Cooling off in the Panhandle – Trekaroo Guest Post

It is hot. 

Miserable hot. 

I have lived in Pensacola since 1996 and I still am not used to the heat and humidity that hits about this time (I am enjoying the small reprieve today!!).  Check out my guest post at Trekaroo, Cooling off in the Panhandle.  I have written before about how much I love Trekaroo and I was honored to be asked to write a guest post about a month ago.  Originally, the topic was going to be about favorite beach spots, but with news of the oil spill we switched gears and I wrote about different places you can cool off in the Panhandle: rivers and lakes, splash pads, and water parks. 

I would love for you to make a stop at the article on Trekaroo and leave a comment with your favorite place!  Better yet, after you leave a comment, join Trekaroo and write some reviews to your favorite Panhandle spots.

Give a Day, Get a Disney Day – Panhandle Volunteer Opportunities

Have you seen the television commercials for Give a Day Get a Disney Day?  This week, Disney announced that over 600,000 people have already signed up or volunteered for volunteer work in their communities.  From what I understand, there is a cap on the number of tickets Disney will be giving out so if you are planning on participating, be sure to get signed up and volunteer your time!  According to the Disney website, you must be 18 to sign up and children must be at least 6 years old to participate in the program.

If you haven’t heard of this great program, visit the site and read the FAQ’s for more information.   

I did a quick search on the Give a Day Get a Disney Day website and there are currently 131 volunteer opportunities from Mobile to Panama City ranging from work with Covenant Hospice, BRACE, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, and so much more.

Free Entrance to Florida State Parks Sunday, July 19th

If you need something to do on Sunday, July 19, head to one of the many Florida State Parks around our area.  According to the Visit Florida website, the admission is FREE!  On Sunday, July 19, Florida State Parks are waiving the admission fee!  Check out the Florida State Parks website to see a listing of all of the parks in our area!  We have so many!  Here are just a few close to us:

1.  Big Lagoon State Park – Located on County Road 292A about 10 miles southwest of Pensacola – Beaches, trails, camping, bird watching, fishing, boating, kayaking

2.  Blackwater River – Located 15 miles northeast of Milton off US90 – A beautiful river for canoeing, tubing, and camping

3.  Perdido Key – Located 15 miles southwest of Pensacola, off State Road 292 – A barrier island with beautiful beaches to swim in and boardwalks to walk on

4.  Tarkiln Bayou Preserve – State Road 293 Pensacola – 4000 acres of land covered in the white -top pitcher plants ( carnivorous plant found only between Apalachicola and the Mississippi Rivers

5.  Yellow River Marsh Preserve – Located on County Road 191 – See wet flatwoods, wet prairie, dome swamp and bay gall, pitcher plants

If you don’t mind driving, there are a bunch more within an hour or two of Pensacola!  Don’t forget your Real Florida Passport so you can get your passport stamped!

Destin Commons Pop Fountains (Splash Pad) – Destin, Florida

This weekend we celebrated 4th of July in Panama City, Florida.  On the way there, we stopped at the Destin Commons to let the kids run through the Pop Fountains and give us a break from the “Are we there yet?” whining!  The Pop Fountains-they “pop” from the ground- are right in the middle of the Commons.  There is a small playground next to the fountains.  It is a great place to cool off or to take a break from your shopping.  The kids loved the fact that the Pop Fountains kept them guessing…they couldn’t quite figure out the pattern of how the water popped out of the ground.  Every time they thought that they had it figured out, the pattern changed! Make sure you bring the kids’ swimsuits or a change of clothes.  There were many a parent trying to convince their children that they really didn’t want to run through the fountains!

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Destin Commons has a kids program called DC Kids.  If you join this free program, they will keep you informed of special events and you will receive an online newsletter.   Other activities/stores for kids include the playground, Build-a-Bear, a small train that goes through the Commons, a Rave theater that is showing free movies this summer, and Bass Pro Shops (check out the huge fish tank!).

John Duncan Memorial Children’s Park, Splash Pad and The Butterfly House -Navarre, Florida

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This is one of my Littles favorite day trips during the Summer!  Depending on when you go, it can range from not very crowded at all to packed.  But even when it is packed, there’s plenty of room to run and play.  My kids love the Splash Pad the most!

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The Panhandle Butterfly House a close second.  Remember it is open Thursday-Saturday and admission is FREE, but donations are appreciated.

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There are several picnic tables, as well as 2 different play ground areas.   And the swings facing the water are the best!

Navarre Park in Navarre, FL 32566 Waterfront Childrens Playground

Pensacola Couple Travel Tips

Falling Waters State Park-Chipley, Florida

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The view of the boardwalk from above the waterfall

We have a day trip category with nothing in it!   While a little bit lengthy for my tastes, Falling Waters State Park qualifies as a day trip!  It is a fun place to take your nature lovers.   A visit to Falling Waters State Park is about 4 hours, round trip in the car.  We camped over night so that made the trip much easier on us.  Falling Waters has a wonderful campground and is in a beautiful spot.  What does Falling Waters State Park have that other parks around us don’t?  Well…falling waters, of course!  Falling Waters State Park is home to Florida’s highest waterfall.   The waterfall, which depending on the season is a slight trickle to a mild flow,  flows 73ft into a sinkhole.  Because it had rained for almost the entire month, there was water flowing.  There are boardwalks over several of the sinkholes so you can go for a walk.  There is a small lake where you can cool off.  On Saturdays, the park rangers give fireside chats in the camping area.  We got to see live snakes that are indigenous to the area.  The park has a $4.00 admission fee per car, but if you camp, admission is included in the cost.  If you visit, don’t forget to get your Real Florida Passport stamped!     blog8-small

The sinkhole warning!

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One of the sinkholes

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Checking out the boardwalks