Beach Vacation: Traditions, Making Memories, & Treasuring Moments

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Disclosure: ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals hosted my family. All opinions and text are my own.

photo of the ocean

Beach Traditions & Family Memories

If you are a mom, you understand what I mean when I say “the next thing.” From the moment I get up until I finally go to sleep at night, my day moves from one thing to “the next thing.” I barely get one task finished before I am already thinking about the next thing I have to do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life, but being a wife, mom to 4, homeschool teacher, and business owner can be a lot. The sheer responsibility of running our home, taking care of the kids, housework, laundry, etc., keeps me hopping from daylight until dark. I don’t spend much time being still, and I didn’t even realize I wasn’t savoring moments as much as I should until we went on vacation a couple of weeks ago, and time slowed down.

This is one of the main reasons why we made changes a couple of years ago to spend less money on stuff and invest in vacations, quick get-aways, and staycations together instead. As our kids grow up, they aren’t going to remember everything we bought them, but they will not forget that we were purposeful in spending time with them. With four kids of varying ages (14, 11, 3, and 1), we want them to be close to each other and to make memories together, especially since our older ones will be grown before we know it. In our day-to-day life, it is hard to slow down. So, vacations are a big part of our life. A couple of weeks ago, we headed to Destin, Florida, one of our favorite vacation spots, for some much-needed relaxation. Destin is located in northwest Florida in the Panhandle on the gulf coast. It is known for its family-friendly environment, white sand, and gorgeous beaches. We reserved our condo through ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

mom holding a sleeping baby

As soon as we got to Destin, Fl, and unloaded the car, we headed out to dinner and grocery shopping, which made for a long busy day. Once it was time to put the little girls to bed, I took my youngest out on the balcony to rock her to sleep. As I listened to the ocean waves crash against the shore and gazed at the clear dark sky, I began to relax and could sense all the busyness of the past couple of months leaving my mind. As she nestled her head into my neck and drifted off to sleep, I didn’t have anything to do next, so instead of my mind racing to the next thing, I was still. I watched her little curls slightly move with each breath. I felt her body relax and the warmth of her little tummy against mine. I held my sweet baby girl and vowed to slow down and savor every moment of our vacation.

family eating around table

Vacation Breakfast Traditions

As the day blurred into the next, we didn’t hurry or make many plans. Each day was pretty much the same as the day before. We started our days cooking breakfast in our condo together. The kitchen was fully equipped, so all we needed were groceries.

collage of family at the beach and kids playing

Fun Beach Day

After breakfast, we headed down to the beach. The beaches along the Gulf Coast are breathtaking. They are so gorgeous and clear with pristine white sand. The condo that we reserved through ResortQuest was on a private beach.

mom holding sleeping baby in a beach chair

Beach Chairs & Sleeping Babies

They also provided two beach chairs and a big umbrella that were set out each morning through their free beach service. “The beach guys,” as we called them, would check in with us and help us find an available umbrella and chairs. They would even let us know when they were leaving for lunch. It was such a bonus. I can’t imagine making a trip to the beach without this type of beach service now that we have had an opportunity to enjoy it.

dad and kids in the pool

Pool Day Swimming with Daddy

Next, we’d enjoy the pool. The pool was closed for a couple of days for maintenance. Although we missed swimming those days, we were happy to see that the resort took good care of the pool and was intentional about making updates for the season.

family pics at the beach condo

Then, we would go to our condo, and I would make lunch while my hubby would bathe the little ones. Since our condo was equipped with everything we needed, we saved quite a bit of money from going out to eat for lunch and breakfast every day. For a family of 6, the savings added up and were significant. The afternoons were spent resting while the babies napped. It was exactly what we needed and a wonderful time to reset our minds. The hubs and I were able to get a little work done, and the big kids read books, but we mainly hung out together while the baby girls were napping.

pictures of dad and kids

Dinner & a Kid Amusemusement Park

After naps and resting, it was time for dinner. Since Destin is our favorite summer vacation spot, we have a couple of favorite restaurants we always enjoy; then, we picked out two or three new ones to try. Our condo was located right in the middle of Destin, making it just a short drive to shopping, dining, and entertainment. After dinner, we either shopped at the huge outlet mall, headed back to the condo to watch a movie, or enjoyed go-carts and carnival-type rides at The Track. It was such a great week; I wish I could have slowed down time so that it didn’t go by so quickly.

