White Sand, Turquoise Water and a New Coach Purse
Bemused, I gazed at my bright pink, freshly pedicured toes. The pedicure was lovely but what was truly, truly lovely was the view I had over my toes, resting on the end of a lounge chair on a blindingly white sand beach in South Walton, Florida. Clear water shading from dark turquoise to the clear lime green of that true southern specialty, key lime pie, stretched to the horizon of the blue, blue sky decorated with just a few wispy white clouds. It was January back home and snow warnings were predicted for that evening but that seemed far away on this gorgeous day. Far, far away. I stretched, relishing the feel of the golden sun on my legs and glanced over at two of my favorite traveling companions, my sister and sister-in-law.
In the mood for a girlfriends getaway, we had stuffed our car with everything imaginable and headed from Lexington, Kentucky on an easy 10-hour drive to the beautiful, Caribbean-like beaches of South Walton. I had arranged a week-long stay through Visit South Walton in two of the 15 beach neighborhoods which comprise the South Walton area. We began our stay in a kitschy and lovely beach house at the Watercolor Inn & Resort in Watercolor Beach.
56 Buttercup Street is in the Park District of Watercolor Inn & Resort, one of seven different districts, each with houses and townhouses of varying sizes with a variety of views and locations. Our three-bedroom house had been carefully decorated in a beachy theme that was whimsical and entertaining. Each of the three bedrooms was beautifully furnished with ceiling fans and beds so comfy we could barely drag ourselves out of each morning. In the master bedroom was a huge and fabulous Jacuzzi tub which I filled to overflowing with bubbles one night and languished in until I was as relaxed as humanly possible.
An easy walk or bike ride to the beach (free bikes were included with the house), our pretty little beach house was perfect for the three of us, but also had plenty of room for a family. We left our cooking duties at home and headed over to the Inn every night for dinner at The Gathering Spot, a little dining area right off the lobby and had delicious seafood and steaks. Their renowned restaurant, A Fish Out of Water, was closed for renovation but, with excellent reviews and reputation, this would also be a great place to eat. After dinner, we’d head out to the pool area in the cool of the evening to enjoy the open fire and an incredible view of the stars.
We managed to drag ourselves away from lolling on the beach, by the heated pool, and in the poolside Jacuzzi at Watercolor to head for some fabulous shopping bargains at the Silver Sands Factory Stores Outlet Mall in Miramar Beach where we proceeded to buy another carload of items, forgetting that we had arrived with a full car. Somehow, we managed to fit in six pairs of shoes, a Coach purse, and innumerable other items in that full car – it’s amazing what you can find when you have outlets like Coach, Ann Taylor Loft and Jones New York available. Be sure to check out the local Bealls Outlet as well – they also have great prices and a great selection.
There was no question where we would have lunch – Cheeseburger in Paradise in Miramar Beach is a great place to get a burger, fish tacos or a grilled Tilapia sandwich so delicious and huge you can easily share it with your girlfriend. Truly a win-win situation, less calories consumed and more money for shopping! Then, we spent the afternoon in the lovely and scenic village of Seaside, where The Truman Show was filmed – and recognized several of the streets and houses from the movie.
In the middle of the week, we once again stuffed our car full and headed for Condo #4759 in the Westwinds Beachfront Tower at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Sandestin. With an incredible view of the beach, three bedrooms and three bathrooms, this lovely condo was the perfect location for viewing the incredible sunsets in the South Walton area. The full kitchen and dining area were perfect for quick breakfasts before we hit the beach.
One of the nicest areas in the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is the lovely little Village of Baytowne Wharf. A beautiful little pedestrian shopping area full of interesting shops and fabulous restaurants, this is a great place to stroll around in the evenings. We had a wonderful meal one night at the lovely French restaurant, Bistro Bijoux, the best grouper I have ever eaten in my life at the Marlin Grill, and a lovely brunch one day at Another Broken Egg Café.
We shopped until we dropped, beached until we were sunburned and ate until we were stuffed. Now it was time for a spa experience. The Sandestin Day Spa and Salon is located above the Linkside Conference Center and a short walk to Another Broken Egg Café (massage and brunch, anyone?) and offers a variety of services including hairstyling, nail design, facials, therapeutic body treatments and massage. Massages sounded absolutely perfect to the three of us so we each headed off to a massage room and emerged an hour later relaxed and rejuvenated.
South Walton had provided every single experience girlfriends could possibly want and we were all pretty reluctant to pack up our car and leave. Especially since we had to stash our warm coats within reach.
Unfortunately, another snow storm was predicted back home. With memories of silvery white sand and azure water dancing in our heads, we hit the road. And began planning our next trip back to one of the 15 beaches of South Walton.
Jan Ross is a freelance travel writer who has been traveling the world since way back before she can even remember. Her dad was in the Marine Corps so she is used to packing up at a moment’s notice! She loves writing hotel and restaurant reviews since it means she gets to stay in fabulous places and eat wonderful food. She especially loves writing spa reviews because that means she gets phenomenally pampered and, seriously, who does not like that? She has visited lots of places but still gets a thrill of excitement when she boards a plane, steps into a new hotel room, or sees a new location for the first time. And she hopes that thrill never, ever goes away.
For more information on Jan, visit her website at WanderlustWonder.com.