This blog post is in collaboration with Mazda.
Last week I spent 10 days along the Gulf Coast, part of which was for my family’s annual beach trip, which I look forward to every year! On Friday evening, I flew from Houston (Hobby) to Pensacola (PNS) on Southwest (you know I LOVE Southwest) and picked up my Mazda CX 5 for the extended week, which Mazda graciously loaned to me for my road trip.
Pensacola to Mobile
My first stop was in Mobile, Alabama for a dear friend’s baby shower. It’s about an hour drive from Pensacola to Mobile. I packed up my car, made a pitstop by Newk’s for a quick salad, and was on my way!
I did a full review of the Mazda CX 9, Mazda’s larger SUV, last year when I drove it for our road trip to Lake Tahoe and Napa. The Mazda CX 5, which I had for this trip, is a bit smaller, but still so spacious! As the driver, there were two things that stood out about the Mazda CX 5 to me.
First, even though it’s actually a SUV, it drives like a car. This was great for driving through a few Gulf Coast pop-up rain storms! The car handled them perfectly. Second, the Mazda has a really cool feature – a reflective display in the windshield, right above the steering wheel where it showed the speed limit and the actual speed at which I was traveling. It was incredibly convenient to not have to keep looking down at the dash board to check my speed, especially on roads that I’m not familiar with at all. Safe to say, this car has me smitten. If you see me checking listings for the CX 5 some time soon on Zemotor, don’t be surprised!
I had such a fun time in Mobile catching up with my friend – she’s a friend from DC who is originally from Mobile (where Michael grew up). It was my first time visiting Mobile without Michael so I explored a bit on my own, although Tropical Storm Barry rolled through while I was in town so that put a little bit of a damper on my time there. I spent an afternoon at Chaleur Method Brew + Espresso and had dinner at Red or White, a really fun (and delicious) wine bar.
Mobile to Pensacola to 30A to Destin
On Sunday morning I made the drive back to Pensacola to pick up my mom from the airport. She was in Nashville at a Cabi conference for the weekend. There’s an easy, direct flight on Southwest from Nashville to Pensacola.
After I snagged her, we ventured to 30A, which is about a 1.5 hour drive. We didn’t have plans that day so we wondered from beach town to beach town. We had lunch at Black Bear Bread Co. in Grayton Beach, drove to Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach, and stopped at The Hub in Watersound to watch the historic Wimbeldon final between Federer and Djokovic.
My dad arrived at the beach on Sunday night and my sister and brother-in-law arrived on Monday.
If you saw my Instagram Stories, somehow my mom and I were in charge of grocery shopping for the week. It’s a good thing we had the Mazda SUV – shopping for 6 adults for 7 full days is no joke! We packed the CX 5 to the brim with goodies for the week!
Michael arrived later in the week to join us for a few days. We had the best week in Destin! Our days consisted of laying on the beach every day, all day with a short break for lunch squeezed in. We usually like to venture out to different restaurants each night on vacation, but since we were there for 7 nights, we cooked in two nights. For our dinners out we went to Emeril’s Coastal Italian, Boshamps, Shunk Gulley’s, Louisiana Lagniappe, and The Hub.
Destin to Pensacola
After a week at the beach, Michael and I hopped back in our Mazda CX 5 and drove from Destin back to Pensacola to catch our Southwest flight back to Houston. The CX 5 was the perfect car for my Gulf Coast road trip!
If you have any questions about the car itself, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Photos by Michael McHugh
Thank you to Mazda for lending us the CX 5 for my road trip!