16 Tips and Tricks for a New RV Owner | What You Need to Know

16 Tips and Tricks for a New RV Owner | What You Need to Know

2020 has been an interesting year for everyone with all the issues causing travel to be halted.
 
Cruise lines have shut down and they keep pushing back their sail dates.
 
Hotels have limited their occupancy.
 
Flights have presumed to full capacity but under strict restrictions of sanitation and mask coverings.
 
Countries have put 14-day quarantines on travelers or shut down to any outside visitors entirely.
 
All this combined has brought many people to buy RV’s so they can further their summer travels and avoid staying in Hotels. These unfortunate events have also allured people in lowering their living costs.
 
All these reasons could be why RV sales have skyrocketed. New RV owners are growing faster than ever before. 
 
The inspiration for this post came after a conversation I had with my sister-in-law. She and my brother recently decided to purchase an RV themselves.
 
After shopping at many RV dealerships they found that the industry is in high demand. One dealership, in particular, had 60 KZ Travel Trailers on order and 51 of them were already sold. The used lots couldn’t even keep an RV on it for a day before it was sold.
 
This makes me wonder how many New RV owners are starting their RVing journeys for the first time. Maybe they need little tips and tricks to make it easier.
 
If you’re visiting our blog for the first time, we have lived in our RV for over two years now. So, you could say we know a bit about RVing. We know how to make it a comfortable transition.
 
So, let’s get into the tips and tricks that you need to learn as a new RV owner.

Tip #1 – Learn to Hook up your RV

 
When we purchased our RV, we also purchased Husky Sway bars (we have a travel trailer, not a fifth wheel or motorhome). The guys at Route66 in Oklahoma hooked up our trailer for the first time for us and quickly ran through it with us.
 
However, when we got to our destination we ended up having to watch Youtube Videos on how to unhook and hook up our RV with the Sway Bars. It takes practice and time to get it down.
 
At the beginning it took us 30 minutes or more to hook up our RV, but now that we know how it’s much easier and quicker.
 
Also, don’t forget your plug, locks, pins, and chains when hooking up your RV. Make sure the ball is locked, the pins are in place, and the chains are crossed (it is illegal in some states to not have your chains crossed if you have a travel trailer/bumper pull).
 

Tip #2 – Drive Cautiously

 
Towing an RV of any size requires additional safety precautions on the road. As a new RV owner make sure you know your blind spots, give yourself space to brake, make wide turns, and take routes that allow you to clear any bridges.
 
I’ve seen some horrific pictures of brand-new RV’s in a ditch because the driver didn’t make a wide enough turn. There’s also some bad stories of RV roofs being ripped off due to not clearing a bridge.

Tip #2.5 – Learn to Reverse

 
In addition to driving cautiously, you will want to learn how to reverse your new RV. You can take the RV in an empty parking lot and practice there before you hit the RV park or national park.
 
Also, your reversing methods and maneuvering abilities will be different if you have a fifth wheel versus a travel trailer. So, having patience and learning is key.
 
Our Travel trailer is 32 ft long and it is a pain to reverse. Therefore, I let my husband do it every time as I’m better as the lookout to keep him from hitting trees or poles.

Tip #3 – Learn your weight capacity

 
Before you even pick up your RV, you’ll want to learn the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), dry weight of the RV, and your tow vehicle towing capacity. Learn how much you can tow and carry inside your vehicle before you reach your max.
 
We have a Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel that has a towing capacity of 14,000lbs. Our RV is about 10,000 lbs, so we have room to add items in the truck like dogs, and other camping gear before we reach our capacity.

Tip #4 – Read your Manual

 
I’m notorious for trying to figure things out before I open the manuals but reading your manual is important.
 
After all, it’s a home on wheels, and learning how things work as a new RV owner is essential. Many manuals are online so knowing where yours is and how to access it is important.

Tip #5 – Purchase the Needed Equipment

 
While many RV dealerships will give you a new RV owner starter pack, those items are only the minimal essentials. There are many more items you will need to purchase in order to stay safe and enjoy your RV trips.
 
I have provided an entire list of items on a related post here. 

