Another Week Away on 30A
I’m here and resurfacing from a week of blissful beach vacation followed by a busy visit from my parents with a dash of a double ear infection (for me, not the kids)…my computer has actual dust on it’s lid and my photographic devices are bursting at the seams. Meals have been scrounged together with just a few half-assed grocery shopping efforts and I have too many phone calls to make and emails to answer.
I’m basically buried in to-do lists and my heart isn’t quite in organization mode yet. My brain is definitely still on vacation. I don’t blame it. We spent the second week of June in Florida, on beautiful Highway 30A.
Here’s the funny thing, we vacationed with seven children. 7. SEVEN. And it was still amazing and ridiculously relaxing. Six parents, seven kids, and two babysitters in one gigantic rental house in Carillon Beach, FL was the perfect seven day escape to kick off the summer.
We made this trip two years ago and couldn’t wait to go back, this time with MORE friends for even MORE fun.
We kept the schedule simple: beach and pool. Our house had a sweet little pool in the back yard, complete with waterfall (AKA stage), so we spent a LOT of time there, but the Carillon community also featured several pools to help us change things up. The private beach was two blocks away—30 seconds by golf cart—just beckoning with its pristine, sugar white sand for miles. Kid meals of quesadillas and pizza and sandwiches were made assembly-line style while bags full of snacks were carted with us everywhere—no child was ever hungry. For even a minute. They made sure of it.
Our goal was to maximize kid fun by minimizing car travel—not loading everyone up in cars was key to all parties being happy. Sure we found a couple events down the road in Seaside that got us to break our rule, but for the most part we kept the kiddos at home base.
The babysitters (a cousin and her best friend) were totally fantastic at helping out, lifeguarding in the pool, hosting sandcastle building sessions on the beach, and sticking around in the evenings so the parents could go out. A vacation necessity = Freedom! We hit The Red Bar (a 30A staple), ACME Ice House, Bud & Alley’s (their pizza joint was shockingly good), and The Craft Bar, among other delicious spots throughout Rosemary Beach, Seacrest, Seaside, and Grayton Beach.
There was also plenty of time for walking through cute shops filled with things too expensive to buy. We stopped by the Rosemary farmers market one morning for delicious local fare to pepper into our family-style meals.
Something a little different this year? We drove. Twelve hours from St. Louis to our rental house’s lovely front door. This was something I’d NEVER considered, but after looking at the crappy flight times into Panama City and crazy-high prices, leisurely packing up the car with everything we wanted to take (including our bikes!) started sounding pretty great. My only requirement: we drive through the night while the kids slept. Entertaining Finn, Mr. I Don’t Watch Movies, for 12 hours was not something I was interested in doing. We caravanned down with one of the other families and it was a breeze. I actually looked forward to zoning out to my audio book, Sharp Objects, during my driving shift, 10:30pm to 3:30am. (PS, that book is hella disturbing). The way back was just as easy, but that time I listened to Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please, and it was even better for keeping me awake and entertained.
Logistics aside, it was all pretty blissful.
The water was delightfully warm and the waves just big enough to be really fun. In a moment of pure grace, I was almost knocked unconscious by a stand-up paddle board in said waves, but in the end suffered only a minor black eye and a lost pair of prescription aviators (sob). Ethan had no fear of the sea this trip (you never know) and Finn became a mini Michael Phelps in his Puddle Jumpers…I mean I’m only assuming at some time Mr. Phelps was also 1.5 years old and couldn’t swim, right?
Puddle Jumpers are high on my list of best baby gear.
Finn was fearless. Walking right into the ocean, jumping off the side of the pool, kicking and squirming through the water toward the action. He was the youngest of the kids, who’s ages included 1.5, 2, 3, 5.5, and 6. But he was perfect as usual, napping and sleeping like a champ, running around with the big kids, and being his overall flexible self.
Ethan was such a big kid on our adventure. He had so much fun playing and swimming—they all pretty much dropped from exhaustion at night. We switched up the rooms to give everyone turns on the bunk beds but the four oldest spent most nights on the third floor trundle beds, a mess of blankets and loveys and giggles.
I couldn’t stop thinking about how little Ethan was the last time we made this trip. He and his buddy Claire were just peanuts, and now they are KIDS.
So I think it’s clear why I’m having a hard time coming back to reality and schedules. My dreams are filled with white sand and our beautiful rental house kitchen, happy hour sangria and fancy window shopping.
We just might have to do it all again next year.
I HIGHLY recommend this trip for families! Hit me up if you need more info.