- Nalini Boodoosingh
BEACH PLEASE! : SANTA ROSA, FL | 2021
Last week my company, Harry's Inc, provided us with a coordinated company wide week off to rest and reset. Naturally, us land based mermaids searched for our next destination in preparation for the time off and eventually decided on domestic travel since my daughter is unvaccinated. We didn't want to take travel completely off the table but we needed to limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure. While I was discussing the options , my friend and colleague graciously offered us her place for the week since she was going to be out of the country. Let's just say she had me at the words "beach and pool."
We had been to the Gulf shores of Florida two years ago and absolutely loved Destin so the chance to spend a week at Santa Rosa Beach was a no brainer. White sand, clear emerald colored ocean , warm temperatures and a chill vibe was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Getting to Santa Rosa, FL: Travel was easy and budget friendly. We took a flight out of La Guardia with American Airlines, that connected through Charlotte (one hour layover) and arrived into Destin, FL. The 3 tickets cost $661. The layover provided just enough time for a lunch and bathroom break which we didn't mind at all. Once we collected our bags we took a cab which cost us $100 inclusive of a $20 tip. Alternatively you can use Uber or Lyft.
Things to Do: We spent around 6-8 hours each day in the water at the beach or pool or on the shores. I meannnn just look at it! In its unfiltered natural state.
Do you blame us? It is super easy to get around if you've got a car or prefer to walk, bike or use a golf cart. There was no shortage of golf carts on the 30A. We felt a little left out tbh but there’s always a next time!. Since everything was within a 10 mile radius we tried a different beach town or public access spot each day.
Khloe had an amazing time. She splashed, jumped, danced, built sand castles, dug a pool on the shore, saw a myriad of wildlife including fishes, manta rays and turtles and made friends wherever she went. We-the adults- became more and more relaxed as the hours and days rolled on by.
Pro Tip: I highly recommend stopping at a beach supply shop to grab a blanket, small drink cooler and an umbrella for those long days since its all shore and no shade. Comes in handy for the for those very necessary naps or when you need those cold refreshing hard seltzers or snacks hehe... plus none of us wants wrinkles. Sunscreen is also girls best friend!
Aside from the beach hopping and pool activities we booked 2 adventures . The first was a Sunset Catamaran Dolphin watching cruise with Paradise Adventures. While it was still enjoyable do yourself a favor and check the local weather before you head out. It rained the entirety of the sunset cruise , literally from the moment we set foot out of the car to the return at the dock and the company did not offer a rain check. We made the best of it and watching the faces of the kids as they spotted dolphins was magical.
Our second adventure was an Airboat Tour . The temperature was beautiful and the waterways were pristine. We did not have the same luck spotting wildlife as it is nesting season for the gators and they typically stay on land during the day time to protect their eggs. Nevertheless our tour guide was fun and we learned a lot . The plus was definitely being surrounded by nature.
Where to Eat: I was lucky enough to get the most amazing recommendations from my friend so we wasted no time researching what to eat. From the list here's what we tried and loved.
Breakfast / Brunch
Seaside food trucks* : Main square in seaside. We tried the crepe truck and a great Cuban spot across the street from it where you can get a Cuban coffee and a frose ;)
The Perfect Pig: Southern comfort food, definitely heavy but really good. Go here for Breakfast: quiche, French toast, biscuits or…Lunch/Brunch: shrimp po boy, Grouper tacos, crab cake sandwich
Donut Hole: we grabbed donuts (to skip the line)
Lunch or Dinner
George’s (for lunch): Go here for delish seafood: Tuna dip (if they have it, think it’s a special), and I LOVE their grilled salmon (comes out basically like a salad with a gorgeous piece of fish) - I would get this but the salmon BLT wrap and the fish tacos are also good
Old Florida Fish House* (for views / ambiance / kids outdoor paradise) : go here for an early dinner (catch sunset): grilled oysters
La Crema: go here for the poquilla peppers, the croquettes, shrimp, paella, etc. and the chocolate fondue for dessert
Bruno’s Pizza: no explanation required
I've got a full list so if you're looking for something different let me know and I'd be happy to share.
Can't wait for our next trip back to the Gulf Shores but until then I'll be planning my next beach adventure.