Hannah Bunker »

Destin Vacay: Part 4, The Good Stuff

Ah, the good stuff! We finally made it through the mess we had on our drive to Destin (read parts 1, 2, and 3) and the payoff was spectacular!

I’ve never been to a beautiful beach. Honestly, I wouldn’t totally consider myself a beach person either. Crazy, huh? Considering we planned a vacation on the beach. Beach just spells relaxation and that’s what we desperately wanted.

Below I’ll break up our vacation into the days we were there, tell you what we did, and where we ate. There’s a few things I discovered about Destin while on this trip. Some good, some bad, some things I would do differently, and some things I wouldn’t change.

  • It’s a great place to go if you don’t want to spend a lot of money while there. It’s not like Vegas or Disney where you spend all the money to get there then spend a lot of money while you’re on your trip. We didn’t do much for entertainment because we didn’t need to. The beach was enough. We really only spent money on food.
  • We stayed at a hotel, about a 20 minute drive from a beach. This was totally fine for us this time, but when we have kids if we decide to go back, I would definitely rent a house that walks right out on the beach. It would give you the freedom to come and go as you choose, you don’t have to walk and lug your stuff to the car, and if the kids get fussy or whatever, you have the freedom to just walk back to your house instead of having to make a 20 minute drive back to the hotel.
  • Our routine for this vacation: Sleep in until 9 or 10. Have a snack for breakfast. Take time getting ready. Go out to lunch (wearing swim gear under clothes). Go to the beach for 2-3 hours. Come back to the hotel to clean up. Go out for dinner. Watch 10 late-night episodes of Pawn Stars. Worked perfect for us.
  • Sand never disappears. Even a week after you get home, you’re finding sand in the most random places…including randomly finding a few grains in your mouth. What?!

Day 1.

We arrived in Destin around 4.

We checked into our hotel, the Mariott on Grand Blvd. Aaron drooled over our view of the golf course.

Walking out on our balcony to this view put him in a serious happy place. The same kind of happy place he’s in when he’s eating a good steak. Very happy.

We wasted no time and headed to a beach. This one was Dune Allen off of 30a.

When I say “I went for a dip,” you can read that literally. I tested out my phone’s Lifeproof case and went out into the ocean with it. The water was incredibly salty and burned my eyes a little bit. But it was cool and up to my chest I could still see my feet. That’s a win for me.

We watched the gorgeous sunset. I have a thing for sunsets that require me to pause life and enjoy them. We made our way back to the hotel and it was Panera for dinner that night. We were tired and just wanted food. It was perfect end to our first night.

Day 2.

We actually didn’t get on a beach this day because it was the only day that we made plans – Aaron was playing golf and I was getting a massage and going shopping.

Lunch started out at Pompano Joes right off the beach. Quickly after we sat down and saw the gorgeous view from the deck we had a little regret that we planned activities that day because the beach was calling us.

Isn’t he cute?! And sexy in his aviators?!

I don’t like restaurant gumbo. I’ve never had a good batch of gumbo from a restaurant. But seriously, get the gumbo if you ever go to Pompano Joes. Delicious. Tasty enough to take a picture.

I dropped Aaron off at the Emerald Bay golf course for him to play a round of golf. Playing golf is one of his favorite things to do, so when he asked a few months ago if I would be okay if he played golf while we were there, I couldn’t refuse. It meant a lot to him.

While he played golf, I went shopping. Then I picked him up and he took me to get my massage. After the massage we ate at a chain restaurant called Miller’s Ale House. I had a migraine so dinner for me was just a way not to feel nauseous. But Aaron was flabbergasted over his Osso Buco – he loved it! It was was the same happy place as a good steak. Then we had some ice cream cake and that was the medicine my headache needed.

That night we snuck onto the green of the golf course across from our hotel room and putted in the dark. If I hadn’t had such a headache it probably would’ve been incredibly romantic. It was cute, but I was ready for bed.

Day 3.

This day was my favorite day.

We made our way to a little town called Seaside that’s about 25 miles east of Destin. It’s the cutest little pastel town that’s small enough to walk everywhere. It has a town square that’s lined with quaint shops, and along the main street there’s a line of silver airstream trailers that double as food trucks.

