My husband and I have unofficially started a yearly migration to the beach for our Thanksgiving weekend. We’ve never really discussed it, but like clockwork we both find our feet itching to get back in the sand at this time of year. So this year when we got an invite to spend a week in the Florida Keys for free, it was a no-brainer. Beach here we come!
Our vacation was wonderful. I spent most of it on a stand up paddleboard exploring various islands with my sister-n-law. However, there were a few things I learned from this vacation:
- The holiday traffic snafu is not a myth. As a newbie to the East Coast, I am still shocked every time I end up stuck on 1-95. It makes me laugh at myself for complaining about the four stoplights on my 15-minute commute to work in West Virginia. We ended up in stop and go traffic for 2 hours while crossing from Georgia to South Carolina. But hey, I’m the last person to tell anyone to stay home for a four-day weekend. Vacation is like gold to me. Take advantage of it if you are lucky enough to have it. My life mantra is all about traveling, adventure and experiences. I’d never want to let a little traffic to keep me from exploring.
- Logistics, logistics and more logistics! I had almost forgotten how vacations could become logistical nightmares. This is especially true if you are vacationing with 6 adults with varying budgets and personal agendas. In the end, I found myself thinking about work (this is perhaps, way too normal). I started thinking about how ACE Adventure Resort is a wonderfully easy logistical family vacation. Once you arrive, your adventure is ready and waiting. There is definitely something to be said about that.
- There is power in numbers. For example in the Florida Keys, for six of us to pay for a 2-hour snorkeling tour it was more than the price for the six of us to rent our own boat for the entire day. At ACE, if you have a group you are likely to find cost savings in everything from activities to lodging. Also more people make it more fun. So recruit your friends and family and enjoy the benefits.
- Divide and conquer. It’s OK to not stay together as a group for the entire vacation. Some of our best dinner conversations came from individual tales of the daily adventures. Moral of the story: Not everyone wants to stand up paddleboard all day every day (although it was the highlight of my trip).
- You can’t depend on Mother Nature. Upon arrival to “sunny Florida”, we didn’t even see the sun. In fact our first day was incredibly cloudy and windy. Wind is great for sailing, but can be a deal breaker for snorkeling, motor boating or stand up paddle boarding. Forecast for the rest of our trip- wind, and lots of it. It was hard not to let the forecast put a damper on things. But working in the outdoor industry for so long, I knew to think outside the box. On vacation you may not get the bluebird powder day or the high-water spring whitewater run on an 80+ degree day, but savvy travelers don’t let that get them down. We ended up finding a place where we could stand up paddleboard through a Mangrove forest protected by the wind. In outdoor adventures, remember weather sometimes makes the trip more interesting. For example, when on a whitewater rafting vacation it makes no difference if it’s raining. You are going to get wet any which way! It’s the experience that counts.