sponsored by Travel Mindset and Panama City Beach CVB.
I’m still not exactly sure how I got my lucky name tossed into the hat, but my little family was invited to join 7 other amazing families for a sweet little weekend getaway to Panama City Beach. It was an Instagram meet-up, where families and fellow mama bloggers came together to hang out at a pretty rad location. Check out #instameetpcb 🙂
First of all, the folks at Travel Mindset who helped put this whole thing on did an ah-mazing job. Not only did they wrangle families, but they planned super cool activities around nap times and travel days and really highlighted the main things Panama City Beach has to offer – family friendly moments.
We checked into the Holiday Inn Resort Beachfront and was immediately greeted with an amazing welcome bag with snacks, beach toys, a stuffed dolphin and a bottle of wine (among other things.) We were able to go to our room around 4pm and then went straight to our group happy hour. There we were able to meet the fellow families @vagabond3 @happygreylucky @nashvillewifestyles @mother.soul @theamericanfieldtrip @this.little.wandering and @laurenswells before we all jumped on Island Time catamaran for a sunset dolphin cruise. With a bar on-board, friendly staff and good tunes the cruise was an absolute delight. We had a ton of dolphin sightings which Hudson and the kids got all jazzed about! Loved the experience SO much and would recommend for any family!
The next day we were able to do our own thing for breakfast so we went to Andy’s Flour Power and got some waffles and french toast before we met the group for a pontoon boat ride over to Shell Island. Since we drove up from Winter Park (a 6 hr drive at our own pace) we were able to bring his own life jacket, our own towels and blankets so we felt really prepared for the trip. The folks at Travel Mindset though bought a bunch of towels, floats and additional beach toys for all of us to use. They even brought Publix subs for lunch!
Hudson LOVED the beach. The water was calm, clear and warm. We were able to see fish, hermit crabs and other wild life. Shell Island is a beautiful escape from the traditional “beach front” where you get to experience a natural piece of un-touched land. It was truly relaxing (even though we had 14 kids running around) and we all able to soak up some much needed vitamin D!
After we got back from Shell Island we all tried to push the whole nap thing – we were a bit tired and wanted to get our second wind before our last night at Panama City Beach. We were originally going to go to Pier Park for dinner/s’mores but we ended up further down the beach (away from all the crowds) to have our own catered taco night on the beach. We had chairs, hammocks, food and drinks, games and a bon fire ready for us.
We ate, laughed, got wet and sandy and truly enjoyed everyone’s company. I felt like we met some really amazing like-minded people with really cool kids that we would hang out with all the time if we could.
It was also really refreshing to spend that much time outside but still in an intimate setting – at one point I thought the entire beach was to our selves and I really just wanted to soak it all in. Kid laughter and sea salt air included.
Our last morning was spent at the iconic Thomas Donut & Snack Shop. The place lives up to the reputation with a crazy line and super tasty donuts. We ordered a bunch of donuts, drank some coffee and OJ and got to know @vagabond3 and her family more. It was a great way to end the trip – mostly because I have a weakness for donuts, but because I felt super appreciative to be involved in such a unique travel experience with some new friends that I hope I always stay in contact with.
It was a trip where Nick and I sat back a couple times and just watched Hudson interact with the other kids and saw how genuinely happy he was to be on a beach – we were reminded just how lucky we are.
If you’re looking for a beach vacation and Panama City Beach is on your list – I’d recommend it for sure. But I’d also remind you that it’s more than just a beach…
it’s what you make of it right?
Call that sunset cruise. Set up a pontoon ride to a remote island. Make the experience yours at #realfunbeach.