Tip #6 – Learn to level Your RV
 
There are little sticky green levelers you can purchase to stick on your RV. This will make it easier to level your RV if you don’t have automatic levelers.
You will also want to get some leveler blocks just in case you have an RV spot that’s really unlevel. You’ll want to be able to put them under the tires or stabilizers. 
 
Important: Always level by the tire’s first, before you level the length of the RV. Also, if you have slides level the RV with the slides in, not out.

Tip #7 – Learn your Black and Grey Tanks

 
As a new RV owner, it’s understandable that you may be unaware on how the black and grey tanks work. But learning how they work should be a top priority. I can’t tell you how many stories I have read on Facebook RV groups of people flooding their bathrooms because they didn’t release their tanks. This can cause significant damage if not properly cared for.
 
If you have a washer or an outdoor kitchen learn which tank the water goes to. Depending on the RV, some might release in the Grey tank and some might release in the Blank tank.
 
Usually, though your Blank Tank is reserved for human waste and the grey is for everything else like the sink, washer, and shower water. Read your manual to locate the release valves and always hook up the sewer hose to the dump before releasing the valves. 
 
Also, use a tank deodorizer to prevent unwanted smells from the beginning. The best on the market is Happy Camper.

Tip #8 – Plan Ahead

 
Taking a Road Trip and planning on bringing your New RV, you will want to plan ahead. Figure out where you’re going to stay. Many RV parks require reservations and some parks fill up months to even a year in advance.
 
Another thing to plan for is your route. When you’re pulling an RV you’ll need to make sure you avoid roads or bridges that you can’t easily drive through. There are apps that will help you plan like Roadtrippers. Use this code BTR5QTP for a special $5 off!
 

Tip #9 – a dehumidifier and moisture absorbents

RVs tend to accumulate moisture so having a dehumidifier and moisture absorbents is going to help prevent mold growth

Mold is a huge problem that happens in RVs often, so this is a preventative measure that every RVer does.

Tip #10 – Clean you’re A/C Filter once a month

If you want to keep you A/C running, especially during the heat of the summer months, then cleaning your filters monthly is essential.

Ours are pretty easy to clean, we remove them and shake them out outside. Sometimes we clean then with water and let them dry as well.

Tip #11 – Learn Where your GFI and Fuse Box is located

 
Usually, the GFI reset plug is in your bathroom, at least that is where ours is located. You’ll only need to know where this is if you notice other plugs are not working. This usually means it’s been overpowered and the GFI prevents damage with the electrical system and will just need to be reset.
 
You’ll also want to know where your fuse box is. If you blow a fuse to your A/C or your lights aren’t working, chances are you’ll just need to change a fuse out. These are pretty cheap and can come in a pack to keep in your RV.

Tip #12 – Learn to hook up your propane properly

 
Hooking up your propane properly is essential and can mean safety for all parties. The last thing you want to do is fail and have a propane leak. Propane leaks can be harmful to your health and potentially disastrous is there is fire around.
 
Our Propane tanks run one at a time, once one is empty, we close the valve and open the other tank. It’s easy, but everything must be learned.

Tip #13 – Learn to lubricate your slides (if you have them)

 
If you have slides, it’s important to learn how to lubricate the rubber and metal portions.
 
Lubricating the rubber seals on the slides will keep them from drying out and cracking. This further prevents unwanted leaks when it rains.
 
Of course, lubricating the metal rods and chains under the slide will keep them from rusting and sticking.

Tip #14 – Learn to clean your hot water heater

 
This is important and super easy to do. The reason you want to learn how to clean your hot water heater is that sediment can accumulate at the bottom and you’ll need to remove it.
Another reason is if you have an anode rod, you will need to know how to replace them at least once a year.

Tip #15 – HAVE FUN and Stay Safe!!!

 
I know this seems like a lot of tips and things to learn and remember. However, don’t let them keep you from enjoying your new RV.
Traveling and Camping in your RV is a great experience for the whole family. They allow you to visit and explore places you may not have considered before RVing.

Tip #16 – BE PATIENT

 
Owning an RV and taking your RV out for the first couple of times is going to be a learning experience. So, the most important thing you must do is BE PATIENT.
 
