We live in the most perfect area to have a staycation. The gulf with its white sand beaches are only five minutes away. We have the best restaurants with fresh seafood and seats with the best views. The charter fishing experience is top notch. Evidently, this is not a best kept secret anymore.
The only problem with living in this beautiful setting is that there are too many people. Summer vacationers are coming in droves, clogging the streets and highways, making every trip that should take us a few minutes to complete, hours sometimes.
The grocery stores are teeming with out-of-staters pulling things off the shelves as fast as they are stocked. I try to limit my grocery buying to early morning at our neighborhood Winn Dixie and Dollar General, staying clear of Walmart as much as possible.
The few restaurants that have opened have standing room only. We’ve noticed they are not as busy at lunchtime. That’s beach time for visitors. The drive thru’s whose dining rooms have still not opened, have lines of cars wrapping around the building. We find ourselves eating our own cooking more often than not. H just got his new Traeger grill put together. I’m hoping he will be taking on the cooking for a while. 😂 One can only hope!
I understand the downfall of living in paradise is that it’s open to others. The tourists are the ones that keep our businesses open through the summers and the Snowbirds keep them on their toes during the winter months. Spring Breakers open the season as soon as February sometimes.
All these people have never really bothered us before. It comes with the territory and we’ve become acclimated to it. But…you would think…during this time of uncertainty…our number of visitors to paradise would be nil to none.
Nope! License plates from eight out of ten cars are from out-of-state. No one’s afraid to travel and stay in condos that have been vacated from the last guest, only hours ago.
They don’t mind sitting shoulder to shoulder in crowded restaurants with their young children running up and down and between the tables, touching everything in sight.
The parking lot was overflowing at the Gulfarium over the weekend, as we drove by on a leisurely drive, just to get us out of the house for a few hours. I can’t breath in there under normal circumstances because of the humidity.
There is a sea of rental chairs and umbrellas, as far as the eye can see on the beaches that are just as crowded as ever. All I see are too many people trying to give a little bit of fun to their families who have been home bound for months. I can’t blame them.
We have yet to venture out to the beach. We aren’t that brave. Our new beach chairs and umbrella we purchased at the end of last season, are still unused. We should have gone a few times when the beaches first opened back up. Hindsight.
This week we met out-of-town family at a favorite restaurant in Destin. We went for lunch so the crowd was small. We ate, we talked, we laughed, we reminisced – a good time. We need any sign of normalcy that we can get these days.
“I miss the beach,” is not usually in my vocabulary. This year I do. The Fourth of July weekend is in sight. I don’t see the people problem letting up any time soon. I hope they stay safe as best they can.