Monday, June 24, 2024

Our 2024 30A Summer Beach Trip - Days 6, 7, & 8

I’m recapping the last three days of our beach trip today!  The last day we were there was wild, to say the least.

Thursday, June 6

Thursday morning, was much of the same.  Brian picked up donuts one more time from The Donut Hole, I did a Bible study, and then we headed down to the beach around 10:15 our time.  It was sunny for most of the morning, but clouds rolled in and out for the rest of the afternoon.  They also changed the flag from yellow to a single red one and a purple one late in the morning which means that the rip current had picked up (red) and potentially dangerous marine life had been spotted (purple).  The purple flag usually means jellyfish have been spot from our previous experiences, but Friday we would find out that it meant something a little different this time around. 


Late in the morning, Jacob and I went for a beach walk, and then we all went up for lunch in the condo again.  After that, it was back down to the beach for a few more hours. 


Around 4 our time, the guys who put out the chairs came out to tell everyone that they needed to close the umbrellas because a storm was coming and there had been waterspouts spotted just down the coast. 

At that point, we were ready to go up anyway, so we grabbed everything and headed up.  I had hoped to see some waterspouts (we’ve seen them there before and they’re so cool to see!), but the storm avoided us entirely, and we never even got a drop of rain. 

We all got showered and ready for the evening, and then we ended up heading back to The Big Chill for the evening.  It’s one of our favorite places to go on 30A, so we usually end up there twice each trip. 

When we arrived, we saw that Luke Bryan’s Bronco was there yet again, but sadly, we still didn’t see him.  Boooo.

When we arrived, the kids wanted to look around the Build-a-Bear workshop, so we browsed for a bit, and then found a table.  I grabbed us some beers, and then I opted for barbecue for dinner while B and the kids opted for Duo’s again, just for something other than burgers. 

Thursday night was DJ night there, but the DJ wasn’t all that great – he was playing some really odd choices of music… nothing that I would ever listen to – so we didn’t hang around very long after dinner.

Olivia was clearly exhausted from all of the sun and lack of sleep all week, so she’d gotten pretty whiny, so we headed back to the condo, and I read for a bit in the room until sunset.

We headed down to the beach to watch the sun set, and boy, were we treated to a gorgeous one.  I didn’t brighten or edit these pictures in any way.  That is just God’s natural beauty on display right there!

After our walk, we all crashed.  We’d been having too many late nights, too much sun, and not enough sleep, so everyone needed a good night’s sleep.


Friday, June 7

Friday was our last day there, so we made the most of it.  We were up at 8 AM our time (7 AM beach time), we ate our leftover donuts for breakfast, I did a Bible study, and we were down on the beach by 10:15 AM our time.  The weather and water were positively GORGEOUS Friday, so we were grateful to have that going for us on our last day there.

We spent the whole morning playing in the water and reading, and Jacob and I got in another beach walk. 

We did our usual lunch in the condo, and then we settled back in on the beach for the rest of the afternoon.  Brian and Jacob played ball in the water for a long time and Olivia and Evelyn played in the water ALL.DAY.LONG.  Olivia would stay in the ocean forever if we’d let her.  And the first sandbar was so close to the shore Friday so they spent a lot of time there doing cartwheels and playing.  Olivia knew it was her last day with Evelyn, so they played and played and played in the water.  I even went out in the water for a bit to hang out with Erin, Evelyn’s mom, who loves being in the water and had been graciously staying right by the girls all afternoon.  (Brian and Jacob were also out there playing ball so, don’t worry, we weren’t entrusting our daughter’s care completely to others.  Haha.)

Around 4:30, we decided it was about time to start gathering our things and head up for the evening to get ready for dinner.  Just as we were about to start rounding up all of our stuff, security came flying down the beach in a truck whistling everyone out of the water.  We were so confused because we’d never seen anything like that before.  The flags were a single red and a purple which means you’re allowed to be in the water.  The only time you’re not allowed in the water is when there are two red flags, so it didn’t make any sense that they were making everyone come to shore. 

Everyone flocked to the police to ask what was going on, and all he said was, “Wildlife is making mischief.”  We were like, “Okaaaayyyy.”  What does that even mean?!

Well, it didn’t take long before word started making its way down the beach, and all of our questions were answered when some people came running up the beach saying that there had been some shark attacks, so they were shutting down the beaches. 

We didn’t think much of it because shark attacks don’t ever happen in that area, so we figured some little sharks had been spotted and that maybe somebody had gotten grazed or something. 

