Actually Enjoying the Beach

The beaches in the Pacific Northwest are epic. Big waves, amazing rock formations and unbelievable views. Oh, and did I mention cold? How about windy? Check and check. Don’t get me wrong. There are those few precious days of warm temperatures and no wind and we savor them. If it gets really hot, little kids might “play” in the water, but no one is swimming.

The only time I have experienced actually swimming in a warm ocean was in Maui. (I know, woe is me.) So, now that we live in the Atlanta area, I was excited to take the kids to Florida for their birthday. We chose to do this instead of having a friend birthday party. We ended up driving to Fort Walton Beach, which was a little over a 5-hour drive. It was a wee bit long for a weekend trip, but we had no complaints once we arrived and saw this view from our hotel window!

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

We stayed at the Best Western in Fort Walton Beach. It was your typical Best Western, but it was right on the beach. YES! I totally understand how people can actually spend an entire day enjoying hanging out at the beach. I get it now!

Even though we arrived in the evening, the kids didn’t waste any time getting in the water.

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Annika on the beach

Annika on the beach

Tor on the beach

Tor on the beach

It’s safe to say they were VERY excited to be able to play in the water. This was also their first time experiencing that gorgeous white sand. In case you are wondering, sand is sand and it gets EVERYWHERE!

Annika at dinner

Annika at dinner

The first night we drove to Destin, Florida, for dinner. We stopped at Crust Pizzeria, quite by accident. It was one of those, should I turn right? Well, I’m turning right moments. It all worked out and we had a great meal sitting out on the patio.

The next day we spent 8 hours on the beach. We were in the water by 8 a.m. before “Dan the Beach Man” had even set up the chairs and umbrellas. To be able to swim in a warm ocean is such a treat for this Pacific Northwest family. The kids LOVED it.

Playing on the beach

Playing on the beach

All that swimming and sand castle building finally tuckered Tor out. We had our own Where’s Waldo moment. Can you spot the boy in the beach chair? He took a little nap while the rest of us played. It’s a rough, rough life!

Nap on the beach.

Nap on the beach.

In case you are wondering, we used an entire, brand new bottle of spray sunscreen plus some lotion in one day. An entire bottle! And, we still had a few random red spots! Thankfully, those were mainly on mom and dad. Trust me, we remembered why we never want to get sunburned. Yowzers!

Before dinner on the second day we walked from our hotel to a souvenir shop. Annika picked a stuffed animal, predictably. Tor picked these awesome yellow shades. He’s a little obsessed with sunglasses at the moment. I wish I could pull off this look!

New shades

New shades

Everyone has their favorite beach spot. We’d like to try some others, for sure! We’ve heard the Georgia coast has some amazing spots. However, we’d definitely go back to this section of the beach. Only next time, we’d like to stay much, much longer!

Have a happy day!

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