Crabs We Got ’em

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Crabs We Got ’em in Pensacola Beach, Florida was a fast family favorite.  It is the epitome of the kitschy seafood restaurant on the beach.  It was a must on many lists that I read while planning our trip.  The moment I looked up photos of the place I knew it was for us.  From the crab related art work and the caged birds out front to the beach playground and beach front outdoor tables, this place was made for families.

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Isabella at the playground on the beach

I normally spend some time picking accommodations and planning a couple of restaurant options.  This is especially important if we go out for seafood because one of our girls has food allergies.  With a little advance notice you can work around allergies sometimes.  I called ahead and we were able to make arrangements for her to be served macaroni and cheese before the rest of us got any food.  She then played at the on-site playground while we ate at a neighboring table that they had saved for us.  We were very impressed with the service.  They were very accommodating and our waitress was super friendly.

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Fried Crab Claws

There is something amazing about eating seafood while listening to the waves crash and staring out over the tranquility of the ocean.  The food here was amazing!  The hubby and I had a couple of crab traps (their signature drinks).  We lingered over appetizers and dinner as the sun went down.  The fried crab claws, calamari, and the tray of gulf blue crabs were our favorites.

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While I am typically very budget conscience, this place was expensive.  The food is great and the atmosphere is even better.  If you wanted to do this on a tighter budget, I would suggest the Gulf blue crab tray steamed in beer.  It was local, well priced, and big enough you could share.  You could skip the drinks.  The appetizers were so delicious I have trouble telling you to skip them.  Maybe just one appetizer.  We really love food!  Sometimes you just have to splurge on a good meal.  It’s good for the soul.

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Just a pile of crabs! YUM!

This place was an easy walk down the beach to our hotel.  We took our time walking back, enjoying the beauty of the beach at night with the crabs scurrying around.  Isabella would scream every time one went running near her.  Ivy loved them.  The girls are very different with things like that.  We passed an area that was blocked off for a sea turtle nest.  Both of the girls were excited to see that.

Have you been here?  What did you think?  Have suggestions for our next trip to Florida? Please leave them in the comments below

Boardwalk Cafe in Pensacola Beach, FL

After a long morning of enjoying the beach and playing in the ocean we were starving. We did a fast rinse off and changed into sundresses or comfortable shorts. Then we were off to find a place that was befitting of our salty beach hair. We remembered that we passed an area near our hotel that had tons of restaurants and decided to go check it out.  We walked up to the outdoor seating area for the Boardwalk Cafe and it felt like just the place for us on that laid back family day. Ivy and I shared a decent burger and fries. It is a common practice in our family to share meals or simply order a couple of appitizers to share for lunch. Restaurant meals can be so huge that we end up eating only half which is a waste of both food and money.  Michael, the hubby, ordered a fish sandwich and had no complaints. Isabella decided on chicken strips and patiently waited until we finished eating to ask if we were getting ice cream.

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Stretching to get a view of the goodies inside

Ivy, Isabella, and I lingered over the ice cream case each picking out a scope of Hershey’s ice cream. The hubby was too full from lunch to even entertain the idea of dessert. There are not many things as lovely as an icecream cone on a hot day. Isabella did require a change of clothing and a good rinse after this treat but it was more than worth it.

 

Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier

Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier

A walk out on the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier is required if you are in the area. It is simply beautiful! You can pay to fish for the day or pay a small nominal observer fee to walk out and take in the views. We were lucky enough to be here on a perfect day. Sunshine, a nice breeze, dolphins just visible jumping in the background, and not too big of a crowd helped to make this a relaxed family afternoon to remember. We brought some bottled water, layered on the sunscreen, and just spent an hour or so taking it all in.  We watched a little girl reel in a large fish while her father proudly looked on and bragged that she was having all the luck. There is a bait/souvenir shop that also rents fishing poles by the day, a diner, and restrooms.

Family Travel is about making memories together that will last a lifetime.  Remember the wonder in your child’s eyes when they see something amazing. I only have a few photographs from that afternoon but I have the moment that 5 year old Isabella looked out over the waves whispering “Wow” and 14 year old Ivy shouting “Is that a dolphin jumping?” to recall for the rest of my life.  Take the time to step back and take in those perfect moments with your children because they will be grown too soon. 

Whataburger

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No trip to the south is complete without a trip to Whataburger.  I love this place!  They have great onion rings.  Their burgers aren’t half bad either.  This particular stop was near Destin, Florida.  This place is good for families and extremely budget friendly.  It’s a great place to stop for lunch.  We ate there and enjoyed the break from the heat.

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Isabella was happy to find out that her kid’s meal included a cookie.

Days Inn – Panama City Beach, Florida

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This is the view from the balcony of the family suite we were upgraded to.  This hotel did still have some construction going on while we were there.  They said it would be going on a little longer.  The room prices were very reasonable.  Our room was clean.  The beach was right there.  I don’t need much else.

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We enjoyed the separate space for us but we did not like the fact that you can’t see the beach from the front bedroom.  The door opens into that room so it is the only layout option that makes sense from a safety standpoint.  The room was decorated in an “Old Florida” style when we were there.  I’m not sure if this is a detail at they are changing or not.  I thought it was cute.  My husband prefers a more contemporary look.

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The girl’s loved the fact that they had their own beds.  There was a television in their room so they got to watch Disney channel while the husband and I sat on the balcony enjoying a glass of wine after dark.

We loved the pool at this hotel. It looks like a cave! The kids loved it. There is a hot tub overlooking the ocean. There is a pool bar and loads of seating. I loved the fact that half of the pool is in the cave so it is out of the sun.

The hotel offered a continental breakfast. The breakfast was nothing special. We had juice and cereal. It was nice on the day we were leaving because we had a drive ahead of us and wanted to get a jump on the day. The parking at this hotel is in a parking garage with nearby elevator access up to the hotel. This hotel was reasonably priced for being beach front. I would stay here again.