Be patient with yourself, your significant other, and your family as a new RV owner. RVing will become easier the more experienced you get. So, don’t expect the first time you go out to be smooth.

Final Thoughts

 

These 16.5 tips are for the first time new RV owner that is just getting started. The longer you own your RV there are going to more things you will need to maintain like your roof, seals, etc.
 
However, if you just purchased your RV then I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and HAVE FUN!
 
Happy RVing! 

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RV Smells | How to Keep Your RV Smelling Fresh and Clean

RV Smells | How to Keep Your RV Smelling Fresh and Clean

RV Smells can be unpleasant at times with all the outdoor camping odors and holding tanks.

Whether you’re on a camping vacation or starting to live full-time, RV smells are going to happen.

If you’ve come across some stinky situations, please know that you’re not alone!

There are 4 typical odors you may encounter in your RV that are common and can be remedied. We’ve lived in our RV for two years and over those years we have found some great options to keep your RV smelling fresh and clean.

But first, here are the 4 smells that can happen in your RV.

Smells you may encounter in your RV

  • Tank Smells – These can be the worst smells you will probably smell in your RV. The smell can smell like rotten broccoli to burning sulfur. Both are extremely unpleasant and disgusting.
  • Musky or Mildew Smells – These smells are not pleasant and at times can mean trouble. If you’re smelling a musky or mildew smell, I suggest searching for water leaks. Also, check corners in dark closet spaces and under mattresses. You may not find anything, which is a good thing. Sometimes the musky smell can come after it rains. I’ll discuss items you’ll need to use at all times to prevent musky smells and mildew from growing in your RV.
  • Rotten Egg or Sulfur smell – This smell is usually coming from the water system. Most of the time it’s the hot water. This just simply means you need to clean your hot water heater and possibly your entire water system
  • Propane – This is a serious smell. If you smell this while not using the heater or stove then you will want to open all windows and doors. Also, many RV’s have a CO2 Sensor. If your RV does not have one, I highly suggest getting one. If you smell Propane, shut off your propane tanks immediately until you can figure out if there is a leak. Propane can be deadly.
These are 4 RV smells you could experience. Now, there are many more smells if you have children or pets but all are easy to remedy.

So, here are different remedies we have used to combat and eliminate these horrible RV smells.

9 Ways to Keep your RV Camper Smelling Fresh

1. Use an Essential Oil Diffuser

Using essentials oils is a great way to keep your RV space smelling fresh and clean. I recommend using oils that are pure! What I mean by that is don’t use the watered-down versions.

For example; don’t buy a pack of oils from Amazon for $24.95. Those oils are not pure oils and you will end up using a lot of drops in order for you to smell what you are diffusing.

Now, you can buy a diffuser anywhere, including Amazon, but the oils I recommend using are Young Living, Doterra, or Edens Garden.

2. Use A Room Spray

If you’re looking for a spray at your local grocery store, then Febreze is the way to go. Don’t buy into the Air Wick or Glade sprays. For me, they smell way to chemically and aerosol-based, and they don’t help with the smells.

Febreze is the one brand that helps eliminate the smells and they have pure options like the new Febreze ONE line. My favorite smell from Febreze lately is the forest smell.

3. Burn Candles Safely

I know, some people say “don’t burn candles in an RV” but it’s really not a big deal.

I’m sure you’re wondering why people say that. Well, it’s because if the RV was to catch fire the propane tanks could explode if the fire got out of hand. RV’s are also quick to burn because of the materials they are made from.

However, if you put the candle in a proper place and never leave it burning unattended, then it is okay.

I love candles and we burn candles all the time. My favorite is from Mrs. Meyers because they burn for up to 35 hours and smell so fresh.

IMPORTANT** – IF YOU SMELL PROPANE DO NOT LIGHT CANDLES!!!

4. Use Plug In’s

Febreze: Their plugins are the best ones you can get from a local grocery store. I’ve literally tried them all, and I always go back to the Febreze. I can always smell them when they’re plugged in.

They keep the air fresh and it’s doesn’t smell like a bunch of overpowering chemicals smell like Air Wick and Glade.

Bath and Body Works: Another Fantastic plugin is from Bath and Body Works. They are great to use in any home or RV to keep your living RV’s living space smelling fresh.

