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Sandy toes and salty kisses.

Ralph on the beach at Mustang Island, Corpus Christi.

Ralph on the beach at Mustang Island, Corpus Christi.

Florida – beaches coast to coast! For people who love sand and sunshine as much as we do this was paradise.

We loved the desert and its stark beauty and dry climate, but at our core we are water people.

On th beach at Galveston Island.

On the beach at Galveston Island.

From our side trip to Cocoa Beach (hoping to catch a glimpse of Jeannie, ‘Master’ or Captain Healey) and its Atlantic Ocean pitching waves to our jaunt to Clearwater Beach to celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary, we explored central Florida from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico. White sand, golden sand, kelp seaweed and slimy seaweed, water you can see all the way to the bottom and some that was a bit murky. Breakers big enough to body surf and rolling waves gentle enough to bob in and safely sip your drink.

Cocoa Beach but no Jeannie or Captain Healey.

Cocoa Beach but no Jeannie or Captain Healey.

Each coast has its own characteristics and personality. People seem to have strong feelings for one or the other. We met people who said they absolutely would not visit the unfavored coast.

I’m a Gulf Coaster, while Ralph liked the Atlantic Coast better. The soft white sand, glinting as the sun reflects off of the bits of shell, was a magnet for me. He liked the golden sand, shifting tides and big breakers of the ocean.

Sunset over Clearwater Beach.

Sunset over Clearwater Beach.

Sunset on Galveston beach.

Sunset on Galveston beach.

Watching the sunrise over the Intercoastal Waterway from the balcony of our retro motel was the perfect start to a day that ended with it sinking into the sea, lighting the clouds over the gulf with hues of purple, pink and orange.

Sunrise over the Intercoastal Waterway.

Sunrise over the Intercoastal Waterway.

From the dunes of Cocoa Beach, watching the sunrise over the Atlantic was special but its eastern perspective didn’t allow us to enjoy the sunset that day.

Sunrise over Cocoa Beach.

Sunrise over Cocoa Beach.

Beaches breed a laidback ‘manana’ attitude and you see this reflected at the bars, with bathing suits and bare feet as acceptable attire. The beer is cold and flows freely and the seafood is fresh. No one bats an eye if you order oysters at every meal.

Happy dolphins everywhere.

Happy dolphins everywhere.

Flying through the water behind the wheel of ‘Thriller,’ reportedly the fastest thing on the water was, well, a thriller. We miss boating, so Ralph and I both jumped at the chance to drive this tour boat when everyone on board was offered the chance. There’s nothing like the feeling of the wind ripping your hair and making your eyes tear. Watching dolphins play in the harbour as we return to dock was a highlight as well.

Driving 'Thriller' (boat)

Driving ‘Thriller’

We’ve been lucky enough to see dolphins several times and beaches have loomed large on the second half of our trip. We’ve been indulging in all the sun and sand we can in Corpus Christi, Galveston and Florida.

Dry desert sun is prime but there’s nothing like a snoot full of hot, humid wind and the feel of sand scorching your feet as you run into the surf.

We are beach babies, for sure!