For our final day of vacation, Daniel and I decided we wanted to get out on the water. We considered our options – sailing, kayaking, a dolphin tour, or renting a pontoon boat.
When we looked at the prices and time involved we decided that a pontoon rental was a good fit for our family. We also liked that we could invite our friends to tag along on our little day trip.
Luther's Pontoon in Destin had excellent reviews and amazing prices. As a bonus, prices had dropped even more because it was after Labor Day. In addition their low prices INCLUDES gas. We made a reservation and met up with our friends at 9am on Thursday morning.
The staff at Luther's were really friendly. Once they gave us some information about the boat and a map and tips for the harbor, we were off.
Daniel drove us out to Joe's Bayou first in hopes of catching some fish. Chris had stopped for bait and Luther's provided fishing poles for the kids for free.
Unfortunately the only thing that got caught was the anchor. It was a good try by Andrew though!
The kids all enjoyed testing the waters with the fishing poles. After the first round of bait had been nibbled away by the fish, we rode around the harbor and back to Crab Island to take a dip in the water.
Crab Island is a sand bar out in the harbor that is completely underwater. People anchor their boats there and enjoy getting in the water. There is even a floating hamburger stand during the busier season.
We hopped in, but this was clearly a thorough fare for jellyfish at the time of our visit. Andrew and Sadie were not fans of this, so they stayed on the boat and acted as spotters, pointing out where the jellyfish were to the brave souls in the water.
Thankfully jellyfish are slow and you can easily get out of their way. I was still a bit nervous about being in the water with them though!
After our 4-hours on the water, we parted ways with our friends and headed to the Air Force Armament Museum in Fort Walton Beach.
Daniel was excited to see this museum and could have stayed there all day. Jack enjoyed looking at all of the big aircraft and running around to his little heart's content.
Another big hit for my boys was getting to sit in the A-10 Warthog Trainer. So many buttons and gadgets to look at!
We finally got home and the guys napped while I finished my book and figured out where we could eat dinner.
We decided on Stinky's Fish Camp in Santa Rosa Beach. When we arrived we discovered that the only parking available was valet. Normally we would flee from anywhere that mandated valet parking, but we were caught off guard, so we hopped out of our car and handed the keys over to a young guy.
We opted to sit on the second floor porch overlooking a small pond – I think I prefer gulf view for my water view. It was still a nice setting though. I think the porch was the default seating area for families. There were lots of little boys sitting in chairs, glued to gaming systems.
Before we ordered, Daniel ran outside to make sure the car was locked (he is paranoid about this). The car was not locked. The valet told him they never lock the cars... Daniel was not impressed since we had a GPS and radar detector in the vehicle.
For our meal, Daniel had the Fried Fish and I tried the Taste of Stinky's plate. It was decent food, but seemed overpriced to us.
To round out our valet experience, when we left the restaurant, the guy that had parked our car, 1) handed us our keys to our car that was parked 10 feet in front of where we got out of the car for valet parking and 2) apologized for not backing into the spot and 3) said that the owner's don't like them to handle stick shifts...
We were blessed by such an amazing vacation. We really needed this time as a family. It was fun to do some new things and to introduce Jack to new experiences.