The scents are pleasant and not overpowering. My favorite from Bath and Bodyworks is Eucalyptus and Mint. Smells like a spa to me.


5. Use the Right Tank Treatment

This is a huge deal because the tanks are usually what cause the worst smells in an RV.

When you use the wrong kind of tank deodorizer you tend to get a perfume smell mixed in with the disgusting smell of the grey or black water. To me, that is a waste of money when the product you buy to eliminate the smell doesn’t work.

Side Note: You should only smell these when the tank is released/open. If you smell your tanks while they are closed, I recommend looking more into the water trap and clean out your water system.

Since we switched to Happy Camper tank deodorizer it eliminates the smells. I hate when the smells are just covered up with other smells. This is the worst!

If you want to eliminate the odors then give Happy Camper a try! You can also read our comparison review on the GEO Method and Happy Camper here.

6. Use RV Moisture Absorbents

When living in an RV, you want to make sure you do whatever you can to keep the moist humid air out. The humidity can cause musky smells and even mold in corners and walls.

When an RV gets mold, just like in a home, it can be a costly repair. That is why you want to always use moisture absorbents. There are two kinds that we recommend and have used ourselves.

I don’t think one is better than the other. They both do a great job of pulling out the moisture in the air and also keeping the air fresh.


7. Clean your RV Tanks / Water system Regularly

There are many tutorials on the web as well as directions in your RV’s Manual on how to clean out your tanks and water system. This is important to do whether you’re living fulltime or storing your RV until camping season.

Our manual describes using a cup of bleach and a gallon of water to clean and sanitize the tanks. I would use your manuals directions to do this properly.

Also, when you store your RV it is best to make sure all the water in your lines and tanks are clear and empty. You never want to leave water in your tanks because this will cause mold and bacteria to grow.

8. Clean out your hot water heater

Another thing you want to do is to clean out your water heater. We have a suburban water heater that uses an Anode rod to help keep bacteria from deteriorating the metal tank.

It’s important to clean your hot water tank and replace the anode rod (if you have one) regularly. You will want to clear the system from any deposits that can accrue at the bottom of the tank. This happens from the reaction of minerals in water and the heat. At times, this mineral build-up can cause your hot water to smell like sulfur or rotten eggs. The smell is caused by the anode rod material reacting to the minerals in the water.

Tip: Replace your Magnesium Anode rod with an Aluminum Anode rod to get rid of the sulfur rotten egg smell in your RV hot water tank. 

For us, we clean our water heater out once a month and replace our Anode rod at least once a year, depending on the deterioration.


9. Generally, Clean your RV

Keeping your RV fresh and clean by just cleaning your space. If you’re storing your RV, this is a great step to make sure your RV doesn’t accrue any bad odors while in storage.

General sweeping, vacuuming, doing dishes, taking out the trash, dusting, and mopping can go a long way in keeping your RV smelling fresh.

I love using Swiffer on our floors and Mrs. Meyers Lavender cleaning spray to clean the counters and table. This alone will help a lot!

Final Thoughts

There are many smells that can happen inside your RV. Please know, RV smells are normal and can always be remedied depending on where the smell is coming from.

As mentioned, one of the biggest smells is tanks. If you haven’t checked out our post on the Geo Method and Happy Camper Comparison, I recommend giving it a read.

Besides the tanks, if you have dogs or children like we do there are bound to be other smells. Bad smells like dirty diapers or wet dog can become overwhelming in a small RV space. Therefore, using essential oils, candles, or plugins are great remedies.

If you have found a great way to keep your RV space smelling fresh and clean, I would love to know. Please leave a comment below and as always, thank you for reading and stopping by.

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The Best Place to Get Coffee in Destin, FL | East Pass Coffee Co. Review

The Best Place to Get Coffee in Destin, FL | East Pass Coffee Co. Review

East Pass Coffee Co. Review | My family and I recently visited the Destin Beach Area for our very first vacation together. We chose this area because it’s been on our bucket list for quite some time. The beaches are also ideal for families to enjoy.

You can read about the whole visit plus a 3-day beach hopping itinerary here “Destin, Florida | How to have an Amazing Beach Vacation”.

