Ormond Beach, Florida

After leaving St. Augustine Beach, we drove down A1A to our hotel just north of Daytona Beach in Ormond Beach, Florida. It was a nice drive but we did drive through some fairly nasty storms on the way. They were short but the rain was so hard that you could barely see the car in front of you. Thankfully, Michael is a skilled driver and we made it to the hotel without incident. The storms had stopped by the time we made it there and we couldn’t wait to get down to the beach.

We stayed at Chateau Mar Hotel in Ormond Beach, Florida. We chose the ocean view double suite. It included two double beds and a sitting area with a pull-out sofa bed. There was good parking. We had an ocean view but it is onto the walkway as well. This means that if you have the blinds and curtains fully open to enjoy the view that people walking by can see right into your room. There was no true balcony. There is a sitting area with a couple chairs in front of the room on the outdoor walkway to the rooms. The best part of this hotel is that it is ocean front.

It’s so easy to check into a hotel that you booked online. All I needed was my drivers’ license and they gave us our room keys. We checked out our room. It was acceptable and clean. We brought up our suitcases and Octavia’s things before heading to the beach. It was getting late but we made it in time to see the sunset.

We walked along the beach as the sun was setting. The sky transforming right before us. Michael and I walking hand in hand as Octavia slept against my chest in the baby carrier. We watched Ivy and Isabella running, playing, hunting for seashells, and watching the birds. These are the memories I hope I hold onto until the day I die. Such beauty and wonder I had the chance to behold that night. There are not many photos from that time. I was a bit preoccupied admiring the scenery and the children I have been so blessed with. Eventually, the long day began to catch up with us. We sat on the beach, sometimes chatting, sometimes just listening to the waves until Isabella began to nod. We made our way back to our room. Michael carrying Isabella most of the way even though he was exhausted as well. The minute my head hit the pillow I was asleep. We all slept incredibly well, even Octavia only awoke to nurse before settling back to sleep. No alarm clocks to set or things to worry about for the following day. Just peace, quiet, and not knowing what the next day may hold.

 

St. Augustine Beach, Florida

We were on our way to Daytona Beach, Florida and we really needed a break. We had been stuck in a car with 3 kids for far too long. We decided to stop at St. Augustine Beach. This is a beautiful beach. It is clean and family friendly with ample parking.

This was Octavia’s first trip and her first time to see the ocean. She was two months old. Regardless of age, you have to dip your toes in the water the first time you see the ocean. She was surprisingly calm about her foot getting wet.

There is something magical about the ocean that always pulls us in. Isabella can’t help herself. Her excitement for life is one of my favorite things about her. She is always so joyous in the moment. She would happily spend her days running and playing outside in the sunshine. She was running in the waves and fairly soaked before we left. We changed her into a different sundress before getting back on the road. We took the scenic route by driving down A1A into Daytona Beach. It took a little longer but it was better for our sanity.

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.

 

Drury Inn & Suites Orlando, Florida

We greatly enjoyed the night we spent at the Drury Inn and Suites in Orlando, Florida. We arrived in Orlando a day early and needed a place to stay for one night before spending five glorious days at Disney World. We looked for a place that was clean, comfortable, well priced, and reasonably close to Disney. This hotel more than met our needs. We booked the deluxe room with two queen beds. After taxes and fees, we paid $112.49. Not too shabby.

The room was spacious and the beds were comfortable. We had a large window that looked out onto the highway which was a surprisingly pretty view. The hotel had a pool but we never even looked at it. We went out to dinner nearby at the World’s Largest McDonald’s. We came back to our room and got ready for bed early. We knew that we wanted to be awake early the next day for Disney.

Isabella was looking a little rough after a long day of travel and fun

The bathroom was large which is super nice when you are traveling with a couple of kids and everybody needs to brush their teeth for bed. We laid in bed watching Disney channel in preparation for the following day before crashing early. We got up early the next morning so we could take turns showering before breakfast. We got dressed and finally got to put on our magic bands. We were all super excited for the girls’ first trip to Disney World! We snagged a couple of pictures before heading downstairs to eat. The breakfast at this place was amazing and free. They have a large dining area. The hot and cold buffet was open from 7 am to 9:30 am. It was busy but there was still plenty of seating. I think this was one of the best free hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had. Then we were on our way to break in our new magic bands.

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