This post brought to you by Visit Gulf County. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Stuff Parents Need.
Today I’ve been doing something really fun: working on summer vacation plans. We have had such a rough past month with the unexpected loss of my husband’s dad, and I feel such a strong need for our family to have some quality time together to heal, to relax and to rejuvenate.
Vacations with young children can be a bit of a misnomer, at least for the parents. When’s the last time you took a vacation with young kids and really and truly got to relax? I hope you have had that experience, but likely not unless you had additional adults on hand to share the child supervision duties.
But what if your vacation could look different? What if your destination was so inviting and intriguing that every member of your family could feel free to explore and marvel and simply BE right there in the moment? Friends, that’s what I’m looking for this summer. And I think I’ve found it in Gulf County, Florida.
I’ve been checking out the Gulf County Adventure Guide which is actually a series of brief recommendation posts written by different locals. You get an insider’s perspective on some of the best things to see and do in the area. And I have to say, I LOVE that not a single recommendation has to do with visiting a theme park or creating an itinerary that keeps you running from sun up to sun down. Everything in this guide is focused on the great outdoors and the unique beauty of this particular part of the country.
For starters, I’m very drawn to the plethora of housing options through Pristine Property Rentals. It’s my preference to stay in a condo or a home than to stay in a hotel room. Having the extra space to stretch out, and the kitchen available so that we can prepare food when we want and how we want it is worth the extra expense. And frankly, I often find that the extra expense is surprisingly nominal, especially for vacations that last several days to a week. I am significantly more relaxed in this type of environment than I am in a hotel room, where I often find myself relegated to the bathroom floor if I want to stay up past 7:30 pm when the girls go to bed. Pristine Property Rentals manages over 250 properties of all sizes so I’m sure we’ll find something just right for us and our budget.
For the big “splurge” event, I’d go with a 4 hour boat tour of the area from About Fun Charters. It’s $350 for 4 hours, just $100 more than the 2 hour charter. And my family will be the only ones on the boat, just enjoying the gorgeous views and taking in all sorts of sights. It sounds like the area has an amazing array of wildlife and that you can see quite a bit of it from a boat as you cruise around the bay and the island. It sounds absolutely heavenly!
And speaking of wildlife, one of the places I predict my family will spend quite a bit of time at is St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. Get this: this state park is the home of America’s #1 beach. Oh heck yes we’ll be going to that! It’s also home to some incredible trails that almost guarantee you’ll see some great wildlife. There’s a playground on site and of course, those beautiful Florida sand dunes. This sounds like an area where my family can just get out and get lost together for a while. What a gift that would be for my family to be in that environment. It’s a completely different vibe from a Disney vacation (which we did last fall and we loved!) but it is exactly the type of experience we so badly need: nature, connection and no distractions.
Right now there’s a great contest going on to encourage you to have an adventure of your own in your local town. Ten winners will score a $50 gift card each and every week from now until April 13th, 2015! You definitely want to take a second to get yourself entered! Nothing to lose and maybe a heck of a lot to gain! Be sure to share the contest with your friends so that they can have a chance to win, too!