Sunday, August 31, 2014

Duck Commander in West Monroe, Lousiana (Florida 2014 Trip Itinerary)

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One of Danny's few requests for our travels home was to stop at Duck Commander in West Monroe, LA. It was Sunday evening, so everything was closed, but the place was still buzzing with tourists. I think he secretly wanted to compare beards. Thank goodness we're quite a ways away from duck commander status. 

By this point in our trip we were all DONE riding in the car, so it was nice to get out, stretch our legs and grab some dinner. Our full travel itinerary is below in case anyone is planning a road trip across the south and looking for ideas of places to stop!

For the drive home our itinerary was:

Friday afternoon

  • Drive 5 hours from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville, FL
  • Stay at the Hampton in


  • Wake up and explore/hikea the Fort Caroline Nature Preserve (within the Timucuan Preserve)
  • Eat lunch
  • Drive 6 hours from Jacksonville, FL to Foley, AL
  • Eat dinner at Lambert's Cafe (which turned in to Chick-fil-a b/c the two hour wait at Lamberts was TOO LONG for us)
  • Drive 4.5 hours from Foley, AL to Baton Rouge, LA (yes, this was a late nigh)
  • Stay at Courtyard Marriot (Originally we were going to stay at Tunica Hills Campgrounds in their new cabins - in St. Francisville, LA - but we decided that we were getting in too late to deal with cabins in the dark woods.)


  • Wake up and hike at Clark Creek Nature Area in Tunica Hills State Park
  • Eat lunch
  • Drive 3 hours from St. Francisville, MS to West Monroe, LA
  • Visit Duck Commander
  • Eat dinner
  • Drive 4 hours home

Clark Creek Natura Area (Florida 2014 Itinerary)

So, our third day of travel and our second stop was at Clark Creek Nature Area in Mississippi. Did you know there's gorgeous hiking is Mississippi? I didn't either. This place was magical. We picked on of the shortest trails because we had little legs trekking through the forest, but we could have explored here for days!

The boys really were in their element on these hikes. They rarely complained; we allowed them tons of freedom in exploring, picking up all the rocks and sticks they wanted, and climbing on everything; we packed in plenty of snacks; and we all had a fabulous time. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

America's Rest Stops

My boys decided it was way to sunny to smile for a photo. We never stopped long at rest stops, but I really wanted to do a "rest stop" photoshoot. I know that sounds crazy and germ-infested, but really, rest stops are a little like time capsules. You pull over on the side of the road and it's like you've stepped back in time 30 years. I'm pretty sure the picnic tables and coverings are the exact same ones my family stopped at while driving from Texas to Arizona 20 years ago. I think the angular, geometric tables and awnings would make an awesome photo shoot backdrop.

There are also pay phones at rest stops! PAY PHONES! The boys were like, what is this awesome thing? I figured I should document them at a pay phone, because when would we be near a pay phone again?!
Colt is trying to figure out if a crazy beard is in his future because he has obviously inherited his dad's voluminous curly hair.

Fort Caroline at the Timucuan Preserve (Florida 2014 Trip Itinerary)

We made the decision to drive straight through to Fort Lauderdale in order to get to the beach. We figured we'd be motivated to get there faster and we were right. It took 24 hours and we were both exhausted but it was so nice to get to our destination.

On our way home, we thought we'd try taking our time and enjoy the travel. We planned to play all morning, then put the boys in the car after lunch and drive through their nap time until dinner. This turned out to be so fun because we stopped and hiked and saw amazing parts of the south. We were very ready to be out of the car and home by the third day.

Our first day traveling home we drove to Jacksonville and stayed the night. The next morning we woke up and spent the morning traveling around Fort Caroline on the Timucuan Preserve. There was a one-mile hiking loop which was the perfect length for the boys. We all enjoyed exploring, stretching our legs and getting outside.

I don't know why but I feel like state and national parks are hidden gems. They are usually deserted, have a nominal entrance fee (if one at all) and are a gold mine of outdoor adventure and historical education. So, here's my public service announcement, find a state/national park today and go explore!
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Friday, August 29, 2014

One last morning soaking up sun and sand

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My Boys

And, I was trying really hard to pick my absolute favorite photos and just one of each little man, but Cason asked for his photo on this shuffleboard court and then posed like this. He is just too much.
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The Best White Noise

On one of our last days on the beach we decided to just park it on the sand all day and soak up the sand, sun and water. Danny and Cannon spent time bonding in their boat while the little boys and I rested under the canopy. For the first time all vacation I read a book for ten uninterrupted minutes!
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life on the Beach

The beach . . . with three small children . . . is so much work. This is pretty much what we did at least once, if not twice a day. We dragged stuff to the beach, back to the condo, to the beach, to the car, back to the condo and on and on and on.

It took us several days to find our groove, to figure out a rhythm of getting to the beach and enjoying the beach. We tried going out after breakfast, packing lunch and enjoying the beach until naptime. That was fun until the strong winds collapsed our canopy and only shade. Then we tried eating breakfast on the beach and playing until the sun was too intense, only to return later in the evening at sunset. Finally, on one of the last days we pitched our warped canopy and spend the ENTIRE day on the beach. We ate meals out there, napped out there and played until we were worn out from fresh air, salt water and sunshine. 
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