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help picking Florida beach

Old Jan 16th, 2011, 07:07 PM
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help picking Florida beach

We went to Siesta Key last May and loved it. We will likely go back this year, but we are also considering some other places such as Clearwater Beach (just looks fun and pretty), Destin and the Beaches of South Walton. Destin looks appealing as I've heard it has the clearest water, but I've also heard it's crazy crowded and more of a party atmosphere, so that may not be good for us. Also, I did not think the oil had actually damaged the beaches in Destin, but I can't find whether that it true? We have 2 very small children, so just want a beautiful beach to hang out on and swim but also able to get to restaurants easily. We also liked that Sarasota and Tampa had lots of other fun things to do like dolphin cruises, dining on the harbor, etc. We would like to go when it is warm and the Gulf is comfortable but not crazy hot. We went to Siesta Key in May and it was perfect. Would Destin be still a little chilly in May (water-wise). Thanks for any input!
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Old Jan 16th, 2011, 07:46 PM
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scottibb,

Where are you from, and when in May do you want to go?

The water in Destin/South Walton might be a little chilly for a Southerner in early May, although a Northerner might find it OK. It will probably be warm enough for a Southerner by late May (Memorial Day).

I grew up on the Gulf Coast, and I felt like water less than 80 degrees was too cold!
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 07:14 AM
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There is no sand like Siesta Key beach. We've stayed on both coasts and the panhandle, and the favorite now is St. Augustine. Very nice beaches - great town, good restaurants, much less traffic than parts of the gulf coast.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 07:16 AM
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Destin? party atmosphere?
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 07:27 AM
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We live in the Clearwater area and also have 2 young children. If you're looking for a beautiful beach with plenty of restaurants and activities, then you won't be dissatisfied. A short drive south of Clw. you will also find miles of beaches less crowded. The water temp. should be around 80 by then, which makes for a good time in the water. Clearwater also has night time movies by the beach and Key West themed sunset activities.
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Old Jan 17th, 2011, 08:59 AM
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Destin has more of a family atmosphere, party...um, no. We typically go to the Carolina beaches in April & May and the water is usually fine. 80, to many of us, is like bath water & we won't/don't go to the beach then. For me, May & October are the absolute best times to visit the beach. http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/dsdt/cwtg/egof.html
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Old Jan 20th, 2011, 06:53 PM
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Thanks for all your replies. We are from Scottsdale so are wimpy with cold. When we went to Siesta Key the gulf was like 72, but it felt fine to me (at home I like the pool about 83-really wimpy). So I guess Destin would be fine in late May. I will research some more and probably return with more questions. Thanks!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2011, 06:57 AM
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Check out Anna Maria Island.
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Old Jan 24th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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The Beaches of South Walton sounds exactly like what you are looking for - a beautiful beach and a quiet family beach atmosphere. The weather in May is perfect (not chilly at all), even for a southerner, but not beastly hot either! In fact, I find May and October to be the most beautiful months on the Florida Panhandle. I highly recommend vacationing along Scenic 30A in one of the Beaches of South Walton's 15 quaint beach communities. Dune Allen Beach is great, quiet yet also offers little boutiques and cafes, beautiful vacation homes and villas.
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Old Jan 24th, 2011, 10:46 AM
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As to your question regarding last year's oil spill - the panhandle beaches were not left with any damage and look as beautiful as they always have!
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Old Jan 24th, 2011, 10:52 AM
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May is lovely in Beaches of South Walton (to the east of Destin). Not too hot, not too cold. Just depends what type of vacation activities you and your family enjoy. South Walton is more laid back. Lots of natural attractions within four state parks and a state forest. Accommodation options range from beachside cottages and condos on rental programs to the 2400 acre Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort to some branded hotels such as Hilton, Marriott and Embassy Suites. Every Florida beach community has its own special appeal. You really can't go wrong.
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