For the Columbus Day weekend, we had plans to go to "the beach." That's what people say here. "I'm going to the beach." Let me just give you a small sampling of the beaches that are within driving distance that they could possibly be talking about: Destin, Gulf Shores, Panama City, 30A, Amelia Island, Hilton Head, Tybee Island, St. Simon's Island, Folley Beach, Myrtle Beach, Fort Walton...
To me, since there are SO MANY beaches you could be going to, I would expect that people would specify the location. But no, they always just say "the beach" as if we live in New Jersey and they are going to "the shore." I always have to ask, "Which beach?"
So back to our beach plans: I'll go ahead and take the mystery out of it. We were going to the Fort Walton area--Okaloosa Island, specifically. We had never been there and we were excited to try a new place.
But then a few days before we were scheduled to leave, a tropical storm threatened our beach vacation. I didn't worry about it until the day before, when it really looked like it would hit. Then I went into vacation scrambling mode--moved the Fort Walton vacation to another date and switched to Myrtle Beach, which was the only beach within driving distance that didn't have storm threats. Bonus: we had never been there!
A friend of mine told me about a place there that had an indoor water park, and sat right on the beach. She warned me that the condo/hotel is "an older, beach motel" so not to expect anything fancy. I told her that would be right up our alley, having been to a "fancy" beach over spring break and being unimpressed. (If there's not a restaurant in sight where you can go in wearing just your bathing suit cover up, we don't call that a beach vacation.)
This place delivered. It was beachfront, had tons of kids activities and it was CHEAP!! Frank marveled at the deal we got all weekend. It had just the right mix of fun and tacky--exactly what we like in a beach vacation.
A quick summary of our trip: beach, lazy river, water slides, shell collecting, eating at cheesy restaurants, riding on rides, jumping on the bungee swings, watching a magic show (free at our hotel!), doing a duck race, watching movies, drinking Starbucks (also in our hotel!!), sitting in the hot tub and playing A LOT of foosball. (Yep, that's FOOSball. It's kind of our family's favorite sport.)
And here is a summary in pictures. Overall, we think it was an excellent back-up plan!