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.

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 typically am 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.  I’ll be honest.  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

World’s Largest McDonald’s

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This place is Huge!

When we were looking for a place for dinner we did not expect to end up at McDonald’s but I’m so glad we did. The World’s Largest McDonald’s is located in sunny Orlando, Florida. This place is massive and as family friendly as a restaurant can be. The menu is large and varied. Our food was really good. This is obviously an inexpensive meal for this area but you could spend a fortune in the arcade upstairs.

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There is extra parking in a lot next door.

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So Happy!

This was our first day in Orlando. We had spent the majority of the day in the car. The kids could not wait to run off some energy. But first we had to handle the fact that we were starving. I do not understand why but sitting in a car all day leaves me stiff, starving, and exhausted. Well, the stiff part I understand because I’m not exactly 20 any more.

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Seriously! Check this out!

Ordering is a little confusing because there are so many sections and the menu is huge. There are the typical burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and happy meals but there are also salads, pizza, ice cream, and more. We loved the fact that the kids could indulge in fast food burgers while my husband and I got to enjoy more adult options. My husband went with the salad pictured above and I got a more modest grilled chicken salad without the fried tortilla bowl. They were both surprisingly fresh. We sat at a bar that was placed against a fish tank. My husband and our children adore fish so this was great dinner entertainment.

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Play Area

The play area is quite impressive. The photo above was taken from the parent area. There are a few chairs there. The lighting is a little weird because of the neon signs outside. This area is great for the kids to get rid of some energy. This was perfect for Isabella who was practically bouncing up and down after being stuck in the car all day. Right next to this is an arcade. We only played a couple of games before heading back to our hotel. This stop was a lot of fun and perfect for a family looking for a budget friendly meal.

 

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. 

Pensacola Beach, FL

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The Princess heading down to the sand in her Tutu

We had the pleasure of taking the family on a trip to the beautiful white sandy beach in Pensacola, FL in 2015. Lounging in the sun, playing in the mild waves, building sandcastles, and enjoying spectacular views was the perfect way to spend a day.

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Looking for little treasures

 

Parking was incredibly easy to find and there was a bathhouse near this area. There was an area there to spray off, use the restroom, and change into dry clothing before driving to our nearby hotel. The beach and parking are free. This area does have a lot of seaweed in the water.

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Warning the sun here is not to be messed with! Layer on the sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Remind kids often to stay hydrated because it’s easy for them to get so busy playing and swimming that they forget to drink enough.

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What is it about the beach that makes you feel so at peace? I cannot wait to visit this little slice of heaven again! It is a great family beach to take the kids to. I highly suggest it! They are only young once. Make all the memories you can! This day will definitely be one I recall for years and years to come. Remembering Isabella’s jaw dropping at the vastness of the ocean, playing in the waves, collecting little shells, Ivy boogie boarding with her Dad, building sandcastles, and the sound of sweet little giggles as my legs were slowly buried in the sand will make me smile for years to come.

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