Orange Beach 2016: Part One

We’ve been home from our vacation for just over a week now and I think part of my heart is still on the beach. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about recapping our trip, but I knew I wanted to share it on the blog. This trip was so special for our family. It was the girls first road trip over 4 hours and their very first time to see the ocean. This was the first time in 5 years that we have been away from home for a week and it was exactly what our family needed. 

So where should we start? 
How about at the beginning.

Day One


Our trip started on Saturday Sept 10th at 4:37 a.m. Yes, we woke up at 3:45 to get an early start, crazy I know. There was motivation behind the madness I assure you. #1 We had no idea how well the girls would travel. Keep in mind the longest they have been in a car was 4 hours. #2 The further we got earlier in the day the better. #3 We REALLY wanted to be there before it got dark.

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We drove and drove and drove and DROVE. Across the entire state of Arkansas, on small highways, past cotton fields, down the brown highways of Mississippi, We almost ended up in Louisiana when we had a navigational mishap (and no cell service naturally). We crossed the Mississippi river,  drove through the long leaf pine forests of Alabama, across the Mobile Bay and headed to the Gulf Coast where the beauty all around us was breathtaking. 

It took us 13 hours and 50 minutes. Our girls, our girls were amazing completely blowing all expectations of how they would travel out of the water. Sometimes we can’t make it across town without a fight so nearly 14 hours in the car seemed impossible. Boy did they prove us wrong. 

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After we arrived we made sure we were able to get into our condo and headed straight to the beach. My eyes welled up with tears seeing Marissa run for the ocean. Emily was a little unsure about walking through the sand but she quickly caught up with a little encouragement from Russ.

At first I just stood there in awe. In awe of the beauty, in awe of the moment, and in awe that a moment I had waited for my entire life was happening. I quickly grabbed my camera and snapped a few photos wanting to capture this moment in time. 

The rest of the night was unloading a car, finding somewhere to get a pizza, giggly-giddy girls and sweet dreams.

Day Two

Now comes the next part where some of you will once again call me crazy. Anyone who knows me well, knows I am an early bird. Sunrises are my jam. I wasn’t about to let a week of ocean side sunrises slip away from me so I woke up every day with just enough time to get dressed and head to the beach. Yes you read that right. Through our whole vacation I woke up early #worthit.

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The best part was I was never alone. Every day Marissa joined me and I will never forget watching those sunrises with her, especially on our first morning there. On that first morning we saw the prettiest sunrise we would see all week, dolphins swimming, and a beautiful rainbow. 


After sunrise we had a lazy morning at the condo and went to Publix for some food to have around the house. Which reminds me, I love Publix. 

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That afternoon we headed to the beach to get some sun and splash in the waves. The girls also discovered the joys of burying and digging in the sand. They had so much fun.

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After our fair share of fun in the sun we ended up at the Gulf State Park Pier. It was awesome to be on such a LARGE pier so far out in the ocean. We even watched the sharks swimming all around us, CRAZY!

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Dinner that night was ‘The Gulf”. It was a super cool outside restaurant made from shipping containers that had way better views than food. The food wasn’t terrible but the views were amazing.


After another sunset stroll on the beach and ice cream before bed we put the girls down for the night. Russ and I stayed up way to late dreaming and talking on the balcony, easily my favorite spot to hang out the entire week.

And that was day two.

Recapping Days 1 & 2 of our #beachvacation today on the blog! #orangebeach Click To Tweet

I can’t wait to share more details from our trip with you in the coming weeks.
I hope you enjoy reading about it just as much as I love reliving the memories. 

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  • Jessica

    Wow Beth! The first two days sound and look amazing. Those sunset photos are out of this world. Love!!

    • Thank you so much Jess. We had the best time.

  • Such fun and such beautiful photos! And yay for good car behaviour- bodes well for future trips 🙂

    • EXACTLY! We aren’t flyers so good car behavior is an answer prayer.

