Why Family Beach Vacations Have Become Tradition

When you think about your youth, do you remember little traditions you and your family would celebrate? For many, a summer vacation in Florida’s Emerald Coast is one of those time-honored traditions. Featuring some of the best family beaches in Florida, the Emerald Coast has retained its reputation as a hot vacation spot, with over 14 million visitors a year!

Discover the Best Beach for Families

When families join together for the same vacation on a yearly basis, the shared experiences are what memories are made of. After being rated by TripAdvisor as one of the top beach vacation spots, the Emerald Coast offers everything you need to make those family memories. What can you do in Fort Walton Beach and Navarre Beach to start your family tradition?

Start Rituals
The best family beach vacations include rituals that the whole family can look forward to or savor after the trip. Since the Emerald Coast has some of the best family beaches in Florida, a great idea would be to take a family photo at a particular spot on the famous sugar-white sand and write all your names on it with the date. Start this on your very first trip, and do it every year at the same spot and you’ll have a beautiful, personalized photo gallery! Other ideas include, visiting the same restaurants at the start of your trip each year, and another one at the end. Consider taking a photo in front of your favorite landmark or in front of the famed Okaloosa Island sign. From the weird to the wonderful, there are tons of ways to make the specifics of your trip a tradition.

Share Beach Experiences
Since the Emerald Coast is the best beach for families, you’re obviously going to spend a lot of time on the sand and in the ocean. Make time for ritual activities that the whole family just can’t miss. For example, some families rise with the sun and set out to a mile-long trek down the beach, finding a treasure trove of seashells left behind by the tide. Maybe you can even search for that one special item like sand dollars or sea glass. Whatever the treasure, the goal should stay the same—enjoying the excitement of the hunt as a family.

Dine Out at Your Favorite Spots
Food plays an important role on in our lives, so it’s no wonder that many family beach vacations revolve around dining out. Just as families love staying at the same Emerald Coast condo year after year, they also love eating at the same restaurants. Whether it’s the famous Boardwalk at Okaloosa Island Pier, Destin Commons, or some of the local restaurants, make food a part of the tradition and everyone will have something to look forward to. This also provides an excellent opportunity for a family photo.

Take Advantage of Technology
For many of us, we didn’t grow up with the luxury of the instant gratification and longevity that today’s technology provides. We’d snap photos as often as possible, but we’d have to wait until we got home to get them developed and we never really knew if we got the perfect shot. As you experience some of the best family beaches on the Emerald Coast, take lots of photos. Use social media to share your experiences. Take video too, because you can stitch together clips and make one seriously fun family video that showcases the memories in a way that can be viewed for years to come!

Family beach vacations on the Emerald Coast have long been a tradition for many families and friends, so if you haven’t started yours, there’s never been a better time!

Top 19 Things to Pack for Your Beach Condo Vacation

Condo rentals are lodging options that give you more space for your vacation, especially on an extended vacation of more than a few days. Vacation rentals offer many amenities that hotels do not, like beach service, grill areas, kitchens and, of course, extra bedrooms and bathrooms. There are some things, however, that you will need to remember to pack for your vacation at a rental condo. What you need will depend on what the condo provides, but there are some things you’ll need to pack no matter what.

Vacation Rental Amenities
When you rent a vacation condo from Legacy Vacations, you will find that there are some things included with the rental and some things you need to bring yourself. Several items are commonly included with a vacation rental.

Linens (towels, sheets)
Basic appliances, including coffee maker and toaster
Basic cleaning supplies
Beyond the basics, each rental differs. Some may have DVR’s you can use, but not include the DVD’s-in that case, be sure to bring your own. All Legacy Vacation rentals have bath towels but not beach towels.

It’s important to know if there are enough of each item for the number of people coming. Legacy Vacations offer 3 sets of towels for the number of people the condo sleeps (i.e. 24 towels for a condo that sleeps 8). Be prepared to pack extras of basic items like garbage bags, soap for the dishwasher, toilet paper and paper towels.
Packing for Your House Rental Vacation
A condo rental is a little different from a hotel and you should pack your luggage differently than you would for a hotel. One of the best things about renting a condo is that in most cases, you will have access to a washer and dryer. That means you can pack a little lighter on your clothing, since you’ll be able to do laundry. On the other hand, there may be extra things you will need to pack (i.e. laundry detergent and supplies).