On our way to the beach, we decided to check out East Pass Coffee. But this got me thinking, “why is it called East Pass”? We have never been to this area before, so I did a little research and found out what East Pass means.

East Pass in Destin Florida is an opening into the Gulf of Mexico from the Panama City Beach and Pensacola bay. It’s been a fishing capital since the 1850s and Destin is famous for being “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”.

So, now we know what “East Pass” is, it’s understandable why this cute little coffee shop is called “East Pass Coffee Co.”

Let’s get into why we stopped, what we ordered, and more.

(Below is an image of the East Pass as described. Destin is on the right) 

Why I love checking out local shops

Checking out new and local shops is what my husband and I love to do when we are on vacation. Supporting the locals anywhere we go is important to us and our economy.

Plus, sometimes you find hidden gems that need to be supported and their product turns out to be amazing.

This is the case for East Pass Coffee Shop in Destin, Florida. It’s a little hidden gem right off Harbor Blvd as you drive through.

Why we chose East Pass Coffee

Driving to our beach destination at Crystal Sands, we wanted to stop and grab some iced coffee. I always like to use my google maps app to search for any places nearby. This is exactly what I did when I found East Pass Coffee.

I clicked on the location on the google maps app and pulled up the star reviews. We are all about the reviews and like to only choose places that are at least 4 stars or more. This tells us the place is worth checking out.

East Pass Coffee has 5 stars on Yelp, therefore, we had to stop and check it out.

Side note; they are previously known as the “JumpinGoat Coffee Trailer”.

East Pass Coffee Information

Hours of Operation: 7:30 am – 2:00 pm Daily

Address: 529 Harbor BLVD Unit 104, Destin, FL 32541

Phone Number: 850-353-2906

Website: https://www.eastpasscoffeeco.com/

How to get there…

Locating East Pass Coffee is a little tricky because it’s hidden behind a couple of other shops off Harbor Blvd. But don’t let that stop you from checking this place out.

It’s located right behind Red Onion Organic and Burrito Del Sol. Once you turn in, there’s plenty of parking and you’ll quickly see the location entrance to your right.

What We Ordered

While everything on the menu was super tempting, I love a good classic iced latte. I’m not into all the extra flavors and sugar in my coffee.

My husband however ordered the White chocolate mocha, which I did taste, and it was really good as well.

What they offer (Menu)

They have multiple combinations that you can choose from. Including different flavors and you can choose to have you drink either hot or iced.

East Pass Coffee also has 4 signature menu items. They are the Vietnamese Cold brew, Coco for Mocha, Sweet Cream Vanilla Cold brew, and German Chocolate Cake.

If you’re looking for a quick breakfast, lunch, or snack to go along with your coffee they have Acai Bowls that start at $10, sandwiches, delicious toast options.

Wanting something smaller, try their bites that include Fresh Fried Donuts or Energy balls.

They also offer some great smoothies starting at $7.95. There is the Green Drink, Peachy Pineapple, and Chocolatey Peanut Butter smoothie.

Their menu has something for everyone and it’s the perfect place to come and enjoy a cup of joe and yummy brunch.

Why everyone needs to go when they’re in Destin

If you’re the type of individual that enjoys supporting local business, I highly recommend East Pass Coffee in Destin, Florida. The menu is fantastic, the coffee is delicious, and the people are cheerful and always happy to help every customer.

The service we received was quick. We waited only 5 minutes from ordering our drinks until we received them.

Also, if you’re looking for a place to hang out and get some work done then bring your laptop or tablet. It’s a cute and cozy Coffee Shop that has indoor and outdoor seating to accommodate everyone.

Final Thoughts

We hope to make Destin, Florida an annual family vacation spot, I am confident in saying East Pass Coffee will always be a stop while we are in town.

It’s the ideal place to grab a cup of joe with a cute beachy vibe.

Also, supporting local shops means a lot and it keeps the economy going and dreams alive.


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Destin, Florida | How to have an Amazing Beach Vacation (3 Day Itinerary)

Destin, Florida | How to have an Amazing Beach Vacation (3 Day Itinerary)

When I think of a Beach Vacation, I think of Destin, Florida!

