Help finding great beach resort for toddlers

Old Jan 16th, 2006, 10:46 AM
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Help finding great beach resort for toddlers

I'm looking for a great 4-5 day beach getaway for a family of four, including a 1 and 3 year old. My ideal place would be: relatively close to any of: Miami, Tampa, or Orlando (because we can fly direct), easy walk to the beach, fun pool area, kids' activities, spacious family accomodations. Budget is pretty flexible -- willing to spend up to $500/night (probably early March timeframe).

I've searched through the archives, and haven't seen anything that perfectly meets all the criteria. Seems like most places with neat pool areas (i.e. Hyatt Coconut Plantation, Orlando resorts) are far from the beach, and many of the beach resorts aren't quite kid-oriented enough. There must be something out there - tell me what I've missed!
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Old Jan 16th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Forgot to include Ft. Myers in the list of cities that are easy to fly to. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Old Jan 16th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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I prefer the Tampa area because I live here but there are plenty of other places nearby. I suggest you look into some of the suites at the Alden or the Tradewinds in St. Pete Beach. Or in Sand Key (south of Clearwater) -- what is it, the Sheraton?

Also, how about the Long Boat Key Club in Long Boat? Or the Lido Beach Resort. I stayed there once, it was very nice and there's lots to do in Sarasota. The resort is a short walk to St. Armands Key.

I love the DonCeSar in St. Pete but I don't think the pool is THAT great. And the rooms aren't real spacious but they have some condo-hotel rooms next door that would be nice. And that location has plenty for kids.

All these spots are ON the beach. And I think you will be under your budget but you'll have to do some research. Let me know what you find out.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:01 AM
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Thanks very much for the helpful reply. Of the ones you mentioned, Lido Beach and Tradewinds do both seem to be good options. Will it be warm enough for beach and pools in early March? I'm also considering Lago Mar in Fort Lauderdale. That seems like a very nice place, although I'd be interested to hear impressions of its kid-friendliness. Do we have slightly better odds of warm weather in FLL than Tampa/St. Pete?
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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How about a kid friendly cruise out of Miami or FLL? A lot of the ships have neat stuff for kids to do.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 07:38 AM
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I've checked into that, and it is an intriguing idea. Probably would be more fun for us adults, and all-inclusive meals is pretty attractive. My only concern is sleeping arrangements. With our youngest (just turned 1) in a crib + a 3 yr old, I'm a bit worried about it being cramped. Carnival has a 4 day cruise, with 330 sq ft "suites" in our price range -- but it's still basically 1 room. Disney has great activities for kids, but the rooms are considerably smaller. Maybe I'm worrying too much about that. Tired kids will sleep well anywhere, right?
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 09:58 AM
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Might be a good idea to check on ages for any supervised kids programs if that's what you're looking for - I know some places start them at 4 or 5.

I've stayed at Tradewinds (Island Grand) which had nice rooms (I was in the newly remodeled section with a Gulf view and kitchenette). Since Island Grand is actually several hotels that have been incorporated into Tradewinds over the years, there are a large number of accomodation types. Sandpiper is smaller than Island Grand, but had nice pools (nothing like the Orlando "island-paradise-lazy-river" type of pool, but nice & they were heated). You can use the facilities/activities at either resort.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 10:28 AM
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Haven't been there myself, but friends with kids have gone to The Cheeca Lodge and enjoyed it. 75 miles from Miami. On the ocean, have pools, tennis, kids programs, restaurants -- near a marine park (glass bottom boats, etc) -- also has a spa that sounds nice. Don't know what rooms are like. If you can fly directly to West Palm, recommend The Breakers.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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If you are considering a cruise, I would post on the cruise board to get those who have cruised with small ones to respond regarding your question about room size.
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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The Breakers is lovely, but in March you'd be looking at over $600 a night.
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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I'm looking for the same thing- please let me know what you've found.

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Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 03:41 AM
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I'm looking for exactly the same thing (and same family requirements.) Did you have any favorites you'd recommend? Thanks..
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Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:18 AM
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Hi, the Sheraton Beach Resort, Bal Harbor, just north of Miami is right on the beach with a great pool for the kids, the beach is great, we just got it on Priceline and stayed there last week. The only bad thing is in Miami, at the resorts, you always have to pay resort fees and parking fee too But we got a real cheap rate so no worries on that. There are other great ones around that area also for kids.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2006, 05:42 AM
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I second the Longboat Key Club. It is very kid friendly and directly on the beach with a wonderful pool area. The rooms are actually condos, so you can make breakfast and such. They were just redone a few years ago. Very nice. However not sure you can get in for this March.
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Old Apr 11th, 2006, 02:23 PM
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Thanks to all who contributed your thoughts. We ended up going to Ft. Lauderdale and staying at Lago Mar, which worked out well.

Pros: beautiful wide beach - with toys provided by the resort, playground on the beach (which the kids really liked), nice lagoon pool which was pleasant and not overcrowded, 1 BR suite was large and equipped with fridge and microwave, resort is 10-15 mins from the airport.

Cons: no baby pool (we knew this going in), not quite as luxurious as you might hope for given the price (approx $460/nt during high season) -- exterior room entrance, felt a bit motel-ish and there was damage in places to the building facade and roof.

There are other amenities that would make this resort a great place for older children/teens -- ping pong table on the beach, putt putt course, shuffleboard, chess, tennis, etc. The resort has a very "local" feel, as it's privately owned and the beach club has a local membership. Overall -- a very good destination for families.
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