Monday, July 10, 2023

30A Summer Beach Trip 2023 - Days 4, 5, 6, 7, & 8

I recapped the first half of our beach trip a couple of weeks ago, and today I’m wrapping up the recap with the second half!

Tuesday, June 6

Tuesday morning, we were up at 7 AM CST, which is 8 our time, and Brian took our chairs down to the beach to get a spot.  While he did that, I meditated and did my devotional time, and then we had leftover donuts for breakfast.  The kids watched some cartoons while B and I lounged for a bit, and I enjoyed a cup of hot tea before we got going for the day. 

We headed down to the beach shortly after that, and we soaked up yet another beautiful day.  We took a break in the condo for lunch, and then we headed straight back down to the water afterward.  We all got in a beach walk that afternoon, and then Olivia spent the rest of the day boogie boarding.  That girl loves the water!  And the water was perfection on Tuesday yet again… clear and perfectly calm… there was hardly a wave in sight!

Around 3 PM CST, we headed up to the condo and got showered and ready for the evening.  Then we headed over to The Big Chill (formerly known as The Hub) to hang out for the rest of the evening.  It’s one of my favorite places on earth!  If you’re ever in the 30A area, it’s a must-do.  It’s just the most festive outdoor space with loads of food and drink options, shopping, live music, entertainment, and loads of seating. 

Our niece (Brian’s sister’s daughter) and her boyfriend happened to be vacationing in Panama City the same week we were there, so they made the drive over to The Big Chill to hang out with us for the evening.  We bought a round of beers and then we grabbed some burgers, and we sat and chatted with them all evening.  Brian and the kids brought back ice cream for us mid-evening, and then shortly after that, Haley and her boyfriend were ready to hit the road since they had a bit of a drive to get back to their hotel. 

We were able to get someone to snap a group picture of us on their way out, and it was a really fun evening with them.  I still can’t believe that Haley is old enough to vacation alone… she was only four years old when Brian and I started dating and now she’s a grownup.  That is just crazy to me.

After we said our goodbyes, the four of us walked back into The Big Chill, and the kids wanted to visit the new Build a Bear Workshop there.  They both begged to have one made, so we told them that those could be their souvenirs from us, but that they had to pay us back for the souvenirs we’d already purchased at Duckie’s earlier in the trip.  They both agreed, and then they both picked out Pokemon-themed stuffed animals and watched them make them.  The whole process was really sweet and fun for them… I had never been to Build a Bear before, so I had no clue what all it entailed.  They were able to pick out and put little velvet hearts in their chests, and then the lady who worked there went through this whole routine with them as they prepped them to be made. 

By the time that was done, we were all ready to go back to the condo, and we ended the night with an episode of Weird But True.


Wednesday, June 7

Wednesday, we were up at 7 CST again, Brian put the chairs out, and then we made breakfast in the condo.  After that, it was, you guessed it, beach time again!  Brian and the kids tossed the football for a long time Wednesday morning, and I joined them for a bit, but I barely went in the water on this trip because it was so cold.  I spent most of my beach time sitting in my chair and reading one of the many books I’d brought.

At noon CST, we packed up all of our stuff and headed to the condo for lunch.  We were going to Panama City for the rest of the day and evening, so we didn’t go back down to the beach that day.  Instead, after lunch, we all got showered and ready, and then we made our way to PCB so the kids could have their annual visit to Dave and Busters… my least favorite part of every beach trip.  Haha.  I can tolerate that place for about 30 minutes to an hour, but after that, my head always feels like it’s going to explode.  It’s just too loud and obnoxious in there for me. 

We ended up staying for a couple of hours, and since it was double points day, the kids racked up on tickets, and they both had enough to get great prizes, and still have some tickets leftover for our next trip. 

After we finished there, we made the drive to a restaurant called Firefly to have dinner with our friends who live in Panama City Beach.  They had highly recommended the restaurant, and it did not disappoint. 

It was, probably, the fanciest restaurant the kids had ever been in, and they were oohing and aahing the whole time.  Haha.  There are no windows in the entire place, so when you walk in, you’re enveloped in dimness, and it feels like nighttime no matter what time you visit.

We had a reservation, and they asked us to be seated in the “library” while they got our table ready, and the kids couldn’t believe how fancy the waiting room library was. 

We only had to wait a few, short minutes before we were seated, and we ended up with the best table in the whole restaurant… the one right next to the giant tree covered in twinkle lights!  The kids were excited about that, too, and so was I… y’all know I’m a sucker for some twinkle lights!

Our friends, Stephanie and Bobbie, met us there shortly after we were seated, and then we had a round of cocktails – a Pink Lemon Drop for me, and a Makers Mule for Brian.  Then they brought out bread with THE MOST DELICIOUS dipping butters.  Oh my word.  There was a cinnamon honey butter, a garlic butter, and some kind of tomato puree that was incredible. 

