Going into this past winter, Brandon & I realized that we had not taken a vacation since our honeymoon in 2011! Yikes. SO, we decided to spend some much needed time away (from kids, work, Indiana weather) together!
Here are five highlights from the trip!
1. Clematis Street
I did a LOT of research before we went on this trip because…why not get the most for your money? The one place/area that people recommended was Clematis street, especially at night. So our first night we went! Even for a Monday night, there were quite a few people around. There was a (very) large sandcastle in the area furthest West that included some fun fountains as well. The best part of Clematis Street is the variety of restaurants & bars. Some of the most recommended ones (that we didn’t have time to visit) based on reviews from Tripadvisor include Rocco’s Tacos, Lynora’s, The Blind Monk Wine Bar, The Alchemist, The Roxy’s Pub, Hullabaloo & Avocado Grill. West Palm Beach Restaurants Tripadvisor
Clematis Street also has events called Clematis by Night, but we weren’t there on a night/time that anything was really happening. We ended up back at Clematis Street on our way to the airport so we could grab some lunch at the highly recommended Pizza Girls joint. It was super small inside, with a few tables outside, it was an order at the counter type of place, but the pizza was SO GOOD. It was my first experience with New York Style Pizza – thin and crispy but light and FLUFFY on the inside! How is that even possible?!? Here are some pics from that first night & a daytime pic of the sandcastle!
Looking East from the West end of Clematis.
The giant sandcastle & fountains are lit up behind us!
Back at Clematis taking a picture with the Sandcastle (Pizza Girls faces this plaza area)
2. Grease Burger Bar
One restaurant we DID have the chance to visit on Clematis Street that first night was Grease Burger Bar. Brandon is a HUGE burger fan, and they’re probably one of my favorite foods as long as they’re gourmet because I’m picky and high maintenance when it comes to food….so anyways, this was one of my top pics. The burgers were giant, not too big to finish of course, but that depends on whether you can put down food like Brandon and I do! We had the Southern Fried Pickles which were really delicious and came with a creamy dipping sauce, yum. This is a high compliment because I don’t actually like pickles…I had the Mr. Bigg which was a -12 oz- burger with pecan bacon, frizzled onions, pepper jack cheese, & garlic aioli. The flavors blended together perfectly. As you can see it was also presented beautifully! Brandon had the Mac Daddy Burger topped with mac & cheese and pecan bacon – cheezy & satisfying – he ate it too fast for me to take a picture sorry! The fries were also amazing, and they give you a TON of them. I would recommend just sharing a small because a large could probably feed 3-4 people! Loved it!
My Grease Burger – Mr. Bigg (garlic aioli is my FAVE)
This is actually the very first place we visited after arriving! This is basically an area of town with lots of great shops, restaurants, and even a Publix (grocery store) where Brandon and I did some grocery shopping before heading to our resort. This helped us save a LOT of money because we just ate fruit & granola bars for breakfast, and made picnic lunches with fresh-baked bread, cheese & turkey, chips, etc. Anyways, CityPlace had some really nice open areas for sitting and hanging out, pretty fountains & ~Palm Trees~ which just make any mall experience more fun. 🙂 Just a fun place to shop & hang out for a bit!
Giant mural. 🙂
Center of CityPlace by fountain & plaza.
4. Marriott Ocean Pointe Resort
Fortunately for us, my parents offered to use their Marriott rewards points to book us a room at the Marriott Ocean Pointe Resort on Singer Island, which is about a 20-minute drive from the Palm Beach International Airport. It was a 10 minute Uber from the Clematis Street/CityPlace area. It was SO nice because it is a little island and the only people there are the locals and the people staying at the resorts on Riviera Beach. It felt pretty secluded, the beach was never crowded, and our resort had a LOT of space. There were 3 different pools, 3 hot tubs, a pool area bar & events area with daily & nightly activities. They also had an activities center that would help you plan anything you wanted to do during your stay!
