TRAVEL // Panama City Beach as a family of four
I almost called this post “from Beads to Babies” - but decided against it, lol.
Really what this post should be called is… FAMILY BEACH TRIP SURVIVAL // The main takeaway: you can’t do it alone and you might hate your life.
Ha! Jk. But really… we had my in-laws with me and it would have been a little more difficult without their help and extra set of hands and eyes!!
To be honest - this trip was so so SO much fun. My biggest piece of advice for families traveling with small kids is to stay somewhere for at least 3 days. By the time you get there, get settled in, and get the kids used to their sleeping situation it will be day 3. We like to stay 6-7 days because that way there isn’t any pressure to get out there and spend your day on the beach if you’re exhausted. On this trip, every day we stayed inside in the mornings and let the baby nap and just took it easy. Then we’d eat an early lunch, pack snacks and haul everyone down to the beach for the rest of the day. Our condo is right by a pool so a lot of times we’d head up to the pool and hang, grab showers (or not… you know me) and head back down to the beach in time for sunset. By the way, PCB has the most amazing sunsets. Truly incredible.
**Before you read this, I want you to remember that your trip might be stressful with your kids. It’s fine and totally normal to feel this way. Just try to focus on the happy moments and the memories you’re making with your kids. As I look back on these photos, that’s really all I remember are the good times.
WHERE TO EAT //
I get asked this question a lot since we frequent the PCB area. Here’s pretty much our lineup every time we go:
Pineapple Willy’s - good for lunch or dinner, best ribs ever, great for kids
Schooner’s - really good food, extremely casual and right on the beach - good for lunch or dinner, don’t bring kids after 8/9pm
Grand Marlin - We love to do this for a nice dinner with the entire family once while we are there. The food is great and it’s really nice.
Margaritaville - We also choose one day of the week to go to Pier Park and have dinner at Margaritaville. This is perfect for a rainy day or a break from the beach. They also have a ferris wheel and tons of shopping - we love it!
Andy’s Flour Power - the breakfast here is soooo yummy! It’s a must do once before you leave.
Firefly - This is for sure a date night situation. Luckily, if my in-laws are with us we are able to sneak away for a date here one night. The food is really good and it’s a very cool, different vibe then your typical beach situation.
WHERE TO STAY //
I highly recommend investing in a place where you’re going to be comfortable and that is a close walk to the beach. We stay at SeaSide Villas and our condo is on the bottom floor. With kids and a million items in tow, it is a no brainer for us. The beach is super close and the grounds are simple and clean. The courtyard is kept up beautifully and most of the rentals include two nice, big wooden beach chairs with an umbrella, already set up on the beach for you… amazing. Our family owns one of these condos so I consider us very fortunate to be able to vacation here. But if you have it in your budget and have a week to take your family and kids somewhere nice, this is the place to be. It isn’t wild and crazy - you’ll see other families with young kids and older couples. This past summer we made good friends with several families with kids! Literally, cannot emphasize enough how much we love this spot.
WHAT TO DO //
I am a beach person through and through. So when I am at the beach, I really want to spend my days outside enjoying the ocean since it’s not something we get to experience all of the time. That being said, depending on the weather we always take one day and go to Pier Park. We eat at Margaritaville, ride the ferris wheel, get ice cream and shop. It’s so fun! Also the beach right there is a dog beach.
OK BUT SERIOUSLY, HOW TO SURVIVE//
First of all: relax. Everything is NOT going to be perfect. It’s not really a vacation with kids, it’s a trip and memories you’re building. Wrap your head around that before you get there.
If you have an infant, you need THIS. We use it at home and in the backyard too!! It was perfect because she would fall asleep in my arms on the beach and then I would transfer her over to that and she would sleep. But also it keeps the sand out and she can play with toys inside and still feel like she can see everything. We really love this thing.
Also, if you don’t have a beach wagon… YOU NEED ONE. It’s a little pricey but worth every. Penny.
Lastly, with a 6 month old this thing was perfect.