We loved our little family getaway and the memories we made at Grayton Beach State Park!
In our digital age, we are often so busy and connected to our technology. Many of our jobs are behind a desk and on a computer. For our kids, much of their days are spent at school with Chromebooks and free time is spent playing video games and watching Youtube videos.
There are many benefits to technology, but it’s important to get fresh air, explore and switch things up a bit. What’s surprising to me is that, as connected as we are, we are taking less time off and spending more time in the office. According to U.S. Travel in 2017 Americans forfeited 212 million days of vacation time. I’m here to nudge you to take some time to get away for a day!
There are so many amazing benefits to getting outdoors once in a while. Of course, it’s great for your physical body to get outdoors for exercise. Research shows it also reduces stress which in turn can boost your immune system. People tend to be more relaxed, creative and productive after time outside. It can also help build confidence and help you feel more connected to those who matter most in your life.
You might think you have to go on some big adventure to use your vacation time but honestly, it’s the little things that add up to big things. It’s easy to just sit around and think about the things you want to do, but deciding to do something about it is where change occurs. That’s what we hope to inspire you to do.
We come up with a lot of excuses for not taking that time off. Here are a few:
- Too much work to do.
- Too busy with kid activities.
- Not enough money to get away.
Honestly, a lot of that is true but it’s also an excuse. If you look around there are many opportunities for adventure right outside our doors. That’s why we enjoy state parks and public lands as they offer unique adventures that won’t break the bank.
We were ready for an adventure. We knew we couldn’t do some huge, exotic trip right now, but we also realized we have adventures right outside our door. So we hit the road and headed to the beach for a few days. In less than two hours, we arrived at one of the beautiful state parks on the gulf coast of northwest Florida- Grayton Beach State Park!
With so much to explore a cabin was the perfect addition for a few days of adventure. The beach style cottage cabins at Grayton Beach State Park did not disappoint. The recently remodeled cabin was modern, had two bedrooms, one bath, a full kitchen, living area with a screened in porch and a BBQ grill in the backyard. Our cabin was also a short distance to the beach. It was the perfect way to camp with our two teenagers. If a rustic tent or RV camping is more your style, that’s also available in the park.
Pizza By The Sea and Electric Bikes
After checking in we headed to the Yolo + Bike Shop to pick up some Yolo Electric Bikes to use for part of our adventure. After grabbing our bikes and getting them situated our appetites were craving some pizza pies. It just so happens that the same shopping area as the Yolo shop there is a pizza place called Pizza By The Sea, and yes it’s literally right across the street from the gulf. The shopping area is called Gulf Place and is minutes from the state park.
Get Fit In A Florida State Park
We wanted a vacation and we desired some fresh air, exercise and sunshine because we know how important those things are to our well being. We think we chose the perfect space for that- a Florida State Park.
Did you know the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has kicked off a new fitness initiative called Florida Park Fit. We’re not ones who enjoy spending much time indoors at a gym, but send us outside to get fit and that takes on a whole new meaning.
For us we discovered Grayton Beach State Park to be an excellent choice for our outdoor gym. We got to enjoy hiking, paddleboarding and riding bikes and not to mention good quality family time and fresh air.
An Electric Outdoor Experience
As I mentioned we picked up Yolo Electric Bikes at the Yolo + Bike Shop in Gulf Place to use for part of the getaway. The bikes were a hit with our kids. In the day and age of gaming and online entertainment, the bikes were perfect for luring our teens out the door for some good quality outdoor time.
The bikes are electric but that doesn’t mean you sacrifice the health benefits of biking. On these bikes, we all spent hours riding which we would not have done on regular bikes. Yes, you still peddle and get exercise but they open opportunities you may not have on non-electric bikes by allowing you to go further and faster. The bikes we had were beach-cruiser style could easily reach speeds around 20 mph. The bikes also come in off-road bike style and will reach speeds around 30 mph.
As mentioned we spent hours on these bikes. We explore off-road trails with ease and biked the paved road with speed to the beach where we enjoyed the sound of waves.
The first night after finishing pizza we walked across the street for an amazing sunset. After the sunset, we headed back to the park and finished the day by biking down to the beach where the stars and sound of waves were amazing.
The next morning Lindy and I enjoyed a 3-mile ride to Seaside with the fresh spring air against our face we had a destination of Amavida Coffee. into the night and finished the first day at the beach feeling the fresh cool air of an early spring evening.
Coastal Dune Lakes and Paddleboarding
We’ve been paddleboarding for years and it’s always fun to discover new places to paddle. We have never paddled at Grayton Beach State Park so it was exciting to get our feet wet in Western Lake. I did not know at the time but I learned that Western Lake is the second largest coastal dune lake in northwest Florida. The lake is approximately 214 acres and stretches between Grayton Beach and Watercolor.
In the park, there is a small boat ramp and beach area for launching canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and other small vessels. If you don’t have anything that floats the state park has kayaks available for rent.
Who Else Loves an Early Morning Paddle?
There is something wonderful about paddling early in the morning. Mabye it’s the early morning light or how quiet it can be and the sound of song birds signing lovely tunes. That’s why we choose to go for an early morning paddle. It was a lovely peaceful experience to get out on that lake.
Go Ahead and Cash In On That PTO
We went for a couple days but if you live by a State Park or Public Lands you can go for a day or even just a few hours. Go ahead and cash in on that hard earned paid time off and go refresh that mind of yours. I think your boss with thank you later.
If you need an outdoor getaway we recommend heading to Grayton Beach State Park. If you live in the Pensacola area it’s not to far for a day trip or grab your tent and spend a couple days at the beautiful park.
More About Grayton Beach State Park
Grayton Beach State Park is located between Destin and Panama City off 30A. The park has over 2,200-acres of park to explore. There are trails for hiking, coastal dune lakes for paddling and sugar-white sand beaches for relaxing and swimming in the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. If relaxing on the beach isn’t your thing then the gulf is perfect for paddleboarding, fishing, snorkeling and more.