Spring Break for Millennial Parents: Kid-Friendly Vacation in Destin, Florida!

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So as a young college student and mommy spring break is a little different for me than it is for many of my peers. I decided to share my family-friendly spring break trip with you guys!

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My family and I spent our Spring Break in Destin, Florida! It’s absolutely gorgeous with bright white sand beaches and gorgeous blue water. It’s also a good combination of college spring breakers and family so for me it was perfect to experience a little bit of both!

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We spent a lot of time at the beach but we also stayed in a gorgeous resort, Destin West beach and bay in Okaloosa Island between Fort Walton and Destin Florida.

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The resort has two sides, the bay side (pictured above) or the gulf side (a view of the beach). It had a bridge over the overpass that allowed guest to walk from one side to the other. I actually preferred the bay side (it was more affordable) because it has several pools, a hot tub and a lazy river. Many of the college students chose to stay on this side so it was buzzing with people. It’s also pretty easy to get to the bridge and walk across to the gulf side to visit the beach.

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Destin was really easy to get around and had lots of areas for walking and activities that both children and adults could enjoy. We visited Harbourwalk village near the Emerald Grande hotel while we were there. destin13

The village has tons of shops, drinks (for both adults and children), Ice cream (even alcoholic ice-cream because apparently thats a thing), Henna tattoo, water sports rentals, you name it! It’s a really nice space to walk with children because it’s separated away from the main roads but also not too close to the water so my little man was free to roam around. I actually stopped to get dippin dots and a henna tattoo here. Everyone was really friendly and welcoming and there were people from all over! I’d definitely suggest visiting.

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My husband actually ended up renting a kayak for an hour to take our little man out into the bay (the gulf had a strong current but in the summer you can venture out there as well). Our little boy was much too active so they didn’t stay too long for fear of flipping over, but you can also rent boats which may be a better option for those of you with young children. You can even take them out to Crab Island, a cool restaurant in the middle of the bay!

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If you like sweets you may want to stop by some local grocery stores for fresh fruits (like we did) but one of my favorite places was Destination Little Donuts in Destin. They made all sorts of specialty donuts with various toppings, all very aesthetically pleasing and delicious!

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We actually stopped by twice because I couldn’t get enough of the Oreo Cheesecake and Cookie Dough (pictured above). They were also really informative and friendly so I’d suggest stopping by if you have a sweet tooth like I do! There were also a lot of great restaurants along the beach. Most of them served seafood, which I actually dislike, but there were a wide variety of options within Destin. We ate at Floyds on our first day and had gorgeous view of the beach while we ate.

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We also visited Fudpuckers, a really interesting restaurant that serves pretty good seafood but also hosts a number of live alligators. You can purchase bait to feed them and even get a picture with a baby gator (their mouths are taped for the photo). My little man was much too excited so we had to take him away for a minute, he kept pulling the alligators feet (not a good idea). We also got the chance to see a rare albino alligator. Pretty cool!

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Of course much of our vacation was spent on the beach. We just couldn’t get over how stunning they were!

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We even got shot by a photographer for a local newspaper!

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All in all it was a pretty fun and relaxing spring break and I’d definitely suggest visiting, whether you’re a student, single, or mother of two! We are already planning our next trip back!

meee

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Recognizing PR excellence: Bronze Anvil Award & The Creatives Behind It

By: Raneisha Stassin
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We often see public relations campaigns in action but rarely see the creatives behind them. The Bronze Anvil Awards gives us a chance to recognize those behind the media magic and they definitely deserve to be celebrated.

One particular winning campaign that stuck out to me was Ketchum’s #PrettyGreat Travel Hacks campaign they created for the Embassy Suites/Hilton. The campaign involved creating an online community where parents could find and share travel hacks or tips that would make traveling with kids easier and more enjoyable.

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I really admired their approach to this campaign and the pr tactics they used to create a fun yet informative strategy. They created an online community that could easily be integrated across other platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter with the hashtags #PrettyGreat #TravelHacks. Pinterest in particular is a great site for moms, travelers and those with wanderlust spirits. I felt their use of these sites along with the online community on the Embassy Suites website really showed their understanding of their audience. They understood that if their content was easy to share and could be found in sites already used by this demographic that their client would get the attention they were seeking. It also allowed the audience to be engaged and actively involved therefore content would continue to be created and shared.

Other tactics I found admirable was their use of research. They didn’t forget the basics and stuck to the R.A.C.E (Research, Action, Communication and Evaluation) model while simultaneously letting their creative juices flow. The Embassy Suites held a family travel study to collect information that would allow them to understand the needs of their demographic and aligned their strategies with those needs. After research they provided family-specific training to staff members and added family-focused amenities.

Their use of online influencers as a tactic proved to be successful as well. Several online mom and travel bloggers mentioned the Embassy Suites and the travel hacks while encouraging other traveling parents to actively participate.

As a millennial and young mom with a wanderlust spirit myself, I found this campaign pulled me in the second I discovered it. As an aspiring public relations professional I can not neglect to recognize the hard work that must have been put in to create such a successful campaign.

Ketchum ended up winning the Bronze Anvil Award for 2016 for this particular campaign and numerous others. You can check it out here.

This post was not sponsored and was created for my Comm 283-PR Tactics course.
All opinions are my own.