A couple of weeks ago my dad and I flew down to Jacksonville, FL for a quick little surf trip. Why Jacksonville? During my brief stint in college, I went to school in Jacksonville and my family and I kind of fell in love with it. We packed up a suitcase and a board bag and off we went!
We arrived in JAX on Wednesday in the early afternoon. After we got our rental car we headed straight to our beachside hotel. We stayed at the Hampton Inn, fully equip with pool, hot tub, bar and most importantly just steps from the sand!
We checked into our room and headed straight to the beach for a little walk. The walk didn't last too long before we decided it was time to suit up and get in the water! These next few days would be my first time trying my hand at a short board, and it was definitely an adjustment. Not necessarily as hard as I expected, but I for sure still have TONS of room for improvement. After playing in the little waves for a couple hours we grabbed a drink at the bar then decided it was time for some food. We decided to pick up some Moe's to bring back to the hotel. I know, I know, really? Our choice was a fast food chain? Yes. We don't have Moe's up in Wisconsin and I am a sucker for their queso! A day of travel, surfing, and full bellies sure makes you tired, so after eating we just kind of hung around the hotel for the night.
I woke up bright and early Thursday morning and hit the beach for sunrise. After watching the sun rise out of the ocean, I had a little photo session (had to get some beachy pics for the blog!). While roaming the beach, I spotted a couple dolphins out playing in the water, the perfect start to my birthday! Once my dad woke up we headed out to Dunkin Donuts, because anyone who knows Scott knows he cannot live without it, then we took a stroll on the beach down to the pier. We watched a handful of guys out surfing the pier for a while, found a few jelly fish left behind by the tide, then decided it was time to suit up.
We had another day of fun little waves, perfect for dad and I. We don't mind some smaller waves, perfect for learning on! Today, was when I actually got up and caught my first baby ride on a short board, woohoo! After close to 3 hours in the ocean it was time for a drink! We grabbed a few birthday margs at the hotel, then decided to go on a little bike ride. You can rent bikes right at the hotel which is super convenient! We went riding through the surrounding beach town admiring all the beach houses we could see ourselves in.
At this point it was time for some grub! We decided on burgers from M Shack. I'd consider M Shack a step above fast food. They have great burgers, yummy milk shakes, and amazing parmesan truffle fries! I was stuffed enough that I was sure my bike would be trickier to ride home... it wasn't. We rode back to the hotel and had a little lounge time before doing some surf shop shopping and a few of my favorites. I have a few must stop surf shops depending on where I am! After our shopping we stopped for some ice cream, coconut for me, a shake for Scott. We headed back to the hotel after this, and I think I was asleep before my head even hit the pillow. A birthday well spent!
Friday was spent a little differently. It started the same- wake up, go to Dunkin Donuts, then head to the beach to check the surf. There was little to nothing in terms of waves, but we did spot a few dolphins out playing in the water! Because there were no waves, dad and I decided to take a little road trip down to another one of our favorite Florida destinations, Juno Beach. I have a full post coming next week about our day trip to Juno Beach so stay tuned! (:
Wake up, Dunkin Donuts, surf check. Again, our standard morning routine. While we watched the waves we also got to watch some more dolphins play! They were extra playful this morning, jumping in and riding the waves when a set came through. The waves didn't look like much, but we were leaving later in the day so we hopped in the water anyway! Turns out, this would be our best surf day. We had tons of super clean little waves roll through all morning, perfect for quickly jumping on and trying to learn the mechanics of our new boards. The waves themselves made for a great surf session, but the best part were the buddies we had in the water. About 100 ft or so further out from us a group of dolphins decided to hang out and jump around for the morning. They even would snag a the occasional wave that would go through the back by them. I swear, it never gets old watching the creatures that call the ocean home play in their natural habitat!
We spent a solid 3 hours in the water then rushed upstairs to pack up our bags and head off to the airport!
These few days away were amazing to say the least. My mom posted a photo when my dad and I left and in the caption she talked about how when my sister and I were growing up there were so many dance weekends spent away, just us 3 girls. It's so special to have a weekend away, with just my dad, to add the the memory bank!