Now that I have shared our fantastic vacation, I thought I’d take you on a tour of our condo at Crystal Dunes through Resort Quest NWFL. It’s always nice to see a personal recommendation before planning a vacation. We stayed in a 3BR, 2 BA condo that was gulf-front.

picture of room with two bunks

When you walked in, the first bedroom was directly to your left. It had these cute built-in bunk beds that were perfect for two of our girls. It also had a tv and DVD player.

picture of king size bed

Across the hall was another bedroom with a king-size bed, tv, and DVD player.

picture of bathroom in a beach condo

Beside this bedroom is a nice bathroom with a door to the bedroom and another door to the hallway so it has easy access.

mom with laundry basket

Yes! Mom Life is Laundry Life

I might be the only one excited about this washer and dryer, but I have a hunch other mommas might not want to return home from vacation with mounds of dirty, stinky clothes. For me, a washer and dryer are a necessity. I washed a load or two a day, and the only dirty clothes we brought home were the ones on our backs, which meant less stress for me to catch up the week after vacation. Additionally, I appreciated that the unit was equipped with a vacuum, broom, dustpan, and mop. When you are tracking sand everywhere and you have lots of kids eating meals around the table, a vacuum and broom are much needed. I’m not a clean freak, but I cannot deal with crumbs and sand all over the place.

photos of kitchen in the beach condo

The kitchen was nicely equipped with granite countertops and stainless appliances. There was also a blender, toaster, Keurig coffee maker, and a regular coffee maker. We made breakfast and lunch almost every day as the kitchen was stocked with pots, skillets, baking pans, flatware, knives, kitchen utensils, and Rubbermaid containers, to name a few. I loved the open floor plan. Even in the kitchen cooking, I still felt a part of my family hanging out in the family room.

photo of dining area and couch in beach condo

On the other side of the kitchen was a lovely large round breakfast table. Between the breakfast table and bar stools, we had room for everyone. There was also an extra chair that we pulled up to the table. My oldest daughter said that some of her favorite vacation memories over the years had been the time we spent making breakfast together and our leisurely meals around the table. It is in these normal, ordinary moments that lifelong memories are made. Even though we always eat together at home, she loved the slow pace of vacation and not having to rush anywhere.

collage of couch photos in condo

The family room was just the right size for our family, with lots of seating, a tv, and a DVD player. I loved that we could pull the curtains back, leave the screen door open, and enjoy the gorgeous view and sound of the ocean. Although we didn’t need it, the couch pulled out into a bed, and all linens were provided. There were also extra pillows and blankets in all of the bedroom closets.

siblings laying on bed watching tv

I couldn’t for the life of me get a picture of the master bedroom empty. At any given time, one or all four kids were piled up on our bed, hanging out together or watching a movie. I treasure that our kids love to hang out with us, so I thought this picture was a better example of the main bedroom. The king-size bed was, of course, fabulous and extra comfy. The bedroom also included a nice tv, DVD player, and a gorgeous view of the beach, but what I loved the most were the people who followed me here every day.

pic of master bath

The master bathroom was huge with a double vanity, soak-in tub, and glass-enclosed shower. The little girls loved to take a bath in the huge tub after time at the beach and pool. They thought it was extra special.

photo of porch

The balcony was my happy place. We had such a gorgeous gulf-front view of the beach, yet it was very private on each side.

picture of coffee cup on balcony overlooking beach

I started each day with a cup of coffee on the balcony while I soaked up the quietness of the morning before all my people woke up. It was so relaxing and the perfect way to gather my thoughts before starting our day. Then, I ended each day by rocking my sweet baby on the balcony while we listened to the ocean. It was my favorite part of our condo.

beach chairs on the beach

As I mentioned, the beach chairs and umbrellas were free through their beach service. They were nice and sturdy, and there was plenty of room under the umbrella for the little girls to get out of the sun with us.

sisters on shore of the beach

Could this beach get any more gorgeous with the crystal clear water and white sand?

picture of pool with palm trees in background

The kids loved going from the beach to the pool,  which is seasonally heated. There was also a hot tub. Most of the time, we had the pool to ourselves, which was nice.

kids renting a movie

Another great amenity that was a first for us was unlimited movie rentals. We were given a special card at check-in, and anytime we wanted to rent a new movie, we could pick up two at a time for free. Also, KeyToTheBeach.com offered discounts from local vendors exclusively for ResortQuest guests.

As you can see, we genuinely treasure making memories as a family. The fact that we only get 18 years with each kid before adulthood weighs heavy on my heart, and I don’t want to miss moments or opportunities to make deposits into their life. Additionally, as busy parents, spending time with my husband without worrying about “the next thing” we had to do was exactly what we needed. We are intentional in scheduling vacations by making sacrifices all year long and saving weekly so that it fits our budget. We are so thankful for our vacation traditions, making memories together, and treasuring moments.

To plan your next vacation, check out ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals. ResortQuest is part of a selection of professionally-managed beach homes, condominiums, and resorts. You can now save 15% off on summer travel with Promo Code: Beaches / 855-318-8729. You can book by calling or taking advantage of their easy-to-search website. (This code was good at the time this post was written in May of 2018.)

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One Comment

  1. Kasey,

    I just read about your family vacation to Destin. What wonderful memories you have created with your beautiful family!

    I currently live outside of Tampa & having lived in FL since 1970, I’ve been to many beaches, but never Destin. My family and I usually go to Sanibel Island, however, it looks like our next beach trip may have to be up the Gulf Coast to the North!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Sue

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