For the entrees, Brian opted for the filet, and I opted for the alfredo, and it was all super delicious.  We were all stuffed by the time we were done eating, and we ended up sitting in the restaurant for a good hour afterward, just chatting.  (Also, I pulled that last picture from the internet so you could see what the inside of the restaurant looks like... it is just beautiful!)

After dinner, the kids were begging for dessert, so we walked down to The Pink Pelican for another round of ice cream, but I had to sit that one out because I was so stuffed.  Bobbie and I stayed outside while Brian and Steph took the kids inside, and then they joined us outside afterward because the place was packed inside.

By the time the kids had finished their ice cream it was really late, and we had a 40 minute drive back to our condo, so we said our goodbyes.  We all pretty much fell into bed when we got back, and that was our Wednesday!


Thursday, June 8

Thursday morning started the same way that all of the other mornings did… we woke up at 7 AM CST, and Brian went to put the chairs out by the ocean first thing.  For some reason, that day, the beach was busier than it had been any other day, so it was a tight squeeze getting our stuff right by the water.  After that was done, he took off to go grab another dozen donuts, and then we all ate breakfast when he got back. 

We headed down to the beach at 9 AM CST, and thankfully, the people sitting next to us had moved over slightly to allow us to have a little more room since we were packed in so tightly.  The guy was super nice about it and very welcoming, and I thought it was just really nice of him to do that since some people are very weird about their beach chairs.  I know we are sometimes.  Haha.

The weather and water were gorgeous once again, although, there were a few waves here and there on Thursday.  Mid-morning, the purple flag was also raised to indicate “dangerous marine life” which, on that particular day, meant jellyfish.

Jacob and I took a walk mid-morning and we saw jellyfish everywhere.  We counted nearly 30 if I’m remembering correctly.  And all of the jellyfish were crystal clear and round… they looked like big (and little) round ice cubes laying in the sand.  It was bizarre. 

We headed to the condo around noon to have a quick lunch, and then we went straight back down to the ocean to spend a couple more hours.  Thursday afternoon, Olivia made friends with a little girl named Evelyn who was also staying in our condo, and they played the entire afternoon together. 

While they played, Jacob and I took another beach walk, this time in the opposite direction, and we saw loads more jellyfish.  Thankfully, none of us (and no one around us) ever got stung that we know of!  The purple flag definitely didn’t put a damper on our day, that’s for sure.

Later in the afternoon, we gathered up all of our things and made our way back to the condo to get ready, and then we drove to Seacrest.  We swung by a souvenir shop so I could look around and grab a tacky souvenir frame for our collection, and then, we walked to La Cocina, my favorite Mexican restaurant everrrr, for dinner.  B and I got a pitcher of margs as we always do – theirs are some of the best I’ve ever had.  They make everything from scratch, and they use fresh limes for every drop, so they are seriously the best.  

I was STUFFFFED by the time we were done, and so was everyone else, so we walked to Rosemary Beach to spend the rest of the evening.  It always feels so good to walk after a big meal.

When we got to Rosemary Beach, we took some family pictures in the courtyard behind the post office as we always do, and then we walked to Sugar Shak to let the kids pick out dessert.  They always opt for candy there because they have so many unique, old-fashioned things from which to choose.  B and I typically get ice cream there, too, but I was too full yet again.

B and the kids took their desserts back to the courtyard to eat, and then we walked down to Barret Square to see what was happening on the green.  They were setting up for family movie night and they had food trucks and face painters.  One of these days we’ll stick around for that, but per usual, we were all ready to head back to the condo since it was getting late.  Well, the kids weren’t.  Haha.  Olivia begged to stand in line for the face painters, but both lines were about 20 kids deep, so that was a hard no.  Haha. 

Instead, we walked back to Seacrest, hopped in the car and drove back to the condo, and then we changed clothes, and went crab hunting on the beach.  We ended up seeing eight ghost crabs, most of which were spotted by yours truly.  ;o)  On our drive back, the sun looked like a massive ball in the sky and it was a sight to behold.  The pictures don't remotely do it justice.

We ended up staying out past dark, and then we finally made our way back to the condo, we watched some of America’s Got Talent, and then we all headed to bed.  