  • Amy Smith

    Those sunrises are just magnificent. I’m so glad you woke up early to capture those, not to mention with Marissa by your side. Such sweet memories.

    • It was my favorite part(s) of the whole trip.

  • Meghan Flinn

    Those sunrises! You’ve just inspired me to wake up early more often if it means seeing and capturing a sunrise that beautiful! Excited to read more about your vacation!

    • Thanks Meghan. Nothing beats a sunrise on the beach…. especially in the fall when they happen a little later :P.

  • Lizzie Simantz

    I love vacation recaps! It looks like the trip started off great, I can’t wait to read about the rest! Those sunrises are gorgeous and seriously, how special to share them with Marissa.

    • Thank you so much! Those moments were seriously my favorite part of the whole trip.

  • Ohhh so much fun! Your vacation recap has me so excited for our upcoming trip. Those sunrises are absolutely beautiful. There is just something about a sunset and sunrise that has me in awe every single time I see one. The girls look like they were loving the beach!! I’m excited to read more about your vacation =) And I am with you…I love Publix! But there are none in the Northeast at all…bummer!
    Have a great day!!

    • YES! Every single time is right. I am guessing they are a southern thing?! We don’t have them in the Midwest either…at least now in Joplin :P.

  • This just sounds amazing! Beautiful views! Content kids.

  • Looks amazing! The sunset and sunrise pictures are my favorite. We never have done such a long drive in one day. We always stop somewhere in the middle!

    • Yeah that was a lot of driving. Just enough it was doable without stopping. Any more and oh my word :P.

  • Looks amazing. I loved your description of what you drove through to get there. And the sunrises with your daughter? Priceless.

    • It was the best trip ever…. can we go back now?!

  • Love your great photos here! Beaches can be wonderful. We haven’t yet taken the boys, but I really do want to. Also, woo hoos on making it through the car trip! We love road trips, but they can still be a little stressful. 🙂

    • Yes they can. When you take the boys it is going to be magical I tell you. I felt like such a nerd crying but it was just the sweetest moment.

  • Oh how fun! I love the beach. Thirteen hours in the car though ,wow! Glad your girls were troopers!

    • Baha ha! YES! That was a lot of driving but totally worth it.

  • Desiree @ Macke Monologues

    GAH!!! What a perfect beach trip!
    Those sunrises are STUNNING! And I’m with you, waking early on the beach to catch the sun come up is THE best! Even better when you can share it with such a sweet little lady and a pod of dolphins playing off the coast!

    • Exactly! I can’t even imagine missing out on those moments?! By far my favorite parts of our trip. I’ll never forget those moments.

  • Beautiful pictures! I’m glad you had a great time. I know you will cherish those memories. There’s nothing better than uninterrupted family time. Well, except, maybe a solo Target run after you get back from a week long family vaca and need a little escape from said family. 😉

    • Lol. I was in depression/ denial all of last week. I think I was actually too sad to do any shopping baha ha! But reality has officially set in and I’m back to being okay again. Thank you.

  • BETH!!!! I knew you guys had gone to the beach, but I had no idea that you had come all the way over here to my neck of the woods! Orange Beach is only a couple of hours up the coast from where we usually go on our annual beach trip! What a long drive for you guys! Isn’t the gulf just stunning, though? There are just no beaches in the U.S. prettier than the gulf! We’re about equal distance from the Atlantic and the gulf and we always head straight to the gulf… it’s so picturesque! And the sunsets are incredible. I’ve never experienced a sunrise there because I like my sleep, but I’ll have to do it next year! Your pictures are just gorgeous and I can’t wait to see more!

    Oh, and I heart Publix, too! It’s the only place I grocery shop!

    • Hehe! Too bad I didn’t come just a bit closer eh?! I don’t think we would have lasted in the car any longer though. It was AMAZING! I have never been to the gulf and I can’t even imagine going anywhere else. Although next year we were kind of thinking of heading a different direction and taking the girls to see the mountains in CO. That’s a few hours closer too! Totally see at least one sunrise next year. Thank you! There is plenty more to share :P.