Well, sadly, that was not the case.  Not the case at all.  I’m sure by now most of you reading probably saw what happened since it made national news.  Friday, June 7, while we were there at the beach, in the water, three people were attacked by large sharks – a 45-year-old woman lost her lower left arm in one of the attacks, a 15-year-old girl lost her left hand and had to have her right leg amputated, and a third teenager was treated for flesh wounds.

And one of the attacks (the one on the 45-year-old woman) happened a mere mile down the beach from us… right in front of the place where we’d had dinner the night before.

The attacks on the teenagers happened a little further down the beach, but not by much… they happened in Seacrest which is just outside of Rosemary Beach (just a couple of miles down the beach from us) where we’d spent the evening taking our family pictures. 

In other words, waaaayyyy too close to home.  WAY.

Since that day, we’ve seen tons of articles and videos (thanks, Facebook algorithm) about how there were numerous (very) large sharks swimming up and down the 30A coastline that day (in super shallow water!!!!), and it’s terrifying to know that sharks were likely swimming close by at some point while we were in the ocean.  Literally makes me want to faint even thinking about it.

Yes, I know the ocean is where the sharks live, and yes, I know there’s always a risk, but as I said before, shark attacks like that just don’t ever happen there.  Ever.  And I had no clue they would swim so close to shore like that either!

All of the ladies who were attacked were in waist deep water just by the sandbar, which is where Olivia had been playing the entire day, and it is not lost on me that that could have been any one of us.  I have thanked God so many times since that day that it didn’t happen to us.

I read a full account of what happened that day on the beach to Lulu, the teenager who had the worst injuries, and it sounded like something straight from a horror movie.  I can’t even imagine what it must have been like to be there that day.  Especially if it was my child.

Thankfully, all of the victims survived, and Lulu, the teenager who had the worst injuries, is stable now, but she has a very long road of recovery (and multiple surgeries) ahead of her.  Her mom has been posting updates on Facebook, and I’ve been following along with them ever since, and it’s just been heartbreaking to read.  I can’t imagine having to walk that road with my child.  Please keep their family (and the families of the others) in your prayers.

Side note, I am an excellent swimmer and I love a swimming pool, but I hate any natural body of water for this very reason – the creatures in them.  I don’t swim in lakes.  I don’t swim in rivers.  I don’t swim in ponds or any other bodies of water.  And I barely get in the ocean.  I am absolutely convinced I will get attacked by a shark if I go too far out.  Therefore, I only go out in the ocean up to my knees, and only in water that I can see through.  And the fact that those attacks happened on the day that I let my guard down and went in the water up to my hips just freaks me out. 

Olivia, on the other hand, is fearless, and she LOVES the ocean, so I have always worried constantly about her (and Brian or whoever else is out there with her), but after this, I’m going to be a complete basket case.  Nobody is going in the ocean ever again!  Haha.

Anyway, the police cleared the entire beach for about 30 miles, from Destin to Panama City, (30A where we stay and where the attacks happened are between those two cities), and they were closed for the next two days, I believe, so we were grateful that it was our last day.

After the shark drama died down, we packed up all of our stuff, and then we said our goodbyes to Evelyn and her family.  We all discussed timing of next year’s trip before we headed to our condos, and we both plan on being there at the same place during the same week next year, too, so Olivia and Evelyn should be able to see each other again!  In the meantime, they’ll continue to be pen pals and write letters.  :o)

Once we got back in the condo, we all got showered and ready for the evening, and I took some time to start packing since we were leaving the next morning.  We had stuff everywhere and the condo was a complete and utter disaster, so it was necessary… otherwise we would have had to wake at the crack of dawn to get everything packed.  

We also got an update on Maui from my MIL... she was doing great and she was looking forward to seeing us on Saturday!  Haha.


We met our friends, Stephanie and Bobbie for dinner at 7:15 our time.  They used to live here in Georgia, and Stephanie and Brian worked together for years, but they moved down to the beach about 10-15 years ago, so we always try to meet up with them while we’re there.

We decided to try a new-to-us place for dinner Friday night, and I was soooo happy we did, because it’s now one of my favorite places on 30A!  We’ve been going to 30A for years and years, and we drive by Old Florida Fish House daily, but we’d never been despite the fact that so many people have been telling us to go.

Well, it was most definitely worth the wait, y’all.  The ambiance is INCREDIBLE and the food was just as good.  The whole restaurant is outdoors, and the tables are spread throughout this lush garden of exotic flowers and plants, beautiful fountains with tile mosaics, and twinkle lights everywhere.  It’s just stunning.  And in addition to the backdrop being gorgeous, there was also a guy playing acoustic guitar.  Perfection.  I wanted so badly to walk around the place and take a video to share on Instagram, but I didn’t want to be that influencer disrupting everyone’s meals.  Haha.  Instead, I just settled for taking a few pictures that don’t do the place justice at all.