We also got a little check-in from our baby girl back home.  <3

Friday, June 9

Since things had been a little tighter on the beach Thursday, we woke up at 6:30 AM CST on Friday to ensure we got a good spot, and it turned out that we didn’t need to wake up earlier, because there was plenty of room out there all day.  (And when I refer to “getting a good spot” I just mean getting a spot in the front row by the water.  There’s always only one row of people on the beach in Santa Rosa, but occasionally, the front row fills up, and you may get stuck in the second row which just means you have people between you and the water.  In Panama City, however, there are always rows and rows and rows of people on the beaches, so you could potentially have 5-6 rows of people between you and the water, but in Santa Rosa it’s not like that, and that’s why we like it.  It’s just one row, usually, with a few stragglers in a second row sometimes.  Does that make sense?)

Anyway, we had leftover donuts yet again, and then we headed down to the beach.  The weather and water were perfect again, but the purple flag was still out on Friday, even though we never saw any jellyfish. 

Olivia’s friend, Evelyn came out mid-morning, and they were inseparable for the rest of the day.  They spent nearly every single second out in the water with their boogie boards.  I swear, I thought Olivia was going to grow a mermaid tail on this trip.  ;o)

I walked with Jacob mid-morning again, and then we did lunch in the condo, followed by more beach time.  Jacob and I even squeezed in a second beach walk in the afternoon.  He grows tired of the beach after a few days, so he was pretty much done with the water by the time Friday rolled around.

When we headed up to the condo for the final time on Friday afternoon, we stopped by Evelyn’s family’s beach tent, and we chatted with them for a bit.  They gave us their address so the girls could keep in touch and be pen pals, so Olivia was super excited about that as well.  They’ve already exchanged letters, and Olivia’s second letter is currently on its way as you read this.  So sweet.

After we were all showered and ready, we headed back into Seaside for the evening with the intent of eating pizza at Bud & Alley’s only to find that they had moved to a new space that is now walk-up ordering and outdoor seating only.  Boooo.  We were all a bit sunburned and were wanting a shaded space for dinner that evening + the weather was looking iffy, so we opted for something else instead.  We were all pretty disappointed with the change as we’ve always loved Bud & Alley’s… their outdoor porch was always our favorite!  Such a bummer that they changed locations. 

Instead, we opted to eat at the new restaurant that was occupying the old Bud & Alley’s building – The Daytrader Tiki Bar and Restaurant.  I have to say, I wasn’t all that impressed.  Their “thing” is their fancy, elaborate cocktails, but each one was insanely expensive – like, think $25+ each – and I just can’t bring myself to pay that much for a drink, so B and I opted for beers instead.  We saw trays and trays of cocktails coming out, though, and they were SUPER impressive.  One of them comes in an IV bag hanging on a rack and you drink straight from the IV bag.  Hahahaha.

The food ended up being pretty good, but the atmosphere/vibe wasn’t great at all, so needless to say, I doubt we’ll go back.  I’m interested to see if the place even lasts long there.  It doesn’t really fit the Seaside vibe in my opinion, and I’m willing to bet it doesn’t last another year or two.  Who knows, though! 

By the time we finished up there, the sky was looking OMINOUS, so we made a beeline for the car.  I would have liked to hang around Seaside for a little longer since it was our last night, but we could tell a bad storm was coming, and that was not a good idea. 

We made it down the street to the gas station before the bottom fell out and it POURED for the rest of the drive.  When we got back to our condo, we saw tents and various other things flying down the beach and it looked soooo dangerous. 

Since it was pouring and there wasn’t much else to do, I started getting us packed since we were leaving in the morning, and then the kids ate the last of the ice cream in the freezer before watching some America’s Got Talent and hitting the hay.


Saturday, June 10

Saturday morning, we were up bright and early, and we hit the road so we could make it home by lunchtime.  That gave me the rest of the day to get everything unpacked and washed and put away, and then we were even able to meet my fam for dinner.

All in all, we couldn’t have asked for better weather or better water on this trip, and I’m pretty sure that this was the best trip we’ve ever had weather and water-wise EVER.  It was just stunning.  And apparently, that all changed the day after we left, and they ended up having some of the worst weather and water for two full weeks.  It stormed a ton and there were tornadoes, and there were double red flags for two weeks which means you can’t even put your toes in the water because the rip currents are too dangerous.  From what we saw on the news, there were 8+ drownings and 30+ rescues, too, so I’m grateful that we weren’t there for any of that!  Whew.

Happy Monday, y’all!


  1. Good thing you missed the bad weather! We have grown up nieces and nephews too, who were little when I met Dave or had just been born and are now married! It's funny. I love that teal bikini on you!

  2. Wow, that is so scary about the rescues and weather after you left. It looks like you had the BEST time and lots of good dining too!

  3. It sounds like a wonderful vacation and you definitely lucked out by picking the exact right week to go!

  4. So Fun!! We are excited to head to Santa Rosa on Wednesday!

  5. You really did get the perfect weather and calm ocean for your trip! I love that white ruffled top with your tan skirt. I swear, you find the best donut places on your beach vacays!



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