Florida Favorites: Pensacola Beach


Last week, Scott and I gathered everything we own, crammed it into our minivan (what! what!), buckled in three cute little pieces of precious cargo, and drove to Pensacola Beach, Florida, for a week-long vacation with Scott’s parents. Serious question: why is it that when you travel with kids, you have to pack up your house in its entirety? They require a lot of crap–pack n’ plays, toys, snacks, clothes, diapers, strollers, on and on, and on and on, and on an…

Ok, so today, I thought I’d do a little spin on “Friday Favorites,” and share some of our “Florida Favorites.” At least my favorites, anyway. Scott had one Florida Favorite (I’ll give you a hint: It starts with Piña and ends with Colada.).

Here we go:

1. Local Spots. We went to Florida as tourists. We left Florida as tourists. When we were in Florida, we acted like tourists. Let there be no mistake: We enjoyed all the shops, restaurants, and activities targeted at out-of-towners. However, one of our favorite spots to visit on vacation was a local dive bar called Paradise Bar & Grill. Who doesn’t love irony? This place was far from paradise in terms of food and service, but we LOVED mingling among the locals, people-watching, and enjoying a local favorite beverage, the bushwacker (basically, an adult milkshake).


2. Target swim suits. Allow me to be SUPER basic here. Target swim suits are evvverrryyything. They give me life. Give me allll the Target swim suits. Ew. Barf. No. Typing that out was basically even too basic for me, Basic Betsy. How many times can I type ‘basic’ in one, basic paragraph? In all seriousness: affordable, cute, durable. What more can you ask for in a swim suit? The Cat and Jack line is ON POINT. It’s LIT. Am I too old to say that? Does that even make sense? Who am I? Who are you? Wait, huh?


3. Folding wagon. Scott and I had a disagreement before we left for vacation, and I’m happy to report that I won, by the end of our trip, he agreed with me. I argued that with all of the things we would be hauling to and from the beach, we needed a folding wagon to make life easier. He argued that it was unnecessary and would drag sand into the condo (ROTFL. OF COURSE he did.) We purchased this one.

4. Educational adventure: Fort Pickens. ‘Members when I told you all about Living Forward and life planning? One of my goals is to add at least one educational element for my kids into our family vacations. On this trip, we visited Fort Pickens, a fort built in the 1830s. While it was located in Florida, a Confederate state, it was controlled by the Union during the Civil War. The kids loved running around through the grounds, exploring the brick structures, cannons, and doors that, in Hank’s opinion, resembled  jail cells. While there, we also watched the Blue Angels which was exciting and exhilarating and scary and fascinating all at once.

pensacolapensacola1pensacola2pensacola65. Excursions. Two words: dolphin cruise. Everyone wins. The kids saw dolphins. We enjoyed being on the water and the ocean breeze.

pensacola56. Beach Playlists. I’m really late to the party, but I just joined Spotify, and I had so much fun compiling songs for a beach playlist. Prior to my trip, I asked anyone and everyone “if you could listen to one song on the beach, what would it be?” It was fun because my beach playlist turned out to be an eclectic mix of everyone’s favorites, and all of them, with the exception of a few songs, turned out to be appropriate sand & water tunes. Scott didn’t love my playlist so he created a “better beach” soundtrack, but whatevs, I love him anyway.

So there ya have it. A few of my favorites from our Florida vacation. Have a wonderful weekend–I hope it’s not as basic as mine!

Wait. One last, very important question. If you traveled to Florida on Spring Break circa 1996-2004 and didn’t come home with an air-brushed t-shirt, have you even lived?


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