Getting Our Beach Town Back


You know that feeling when you take an easy drive to Target? You know, when all the lights are green, you find a great parking spot, you walk in and order your Starbucks and then you stroll the aisles with ease? Yeah, me neither, because we live in a tourist town.

We have a whopping <3 months out of the year that we can grocery shop during normal business hours (all the praise hands for Shipt and Instacart) and “run to the store” for something. Oh, you ran out of diapers? Well, unfortunately there will not be a check-out line open at the SmallMart until January so it’s time to get crafty. The kids want Chick-Fil-A for lunch? Perfect! Do you want to sit behind 16 cars of tourists in the left drive-thru lane or 14 in the right? Okay — you’re going to get brave and unbuckle all the kids and haul them out of the van to order inside instead. Game faces on, kids.

*Church group van casually unloads 55 kids*

It’s fine. I’m fine. We’re all fine. 

You end up only waiting in line for 15 minutes because Chick-Fil-A is a Holy Place and they make. it. happen.

Time to head back kids, we have somewhere to be. If you’re ever lucky enough to get past all the tourist trap tricycles (too much?) and actually ON to 98 then you are #blessed and you just need to go home while you can. 

*eye-rolls while family of 10 jay-walks across 98 to the outlets*

It’s the last few hours of the day and these kids are “so bored” because “we never do anything fun”. Meanwhile, you have broken into a sweat because it’s 93° outside and you’ve obviously lost half consciousness so you have a brilliant idea — “what the heck, let’s go to the beach!” You log on to Facebook and Karen has posted about the “bacteria” in the ocean. Crap. After much deliberation you have decided it is 100% worth the risk.

Sand toys – check. Sunscreen – check. Towels – check. Snacks – check. 

Unfortunately, you have to drive around for an hour looking for beach parking so Gulf Place doesn’t tow your car and much to your surprise there is one spot available, right in the front! YES. Empty spot. “I knew this was a good idea!” Just kidding, it’s a golf cart.

By now, the kids have all fallen asleep in the car. Sleep good kids, because tomorrow, we repeat.

Somehow, when Summer comes to a close, the beaches are bare, and the tourists are gone; you forget about it all and remember why we live in this little beach bubble. You enjoy all the green lights on your straight shot to Target and you’re first in line at Starbucks. You glance at all the other mama’s in the dollar spot as you casually stroll the aisles and who knows, maybe you’ll even stop by Publix on your way home.

You take the scenic route home because you can and realize and it doesn’t take long for you to remember; this. is. the. life.


Need some ideas to get you through the end of summer? Check out this list of 5 things to do with your kids this summer


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Whitney Tomlin
Whitney is originally from a little town in North Alabama, but has been calling Santa Rosa Beach "home" since 2011. She's been married to her husband, Michael, for almost 10 years and together, they have their daughter Charlee (6) and son Beckham (1). Whitney is a stay-at-home mama to Beckham while Charlee takes on 1st grade and her husband runs his crazy Real Estate business! They are currently in the process of adopting (again!) and are matched with a baby girl due in December. You can always find her at the Starbucks drive-thru at some point in her day! She enjoys spending time with her family at the beach or pool, lazy rainy days, advocating for adoption, and a fresh lash fill. You can follow her family and their latest adoption journey on her instagram, @whitneytomlin.