Pensacola, Florida

Last summer Europe was the trip of a lifetime. We went from sun up to sundown touring cathedrals, ruins, museums, and ancient sights. It felt like we walked 20 miles a day and we were exhausted when we got in every night. By the time I got home I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation. (Kinda like when you get home from a cruise with your girlfriends or Disney World.) We knew immediately that next summer we wanted to go to Portofino.

[ STAY ]

[ Photos via Portofino Island Resort ]

Portofino Island Resort: We found this gem in Gulf Breeze, Florida (near Pensacola) years ago and our family has not stopped going back. It’s nothing like Destin or Panama City. There is no crazy traffic, where it takes an hour to go a mile down the strip. There are no swarms of teenagers and best of all, you’re not fighting for a tiny plot of land on the beach – you can spread out! They offer 2 and 3 bedroom condos with spectacular views of the ocean and bay. We’ve stayed in many condos here and haven’t been disappointed yet! We always find the best deals at VRBO, but you can also rent directly through the resort. Renting through the resort usually includes additional perks like beach chairs and golf packages.

[ EAT ]

[ Photos via Stephanie Sikorski ]

Joe Patti’s Seafood Market: I cannot tell a lie, when we go to Pensacola we rarely go out to dinner. My family likes to stay on the beach until around 6 o’clock and enjoy a beer or two. No one wants to worry about getting dressed, doing makeup, or driving to dinner. We would much rather pick up fresh seafood at Joe Patti’s and plan out our own dinner. The seafood we get at Joe Patti’s is amazing! This past trip we picked up crab legs, fish, shrimp, and oysters. I may be biased but everything was way better than anything I could get at a restaurant. Check out some of the recipes we tried out here and here. Shrimp pasta and crab cake recipes coming soon!

Peg Leg Pete’s: When we feel obligated join the world again we would head to Peg Leg Pete’s. There’s typically a live band playing and they’ve got that whole “restaurant at the beach” vibe going on. We went twice and I loved both of my meals. You’ve got to try the crab claw appetizer and the shrimp po’boy!

[ PLAY ]

[ Photos via Portofino Island Resort ]

You can do absolutely nothing but read on the beach all day everyday (that’s what we did) but the resort has a lot more to offer than that! There is a spa that looked amazing. We tried to get in but they were totally booked. You can go to Adventure Cove (located at the resort) which is basically a mini water park. There are inflatables, water slides, and trampolines….basically, a kids paradise. You can also rent paddle boards, kayaks, sail boats, or golf.

If you are looking for weekend getaway or family vacation spot, this is your place!