Our room was on the second floor facing another building, but there is enough space between buildings that you can still see the ocean from your balcony. Here was what we could see from our balcony if we looked to the left:
So it was definitely a restricted view, but between this and paying $80 more per night to have a room facing the ocean, I’d pick this all over again! The pool area in this picture was the one that we used. It was nice because they kind of split the pools up; there was a pool at one end of the resort where it seemed like a lot of older couples were staying, our pool was where the majority of young to middle age couples/adults hung out, the pool on the other side of the bar/main event area was where families with kids hung out. (This was not enforced, it was just an observation) This area included a splash pad, a very basic miniature golf course, a shuffleboard, and a bags/cornhole game area. (Don’t bring this up to my husband but I MIGHT have beat him at all three of those games…) 🙂
During the day the pool & activity areas were well-populated but not crowded. There were three beach access bridges that went directly from our enclosed resort area out to the beach. There were nice padded chairs that you could rent for the day on the beach, but we just took some beach towels out and sat on those. The beach was beautiful!
Beach access bridge.
Looking South from our resort’s beach.
Looking North from our resort’s beach.
View from the pool.
Soaking up the sun by the pool!
My favorite “activity” that we participated in (others included cooking s’mores over the fire pits, a BBQ dinner buffet, ping-pong) was a Sangria-making class! The employees teaching the class were fun & welcoming, we became better acquainted with several other resort guests, and came away with two delicious glasses of Sangria each & recipe cards to take home!
Red Sangria Recipe & Utensils.
This resort was a place where many of the guests were timeshare owners and they really made it a home away from home! We also were never asked to “buy in” but were treated just like guests at any resort that doesn’t offer timeshares.
Here is the link to their website for more pics & info: Marriott Ocean Pointe Website
5. Manatee Lagoon
We spent most of our time away together relaxing by the pool, drinking wine at night in the hot tub, or walking along the beach, which was amazing, but it was fun to go to a “tourist” place too, and this one was free! The Manatee Lagoon is an eco-discovery center next to a factory that releases warm, clean water into the lagoon which makes it a perfect place for the wild manatees to gather during the cold season. There were tons of manatees there, and several pairs of mommas and babies swimming right by the balcony/observation area! This was a really neat stop, and something I would definitely recommend if you’re there between November and April! There was an entire discovery center inside of the observation area with a lot of great information about manatees and other local wildlife. This was just a quick stop for us but a fun one!
Mommy & Baby!
Group of Manatees in the lagoon.
Hanging out with the manatees. 🙂
6. Bonus Highlight! (My Man)
Okay, so my absolute favorite part of this trip was really just spending time with my man! We had an opportunity to get away from the norm, forget the daily stresses, the chores, taking care of the kids, etc. and taking time to only think about yourself and your favorite person for a couple days is SO good for the soul. We went out to a live-music restaurant and danced, we watched a meteor shower on the beach, relaxed in the hot tub with wine, and more! We talked about our dreams for the upcoming years, for our marriage, our careers, for our family, and our lives!
My Man. <3
Matching Sunglasses <3
Through our discussions on life, one of the things I realized that I really wanted to do for MYSELF was to start taking more chances and finding JOY in the adventures of life.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but I have always had a major fear of the ocean. Mostly just sharks…and really anything under the water that you can’t necessarily see until it is eating you. For example, sharks. Did I mention them? It didn’t help that the time we were in Singer Island was supposedly a time when sharks would migrate right along Riviera Beach, where our resort was located.
So, because of the above, I have always avoided going into the ocean. When Brandon and I were living on the west coast of Baja California working for a missions organization, we spent a lot of time on the ocean, and Brandon even spent a lot of time surfing, but the ONE TIME I tried to go in the ocean (after a couple of months of watching from the beach), I literally hyper-ventilated, laid on my surfboard, refusing to put my arms and legs in the water, and let the waves carry my surfboard to the beach until it was hitting the sand. Brandon said, “I think you’re safe now, the sharks can’t swim this close to the land…”
Anyways, we’re walking along the ocean, and I’m like, “I’m going in.” Brandon just laughed. I said, “I want to take a video of this since it may be the only time it happens.” So we set up my phone in the sand and took off towards the waves. It was so freeing and fulfilling for me! Crazy how important those little things can be, especially when you share them with the one you love. <3 (Also I did not get attacked by a shark – Thank you, God!)
Enjoy the video! I hope it inspires you to do something crazy that brings you joy!