It has been raining non-stop here in Georgia for over 3 weeks now, so in remembrance of the Sun, I thought I'd finally share a few words and photos about our beach vacation... from September. Right on top of things, as always!
Overall, we had an amazing time. The Gulf coast was nothing like I expected, but everything we absolutely needed. Of course, the moment we arrived, I fell headfirst into full vacation mode and got pretty lazy about documenting our stay. Although, to be honest, we were pretty lazy in general all week long, spending most of our days in the sand and our nights stuffing our faces with seafood. It. was. glorious. I'm still sorting through the giant pile of photos I somehow still managed to come home with, so for now, here's a little summary of our trip. [Most of these were captured on my phone, so please forgive the quality!]
Our condo, and the view from the balcony, was just perfect. Growing up on the east coast of Florida, 20 minutes from the beach, I hadn't really spent any time on the Gulf coast prior to this trip. It was very different from "home", and I can definitely see why this area is a popular destination for so many vacationers from the Southeast.
Soft, white sand, clear, turquoise waters... as much as I love my Atlantic beaches back home, the beaches along the Florida panhandle are definitely some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. One thing we were not prepared for were the swarms of biting flies! I can't say I've ever experienced such an infestation at any other beach, but they were just terrible [although we spoke with an annual visitor who told us they were actually pretty mild this year— ACK!]. We learned very quickly that insect repellent was a must anytime we set foot near the sand.
After our 6 hour drive, we were greeted by this spectacular post-storm sunset. Not a bad way to start the week, if you ask me.
The next morning's sunrise wasn't terrible, either.
Spotted at breakfast— These people get me.
"Who knew the water at the beach could be so clear!" -everyone from the Atlantic coast ;)
After noticing how clear and un-light-polluted the sky was, I decided to try my hand at a little night photography for the first time. We had a great view of the Milky Way directly over the Gulf and even had a little photobombing action from an airplane returning to the nearby Naval Air Station in Pensacola.
Unfortunately, the sun rose behind us in the mornings, but it still made for some beautiful light.
Being an hour behind our usual time zone meant waking up each morning just in time to sip our coffee while watching the sun come up.
Adding to my ever-growing collection of "Bub on a rock" pictures.
We spent a day nosing around Panama City Beach and exploring St Andrew State Park where on the jetties we encountered a family of... racoons? I have to admit that was a new one for me.
The Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park was the one place that felt the most like "home" to me. From the giant oak trees dripping with Spanish moss to the sand dollar weed packed grass and brackish water of the Tucker Bayou— I instantly felt like we had been transported back to the "Old Florida" area where I grew up.
B and I love trying different beers and were excited to find a local craft brewery that opened later in the week for tours and tastings. The crew was super-friendly and the beer was fantastic! We tried just about everything they had to offer and I don't think either one of us disliked any of them. I highly recommend paying them a visit if you're ever in the area.
Teeny, tiny sand crab peeking out to wish us farewell on our last night.
As it always seems to do, our vacation passed much too quickly and before we knew it, it was time to head back towards home [at the crack of dawn, no less. We had a football game to get to the night of our return]. We enjoyed the area so much, I don't think it will be long before we plan another visit.
I hope to put together a little guide of all the places we explored during our stay, so stay tuned! Fingers crossed, it won't take me another 8 weeks!