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Tired family needing a vacation--can you help with suggestions in Florida

Tired family needing a vacation--can you help with suggestions in Florida

Jan 18th, 2009, 10:56 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 15
Tired family needing a vacation--can you help with suggestions in Florida

We are a tired family--mom & dad work alot and we have 2 small children. We need a relaxing vacation. We have decided on Florida at the end of Feb-beginning of March. Our favorite vacation is a beach vacation (beautiful beach, clear water) where we can be steps away from the beach and spend alot of time in the water and have a few things we can sightsee. As well as having activities that toddlers enjoy.

We can fly into Tampa, Orlando, or Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area. Which side is better--the Atlanta or Gulf side?

We are looking at Anna Maria Island, Sanibel, Naples, Marco Island, St. Pete's, or one of the keys (not Key West though).

We are open to anywhere though that fits the bill. We want some solitude. Not alot of people or traffic. We don't want the headaches. We don't want the party town.

But it is so hard to know just from the Internet what will really suit us. Please give us your suggestions!!
Sommer76 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 12:38 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,228
Been to all you mentioned more than once and our favorite is Anna Maria Island for the type of vacation you are looking for. Very quiet, less crowded than the others and in my opinion better beach conditions (fine white sugary sand and fewer crowds).

What is great about Anna Maria is that local government has had the foresight to keep high rise buildings off the island so density isn't as bad as other areas and views are nicer. Things aren't fancy on the island- mostly older homes and condos and a few b&bs.

I have frequently rented homes on various sections of the island through local agencies and also www.vrbo.com. Pay the extra required to stay right on the beach. The most private are the larger expensive homes on Bean Point at the tip of the island but they offer a deep beach with sea grass, lots of dolphin and privacy.

Fly into Tampa, rent a car and make the short trip to the Sarasota/Anna Maria area. Mote Marine Aquarium is fun for the family (eat at Old Salty Dog across the street) and St. Armand's Circle is nice for evening strolling, shopping and dinner. There is also a small boardwalk area on Anna Maria Island and a few restaurants but you will likely need to drive to most.
amwosu is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 12:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 426
You might like Placeda just north of Naples. Relatively quiet compared with the other sites you mentioned.
yellowbyrd is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 12:46 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,228
BTW, the gulf side of Florida generally has nicer sand (sugary white powder) and calmer water conditions than the Atlantic side.
amwosu is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Due to the fact that you want beach in late February or early March, I highly suggest you head south to Naples, Miami, or Fort Lauderdale.

You could still get some cool weather north of Orlando.

I'm partial to the Miami Beaches and the northern ones don't have the big crowds of South Beach. I also love Fisher Island and Key Biscayne.

Whatever you do I highly suggest you rent a condo or house instead of a hotel room.
GoTravel is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 872
We love Marco Island. The beach is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The water is calm enough for your children and maybe they will see a few dolphins playing. There are many restaurants to try.
nlg is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 02:26 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 972
Stay on the gulf side, especially with little ones. If they're anything like my 5 yr old, they won't care how cold the water is but the gulf side tends to have slightly warmer water. I would suggest Sanibel Island - It has great beaches with beautiful shells, lots of yummy restaurants, plus the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.

Marco Island also has great beaches but it looks too much like suburbia for my tastes. I personally prefer places with more of an "island" feel.

Is flying into Ft Myers an option for you? That is the closest airport to Sanibel.
kcapuani is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 02:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,288
A nice relaxing vacation can easily be had on Anna Maria Island. It has a wonderful, white, talcum-powder beach and the waves are quite gentle to young children. The ocean has much stronger waves. Fewer people come to the west coast than to the east coast which makes our islands a bit of paradise. We can walk the beaches and not have big crowds.

Anna Maria Island is more like old Florida - buildings not taller than 3 stories, Mom and Pop restaurants, but some really good ones too if you want to spend $$$ (Beach Bistro for example). You can rent bikes and enjoy the Anna Maria pier, the ice cream shops etc.

Ten years ago we bought on the island below Anna Maria - Longboat Key, we've never regretted it and we'd highly recommend any of our 3 barrier islands to anyone. Life is enjoyable!!

LN is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2009, 12:54 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 320
Not sure if you're still looking at Florida or not [since you're also posting about Caribbean islands] but we are staying in Anna Maria Island this summer. We rented a popular place with it's own pool walking distance to beach and on the free trolley stop.


BUT the highs in March are <80 degrees. So not sure if that's warm enough for you.

You might check further south or go with the Caribbean ideas.

Good luck.
TnTWalter is offline  

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