Our annual family vacation this year was to a destination that most people haven't really heard of: Navarre Beach, Florida.
The first time I heard of it was in 2004 in a Southern Living Magazine. It talked about how beautiful and quiet it was, and how appropriate it was for families with kids. I filed it somewhere in my brain for future use.
You see, back in 2004, I had an irrational fear of the ocean. I'm not sure when or how it started but the first time I went to the beach I realized I was terrified of it. The sound of the waves, the feel of the sand slipping away under my feet, I simply could not handle it.
It wasn't until last year that I decided to face my fear. My children are growing up, and they had never seen the ocean. I wanted them to see it for the first time during our vacation to my homeland, Panama.
It was there, in front of the Pacific Ocean, and facing 12 ft waves that I faced my fear and conquered it. I'm not even sure how it happened. I just stood there, took a deep breath, and allowed the sounds to enter my soul, and I kept telling myself everything was fine. Before I knew it, a sense of calm came over me and I was able to enjoy my time there.
So I began to plan our first official "beach vacation" earlier this year. My criteria for selecting a beach was simple: it had to be within a reasonable driving distance, the water had to be beautiful, and the lodging options affordable. I asked beach lovers about it, most of them recommended places like Destin, Panama City Beach (which was on top of my list simply because it reminds me of my beloved Panama), Gulf Shores.
While I was doing my search, I remembered that article in Southern Living, and started researching Navarre Beach. Before long we had picked it as our destination.
I started to look for places to stay that were affordable, and not on a high rise building. I have 2 children who believe they can fly, so I wanted to make sure they weren't going to pull a stunt while on vacation.
We were fortunate enough to come across this townhouse . The price was reasonable, the location was great, so we made the deal, put down a deposit and prepared for our vacation.
We arrived at Navarre Beach on May 30, in the late afternoon. It didn't take very long for us to realize we had picked the right place and the right house. The beach was gorgeous, the water had a blue-green hue to it, and the sand was so white. The kids were in awe, and so were we. The house was more than we had expected, had more amenities than we could have ever imagined, including bicycles for us to ride around the Santa Rosa Island, beach chairs, toys for the kids, and even a cart to help us carry our stuff to the beach. The place is beautifully decorated (no tacky stuff there), and so comfortable. We fell in love with this place. The best part (as if being on Navarre Beach wasn't enough), the master bedroom had an awesome view of the Gulf.
We spent a week doing absolutely nothing more than relaxing. The kids enjoyed it beyond belief and so did I. It was exactly the place I was searching for, there were mostly families at the beach, it wasn't crowded, and it was beautiful. We came back ready to plan our next trip to Navarre Beach.
I know most people go to some of the other more popular beaches where there is tons to do, and the crowds are big. But if you are looking for a place to relax, with an unbelievably beautiful beach, Navarre Beach may be for you. ;-)