The night before we did a little research about all the great places to eat and decided to start the morning off at a little local coffee shop called Amavida. These coffee snobs were impressed!

2013-07-27 09.24.46

After breakfast we did some unintentional exploring as we drove an hour and a half along some scenic roads, half enjoying the beautiful views and half trying to find a quiet beach. We finally ended up at a beach tucked away in a beautiful neighborhood, far off the beaten path of noisy interstate and big crowds.

The water was also especially calm that day so we were able to do a lot of floating without ending up a mile away from our chairs.

Sidenote: this will be the only time ever that you will ever see me in a swimsuit. And even this isn’t the whole shebang. The internet is forever, folks. 

This is my new favorite picture of Aaron. Ever. It’s going up on the wall somewhere. It’s such a joyful photo! And such a darn cute face!

We roughhoused a little like we were 10 years old. And we took pictures of ourselves doing it, which led to some incredibly toothy smiles. And happy hearts.

Can I please direct your attention to my freckles? They were all “WHERE’S THE PARTY?!”

I took many of these types of shots but I’ll limit myself to two for this post.

After the beach we showered up and changed clothes then headed back to Seaside for some shopping and a late lunch. We ate at two places; I picked up some seriously incredibly grilled cheese sandwiches from The Meltdown and Aaron ordered fried pickles from a little place called Pickles. Then we sat outside and shared sandwiches, fries, fried pickles and a sweet tea. Heaven.

Can we all give kudos for the baby photo bomb in this pic? Kudos to you, kid. That’s a great photo bomb.

I came ‘this’ close to buying this for my wild nights out on the town *eyeroll*. But upon examination, realized the shells were glued to the stand. But was too cool not to have its picture taken.

We got back to the hotel, cleaned up, rested, then headed out for a late dinner. That night we went to a place called Dewy Destin. This was my least favorite of all the places we ate. 1) The wait was ridiculous – 2 hours for parties, 45 mins for us. 2) Our food wasn’t that great. 4) It was the most expensive place we ate for food that was our least favorite. 3) We witnessed an altercation between two staff members. Maybe it just wasn’t what I was expecting, but it wasn’t our jam.

On another note, will you please take a look at the color on this chick?! I was excited to have some sort of pigment.

Day 4.

Last full day. Another day to sleep in a little. We had an early lunch at Fuddpuckers where I’m a little ashamed to say that I accidentally mixed the letters up more than once. But I laugh at the same time. They’re asking for it though with a name like Fuddpuckers.

PS. They have live alligators. I could stare at them all day, they’re so neat, and creepy, and interesting!

We were bummed because the forecast predicted 30% chance of rain the whole time we were there. We woke up this day to dark skies but decided that since we would get wet in the ocean anyway, why not just go to the beach with just our chairs and umbrella and face the rain. So we were prepared to get rained out but make the most of it.

We ate an early lunch in order get an early start at the beach. We wanted to brave one of the more crowded beaches and an early start had a bigger guarantee that we could find a parking spot close by. Which we did. This was a beach off of Scenic 98 (in case you’re a map nerd like me), right outside Pompano Joes.

Sidenote: I perused the people in the background to make sure things stayed PG here on the blog. They were PG while we were there but who knows, things move around on the beach. You’re welcome for that visual.

The waves were insane that day. We went boogie boarding and I couldn’t even make it out far enough to catch the good waves! It was a serious workout so Aaron went boogie boarding while I just let the baby waves slap me around. It was great though.

We spent about 3 hours on the beach, went back to the hotel to clean up, then ate dinner at a pizza place called The Mellow Mushroom. I’m a total pizza gal that could have it for every meal. This…ohmahgaw…was the best pizza I’ve had. Seriously. I got really sad that the closest one is an hour from my house

This was an incredible vacation! Destin is beautiful, the beaches are gorgeous, everywhere is clean, and the food was delicious for these foodies.

This place…heaven.

Only in heaven, I’m not still finding sand all over my house and car. But it’s beautiful, clean, feathery sand I’m sad to throw away…because it reminds me of such a wonderful time alone with my man in a beautiful place. So I’ll take sand in my underdraws for that memory any day.

  • Aunie - Your water pictures are SO CLASSIC. The one of the wave hitting you gives me the biggest smile 🙂 ReplyCancel

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