We travel full time but every once in a while we have to “return home” to northern Florida. Since we don’t physically live there anymore, we only have to return to do things like renew our drivers licences, and basically, it’s way more like a vacation. We go hiking, ride our bikes, kayak on the slow, easy, rivers, and of course, visit the beaches. My favorite beach being a state park with nearly no one else on it, but it’s also nice to be able to walk over to a restaurant and get a margarita once in a while.
I came up with an essential packing list for our days out and about in the panhandle. We usually drive from Panama City to Destin, hitting up every beach, coffee shop, boutique and waterfront cafe along the way. The gulf-side culture is unbeatable and quaint with nautical decor everywhere and endless water fun to be had.
I like mirrored sunglasses for many reasons, but primarily for privacy. I like looking and feeling anonymous when I travel, and when I don’t feel like putting on my eye makeup, I don’t have to worry about it. My favorite pair is from Nectar. They’re colorful and retro looking, adding a bit of fun to my outfits.
A Portable Phone Charger
I am notorious for burning through my phone battery like crazy. Between using the camera and watching youtube vidoes, my phone doesn’t last long out of the house. I use a portable phone charger from MyCharge. I have the MyCharge RazorMax Charger and I keep it in my purse, charge it in the car if needed and it’s ready to go by the time I reach my hike or destination.
For a long time I didn’t understand “dry shampoo” but now that I travel more, there’s no replacement for a hair boost when I just don’t have the time to wash and dry my hair. When I was in England last, I discovered Lush body, bath and hair products. They’re completely cruelty free and very vocal about it, which I LOVE. I picked up a few things and finally, a bottle of dry shampoo – grapefruit scented. Here I am nearly 3 years later and my bottle is still half full. I use it pretty often, you just don’t need much. It perks up heavy, oily hair and if desired, gives it a cool messy/beach look.
I find that I might want to be away from my hotel or host’s home for a while when I go out, so the more things I can bring, the better. Swimwear, makeup, my charger, sunglasses, emergency contact lens case in case I get sand in my eyes, and room for things I might want to buy.
My current bag is one of a Florida scene bag during sunset. Florida nature, but not to cliche “beach and palm trees”. I like to keep it real :D
Casual/Restaurant Ready Dress
This isn’t difficult to do, but it is important to remember. Most restaurants in Florida aren’t “black tie” so you don’t have to fit a dress code, but it’s nice to not show too much skin in a nice restaurant after you’ve been at the beach all day. Also, not many people think about it, but if you’ve been in the sun all day air conditioning will feel like ice water hitting your skin. It’s handy to not only have a dress but a light cardigan. If you’re lucky you can sit outside, but then you most definitely will have to deal with insects (more so in the evening). It is a swampy, wet place, Florida, be prepared for nature to be all up on.
I like summer dresses with sleeves because I despise the south’s overuse of the air conditioner. You’ll even see places with the a/c blasting and the doors wide open. I’d rather be hot in the sun than cold indoors! However, most people don’t have that opinion so I’ll list a couple summer dresses I like for non-southern visits.
The “Summer in the City” dress is great though a little harder to just slip on over your shorts and tank top (from your hobo bag of course), however it’s a hot look. The most convenient “I don’t want to go back to the hotel but I need to wear more clothes in this restaurant” dress, is one designed for such a task like the BillaBong Sunlit Summer Woven Dress.