National Naval Aviation Museum

While visiting Pensacola, I decided to break from the heat at the beach and take the girls to explore the National Naval Aviation Museum. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had heard good things, but the fact that it was indoors and had central air conditioning were the key selling factors.

For starters, it’s FREE! I did not even check into the cost before we went. Like I said, I was looking for indoor entertainment that included AC. The fact that it ended up being free was an added bonus. From the moment we walked in, both girls were in awe.

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Naval Museum

This is pretty much how she was the entire time.

Here’s a peek at what’s inside.

National Naval Aviation Museum
National Naval Aviation Museum
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National Naval Aviation Museum
National Naval Aviation Museum
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There were quite a few places where kids could climb into different types of planes and experience what it felt like to sit in the pilot’s seat. My 7 year old had fun with each of these. She was also pumped to get a set of her very own personalized military dog tags.

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Here’s a shot I took from inside the restaurant in the museum, the Cubi Bar Café. The food was nothing special, but the restaurant was its own museum exhibit and had a cool vibe. You can read more about this exhibit, as well as the others, here.

Naval Museum Restaurant

Also, across the street from the museum is the Pensacola Lighthouse. We were only able to catch a glimpse from the outside this trip. Next time, we plan to climb the 177 steps to the top.

Pensacola Lighthouse

I’m glad we took a break from the heat and ended up at the National Naval Aviation Museum. It turned out to be much better than expected and made for the perfect day.

Daytona Beach, Florida

The beaches in Daytona Beach are large, the sand is compact and the waves are big enough to surf. With sand being compact, it provides opportunities not accustomed to having grown up going to beaches in the Florida Panhandle. Running is enjoyable, bikes are easily ridden, if it’s windy you don’t eat sand and using a stroller is actually an option.

Sunrise greeted our trip. Since adding our little early bird to our family, we now see more sunrises than ever expected. This turns out to have advantages. Watching the sunrise always seems to start a day in such an energetic and positive way. This started our week in Daytona Beach perfectly.

Daytona Beach, FL sunrise

sunrise Daytona Beach

Before sunrise Daytona Beach, Florida

Perfection.

Daytona Beach, Florida sunrise

sunrise Daytona Beach, Florida

sunrise Daytona Beach

Hello sunrise!

Luckily, the weather was great to enjoy the beaches. Flying kites, throwing frisbee, building sand castles, boogie boarding, surfing, there was plenty to keep everyone entertained.

Daytona Beach, Florida - Frisbee

throwing frisbee

flying a kite on Daytona Beach, Florida

flying a kite

Did I mention that since cars can get permits to come on the beach, this also means that ice cream trucks parade continuously back and forth? My daughter thought this was absolutely the coolest part about Daytona Beach. Although, I must admit, if there was a variety of food truck options, they would really be on to something.

ice cream truck - Daytona Beach, Florida

ice cream truck on the beach, Daytona Beach, Florida

Ponce Inlet is just south of Daytona Beach and the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Marine Science Center are definitely worth a visit. Standing as the tallest lighthouse in Florida, we climbed 203 steps to get a view from the top. Climbing to the top with 4 children under the age of 8 was possible. The last flight was extremely steep, and the kids needed a little help getting to the top, but we were able to do it without a problem.

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

stairs Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

looking down the stairs of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

view from the top of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Crabby Joe’s came highly recommended. The restaurant sits on top of a long pier with beautiful views and waves crashing underneath while you eat. The experience was enjoyed, as well as the delicious po’ boys.

Crabby Joe's - Daytona Beach, Florida

Crabby Joe’s

pier at Crabby Joe's

view from pier at Crabby Joe’s

A few things to take note about Daytona Beach: Some areas are cleaner and nicer than others, the Ferris Wheel seen in iconic photos is a bit sketchy and may or may not even be in working order (we never saw it move), there are lifeguards on patrol and alcohol is not allowed on the beaches.

Daytona Beach was a great experience and lots of fun memories were made. With so many places to visit, who knows if we will ever make it back but it was definitely worth the visit.