Wednesday, June 16, 2021

2021 30A Summer Beach Trip - Days 1, 2, & 3

We spent last week in our happy place and today I’m recapping the first three days!  We always squeeze in a lot of stuff on a vacation, so it’s impossible for me to recap it in just one post. 

Saturday, June 5

Check-in for condos in Florida is always pretty late in the day (4 PM CST for ours) plus they’re an hour behind us, so that’s 5 PM our time, which means there’s never any reason for us to leave home early.  Instead, we spent Saturday morning at home, finishing up packing, tidying the house, and getting the blog squared away… it was nice to have that time since I was so behind on things after the crazy week we’d had prior to that due to Olivia’s broken elbow.  After a quick lunch at home, we finally hit the road in the early afternoon.

By the time we arrived in 30A and got unpacked and settled in, it was dinner time.  Since check-in is so late, we’ve stopped trying to go out to eat the first night, and instead, we always grab some takeout from somewhere and eat it in the condo.  We wanted to try a new-to-us pizza place called Pizza by the Sea, but after hitting redial a hundred times and nobody ever answering, we discovered that they only accept walk-ins due to the high takeout volume on Saturday nights. 

In case you’re not familiar with 30A, most of the condo rentals require everyone to stay Saturday to Saturday during peak season, which means that Saturdays are always CRAZY down there because everyone is checking out and checking in on the same day.  That means most people are getting settled in on Saturday and they don’t want to dine out or cook, which means, EVERYONE orders takeout… and we assume the majority of those people order pizza based on the wait times for some of the places (2+ hours!!).  Haha. 

Anyway, since Pizza by the Sea only took walk-ins, we figured the wait would be terrible and we didn’t want B to have to sit there at the restaurant waiting for 2+ hours for our pizza to be ready.  Pizza by the Sea was also way further down the strip from us, and the traffic was horrendous Saturday evening coming in, so we decided to order pizza from our tried and true, Angelina’s.  It’s just right down the street from our condo and it’s right next a gas station so B could stop in and grab some beer, too.  Haha.

Fortunately, the wait for Angelina’s was fairly short, and we were able to eat within the hour.  We typically go to the grocery store the day we arrive so we can have everything we need in the condo for breakfast in the morning, but again, the strip was INSANE Saturday night, so we decided not to bother because it probably would have been a whole two hour ordeal due to the traffic and busyness in the store… even though Publix is less than a mile from our condo. 

Instead, we all went out on the beach to say hello to the ocean since we hadn’t been there in a couple of months.  It was pretty cloudy so there wasn’t much of a sunset, but it was just nice to be there after being away for a while.  The kids were so excited to be there, can you tell?

We stayed on the beach for about 30 minutes or so, and then headed back into the condo to watch an episode of Mighty Ducks and an episode of Walk the Prank (a show on Disney+ that Jacob discovered at a friend’s house).  Our kids love it, but honestly, it stresses me out… I can’t stand seeing people get pranked… especially if it’s something that causes them major stress or fear.  I just think it’s cruel and it gives me anxiety to watch someone else have anxiety.  Haha.

We stayed in Santa Rosa again this past year in the same condo we stayed in last year, but the unit we stayed in last year wasn’t available this year, so we had to stay in a different one.  This one was totally updated, and pretty nice, but the colors and furniture weren’t really my style as they were really modern.  The condo was just a one bedroom, but it had bunk beds in the hall as pretty much all Florida condos do, but the top bunk didn’t have a rail, so we decided it wasn’t a good idea for the kids to sleep there.

Instead, there was a sleeper sofa, but the metal supporting the mattress was crazily jutting out everywhere, and I was worried about the kids pinching a finger or injuring themselves, so we just pulled the mattress off of the couch, laid it on the floor, and the kids slept in their sleeping bags on top of the mattress.  They loved it and slept wonderfully every night, so it worked out great!

The bed in the bedroom had one of those memory foam mattresses, so when B and I laid down, we sank deep into it.  I was worried it was going to be so uncomfortable that I wouldn’t be able to sleep well, but for the most part, we both did okay.  There was no overhead fan in the bedroom either (which we didn’t realize when we booked it as that’s usually a deal-breaker for us), but thankfully, they had an oscillating fan that we were able to use every night.  The noise it made took some getting used to as we usually sleep in dead silence (other than our quiet overhead fan at home), but we both adjusted to the fan noise and it ended up being nice to have as our overhead neighbors were pretty noisy throughout the trip.   

Insignificant (and probably boring) details to you readers, but I like to remember these things in case we ever need to remember which condos we like and which ones we don’t.  Haha.

Sunday, June 6

Sunday morning, we got up and ate donuts in the condo… we had brought some leftover donuts from the Krispy Kreme treat that Brian and Olivia had picked up after she got her hard cast.  Then after breakfast, B went to do our Publix run.  We normally all go together, but the grocery stores at the beach are pure insanity (we’re talking people everywhere to the point where you can barely move), so we decided not to drag the kids.  I was concerned about Olivia’s elbow getting jostled around since the store is always so crazy, and at that point, her hard cast had only been on a couple of days, so I was worried her elbow might still be a bit tender.