      Is Publix a southern thing?

      • Ya know, I’m not sure… I know they are in GA and FL, but I’m not sure where else! I don’t know what I would do without them!

  • Wow!! These pictures are beautiful. I’m with you..never pass up a sunrise!! I can’t wait to see the rest of your trip. Such a perfect vacation.

    • NEVER! Even the mid west ones can be alright sometimes. Thank you so much we had the best time!

  • Cat @

    Looks like a wonderful start to your vacation! Can’t wait to see the rest.

  • I love that the girls handed the trip well. It was well worth the “what if” right? You had the time of your life!

    • You know we did!

      Now I have scenes from ‘Dirty Dancing’ playing in my head :P.

  • 1. 14 hours in a car?!?! Girl you have dedication!
    2. Your trip sounds amazing so far and it’s only day 2. HOLY GORGEOUS sunrises!!! Totally worth the early wake up calls and I love that marissa did it with you!

    • Well when you live in the mid west and want to go to the beach…!!! Also I should mention we don’t really fly. No huge reasons, Russ just doesn’t want to. I think he feels too out of control.

      It was AMAZING. Can’t wait to blog about the rest. I always feel vacation posts must bore others but this one did alright I suppose.

  • Your pictures are beautiful! I’m so glad you got to enjoy a vacation. I also love that you have to break it down like I do (SO many pictures). Can’t wait to see the rest! We’ve been home a month and I still miss it.

    • Thanks Stefanie. I just wish I had time to edit them, lol. SO many pictures is right, the next couple of days I ended up having to do separate posts for because there was just too many. Yup, I can see that being me in a couple more weeks. It’s just the best.

  • It looks like you had so much fun! Those sunsets looked amazing! How awesome that Marissa joined you too. 🙂

    • It was such a great time. I wish we could go back right now!

  • So wish we visited later in the season! When we ate at The Gulf we literally almost couldn’t find a seat. Such a fun atmosphere, but agree, not the best food. 😉 Makes me miss our beach vacation–so fun! And what sweet memories with M in the mornings!

    • I guess I didn’t put together that you were in the same area as we were?! Where did you stay at? Everything was pretty empty and fantastic plus it was still super warm. After Labor Day is definitely the best time to go.

      • We stayed in a “house” (more like a duplex) over the bridge…near The Crab Trap. We love that area!

  • chall1018

    Yes! I have been waiting on this vacation post. It looked like you guys had the best time {via IG} so I am excited to see more pictures and hear the details! Though not as early as you, we did travel early on our last trip. We loved it because it gave us so much more time to spend at our destinations. I agree, waking up early was totally worth it. Those sunrises are breathtaking! I can just tell from these sweet pictures all of the amazing memories you all made as a family! Makes my heart so happy for you all.

    • YES! You totally get it friend. The memories made together were unbeatable. I feel like the girls are at such a good age for these kind of things. We had THE BEST time. Makes me want to plan another vacation pronto. But I keep telling myself that we should wait until later this winter. I think we may try and see the mountains the next time. But the beach again wouldn’t be too bad I suppose.

  • You captured the most gorgeous ocean views!! I am so happy the girls did great in that endlessly long drive (lol) and that they had a wonderful time on the beach. The ocean is definitely a special place and it warms my heart your family experienced it together!

    • Thank you so much friend. We had the most amazing time together. I am just so thankful we were able to go.

  • OH my goodness, makes me teary eyed just reading this, and how much happiness it brought you seeing your girls see the ocean for the first time. Amazing! So happy that the girls did well on the car ride, we do the same thing on long trips leave at 4:30 so the kids will sleep for a good 2-3 hours before they wake up and then we get another 2 hours to drive before we absolutely have to stop. Loving the recaps!

    • Aawwww. Yes, you totally get it. The whole trip was so special and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. That is exactly why we left at that time. Great minds think alike.