This past week, I packed up my carry on, left behind 6 kids and headed to meet my blogging buddy Katrina on the Emerald Coast. Florida, despite being the opposite end of the continent from my home, has always been my favourite state. However, I have never visited the Emerald Coast. This may be my first time here, but will not be my last. In anticipation of bringing my family here in the not to distant future, I created a round up of my top five places that I will be sure to visit again with the whole family.
5 Places to Visit on the Emerald Coast
Associated with the Bass Pro Shops franchise, Uncle Bucks is far more than just a restaurant. It is an experience. They have meeting/party rooms of various sizes and according to the General Manager, they don’t say no. If you have an idea, group, menu idea, they will make it happen. I was part of a group of 30 mom bloggers and went bowling. I will admit it, I was hesitant at first, but I ended up having a great time. Even if I only scored 63, it was a strong 63. The unique artwork around the building is all hand painted. The wood around the building is repurposed from Nefoundland (an Eastern Canadian province). I have even heard rumors that a Bass Pro Shop is heading to Vancouver. I cannot wait to hear if an Uncle Bucks will come out west with it.
This afternoon we took a stroll along the village and met all sorts of locals, visited quaint shops and we were right on the water the whole time. There are watersports everywhere. My boys would be thrilled to ride a jet ski, paddleboard or zip line along the walkway. They even have pirate ship adventures. There is amazing fishing on the Emerald Coast and you can see the catch of the day come right out of the water with their fishing fleet. With a gorgeous view of the beach, I could see myself going for many walks over the next few days.
I will be completely honest, we did not have a chance (yet) to officially eat a full meal at AJ’s. During a scavenger hunt this afternoon, we popped in to see their raw oysters. The owner enthusiastically invited us in, despite the fact that we were not there to stay. He shared a taste of an oyster and they were delicious! The staff was welcoming, energetic and it really felt local.
When visiting Florida, I can never miss the marine animals. The Gulfarium is full of sea creatures and animal encounters. I have visited aquariums and marine parks in many cities. But this one felt different. It’s mission is not only to entertain visitors but educate them, while protecting the creatures they home. As the mom of a child with special needs, I really appreciate the extra mile the Gulfarium goes for people with special needs. They have a form on their website that helps them to be prepared to ensure that individuals needing addition support are accommodated and have an amazing experience.
I hadn’t heard of LuLu’s before my visit to the Emerald Coast. LuLu Buffet is the sister to Jimmy Buffet. I am a huge Margaritaville fan (I even have officially claimed the Facebook location of Margaritaville, BC Canada at our summer house). We were welcomed in excitedly by their staff and enjoyed an out of this world meal. They focus on not being a chain restaurant in the typical fashion. Lulu’s is family friendly and they want you to leave with a full belly and lots of fun memories. My kids would love their Krazy Kritter drinks and their kid’s menu has lots of variety. Just to tempt you, check out their menu here.
I wanted to give you a taste of what the Emerald Coast has to offer. Likely my favourite part of the Emerald Coast is the feeling of belonging. I don’t feel like a tourist, I feel at home.
I was provided some admission or meals at no cost, but all thoughts are my own.
Have you been to Florida? The Emerald Coast? Which place would you like to visit on your next trip?