Stephanie and Bobbie met us there and we all started the evening with a round of cocktails – Rosemary Beach Lemonades for Stephanie and me, St. Petersburg Punch for B, and a beer for Bobbie – and we had a couple of appetizers, too – house made smoked tuna dip and garlic bread with tomato goat cheese dip.

For entrees, B and I both ordered the special – a grilled filet with bacon-wrapped, crab-stuffed shrimp, cinnamon mashed sweet potatoes, and asparagus – and all of it was so delicious.  If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, y’all know that I am not a fish or seafood person.  I don’t particularly like any of it, and I never order it or cook it. 

Well, the only way to get the filet was to get crab-stuffed shrimp that came along with it, and I have to say that I tried it, and I liked it!  Would I order it alone as my main course?  No.  Would I consider myself to be someone who enjoys seafood now?  Also no.  But I was proud of myself for trying something new.  As for the filet?  It was delicious.  GIVE ME A FILET ALL DAY EVERY DAY.  It’s one of my all-time favorite foods.

We had another round of drinks with dinner, and then afterwards, we sat around chatting for a while and letting our food settle because we were all stuffed

The kids were wanting to walk to the big dock that’s on the property there, so we walked there at dusk, and that gave us the most beautiful views of the restaurant.  It was all lit up since darkness was approaching and it was just the most magical end to a wonderful vacation… aside from the shark attacks, of course.

We finally made it back to the condo way too late, and then we polished off the M&M ice cream cookie sandwiches from the freezer before heading to bed.


Saturday, June 8

Saturday morning, we got showered and dressed, we packed up the condo, we said goodbye to the ocean (that was going to be closed all day due to the shark attacks), and we were out of there by 8:30 AM our time.

We had a smooth and quick ride home, and we were back in town just in time to swing through the Chick-Fil-A drive-through to grab lunch before making our way back home to do all the unpacking.

The rest of the day was spent unpacking and doing nine loads of laundry, among other things.  You can read about the rest of that day and the rest of that weekend here if you missed it! 

Happy Monday, y’all!


  1. I think I heard about the shark attacks from you, but I later read Lulu's account and that's so terrifying for real. Were your kids scared after that? It's good that it happened towards the end of the trip! I love the sunset pictures!

    1. Yes, her mom has been posting updates about her progress and it's heartbreaking and uplifting all at the same time. Both of the kids were a bit rattled, but thankfully, we were just getting out of the water on our last day when it happened, so we didn't have to worry about debating whether or not to go back in the water. Next year, it'll be interesting to see if they want to go back in the water or not. Jacob probably won't and Olivia probably won't care. Lol. She'll be wanting to go way out there again I'm sure!

  2. Yikes to those shark attacks so close! Other than that it does sound like a really great trip.

    1. It really was other than those attacks! That hit way too close to home!

  3. I still cannot believe the shark attacks happened like that down there! I am also keeping up with Lulu's journey and she is so strong! Dustin has always wanted to try Old Florida Fish House so we will do that the next time we are there!

    1. Yes, she is so amazing and so brave, especially to be just 15 years old. Y'all definitely need to go! I hate that we waited so long to try it because it was perfection from the food to the decor to the music. Just perfect.

  4. Ahhh SO close to Luke Bryan - I've been obsessed with him since circa 2013. Totally craving those donuts now too. So glad you guys were safe, can't believe all the shark attacks up that way.

    1. I know, I love him, too! I was almost as disappointed as Olivia that we didn't get to see him. And yes, I still can't believe it!

  5. Those shark attacks were so close...yikes! I'm glad they happened at the end of your week, as if they were at the beginning I don't think anyone would have gotten in the water. I love all your outfits and cute!

    1. We most definitely would have been avoiding the water if it had happened at the beginning of our trip. I felt so bad for all of the people coming in that Saturday after that happened. I would have been so anxious... and that's not how you want to feel on vacation!

  6. I had saw something on the news about shark attacks, but I didn't realize it was by 30A and a mile from where you all were at! OH, so scary! And such shallow water... yikes. I am glad you are all ok! Those sunset photos are SO pretty. The beach looks so calming. And you're tempting me with another donut photo!


    1. Yes, we still can't believe the attacks happened so close. It was way too close for comfort, that's for sure. Go get you a donut, girl!!


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