I grew up on Long Island’s South Shore, two miles from the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Biking through the salty, sandy, windy air was very much a part of our lives growing up, but I’ve come to appreciate the health benefits of a beach getaway as a nurse and as I’ve gotten older.
With a passion for travel, I’ve recently discovered Florida’s Emerald Coast and had the chance to set out and explore beautiful beaches that hug the Gulf of Mexico in the 2018 Kia Rio EX.
Windows rolled down, and music blowing through the salty air gave me an almost nostalgic feeling to my days as a kid pushing hard against the wind as I rode my bike to the beach. Thankfully, it was an easier and more enjoyable journey with the 2018 Kia Rio, which is offered as a compact sedan or hatchback with style and a kick of high-quality features you may not expect.
I had always heard about Destin and Panama City Beach, but it wasn’t until we moved down to the Nashville area, that I started hearing about “30A” (and seeing bumper stickers on every car). I’ll share more about quaint and charming 30A in another post, but it’s as if I was just let in on one of Florida’s best-kept secrets. Take a look at the sugar-white beaches and sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Kia Rio and I have a few things in common. We both possess bursts of energy, and we are both comfortable in our own skin. Together, we were up for an adventure, and with excellent gas mileage and responsive handling, I explored as much as I could during my quick visit. Driving along, I saw the areas of Panama City Beach, Destin, WaterColor, Fort Walton Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, and Seaside ( a sweet pastel village where The Truman Show was filmed).
Immediately, as my toes sunk into the sugary sand, I began to decompress and remember carefree days at the beach from my childhood through my mid-twenties. As if a weight slowly lifted off of me and sailed out to sea, I sensed a relaxation that I have not felt in a very long time. As a healthcare professional, allow me to sound very official for a minute to offer these clinical reasons as to why a beach getaway has direct health benefits (feel free use these anytime you need to justify a trip to the beach):
- Being outdoors, feeling nature around you, and the ocean’s force can help reduce stress, improving immune system function.
- Vitamin D through responsible sun exposure (cover up, use sunscreen) which is essential for mental health and bone health.
- Vitamin “Sea” is in abundance at the beach and can help combat depression and rejuvenate our insides as much as our outsides (the sand is a natural exfoliant).
- The beach uses salt, sand, and water to tease our sense of touch, smell, taste, sight, and sound. An almighty ocean can remind us of who and where we are in a large universe while helping us feel connected and grounded.
- A beach getaway makes a positive effect on homeostasis. Say what? Homeostasis is this internal self-regulatory process which tends to keep things stable and sympatico while adjusting to keep optimal conditions for our survival. So it’s pretty important.
Me, myself, and the quiet and refined ride of the Kia Rio EX only brushed upon some of the gorgeous stretches of beaches along Florida’s Emerald Coast, and I left wanting to see more. While the area is easy to navigate, some of my favorite features of the Rio are the logical controls along with USB ports and a touchscreen that is a useful size and quality rear camera.
It’s easy to find many health benefits to a beach getaway, so get in the car and go! An internal mantra of mine is #travelwhileyoucan, and I truly believe it. I hope to explore more of Florida’s Emerald Coast during another Kia adventure.
Thank you to Kia Motors for providing me with the 2018 Kia Rio EX to test drive. Kia and I share a passion for music, and these three little birds serve as a visual reminder when at the beach, don’t worry about a thing, ’cause everything little thing is gonna be alright.
As noted in this post, I was provided this vehicle courtesy of Kia Motors to test drive. No monetary compensation was received for this post and all opinions are my own. #KiaPartner