B was gone forevuuuurrrr, and he said that Publix was crazier than he’d ever seen it.  Glad we opted out because the kids would have been miserable!  While he was gone, I made some hot tea and drank that while I read my book and the kids watched cartoons on Netflix.  Pro travel tip – bring your Roku wherever you go, and you’ll always have your Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and DVRed shows with you.  Just don’t accidentally forget the Roku when you leave.  ;o)

By the time B got home, the kids were begging to go to the beach.  It was a really cloudy day with a few chances of rain sprinkled throughout the day, so we decided not to bring all of our equipment and set up.  Instead, we put on our swimsuits and took a long walk.  As y’all know, Olivia’s doctor stressed just how important it is to keep her arm dry – since she still has pins in her elbow, her arm is considered an “open wound,” so the doc said that she absolutely cannot play in any water because it’s too risky since her arm could get infected. 

We brought an entire roll of trash bags and a ribbon to cover her arm while we were at the beach, and it worked like a charm to keep the water and sand out.  We never let her get in the water, but we did allow her to put her toes in, but ONLY if an adult was right there holding her hand or watching her like a hawk just in case she fell in the water or got splashed by someone else.  We managed to keep it dry and sand-free the entire trip, and for that, we’re all patting ourselves on the back.  ;o)

We ended up walking nearly a mile and a half, and then headed to the condo to make sandwiches for lunch.  After lunch, we all got ready for the day, and we remembered then that the condo had no tub, only a stand-up shower.  FOREHEAD SLAP!  Back when we booked it, Olivia’s arm wasn’t broken, so it was fine since all four of us only take showers.  Well, with her broken arm, she can only take baths, so it was a major challenge to get her clean the whole time we were at the beach. 

We figured out a good system, though, and Olivia was a trooper – we had her stand in the shower right next to the glass with her broken arm outside of the glass (and wrapped in a trash bag just in case).  Since she couldn’t hold her arm up at that angle for long, Brian had to stand there and hold her arm the entire time.  Then I pointed the shower head away from her so it wouldn’t drip down on her arm, and instead, I had to use a large plastic cup to get water out of the shower head and bathe and rinse her that way.  Bless her heart, she was so cold the entire time during every shower, but she rarely complained, and she got through it each day like a champ.  It definitely made for a verrrry long process, but at least we figured out a way to get it done!

Once we were all ready, we had some leisure time… the kids played some video games (we also bring our Nintendo Switch when we travel to give the kids something to do in our downtime) and I painted my nails and read for a bit. 

We decided to drive into Panama City for the evening to eat at Pineapple Willy’s.  It’s been our yearly tradition since Jacob was born… both of our kids have been there every year of their lives except for one year when we went to Myrtle Beach instead of Florida.  It’s always the kids’ favorite dinner at the beach because we eat on the pier right by the ocean. 

The beach next to Pineapple Willy’s is usually not that busy, and after dinner, we sometimes walk down there for a bit, but this year the beach was NEXT LEVEL PACKED, y’all.  I’ve been going to Panama City for most of my life, and I have never ever seen the beaches that packed other than spring break when I was in college.  It was insane, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone and their grandma is traveling this year after being stuck at home last year.  It made me SO glad that we were staying in 30A (where it’s less busy) and not in Panama City.  Shew. 

After a yummy dinner and some delicious (but really sweet) cocktails (B and I both went with the “Pineapple Willy” this year), we headed down the street for mini golf.  My mission was to find lots of fun things that Olivia could do with her arm in a cast, and that was one of them!  She was a little boss playing mini golf and she didn’t need any help at all – she even got a hole-in-one on one of the holes!!  We couldn’t believe it!  The golf course was surprisingly not very busy, and the weather was nice, so it was a really pleasant evening. 

It wouldn’t be vacation without ice cream, so next up, was our favorite ice cream place in Panama City, The Pink Pelican.  They have a gazillion different flavors… more than any other ice cream place that I’ve ever seen, and many of the flavors are incredibly unique, so we love it.  I just had to have the Banana Cream Pie and it was delish.

On the way back to the condo, we stopped by Donut Hole to grab donuts for breakfast the next morning, but they were out of all of the good ones as we figured they would be.  When we got back to the condo, we watched another Walk the Prank, and then it was bedtime for one and all.

Monday, June 7

Monday morning, B went out to grab donuts from Donut Hole since we couldn’t get them the night before, and then we had a slow morning in the condo.  The forecast showed a chance of rain every hour for the whole day, so we decided not to risk heading to the beach.  The last thing we needed was a downpour with Olivia’s cast.  Instead, the kids watched cartoons and I drank some tea and finished my book.  Mid-morning, we got ready, and then we headed back into Panama City to go to Dave and Buster's.  We figured that would be something fun to do indoors in case of rain, and it was something that Olivia could enjoy, even with her broken arm.

