A beach trip is a great way to get away and take a break from the winter months. Even though the winter wasn’t as bad as it was supposed to be, getting away for a couple of days did my mind good.
Less than three weeks before our spring break, I made plans to go see my parents in southern Florida. Since the drive was a long one, I decided I would slip in some beach time. I desperately need to put my toes in the sand.
The last couple of days before heading back to the home state I planned to drive six of the eighteen hours for a quick beach trip to Panama City Beach.
However, my plans fell through.
The head clearing
A few days before break started, my cat Gizmo got sick. He wasn’t eating and wasn’t doing his bathroom thing. Knowing that he suffers from a bladder issue, I couldn’t go off and leave him alone.
Needless to say, I was disappointed. Not only would I not be going to Florida, but I would lose most of the money I had paid for an Air BnB rental in PCB.
But not all was lost. I decided I would go to PCB anyway. I needed the time away from here. I needed that beach trip to clear my head. Not only had Gizmo stressed me out, but I had other things going on.
The thought of putting my toes in the sand pushed me to do this trip. No matter how short it was.
When I shared with my mom what I was planning to do, she suggested I get a room and go down the day before. I was saving gas by not driving on to their place, and I had already planned to stay in a hotel on the way down. It made sense.
The beach trip
I made the beach trip, a short trip of twelve hours to Panama City Beach. The sun and its warmth was so nice. I left behind temperatures that weren’t in the 70s. We hadn’t seen the sun much all winter.
I stayed at a LaQuinta hotel the first night. They took my two dogs, or “girls” as I call them, Zoe and Jessie, without an extra fee, and I got a great breakfast the next morning.
I was so impressed with them. I almost wish they were closer to the beach, and I would have stayed there all three nights.
As soon as I got the car unloaded, the girls and I got back into the car and drove to where we would stay the other two nights we were in PCB. I found a place along the street to park and a path to the beach. I couldn’t wait to put my toes in the sand. And let me tell you how great it felt!
The second plan
When I couldn’t get into the dog park on the beach, my second plan was to go to St. Andrews State Park. The girls could be with me at the picnic areas. Of my two trips to PCB, I had never been to this park so I was learning as I went.
I went to the first area I found and could easily see the beach from where I sat on the picnic table. Like the beach on down the coast, the sand was so white, and the water was so blue. I couldn’t go walk in it like I really wanted to do, but you could see the difference between the water close to shore and the water on out in the lagoon.
This area was pretty busy, but we stayed there for about two hours until the girls started getting restless. When we left that area, I followed the drive around the opposite way we had come in. Sure enough, there was another area that wasn’t as busy. Looking at the picnic area, I think I could have seen the beach easier there.
Once we left the state park, I decided to follow Front Beach Road all the way down. The traffic wasn’t too bad, and I could see the whole strip all the way to the other end where we would stay for the next two nights.
The other two nights
The Catalina Court was my first Air BnB experience, and the experience wasn’t too bad. It was an old hotel that the owners are remodeling. When I made the reservation, the woman warned me that a construction crew is working on some rooms, but they shouldn’t bother me. And they didn’t.
As soon as we got settled, I headed to the beach access right across the street so I could put my feet on the beach. I stood there for a little while watching a storm brewing off of the coast. The wind was picking up and the skies were darkening. Glancing at the weather map on my phone, I could see the storm getting closer and closer.
I headed back to the room and grabbed the girls so I could head down the street to try out Thomas Donuts and Snack Shop. I had heard so many great things about this little place that I had to try it this time.
For dinner, I ordered a ham, salami and swiss sub and for breakfast the next morning two donuts. As I stood there waiting on my sub, the storm inched closer, but that didn’t bother me. I was at the beach where I had longed to be for so long.
The beach day
The next morning I peeked outside. The sky was so blue, but the wind was rough, prompting a red flag for swimming in the ocean. I quickly got ready to head to the beach, remembering I had forgotten my chair back home, which made me mad at myself, but I made due without it. I never did step foot in the water, but that didn’t matter to me.
Laying there on the beach and soaking up the sun, I let my worries blow out to sea. I hadn’t felt this relaxed in a few years. I felt so relaxed.
The last night
For dinner, I stopped at Thomas Donuts and Snack Shop again and ordered a small pizza. Oh, my gosh was it good!! I only got a nine-inch pizza, but if I had more with me, I would get a bigger one.
Since I hadn’t taken many pictures, I wanted to get some of the sunset. The girls and I stopped right about where we had on Wednesday night so I could walk out onto the beach and get some pictures. I had almost missed the sunset, but I still got a couple of good pictures.
Once we were back to the room, I gathered my stuff and prepared to head back home tomorrow. Boy, these two days had gone by quickly. I only wished I could have been down here the whole entire week.
Traveling by myself with two dogs was something I hadn’t thought was possible. I had taken a big step by doing this. And Jessie had behaved which made it good, too.
Overall, I am so glad I went ahead and did this beach trip. I needed the time away from home. I needed the ocean breeze to hit me in the face. Most of all, I needed to clear my head, and this trip did just that.