Destin is also known as “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Spot”. This destination was named after the fishing captain Leonard Destin from the mid-1800s. He and his descendants built their homes and lively hood across this beachy area.

Yet, it wasn’t until 1984 when Destin gained substantial growth from tourists.

Today, the area receives about 4.5 million visitors a year but is only home to 14,247 fulltime residents according to the U.S. Census.

This strip of emerald coast and white sandy beaches is a vacation dream destination. Destin, Florida has been on our bucket-list of travel for a while.

We’ve been on many beach vacations including Hawaii, San Diego, and Daytona to name a few. However, we always heard how beautiful the white sand beaches were on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Now, we live in the Dallas/FortWorth area, so for us, it is about an 11-hour drive. That seems like a long trip, but when you have two drivers it’s not a bad drive. Plus, we love a good Road Trip!

Therefore, Destin seemed like the perfect place to take our first vacation as a family.

So, here is our beach vacation to Destin, Florida as well as some tips if you plan a visit yourself!

Where we stayed | Hilton Honors

Since we didn’t stay in the RV, we chose to stay at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Navarre, Florida. Price, location, and accessibility to different beaches is what intrigued us.

I am a Hilton Honors Member and I get Travel Agent prices with an IATA card since I work for Avoya Travel. Therefore, we were able to get a good deal on the room available.

Navarre, Florida is located in between Destin and Pensacola. This gave us the opportunity to check out 3 beaches during our stay without traveling too far for each one.

Why we didn’t take the RV

You may be wondering why we chose not to bring the RV on this trip.

Well, since we live fulltime stationary in our RV we decided to take the opportunity to enjoy a nice hotel stay.

As much as we would have loved to take the RV, we found it cheaper to drive the truck and stay in a hotel. This saved us gas money!

Also, since we only planned to stay 3 days, taking the RV wouldn’t have been worth it for us unless we were staying longer.

We did, however, scoop out some RV parks along the way for a future 6-month trip that we want to plan.

Is the Destin area a good place to bring kids?

YES! Destin, Florida is the perfect place to have a family beach vacation! No matter the age of your children, the beaches are perfect and shallow enough for all to enjoy the water.

I would always take precautions depending on your child’s swimming capabilities.

There are some beaches that do not have LifeGuards on Duty. If this is something you require, I would research this ahead of time. Also, know the beaches we went to that had a lifeguard was Crystal Sands Beach and Navarre Beach.

One thing to note is the sand is not packed like some beaches you’ll find in Daytona. So bringing anything with wheels like a stroller or a wagon isn’t recommended. We made the mistake on the first day of bringing the stroller and we ended up having to carry it while on and off the beach.

Besides the white sand and emerald clear water, the Destin area has wonderful places the whole family can explore.

What we brought to the beach

  • 4 beach towels
  • A canopy cover from Academy Sports
  • Sunscreen
  • Tanning lotion
  • Baby sunscreen
  • A couple of baby toys
  • Bottled water
  • Snacks

It’s been a while since we’ve been to the beach, so next time we have a beach vacation, we are going to bring some chairs.

We saw some at the local Alvin’s Beach store less than $10 each. The beach chairs and cooler was the only thing we didn’t have with us that we will have next time.


3-day beach hopping itinerary

Day 1: We left Dallas/Fort Worth at Midnight. My husband is a night owl, so driving at night is his feasible for him. Plus, leaving at night prevents us from wasting any time with traffic in the big city. Also, it allowed our 7-month-old to sleep in the car seat longer than he would during the day.

After an 11-12 hour road trip (including stops) we made it to Navarre Beach right afternoon. Since we couldn’t check in to our hotel until 3 pm, we took the opportunity to check out our first beach.

Navarre Beach, also known as “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place”, was semi packed with people. But there was still enough space to have a great time and enjoy the sand and waves.

Navarre Beach has plenty of parking spaces and provides easy access to the beach. If you’re looking for a place to eat, Windjammers bar and grill is located right off the pier.

We were only at this beach for a couple of hours then we decided to pack up and go check in to our hotel.

Day 2: This was the day we looked forward to the most during our beach vacation because the sun was supposed to come out. Also, the whole day was dedicated to relaxing on the beach.

