We had planned on leaving first thing Wednesday morning. On Monday, Josh’s parents car had broken down and they had to tow it to the shop to get fixed. Come Wednesday morning, it still wasn’t ready. We decided that meant we had time for one more early morning beach run. We got up, ate a quick breakfast, and rushed out the door. We had scouted out this awesome LOVE wall on Tuesday, so we headed there first for the obligatory self-timer family vacation photo.
After we got our shot, we went to the beach. We didn’t take pictures this time since we only had about an hour and we had already gotten oodles of beach pictures. We saw dolphins swimming near the shore, we splashed in the waves, Lia played in the sand, and we collected seashells. The kids had been itching to get their hands on some seashells and were disappointed to see that this stretch of beach (just like all the others) barely had any seashells. We were in luck though, because the tide was bringing them in. All we had to do was reach down and grab a handful of sand every time the wave came in. We ended up collecting a decent amount of shells.
After our last beach adventure, we headed back to the hotel and everyone took a quick shower/bath. Then we started packing and loading the car. This is usually a really fast task for us, but we also don’t usually stay in one place so long. It took FOREVER to get packed up! Luckily, Max and Ava were good helpers. We finally got everything done just in time for Josh’s parents car to be done! We loaded up and headed out. Before we left town, we stopped into Moe’s Southwest Grill for a quick lunch. It’s similar to Chipotle and the food was great!
We ate our lunch and then got on the road. We decided to take a different route home than the one we took to get to Destin (as we always do). For a couple of hours, we were stuck on small roads and it seemed to take forever to get out of town! We did finally manage to though. The kids were going a little crazy in the car, so I checked the Roadside America iPhone app and came across the USS Alabama Battleship located in Mobile, AL. We decided that seemed like a good idea. It was $2/car to get in the park, where you could walk around and look at tanks, military planes, and see the USS Alabama (although you had to stand behind a fence). You could pay to tour the ship, but the tours take 2-3 hours and we didn’t want stick around that long.
So we just walked around. The kids were SO grumpy, we didn’t stay long. I was going to get them some foam airplanes from the gift shop, but they were really misbehaving, so we just loaded back into the van and kept driving.
Somewhere along the line, I got REALLY tired of the kids melting down over and over again, so I hatched a brilliant plan of bribery and gummy worms. We stopped at a gas station and I picked up two bags of gummy worms. The kids REALLY wanted some gummy worms. So I set a timer on my phone for 10 minutes. And whoever behaved for that ten minutes with no meltdowns would get a gummy worm. It worked surprisingly well! We managed to squeeze out an entire hour’s worth of kids behaving from two bags of gummy worms. I’d say that’s a success!
At some point, we ran out of gummy worms and had to make a pit stop for some M&M’s. We drove until we got to Jackson, MS and decided to stop for the night. I used my Choice points to get our hotel for free. Score! We rolled up at 10 till 9 pm and found out that they had a pool but it was closing at 9. We rushed to check in and then ran to the pool. Josh, Ava, and I jumped in the pool (fully clothed). We couldn’t get Max or Lia to join in the fun. Lia really had to go potty and was yelling at me and Max didn’t want to get his clothes wet. Maybe next time.
We got up the next morning and ate a quick breakfast. We packed up our stuff, then had our jumping on the bed contest. No road trip is complete without a jumping on the bed contest! (Note: it works best when you have two bed!). After our contest, we loaded the car and headed North on I-55 toward Memphis. The kids were going stir crazy so we made a quick stop at Wal-Mart to restock on activity books and Papa bought them each a small toy. Those kept them occupied for a good hour or so. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel somewhere near Memphis for lunch. I had voted for Gus’s again, but got vetoed. Everybody wanted pancakes.
Turns out Cracker Barrel was a good idea. I ended up picking up TONS of activity books for our July road trip! They had a huge selection of inexpensive and different books. After lunch, we drove and we drove and we drove. We really wanted to get home that day, but it didn’t really seem realistic. We ended up stopping for the night in Springfield, MO. We hit up a park for some much needed physical activity/fun/rolling down hills before we headed to Josh’s aunt’s house to crash for the night.
We got up the next morning and made the short drive home! And then we unpacked. I think that sometimes takes longer than packing in the first place! Our car was destroyed and I really wanted to get it detailed, but then I remembered that we’re going on really long road trip in July, so I might as well wait!
Family road trip to Destin. Fun around the US Alabama battleship. Kids having fun in the car. Family hotel bed jumping contest. Family fun in the car on a road trip. Kids rolling down a hill. Fun in a park rolling down a hill. Kids playing on a playground in Springfield, Mo. Family fun at a Springfield park.

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