, maybe a few adult drinks too, and spent several days out there. The water is beautiful, the beaches are clean, and overall just a great experience.
Because we went with another family, we traded off on babysitting nights. Brilliant! We did a girl’s night, a guy’s night, and each couple had a date night. This way the adults had some of our own fun too. My husband and I chose Vue on 30A for our date night and the food was amazing! If you call ahead you can ask for a window view, totally worth it. We got to see the sun set as we ate our dinner. There’s an outside patio too, but it was raining when we went.
Santa Rosa and Seaside are also beautiful! The beaches didn’t have easy access like Miramar, but if you’re going for the food and night time entertainment, head to this area. Plenty of fun bars with live entertainment and food outside of your greasy bar food.
I didn’t realize how much I would like Destin. It’s a great place for family fun and we definitely plan on going back in the near future.