Hey friends! We had been planning a Spring Break beach trip to the 30A area of Florida for months, and then the COVID-19 virus hit. Schools had been cancelled for a couple weeks, Marc had worked from home for a couple days just to test the “work from home” waters, and restaurants were just starting to do to-go orders. We weighed our options and decided if my grandparents that are in their 80’s got approved for travel we were probably ok. Plus we had a house we could stay at and cook our own foods.
I had been planning car activities for weeks preparing for this moment. We were road tripping and did most of our drive late at night while the kids were sleeping. Ryan and Sara get car sick easily, like within an hour, so we decided to try the middle of the night drive. It worked for the kids but Marc and I were exhausted. Another plus is that nobody was on the roads except truckers, and maybe other people doing the same thing as us. We made it from Houston to Pensacola in one day, with 4 kids, that’s a win for us!
In Pensacola we stayed at the Hilton on Pensacola Beach for one night before heading on to Seacrest. The Hilton was wonderful! They have 2 pools, a deeper one, and one baby pool with some fountains. You could also walk right out the gate and you were one the beach. Beaches in the Florida panhandle are beautiful too! The water is clear and the sand is soft and powdery. We spent most of our time at the pool while we were there. Our room was super spacious and had plenty of sleeping space for everybody. We had 2 queen beds, a set of bunk beds, and a queen pull out bed. It had a little kitchenette, dining table, sitting area, and the fabulous gulf view balcony with a table and chairs. We have already talked about going back this year!
We moved onto the beach house in Seacrest, and were so excited to meet up with the family. My mom (aka Gigi), little brother (Andrew), grandparents (Grandma & Grandpa D), and my other brother and his wife (Chase & Rachel) were all going to be there. My dad ended up having to stay and work due to COVID-19 and my other brother stayed home to work also. Grandma and Grandpa D came from Nebraska, and Chase and Rachel came from North Carolina. We don’t see them often so we were all looking forward to this time of catching up.
The house had a private pool, and I’m pretty sure the kids were in it every day after breakfast. We went to the beach a couple days, and ventured over to Seaside for an afternoon. The beaches were beautiful, but in this specific area you had to go down steep stairs to get down to the beach. Not the best for trying to take a wagon full of chairs, umbrellas, and toys for the kids. My grandparents also never made it down there, but they said they did enjoy the pool while the wild kids were gone to the beach.
Seaside we nice but it was definitely still busy despite COVID-19. Some stores had closed already, but we were still able to eat and walk around. People were definitely not practicing social distancing while we were there. I would love to go back and spend some more time there during the off season. I think lots of people still decided to do their Spring Break trip since COVID-19 was just starting in the US.
We eventually had to start our drive back home, unfortunately we couldn’t stay forever. I totally would have if they let me! We gave the kids Dramamine, put Aromaease oil (good for car sickness) on them and hoped for the best since we were driving during the day this time. We did pretty good this day and made it to Baton Rouge, which was about half way home. Marc ventured out to grab dinner and the roads were empty and dark at 7:00pm. We could see the mall across from our room and it was eerily empty, obviously because it had closed but it’s weird to see it in person.
We managed to get dinner and breakfast and get started on the rest of the drive home. This day did not go so well with car sickness even though we did the same thing as the previous day. I eventually gave them my emergency Zofran that I keep on hand and we made it home. Praise the Lord!
Things seemed to change pretty quickly that week as new news came out every day and more things started closing down. We were pretty thankful that Marc had gone grocery shopping and stocked up on some of our favorites and Ryan’s gluten free foods before we left. We did come home to only 1 roll of toilet paper left, but the in laws came through and dropped a pack off on the front porch for us. With 6 people we need lots of toilet paper!