There are a lot of people who don’t take the vacation days they well deserve. Between feeling overly obligated to work, and feeling guilty about taking the time off in the first place, we continue to go to work and get more and more worn down. Especially as we get older, it’s harder to give the 110% you want, when you’re so run down and exhausted from the daily grind. Step back, take a look at your schedule, and plan some of that much needed vacation. If you take some time off, you get a chance to rest, relax, and recharge your batteries for your family and work life. Here are a few ideas of places to take those vacation days.

The panhandle of Florida is a wonderful area for a warm and relaxing vacation. Often, we get stuck indoors working and forget to step outside into the sun. Even on the weekends, when we finally have some time to ourselves, we stay inside trying to rest so we can do it all again on Monday. Getting out in the sun will help you soak in some of that vitamin D and start feeling good again. Choosing a city on the beach will encourage you to step outside and and take a stroll. A little exercise gets the blood flowing and gives you energy while you move, and helps you sleep better at night. A walk along the beach can do all of that, and help you clear your head and soothe your soul. The panhandle has several cities bordering the water and has more than just beaches to offer.

Dolphins are a major attraction in a lot of coastal towns, but if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, you may just be in luck. An accidental encounter with a dolphin is always exciting, but if you’re looking to meet one you can check out the Gulfarium, where they have controlled encounters with dolphins.

Glass-bottom boat tours are another great way to take a look at aquatic life. Some of these boat rides offer snorkeling after they take you out, but usually have a “ride only” option if swimming around in the water isn’t quite your thing.

Another area to look into for vacationing is Gulf Shores, Alabama. This may not come to mind immediately when thinking about coastal vacations, but don’t be fooled. It is gorgeous there. Not only do they offer white-sand beaches for relaxing, but they also have nature trails if you feel like doing a little exploring on land. If you want to get out on the water and do something a little more exciting, they have deep-sea fishing adventures you can take part in. Maybe history is more your thing. Fort Morgan offers an informative history lesson on Mobile Bay.

Whatever you choose to do with your vacation days, make it something fun for you, and relaxing. Taking time away from work should be that – time away. Make it at least a few days. Take an entire week or two if you can. Unplug from your phone and email. Tell work you won’t be reachable at least for a few days. Try not to think about work. Keep your mind occupied with all of the fun activities you have planned. If you give your mind and body some time to recover and remove yourself from your work, you will return rested and rejuvenated. A refreshed mind not only helps you, but also helps you help other people. It doesn’t do anyone any good if you’re too tired to function. So take a few minutes and plan your next vacation in the sun.

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