We completely splurged last week though. We headed off to the beach in southern Alabama. We looked at a few hotels, but due to our family's size there was only one place I could find that would allow us to stay there in the time frame we were looking at. After seeing the price, I decided to look into renting a house. For the same cost as that suite in the busy Pensacola area, we could rent a three bedroom house in a quieter place. It did require putting down a nice sized deposit, but we cleaned up after ourselves and I've already been notified that the deposit is on its way back. We also had the benefit of two bathrooms, a full kitchen and dining room table, plus beach things (beach towels, and folding chairs for our use, so we didn't have to pack them--a big deal with our itty bitty car and 6 people). And the best part was our beach access was so very close. We could have walked had it not been for the kids wearing themselves out in the water. We only wanted to stay two nights, not sure how everyone would do and trying to limit our costs, and though many homes are only available by the week, we were able to find an accommodating place. Anyway, I'd encourage families, especially larger ones, to look into this as a possible way to make your trip easier!
One of the side benefits of homeschooling is that we got to take our trip in the off season between the traditional spring breaks and summer vacations, so we spent our time on the beach with no one closer than shouting distance, if that, unless they were walking through.
Cute little 'beach' house, though it wasn't directly on the beach.
Our first night--it was so pretty and neat as a pin.
Kate hung out as far out as we would let her get--riding the waves.
Gabby hunted for shells and played in the water close to the shore.
Nate built sand castles, ran the beach, and played in the shallows.
Ellie wasn't overly sure about the sand shifting under her feet with the waves, but she did like the 'giant sandbox.'
God really granted us a beautiful couple of days. The weather was warm and the skies clear.
This is quite possibly my favorite picture of the trip!