I recently talked about the importance of unplugging and the incredible impact it had on me. While taking some time off from my own social media accounts helped, I definitely needed to take it another step further. We already planned on going on vacation, but it ended up being exactly what I needed. To take a whole week away from everything and just enjoy myself. Get away from everything and let my mind calm down. We both work very hard and definitely enjoyed this MUCH needed vacation!
I took lots of footage of our vacation and everything that we did during our time in Florida. I put together a highlight video that you can watch at the end of this video. Below you will find a more in-depth explanation of everything that we did and where we went, just in case anyone is curious or would find it helpful!
My parents have a house in Punta Gorda, Florida. So, we were lucky enough to be able to use that as accommodation, as well as use their car for transportation. We were lucky because we were able to use that money we saved on accommodation & transportation on other activities during our trip.
Their location requires quite the drive to a beach, but they are very close to many different areas. So, we were able to go to 3 different beaches during our week-long stay! We also learned that August is right in the middle of their rainy season and is not the best time to vacation down there. It ended up raining everyday..while it was sunny and nice in Ohio. Oh well, lesson learned!
Day 1: Friday, August 9
Columbus, Ohio –> Punta Gorda, Florida
We had a later flight in the afternoon, so we didn’t get in until the evening. Since we were staying at my parent’s house, we needed to unpack and go grocery shopping. By the time all of the errands were done, it was evening and we were exhausted. So we just stayed in and rested up for the adventures to come!
I usually don’t get alcohol on the plane, but felt it was necessary to celebrate with some wine!
Day 2: Saturday, August 10
This was our first full day and we wanted to spend the day at the pool in their neighborhood! The day started out nice, but by afternoon, it started raining. Major bummer. We stayed for a while, but decided to go back home and get ready for the evening.
It did end up clearing up by evening. We went to Fisherman’s Village in Downtown Punta Gorda. One of our favorite restaurants in Punta Gorda is Hurricane Charley’s. This restaurant was actually named after Hurricane Charley that wiped out most of the city about 15 years ago. We love this place because they have great outdoor seating right along the port, not to mention excellent peel n’ eat shrimp!
We wanted to go to this other place called TT’s Tiki Bar, but they were having electrical problems and weren’t able to go. This place is quite literally a tiki hut bar along the port and has a really great view of the sunset! Maybe we’ll get to go next year!
Day 3: Sunday, August 11
We FINALLY had a nice day and were able to check out one of the beaches! We knew we wanted to go to Manasota Key (Englewood) and Michael figured out there was a nature hike just down the street from it.
So, on our way to the beach we decided to check out this nature hike. It was VERY pretty, but quickly realized that the path was actually flooded.
We almost turned back but both of us wanted to see where the path would lead us. So, we decided to take on all of the mosquitos and power through. At the end of the swampy path, was a dock where you can take kayaks and canoes, not to mention a very pretty view!
(It wasn’t until I got home to Ohio when it was brought to my attention that there might’ve been alligator(s) around! It did not even occur to me…) While it was very pretty, we probably won’t take that risk again!
After our swampy nature hike adventure, we went on our way to our first beach of the trip- Manasota Key! To me, there’s nothing more relaxing than laying on the beach, listening to the waves. Especially after being very busy and thinking “I made it!”. Definitely a great feeling!
In the evening we went to a rooftop bar called Perch 360 . Beautiful views and we got to watch a beautiful sunset!
Day 4: Monday, August 12
We originally planned to just have a pool day on this day, but we decided to go to Siesta Key when we realized that it was only an hour away. We figured we might as well check it out and make a whole day out of it! Unfortunately, it rained when we got there, but there was a couple hours when it wasn’t raining. It remained overcast pretty much the entire time we were there, but we made the most of it. There was a storm coming, so everyone ended up leaving the beach a little early.
While we were there, we thought we would walk around for a little bit before heading back home.
