Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Mexico Beach, Florida

Last week Carrie Beth shared about her amazing trip to Key West during Fall Break. Well it was a Magnolia Mama Florida take over because while she was relaxing in Key West with her hubby we were soaking up some wonderful rays with our family in Mexico Beach, Florida.

It a new location for us and a great week filled with some wonderful friends, amazing food, and gorgeous views. We fell in love with the location and the laid back atmosphere and definitely plan on going back again soon.

Here are some fun details from our trip in case you are planning a trip to Mexico Beach soon or are looking for a beach town that is completely non-commercial and relaxing in every way.

We stayed at this amazing beach house. One of the couples going with us did all the research and found a rental home through VRBO. The home was perfect for our group (6 adults & 6 kids) with plenty of room to spare if you have additional guests.

Some of the home's highlights were:
- Location: It was located directly on the beach. Literally we walked out the door and there was the beach.
- It was four stories tall, but had an elevator that was seriously convenient at times. Think luggage going up four flights of stairs, groceries, etc.
- There was a private pool in the backyard just as you were going to the beach. The pool was the perfect size for kids and great for when everyone needed a quick dip to cool off.
- The beach was private. Seriously...most days it was like we had the entire beach to ourselves. Even if someone was on the beach everyone had tons of space to run, play games, listen to music, etc. without bothering a soul. That, my friends, was amazing especially with as many children we had. To actually be able to sit in a beach chair and not chase my kids through other peoples tents - AH-mazing!!
- And speaking of the beach, you can literally see it from almost every room in the house. With three huge balcony style porches and large windows the gorgeous views of the Gulf were always in your view.

For the VRBO listing and a detailed view of the house click HERE.

Because Mexico Beach is pretty small, and very non-commercial, part of its charm is that there aren't any chain restaurants. Everything is local and even the closest grocery store was about ten minutes away. This was the total vibe our group was looking forward to. We grilled out most days, but we did venture out twice to a few local hot spots.

Toucan's Tiki Bar
Toucan's was our absolute favorite spot. I am not sure if it was because it was easy (especially with the kids), gave us some amazing sunset views from our table on the balcony, or because once dinner was complete the kids had a playground outside to play on while the adults could enjoy some down time while the refueled kids could get their last minute wiggles out. Everyone enjoyed seafood dishes and they were pretty tasty. When we went it was during the week, but they offered weekend activities including bands as well as football nights. So if you are looking for a little bit of night life at the beach, this might be the spot.

Peppers Mexican Cantina & Grill
Peppers is located in Port St. Joe. We decided to take a break from all the seafood, and celebrate Friday with a little cheese dip and margarita (the non-pregnant ones of the group of course). Pepper's seemed to be a hot spot located in the heart of the downtown historic district. The salsa was excellent and apparently the margaritas weren't bad either. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and even though it was packed service was definitely on top of things. There were huge big screens everywhere with several games on if you were looking to take a quick sports break as well.

Fishing: Mexico Beach is great area for fishing - both on shore and off shore. The hubbies and the boys loved this, and literally fished from sun up until sun down every single day. The first day the husbands chartered a boat to do some deep sea fishing. They used a charter they found through Mexico Beach Marina. During this time of year the were able to catch Red Snapper (Sunday only), and then caught Blue Fish, Grouper, Flounder, and sharks just to name a few.

Nature Hike: Part of the group split off one day and visited St. Joseph Peninsula State Park. It is roughly 2100 acres located close to Cape San Blas. There are trails and beautiful beaches that you can enjoy on your visit. Keep your eyes peeled for animal sitings as well!

Visited Port St. Joe: Historic Port St. Joe has a cute little down town area. We did a quick little tour of the local shops and restaurants. We also visited the local marina where we were able to enjoy wonderful views and do some major boat dreaming. Some of the group enjoyed eating at the restaurant onsite at the marina and said it was delicious.

Beach Life: For the most part we simply enjoyed beach life. We set up a volley ball court, boogey boarded, built sandcastles and played football. The best part about all of that as well...we dragged that out on day one and didn't have to pack up a thing off the beach until the last ray of sunset on our final day. We were so excited to learn that there is an unspoken honor system about tents and belongings on the beach and as long as you don't leave everything spread out people will leave your stuff alone and it's waiting for you the next day. Parents...did you read that - no dragging out everything you own every single day to the beach!!! Again - AHmazing!

Dog Fly Season: Oh my! We had no clue what these things were and they would come and go as they pleased throughout the week. By the end of the week we all came to straight up hate those little pests. Their bites were like stings and they came in herds. There was no rhyme or reason as to the arrival or departure, but the only thing we learned was that every few years there is a season and they come from the farm lands of Alabama. One local shop suggested this Cactus Juice lotion. For half the group it worked and for the other half it seemed to not matter. I noticed that if you got out of the water you would need to reapply immediately so that they would stay away. We did notice a lot of people bring fans to the beach on these days and it seemed that the more wind you had the less flys.

Dogs: For all of you dog lovers out there we learned that the beaches in Mexico Beach are dog friendly and your favorite pooches are allowed on the beaches year round. We spoke to a local about this and they said most people still try to stick to letting their dogs out during the morning or evenings  to play in the water, etc., but that everyone is so spread out it usually doesn't matter what time of day, dogs are more than welcome. Definitely a fun spot to bring them and just let them run and swim if you like bringing your dog on vacation with you. 

Overall we loved our week in Mexico Beach and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing, laid back vacation. We all know sometimes vacations with kids can be tough, but this was definitely one of the easiest we have been on with our children. The beautiful private beaches and clear blue waters will definitely visited again soon by our little family. 

Do you prefer your beach vacations to be quiet and calm, or to be in hot spot where there are tons of activities to participate in?  

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