The beach we chose to go to is called “Crystal Sands Beach”. It’s about a 45minute to an hour drive from Navarre where we were staying. Since we have Luka (who is 7 months old and needs a couple of naps a day) the drive gave us the perfect opportunity for him to sleep.

It’s also a nice drive through the towns in between Navarre and Destin to get the entire experience. I love looking at all the different styles of houses along the coast.

Once we arrived at Crystal Sands Beach, we realized the location is more of an upper-class area. There are many resorts and the cutest beach cottages you will ever see. People were riding their bikes, driving golf carts, and running along the sidewalks.

It’s a busy little area with little access points to the beach. We got there around 11 am on a Friday morning, and drove around to find parking. There isn’t as much parking as there was at Navarre Beach. Thus, if you are looking to check out this beautiful beach, get there early. Also, I overheard that parking would also cost up to 5 dollars starting in July 2020.

After driving around for about 10 minutes, we found a great parking spot with a short walk to a beach entrance. Once we crossed over the wood bridge to get to the beach, I understood why it was rated top beautiful beaches in Destin by TripAdvisor.

The water is clear, the sand is white, and it stays shallow for about 50 feet with gentle waves! Perfect for families to enjoy a beautiful day on the beach.

If you don’t want to bring your own canopy or chairs, there are some options to rent on this beach. There are also lifeguards and a snack/snow cone stand to help hydrate and re-energize you from the sun.

Now, I have been to many beaches in Florida, Mexico, Bahamas, Hawaii, California, and Texas. The experience I had with my family on Crystal Sands Beach is one of the top beaches I would recommend anyone to go to! Crystal Sands Beach in Destin, Florida is a top 5 favorite beach on my list.

After a day at the beach, we decided it was time to go. The humidity and sun were draining our energy and we needed to eat a real meal.

Now, when I’m on the coast I love checking out the local spots that have great fish options. We decided to eat in Navarre at Dewey Destin. It was exactly what we needed. I got a fresh mahi-mahi fish basket with hush puppies and a salad.

Day 3: Our plan for today was to check out early and drive up the coast to Pensacola Beach. After all, we wanted to get the feel of 3 different beaches before heading back to Dallas.

The drive from Navarre Beach to Pensacola Beach is only about a 25-minute drive on the highway. However, we chose to drive the island road, which is 20-30 MPH the whole way and an average 45-minute drive. Plus, the view of the ocean, sand, and colorful beach house rentals was nice to look at.

We drove into Pensacola beach town to check out the eatery and shopping. It was about 10:30-11 am and it was incredibly busy. The parking lots were already packed.

After grabbing some quick pizza, we headed back down the coast from which we came and found a great spot with fewer crowds.

Pensacola Beach has a lot of options for those who enjoy crowds and those who want a more private space on the beach. The area we went to did not have a lifeguard on duty, so this is to keep in mind.

Also, the beach was a little different than Crystal Sands Beach. The waves were a little more powerful and the beach didn’t stay shallow and clear to the bottom as the other beaches were. The only good thing about this beach, when comparing them to the other two, is it was private. There weren’t many people occupying the area that we chose.

We stayed at this beach for about 2 hours before we made our way up to Gulf Shores, Alabama, and then on home.

Final Thoughts

If you’re considering taking a family beach vacation to Destin, Florida I highly recommend the area.

As mentioned before, Destin is the place for a perfect beach vacation for families. With its emerald coast, clear water, and white-sand beaches.

Honestly, we hope to make this trip a yearly beach vacation for our family.


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6 Important Things You Need To Do Before a Road Trip

6 Important Things You Need To Do Before a Road Trip

Taking a road trip sounds like a fun adventure, however, there are unpredictable things that could happen along the way.

Now, I’m the kind of person that likes to think about the “what if” and do whatever I can to prevent the bad things from happening.

For example, a flat tire. Sometimes these are unpreventable depending on where you’re driving, but being prepared with the right tools and a spare is important.

Other items to be prepared with are car insurance coverage, survival items, and up to date Identification to name a few.

So, let’s get into the 6 most important things you need to do before taking your adventurous road trip!