Michael had been to Siesta Key before and knew of a great ice cream shop to go to called Big Olaf Creamery. Whenever I’m on vacation, I always want coconut-flavored ice cream! ( We also checked out some shops before heading home.
In the evening, we went to Peace River Beer Company. I thought this bar was cool because the bar itself has items inside the bar. It was filled with sand and shells with various other items like phones, fishing hooks, bottle openers, Florida license plate, plastic utensils, etc etc.
Day 5: Tuesday, August 13
We took a mini trip to Fort Myers last year and ended up really enjoying it! We drive up early, spend the day at the beach, check into our hotel, and even spend the next day before heading home. Last year we just went to the main beach, but we talked to a couple the night before at the brewery that recommended this other beach called Lover’s Key.
Lover’s Key was a very nice beach! It was secluded and very quiet. It was a bit of a walk to the beach from the parking lot, but it was so worth it. Plus, there was beautiful scenery on the walk to the beach.
We stayed at Edison Beach House for one night, which I highly recommend! We had a partial beach view room and it was beautiful! It’s a little pricey, but worth it, especially for only staying there for one night.
For dinner, we went to PierSide Grill. Which in my opinion, is the best restaurant to go to in Fort Myers because it’s pretty much right on the beach!
We were going to watch the sunset on the pier, but we took too long at dinner- oops! We did walk on the pier, even though it was too late for the sunset!
Day 6: Wednesday, August 14
We were both tired and decided to take it easy this day. We originally planned to spend another day at the beach, but it was a rainy, gloomy day. We just ate breakfast at a place called Reese’s Restaurant, walked on the beach (got rained on a little bit) and went home.
Day 7: Thursday, August 15
Michael found this really cool cruise at Fisherman’s Village. Since Punta Gorda is close to Port Charlotte, they have various cruises/harbor tours that go around the port and even to the islands off of the Gulf.
The one we took was called Cayo Costa. The cruise took us out to Cayo Costa State Park. This cruise took us 2 hours out to an island, we spent the afternoon there, then road 2 hours back to Fisherman’s Village. During this cruise, we were able to see lots of dolphins! Very cool!
The beach was almost a mile from where the dock was, so we had to take a shuttle to and from the beach. It was a small little island, but definitely very cool!
Very pretty beach! It was just about the perfect way to wrap up the trip. We were there for about 2-2.5 hours before we had to head back to catch the boat. It ended up being perfect timing because there was a big, dark rain cloud coming for the island.
For our last night, we went back to Fisherman’s Village and ate dinner on the water at Village Fish Market. It was raining, of course, but we were still able to sit outside. We had to get one more order of peel n’ eat shrimp.
Day 8: Friday, August 16
We were going to try to do some more exploring since our flight wasn’t until later in the afternoon, but it was raining. Of course.
So, we went to breakfast at John Ski’s House of Breakfast and waiting at home until it was time to head to the airport. We left rainy Florida and arrived back in sunny Ohio!
I also invite you to watch my vacation highlight video! ⬇️
WHAT I LEARNED
This vacation was very necessary for the both of us! In starting my own business, I’ve had a hard time with figuring out how to completely “unplug” from everything, from reality and really enjoy myself.
I learned the importance of giving myself the ability to take a vacation. It’s necessary. We all need a break sometimes! Especially with owning my own business and being my own boss, it can hard to let myself take a break. I feel like I always need to be “on” and always need to be working. Every minute can be filled by doing something else. Working ahead, something.
But, that’s just not realistic. It’s exhausting. Letting myself completely take a break from reality was very freeing! I came back feeling so much more refreshed than when I was “unplugging” here at home.
I’ve decided that I am going to continue giving myself vacations and small breaks throughout the year to keep my brain power. It’s important and necessary! It’s definitely been quite the journey and learning experience. I’m learning and growing every single day and I hope that sharing my experiences might help you out as well. Sometimes it’s nice to see that you aren’t the only one struggling.
Remember to allow yourself breaks when you need it! Listen to your body and your mind. Slow down when you need to and enjoy yourself!