Vacation this year had a bit of a bumpy start. We were packing up our car on Sunday afternoon (so that we could leave first thing Monday morning) when I decided to review my check-in information.
To my chagrin, I realized our check-in time was 3pm Sunday, not Monday. So we decided to finish packing and drive through the night. This meant we arrived at 3am Monday morning.
I'm glad we went ahead and drove down, but we spent the first couple of days of our trip recuperating from our night-time drive. Lesson learn: make sure you know the dates of your trip!
We ended up choosing Mexico Beach (about 30 miles east of Panama City) as our destination because my sister and her family moved to Tallahassee earlier this year and we wanted to incorporate a family visit as a part of this trip.
Mexico Beach, and this part of the panhandle, is called The Forgotten Coast and is a lot less crowded than the Destin area that we visited last year. We really enjoyed our Destin trip, but loved the low-key area of Mexico Beach.
As an added bonus, this area has amazing stars – you can see the Milky Way at night because of the lack of development on this section of the coast.
We also had the pleasure of watching a pod of dolphins swimming in the gulf every day of our stay. This is probably because of Saint Joseph's Peninsula and the bay form a bit of a sanctuary for the dolphins.
There were very few people because it was off season, which we loved (we typically travel in off season to avoid crowds and to get better deals), and our house was right on the beach. We enjoyed the calm gulf waters and gorgeous sunsets. Jack was thrilled to spend every day digging in the sand.
The first half of our week, we spent as a family of three. We enjoyed restaurants in Panama City, Mexico Beach and Port Saint Joe. We biked the St. Joseph Peninsula and had a fun experience snorkeling with dolphins in the gulf near Shell Island.
At the end of the week, the rest of my family joined us for some beach time. It was such a treat to be together at the beach (our first trip for the Voyles family). Now that my sister lives in Florida, I see more beach trips in our future.
2014 Florida Vacation Recap: Overview // Restaurant Reviews