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toledo Jan 27th, 2010 07:08 AM

Gulf coast vacation
On previous years we have been to Miami and the Keys, stayed in Sarasota and last year Marco Island and Naples area, all of which we enjoyed.
We don''t really like going to places already visited so could you advise on where we could spend a couple of weeks further north on the Gulf Coast where it is as nice as the above mentioned places?

gailw Jan 27th, 2010 11:47 AM

What kind of vacation are you interested in? Naples and Miami have a lot of stores/restaurants/activity. Is that your preference? What month are you going? Are you looking for a place that is warm enough for swimming?
You'll find a lot of advice here if you give people some idea of what you're looking for.

Cranachin Jan 27th, 2010 12:38 PM


Your title "Gulf coast vacation" is rather vague - can you get the editors to at least add "Florida" to it or tag it (so people know you are not interested in places such as Corpus Christi or Biloxi, also on the Gulf coast)?

Better still, you might see if you can modify the title so that it is obvious you are interested in south Florida and not the Gulf coast in the Panhandle (which is beautiful but has a different vibe than the lower Gulf coast).

Hope you enjoy your vacation!

WhereAreWe Jan 27th, 2010 02:48 PM

OP mentioned finding a place further north on the Gulf Coast. I don't see how that rules out the Panhandle or even a state other than Florida.

I would agree OP needs to give some ideas on what they like to do - asking for a place that's as nice as somewhere else is too vague.

Cranachin Jan 27th, 2010 03:10 PM


Maybe farther north on the Gulf coast does not rule out the Panhandle or another state, but it's quite a leap from Miami/Keys/Marco Island/Naples to the Panhandle, both distance-wise and culture-wise – never mind to other states.

Although Sarasota is a ways from the other four, I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that the OP meant "father north" as in Clearwater/Bradenton/Sanibel - not Pensacola/Destin/Panama City/St. George Island. I would say the former three are more comparable to where the OP has been than the latter four are, although the latter are, in my opinion, nice places to visit. South Florida is just very different from NW Florida.

Also, OP doesn't say WHEN the visit is for. That is very important. Winter is not exactly beach season in the Panhandle!

stumpworks73 Jan 27th, 2010 05:20 PM

Sanibel is a great destination. Similar to Marco-not so far away. Captiva is right next door for natural beauty.

I enjoy Indian Rocks Beach between St. Pete and Clearwater. Many walking distance restaurants. Beautiful beach. A short drive to Clearwater and Tampa activities.

toledo Jan 28th, 2010 07:07 AM

I'm sorry for the confusion, I meant the Florida gulf coast.We will be going at the end of May. We like to go in the sea, relax for an hour or two on the beach; shop around the Malls. We enjoy a play or a show if we can find one locally, maybe take a boat trip out to sea. We saw a Manatee last year and would love to see one again.Basically we just like to get out and enjoy the area.

cheryllj Jan 28th, 2010 07:34 AM

If you are asking a question about Florida, it would be helpful to include "Florida" in the title and to also use the tag for Florida.

You don't even mention Florida in your post, so it also wasn't clear to me whether you were also asking about other Gulf states like Mississippi and Texas.

At the end of May, the weather on the panhandle is great. Lots of people enjoy Destin and Fort Walton Beach but there are smaller beach towns too, depending on what you are looking for.

Cranachin Jan 28th, 2010 09:09 AM

The weather in the Panhandle will be nice in May, but the water will still be cold (at least to locals - not sure where you are from).

You won't see any manatees if you visit Panhandle beaches - they live in central and south Florida.

If you are a diver, there are some great places around Pensacola. There is also good deep-sea fishing off the Panhandle.

Offerings of plays and shows are probably more limited than in south Florida, as are dining options (not as adventurous, anyway).

toledo Jan 28th, 2010 12:12 PM

Well thanks for your replies, we are fom the UK. I'm a bit new to posting on the Forum so you will have to forgive me. We have visited most places from Marco up to St Petes'in cluding Senibal which I didn't enjoy as much last time as it seemed to have become a lot more commercialised to what it was.We are looking for somewhere between St Petes' and the Panhandle.

cd Jan 28th, 2010 01:02 PM

I am including a trip report from last yr. We have returned here this year. Cape Sam Blas is between Port St Joe and Apalachicola, quaint small towns and very laid back. We like the beach because it is pretty remote. Read my report:

Cranachin Jan 28th, 2010 01:24 PM


If you mean LITERALLY between St. Pete and the Panhandle, the area between Tarpon Springs (just north of St. Petersburg) and St. George's Island is not really prime beach area. It definitely is not a resort area.

It's just a consequence of geography that the sand and the Gulf waters there cannot compare visually to the beaches in other parts of the state (although they do have their own type of beauty). The feel of the area is very different from the beaches of south Florida or the Panhandle as well.

You'll find manatees around Crystal River and Homosassa Springs, up the coast about 1.5 hours from St. Pete, though.

Frankly, although some people enjoy areas like St. George's Island and Port St. Joe in the Panhandle (less crowded, for one thing), I think the sand there (beige) is not as pretty as the stretch between Perdido Key (west of Pensacola) and Panama City (along that stretch the sand is almost like sugar or salt in color - very white - and the Gulf is brilliant green and blue).

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