Florida Guide > Owners Vacation Diary
We made our first trip to the Panhandle this winter (January 2012) and stayed in a small townhome at Navarre Beach. It is usually about 10 degrees cooler there than in Orlando. Although we found this area ideal for a base, if we had the younger members of the family with us, we would not choose it for the winter because wherever we went from there, we had a long drive along a ‘scenic route’ which I suspect may have been boring for most children. We loved it though. The summer would be great for children with miles of unspoilt beach and plenty of water sports.
As we left the home each day, we drove along the National Seashore with white sand and sea on either side of the narrow strip of road. It reminded me of driving through snow and this was confirmed by the sight of the sand plough which we saw most mornings with the driver muffled by a scarf, to stop the sand getting into his eyes and throat.
We took a number of excursions.
The Blackwater River State Park which was about an hours drive away was a lovely day out. It was very quiet as most people use it during the warmer months but we enjoyed a few hours walking along one of the nature trails with views of the river and its pure white sand banks and clear water. The white sandy river bed is unique and we could see interesting footprints along the shore but did not encounter any wildlife. We did however find a great local café in Milton on our way home where we had a delicious home made bread pudding and a good chat with the locals about football (American)
Another successful trip was to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, which is housed on the naval Base just West of Pensacola. We saw Airforce 1 which was used by President Bush at the time of the Fall of Baghdad that just had to be a photo op. We also watch an I Max film taken from the Hubble which was very spectacular.
There was a major presentation Ceremony due the next day so some of the young marines on camp were running through their rehearsals and oh boy, their CO a strict, scary, guy.
Later into the week we headed away from Pensacola towards Destin and enjoyed the harbour and the Premium Outlets at Sandestin. Having spent more than we should, we stopped at The Lisa Jackson memorial Park on our way home and had the most magical evening watching the canada geese and the great blue herons come in to roost with the sunset in the background. A night to remember.
A trip to this area would not be complete without mentioning the Seafood. Joe Patties is the most famous fish shop for many miles and no wonder. We came away with a cooler box full of tuna, tilapia, shrimp, scallops and much more. When we weren’t cooking our own fish we ate at a couple of local fish restaurants. Our favourites were Flounders Chowder House and Peg Leg Pete’s. Both these were located on Fort Pickens Road which had the Fort of that name at the end and an interesting display for tourists to find out about the history and wildlife of the whole area.
At the end of our 7 day trip we decided that like so many areas in Florida we needed to go back to discover more of its secrets and revisit those we had already found.
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Page added on: 23 March 2012
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The following photos have been submitted by our villa owners for this article.