Virginia Is For Lovers.
My hubby is a VMI alumni, and I graduated from JMU. (Both not only excellent schools, but each of the campuses is breathtakingly gorgeous!!! Not even biased here! They are amazing!) These native Floridians spent four plus years of our lives there together, experiencing the true “seasons” for the very first time! Not only is Virginia amazing in every season, the two of us made so many great memories there together! So, with that being said, Virginia really is for lovers. Believe it!
Now that we reside back in our home state of Florida, we miss those seasons. We make it a point to head back to Virginia any chance we get! This year we even squeezed in a 4-day trip (and we drove… yes, with all four children – we drove!!!)
And, it was worth it! I’ve had apple picking on my to-do for a couple of years now, and we successfully scratched that this fall! (👆 The first time EVER I used the timer on my camera!!!)
When we heard about a Florida beach with “blowing rocks” we had to see it to believe it!
My hubby & I are both native Floridians–how did we miss this through the years?!! We left the next morning set out to find these so called “blowing rocks”.
The blowing rocks preserve is part of The Nature Conservancy and it is located in Hobe Sound (less than a 2 hour drive for us). A day-trip I definitely would recommend to my fellow Floridians! This beach has the South Florida blue water that we all love, and I couldn’t keep my little fish out of it! I often joke that my oldest should have been born with gills… he has the most amazing connection with the sea and all of the creatures from it. This picture captures him perfectly!
If the blue water isn’t enough to make you commit to a visit, the shoreline at Blowing Rocks is unlike any beach I’ve seen in Florida!
I could hardly believe we were just hours from home! Limestone rock covered the shoreline filled with shell fossils and naturally carved out trails to meander! Blowing Rocks gets its’ name from the spectacle of the waves hitting the rocks at high tide and spraying over the tops – sometimes as high as 50 feet!
Castillo de San Marcos
A little stay-cation is good for the soul & easy on the budget. Our brood is all about fort-building this summer, so we found it fitting to take the kiddos for their first visit to Castillo de San Marcos – the oldest masonry fort in the U.S (located in Historic St. Augustine, Florida) .
The coquina stone structure was an adventure definitely worth taking with our golden babes. We started our visit with a picnic lunch on the grassy hill just outside the entrance–it was perfect! A Pirate Ship battle that we viewed from the second story was happening as we arrived (we got so lucky – I knew nothing about this in advance!) A historic cannon firing also took place! It was amazing, but be sure to cover any little ears – it’s LOUD! By the time that we got to exploring the downstairs, the children enjoyed hearing their own “echos” more than learning of any of the historical significance… I had to giggle. I know these days of glorious “echos” are so fleeting!
The National Park Service offers valuable tools for preparing for you visit here.
The Hyppo Has All The Hype
Delightful all-natural ice pops with mentions in Travel + Leisure, Food & Wine,
When it comes to 4th of July Celebrations the adage “there is no place like home” definitely rings true for our family. Beach fireworks do not disappoint… and there’s plenty to do while you anticipate the late night start time(s)!
Chill Out with the Tastiest Red, White & Blue
Although grown ups love a long beach day, the kiddos can’t hang forever… the usual has to happen – naps, snacks, poops (yes, I just included poops into my first blog post!) On the day of the Fireworks show (it’s usually not on the 4th) we try to hit the beach in the afternoon. That means we have a day out & about doing things other than the beach. And let’s face it – it’s hot. It’s Florida & it’s July. I can suggest no better place to “chill out” then Oasis Shaved Ice. Always a favorite for us, it was the perfect place to cool down and get festive. We headed out for a little bit of “Freedom” in a cup (blue raspberry, cherry – stuffed & frosted – and, oh, so American)!
My little babes light up as we approach the place anticipating their sweet treat, of course, but also to race each other to the drawing boards! I might go as far to say this is the most kid-friendly *sweetery* in Cocoa Beach
Steinhatchee Landing Resort Is a Win
This is the family vaca with absolutely no need for the standard “vacation after the vacation”. If that doesn’t make you add it to your destination list this summer I don’t know if anything else will!
First of all… if you even considered going to Steinhatchee you’ve probably read all the hype about the Steinhatchee Landing Resort. Believe it people – the place is amazing! It is truly designed to embrace the surrounding natural beauty and make you feel completely at home. You can choose from cottages that range from 1 to 4 bedrooms, making it the perfect getaway for families (and LOTS of friends!) We are already planning our trip for next year and hope we can convince some of our favorite families to join us (you know who you are!)
In my family we feel front porches are never given enough credit…
A Cool Place For Cool People… That’s How Bob Sums It Up.
And, I couldn’t agree more! Bob’s River Place is one of our coolest summer family friendly adventures yet (and it was only $25)! Located along the Suwannee River, Bob’s River Place is a popular swimming hole for locals and travelers alike. The 40-acre property is owned by Bob Hawkins who has generously welcomed guests into his backyard adventure zone for over 40 years now, and he can still be found there daily with his bull horn in hand to entertain & regulate his company. Equipped with multiple rope swings, two water slides, a log-roll, karaoke swamp-side, volleyball, floating docks – it truly has it all (except maybe a nearby Starbucks… after all day at Bob’s the kiddos zonked right away and Mama needed her coffee-fix for the drive home–the closest is over 35 miles away!) Nonetheless, my family had the time of their lives at Bob’s celebrating my oldest babes 9th birthday (holy cow–he’s half-way to adulthood!!!)
Cost: $25.00 per vehicle (up to 6 people)
Hours: open 7 days a week *rain or shine* 11am-6pm
Contact: 352-542-7363 | 2878 NE 340 Hwy, Branford, Florida 32008
Food: charcoal grills available first come/first serve & picnic tables throughout property | No Concessions Sold
Restrooms: public restrooms are available
Where to Stay: We chose to make a long weekend out of it and rented a cottage at the Steinhatchee Landing Resort (only a 35-minute drive away). Check-out details of our scalloping weekend in Steinhatchee here! There is also plentiful camping nearby including the breathtaking Ginnie Springs.
- Lifeguards NOT on Duty – Swim At Your Own Risk (*Suwannee River current is strong*)
- This is a residential homestead – carrying your own insurance policy is advised.
- Zero tolerance for alcohol use or any mind-altering substances while visiting Bob’s home.
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