Friday, May 27, 2011

Our First Family Vacation - Seacrest Beach, Florida


A few months ago, I told Rusty I knew money was tight, but that I thought it would be an investment in our marriage for us to dip into savings and take a vacation as a family. Traveling was so much a part of our lives before Asher, and it felt like a part of us was missing without it. Sure, we've been here and there for short weekend getaways with family. But, I craved a good, long, far away vacation with my husband and baby. He agreed. We set a budget and I started my searching.

Criteria:
  • Stick with budget
  • Within driving distance
  • Blue, tropical water (this = true vacation to me)
  • Poolside
Rusty was telling me about the waters of Panama City, where he spent time growing up. His grandparents had a condo right on the beach. He was spouting out names of places and things to do. I asked about the color of the water. He said just like Mexico or Jamaica. I said, we are there!

So, my favorite part came next. I searched online for places to stay. I wasn't too thrilled about staying in Panama City Beach. I wanted something a little less spring break, a little more relaxation. I got a tip from my friend to check out the Seaside area. This is where The Truman Show was filmed. I searched some more and came across the largest pool in that part of Florida - 12,000 square feet - in nearby Seacrest Beach. I hit up Vacation Rentals by Owner to see what was available for rent.

This is my new fave way to vacation. Rent a condo or home, straight from the owner. You get a home that's been put together and maintained with love. You also get a full kitchen, washer/dryer and lots of space. I cam across a giant 4-bedroom condo overlooking the giant pool. It was way more space than we needed (2,000 square feet), but I figure better to have too much than too little. This place ended up with the best deal out of all of those in the area that were available. Rates went up after Memorial Day (as would the crowds), so we decided May would be our travel time.

View from our lounge chairs by the pool. Third floor is our place.
People watching from our balcony. You know Rusty loved this!
 Enter Beach Bliss at Sable Point East, Seacrest Beach. They were even running a special for $500 off a week booked in May. So, we scored the place for Saturday - Saturday for $995. Awesome. The owners were awesome to work with. They suggested a lot of places that were family friendly and a few just for me and Rusty to try out. And the condo was right at the pool, on the third floor. Great people watching!

81 Seacrest Blvd. East, Seacrest Beach Florida
 After we booked, Rusty suggested we bring along my sister, Joni. She is our nanny while I work (and she goes to school), and he thought if she came with us, it would allow us some private time just the two of us. Luckily, it didn't take too much convincing to get her to ride along. We scheduled out her hours and our week. We traded off early mornings with Asher. And I do believe it worked out quite nicely.

Rusty on the hobie, on his way to pick me up.
So nice to get away, sun-kissed and holding hands with my husb as we walked to dinner. We even rented a hobie cat two days and took it out on the beach. Just like our honeymoon! I realize that having Joni come along with us was definitely a luxury, but I wasn't ready to leave for a week without Asher. And Rusty recognized the importance of us having some time together just the two of us throughout the week. It worked out well, and we are very thankful and very blessed.

Joni's balcony.
The condo blew me away. It looked nice in the photos, but it was even nicer in reality. My OCD never even bothered me. It was super clean and bright. The bathroom rugs looked like no one had ever stepped foot on them. The couch and rugs and bedspreads all looked brand new. It was impressive. And huge. We took the master in the front of the house, and Joni took one of the other bedrooms in her 'wing'. She had a bedroom, bathroom and attached den (fourth bedroom, actually) and her own balcony. I hope this helped her feeling like she had privacy and could enjoy herself in her downtime. We joked about how big the place was, but it was really awesome to spread out.

The week flew by. We were within walking distance to many restaurants, shops, beach communities, beach access. There was a neighborhood golf cart that took you to and from the beach for free (right across the street). We'd take walks each day admiring all of the beautiful beach houses. Each had its own flair.

The 30A area of Florida is a great vacation destination. It's part of the Beaches of South Walton. Check it out! Lots to do. Gorgeous beaches. Fabulous neighborhoods. Great family friendly area. We give it two thumbs up for sure.
 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This appears to be an awesome place. I think it would make a nice get away and if you had 4 or 6 people to split the cost then it really would make it nice. Thanks for sharing!

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