The kids had an absolute blast and racked up nearly 1,000 tickets.  Jacob won a stuffed animal at the claw game, and Olivia won a gazillion tokens and cards in the Wizard of Oz game that we always love to play there.  It’s so addictive.

We left at lunchtime and were pleased to see that it hadn’t rained at all… as a matter of fact, it ended up being sunny that entire day even though the forecast had looked grim that morning… not a drop of rain all day!  Since we were far from our condo, we decided to eat lunch out, and we thought it would be fun to try Whattaburger since we’d never had it.  The traffic in PCB was horrible, so what normally would have taken 10 minutes took about a half an hour, and when we arrived, we realized that they weren’t even open for dine-in because of Covid.  Sigh.

We ended up driving all the way back to Pier Park (where we’d just been at Dave and Buster's) to eat at Panera.  By the time we got there it was soooo late and the kids and I were all hangry.  Haha.  The Panera employees randomly gave our kids two of their favorite cookies for free, though, so I think it was worth the wait for them.  ;o) 

We decided to stop at Target while we were right there because Olivia needed some flip flops, and then we made the long drive back to our condo.  Traffic was rough down there this year, y’all.  We spent the rest of the afternoon in the condo just hanging out and then we went for a later dinner in Seacrest.  Restaurants fill up quickly in 30A, but it’s usually fairly easy to get into our favorite Mexican restaurant, La Cocina, so we figured it was our best bet since we needed to eat later due to our late lunch. 

Sure enough, we lucked out, and got a table right away at La Cocina even though it was filling quickly.  They only have a couple of patio tables, so we had to eat inside, but we got a corner booth, so we were well-distanced from all other tables… I guess it was our lucky evening!  And let me tell you, after a year of not eating out at all, it’s still bizarre to be eating inside a restaurant with a bunch of other people.  I wonder when it will finally start to feel normal again…

Their food is my very favorite Mexican food ever, and their margs are out of this world – seriously the BEST – so I was in heaven.  We ordered queso blanco as we always do, and I got my usual grass-fed beef taco salad + a pitcher of margs to share and, my goodness, it was probably my favorite meal of the whole trip!  Everything is just so dang good from start to finish!  I always find myself wishing I have two stomachs when I’m there.  Haha.

Seacrest is right next door to Rosemary Beach, so we took a little stroll over there to hit up Sugar Shack for dessert after dinner.  B and I were too stuffed for ice cream, but the kids are never too full for candy, so they picked out some very unique (and weird – haha) gummy treats and ate them in the courtyard.  Rosemary Beach was hoppin’ and as picturesque as I’ve ever seen it, and it was just the loveliest evening as it always is there.  Man, it’s so good to see people back out doing things they love after a year of doing nothing!!

On the walk back to Seacrest, we saw another little girl in a full arm cast, and we stopped to talk to her parents to commiserate.  She had broken her elbow as well, and Olivia thought it was so cool to see another little girl in the same situation as she was, and I think it made her feel a little less lonely about her situation. 

When we got back to our condo, Olivia was begging to go crabbing, so we grabbed our flashlights and gave the kids some glow-stick jewelry (so we don’t lose them on the beach in the dark – LOL), and we spent the rest of the night on the beach.  We ended up finding five crabs, which is our personal best, so the kids were thrilled. 

By the time we got back inside, it was laaaate, so we all called it a day!  I’ll be recapping more next week so be sure to come back then!  It just kept getting better and better!

Happy Wednesday, y’all!


  1. Love seeing you guys relaxing and having so much fun!!

  2. You have definitely created a really good routine - especially knowing that takeout works best on that first night!! Each time you do this post it makes me want to take a trip there! xo, Biana BlovedBoston

  3. The condo doesn't sound perfect but sounds like you made the most of it! Seems like it was crowded! I don't like pranks either and definitely wouldn't like that show.

  4. Love how excited the kiddos were, and Olivia was such a trooper with her cast! Great idea to do takeout on the first night, but bummer about the pizza place only accepting walk ups.

    Green Fashionista

  5. We were near Destin that same week and it was crazy busy too! Glad that Olivia handled everything so well. It'll be a memorable summer for all of you.

    1. Everything was just packed! I don't doubt that Destin was just as busy! We sometimes drive over there to shop, but we didn't even think about doing that this time because the traffic was so bad.

  6. What a great time. I love your fringe purse. So cute. I have always wanted to go there. I just need to book it. Your condo was pretty. I wouldn’t have let my kids sleep on the sofa either.

  7. I'm glad you made the best of the condo. No ceiling fan?!? Ugh! I can't believe how crowded that one beach was. Everyone is definitely travelling again!

  8. FUN! Glad O was a trooper with the cast!

  9. Even just with traffic on the roads we can tell everyone is traveling again! Sounds like it all went well even with the cast. That's great.

    1. Thank you! YES! So much traffic on the roads! I'm so glad to see that everything is starting to get back to normal again!


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