February 3, 2009

Watercolor, Florida, Fun For the Whole Family

By Barbara Stitzer, for Boomeryearbook.com

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As stated before, I’m a luxury person, so I was a little wary of staying in the middle of the “Redneck Riviera”, the sugar white sandy beaches of Florida’s panhandle route 30A, but the town names of Seaside, Watercolor, Alys Beach, and Rosemary Beach took my heart, so away we went.

We rented a 3000 square foot home, quaintly named “Squeeze Me Inn” with a pool in Watercolor Florida fourth of July weekend for $5400 for the week, gulp, but we brought Buzz’s best friend from life and his family to share the fun and the bills, which is what everyone does out there. It is rare when a vacation home outdoes my own home. I’m not being rude, it’s just true. We have a very resortish, luxurious home. But we were blown away by our home in Watercolor. There was more than enough room for the ten of us, including a bunk room that could have held our four girls, separate rooms for the teenage boys and two master suites.

30A has so many things for families to do. It’s more than a vacation; it’s a good, clean fun lifestyle. Everyone rents bikes and leaves their cars, and attitudes behind. They bike to the beach, where the ocean is warm and clear and you can learn to surf in the gentle waves. There is a roaming sandcastle guy who trains you to transform the usual sloppy monstrosities into true palaces, s’mores roasts, evening plays and movies under the stars, a cheese shop with the most exotic cheeses and meats I have ever had, a little goofy airstream trailer that churns out the best “mounds” shave ices in the world, outrageous, one of a kind shopping, and tons of award winning five star restaurants you can wear a sarong and flip flops to without feeling out of place; our favorite is A Fish Out of Water, in the Watercolor hotel, which is the epitome of luxury and always wins Southern Living magazine’s best family resort award. For casual dining, Pizza by the Sea couldn’t be beat. They had hula hoops and toys for the kids to play with while they waited…I actually learned to hula while I was there! And their pizza really ruled. When it rained, I took the four girls out and we jumped in puddles until we were soaked, then we jumped in one of the many Watercolor pools with our pajamas on, which was definitely a highlight of the trip.

While we were lounging on the beach, Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo took up the beach umbrellas next to us, and NO ONE bothered them. I did have to stuff a couple of tongues back into a couple of nameless mouths, however.

If you go, fly into the new, international Panama City airport, but bypass that touristy town. Head straight to Watercolor, remove your shoes, and chill. You deserve it!

Have you ever been to Watercolor Florida or have your own get a way you’d like to discuss. Come join others at Boomer Yearbook….and please share your experiences and pictures.

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