Related: How to Plan an Amazing Family Road Trip

1. Check your vehicle insurance

This is an important thing to do so you understand your coverage. The last thing you want is to be in an accident of any kind and not have the proper or updated insurance. Make sure you know what coverage you have so there are no surprises if something happens. For example;

  •  Liability or Full Coverage; I personally have always had full coverage on all my vehicles. Full coverage also covers your vehicle if there is any damage, whereas, liability only covers the damage you cause to another vehicle. Having full coverage has provided me with peace of mind while driving. Whichever you choose, it’s important to know the ins and out of what coverage you have.
  • Medical Coverage; Having Medical on your car insurance is important. If the accident is your fault and the passengers must be hospitalized, then your insurance will cover the costs. Well, at least the amount that you opted to purchase for coverage.
  • Road-Side Assistance; Our insurance with USAA offers the option to add Road-Side Assistance to our plan. I think this is important! If you run out of gas, need a tow, or a spare tire change they are available with your insurance coverage. This is also available with companies like AAA, but knowing your insurance may have the option as well if you don’t have AAA is good to know.

These are just a couple of things to investigate when it comes to your Auto insurance before taking your road trip. I would give your agent a call or log in to your insurance website to go over all the different coverage opportunities.

2. Car Maintenance

Having your car get proper maintenance before you take a road trip is a safety measure that you need to take. Making sure your mode of transportation is going to get you to your destination is key to a successful road trip.

Here’s a list of items to check for your car before you head out.

Change your oil
Check car fluids (Windshield Washer Fluid, Brake Fluid, Steering Fluid, etc)
Change or Air up the tires
Get a Spare Tire
Get an alignment
Check your lights (interior and exterior – headlights/brake lights)

Many of these can be checked if you run your car by a Kwik Kar or other type of car maintenance shop. Often, when you get your oil changed, they will check all your other fluids too.

3. Check/Update your ID’s

Making sure your driver’s license is completely up to date is important. Driving with an expired license could potentially be a heavy ticket if you get pulled over.

This is super simple to do if you need to renew by going online at your local DMV website.

Tip: If you have kids, it’s a great opportunity to get them ID’s as well. Even if you make them yourself with their picture, name, and your contact information on a laminated paper or in an ID lanyard.

4. Take out some cash

I know everything is electronic in today’s world and almost every place takes debit or no-touch pay, but having spare cash is a good thing.

You never know if you stop for gas and their card reader is out of order. Or you may want to stop at a local market and cash is the only option.

Another reason to have some extra cash on hand is in case you lose your debit card. I have lost debit cards in random places and have had to call the bank to deactivate them. It is super-inconvenient but having the cash could save you if you lose your wallet or purse.

5. Tell a loved one where you’re going and with whom

Whether you plan on taking a road trip with a group of people, a significant other, or by yourself, always tell someone where you’re going.

You will also want to tell them other details like; How long you’re staying, when you will be back, who you’re going with or meeting up with, and any other important and emergency information.

6. Create a survival bag

I know this sounds a little like prepping, and out of the normal since we have cell phones.

However, there have been many recent stories of people getting stuck with no cell service and out of gas in the middle of nowhere.

This is a huge “what if” but I would rather be safe than sorry.

Survival is key and if you find yourself in the position of your car breaking down with no cell service, then some food, water, blanket, and whatever else you need will keep you alive.

Here’s a small list of items you can add in your survival bag;

Water
Trail Mix
Granola Bars
Beef Jerky/Turkey Jerky
Warm but Lightweight Blanket
Small Pillow
Toilet paper
First Aid Kit
Purified Drinking Straw and Bottle


Final Thoughts

If you’re heading out on an adventurous road trip, I hope these tips are beneficial.

I know for us; they have made a huge difference.

When you make sure these items are checked before heading out on the open road, you could prevent a potential tragedy like being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no ability to survive. As I said, that is a worst-case scenario, but it is better to be prepared than not.

So I highly recommend all 6 tips, especially telling a loved one when you’re leaving, when you’ll be back, where you’re going, and who you’re going with!

If you’ve enjoyed these tips and found them to be beneficial, please share so others can benefit from them as well!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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