Especially on a family vacation, you will want to make sure that you have extra paper products, and, of course, everything you need to have on hand for meals. Many vacation rentals are quite basic in what the kitchen holds, so consider what you want to cook and prepare ahead of time. Planning a menu will help make sure you don’t bring things you don’t need as well as having everything you do.

Special Considerations Based on Your Destination
Where you are planning to vacation makes a big difference in what you pack. A beach rental house will often have some beach gear that you can use while you’re there, but you will likely want sand toys if you have children. You might have to bring your own towels for the beach, and you will definitely want to pack sunscreen.

Fulfill Your House Rental Packing List Online

While what you need to pack will differ based on your destination, the time of year, and what amenities the rental offers, there are a few top items that you won’t want to forget. Everything you need to bring with you can easily be found and sourced online or at your local store. Preparing for vacations is busy enough without having to run to multiple stores to get items you don’t have on hand. Pack with this list as a guide to ensure nothing important is forgotten.

What to Pack
Why You Need It
Paper products: toilet paper, paper towels, napkins

Rentals have only a starter supply so odds are good that you’ll run out.

Basic seasonings

Rentals may have salt and pepper-but they may not, and a few other basic spices make cooking easier as well.

Cooking oil

Most rentals don’t have this cooking basic.

Toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, soap

Some rentals offer small amounts of these products, but it’s always best to bring your own.

Hair dryer

Most hotels have one, but rentals often do not.


Most rentals have a television and DVD player, and a few movies can save you from rainy day boredom.

Coffee filters

Most people remember to buy coffee but tend to forget coffee filters, and many rentals have a drip coffee maker.


Not all rentals have one, and if you enjoy a glass of wine it’s a good idea to pack one.


Rentals often don’t have quite enough, especially if you sleep with more than one. You may also find it more comfortable to have your own.

Garbage bags

They’re good for more than garbage-you can also use them to carry dirty laundry home or wet things from the beach.

Matches or a lighter

You may want to light candles. Many rentals don’t have matches or a lighter available.

Phone, camera, and laptop chargers

Since most house rental vacations are longer than the average weekend hotel stay, you’ll need to charge all your electronics.

Specialty kitchen gadgets

Most rentals have only the basics. Plan your menu ahead of time so you know which items from your home kitchen you’ll need.

All-purpose cleaner

Condo rental do not offer a cleaning service so you’ll want to be able to tidy up during your time there.

First aid kit

Unlike a hotel, there’s no one around to help if you have an injury. Even if the rental has a first aid kit, it’s best to have your own well-stocked one at hand.

Disposable plates, glasses, and utensils

When you’re on vacation, you might not want to wash dishes after every meal; disposables can give you a break.

Safety gear

If there’s a pool or you’re by the ocean, you might want life jackets. If there is bike riding, you’ll need helmets. Pack for your activities at the vacation rental.


Unless the fridge has an ice maker, you won’t have access to one like you do at a hotel. An extra bag of ice is always a good idea.
Finding Out What You Don’t Need
If you have any questions about what is available on the property, be sure to contact the owner or property management company prior to leaving. They can tell you exactly what is on the property and answer any questions you might have about what you need to bring. Consider asking what type of small appliances are available, including coffee makers and outside grills.

It’s also a good idea to clarify what’s expected in terms of cleaning up when you are done. You may need to bring more cleaning supplies if you are either staying a long time and won’t get a cleaning service until you check out, or if you are expected to clean up after yourselves when you leave. Some rentals expect you to start a load of laundry before you go; check to make sure laundry detergent is provided.

In many ways, packing for a condo rental vacation is much like packing for a hotel stay; you’ll need your personal items like clothes and toiletries. In some ways, however, it differs. Because rentals allow you to cook your own meals and don’t have housekeeping staff on the premises in most cases, you will need to bring a few extra things to enjoy your stay.

Knowing what is available ahead of time helps narrow down your packing list. Don’t assume that everything you need is provided. Bringing a few extras like towels and paper products can help make your trip worry-free while you’re at your home away from home.