where to stay on Gulf at end of March?

Old Jul 2nd, 2005, 09:29 PM
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where to stay on Gulf at end of March?

Hi, You all give great advice! We are vacationing at the end of March 2006 (I teach, so that is not flexible). We have 2 kids, 9 years old and 3 years old. We would love to go to Sanibel, but the prices are very high. We have heard that Fort Myers Beach is VERY busy. I have read some about Anna Maria Island, but haven't found a place that looks perfect (gulf view, pool, stuff to do, nice). We are looking for a condo for 1 week. Does anyone have any recommendations for condo's to look at or other places to check out? The Sanibel prices seemed to skyrocket over the past 2 years! Has anyone been to Padre Island? How does that compare to the Gulf Coast? Thanks in advance!
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 06:01 AM
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It's all relative, I guess. For the Texas coast, South Padre Island is pretty good, but the sand is not as white and fluffy and the water is not as clear as the Florida gulf coast. If you are in Texas, South Padre is a good choice. Otherwise, there are more choices with Florida. A lower cost option could be the Florida panhandle. Although sometimes called the redneck riviera, the Emerald Coast has some top quality beaches and water. Just avoid the Spring Break crowds.
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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Marco Island Florida. Beautiful beaches, day trip to Everglades or Naples, very family oriented like Sanibel.
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 06:19 AM
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While I like the beach at Santa Marie, I think in March you'd be smarter adding a few degrees of warmth and getting further south. Marco Island is a good idea with family and a budget. You might be able to get a condo (look at VRBO) for better savings than a hotel.

During school vacations Ft. Myers Beach can be a not-so-good environment for the kids.
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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We just came back from Anna Maria Island and stayed at the Anna Maria Beach Cottages. It is one house from the Gulf. The problem is you will have an issue finding affordable Ocean Views because there aren't many for rent. This place was one house from the beach and terrific and I go to Anna Maria every year. As our family expands I keep having to find different places. Here is what I wrote on another post:

FYI...we just got back from Anna Maria. We stayed at the Anna Maria Beach Cottages and LOVED it. The property is steps from the Gulf and the beach is fantastic! Beautiful white sand and and sandbar that keeps the water from being too deep. My toddler LOVED it!

The cottages were wonderful. We rented the 3/2 cottage and it had a lovely patio out front so my daughter could play on when we weren't on the beach. The kitchen was loaded and they had a grill on the patio. There was a CD player, DVD and VCR too. The property also had a pool, which was nice because our last 2 days there, the red tide set in. There is also a Trolley stop at the end of the road.

We will stay there again next time for sure!

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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Have you thought about The Emerald Coast? Specifically, the Fort Walton Beach area in the panhandle? It is on Okaloosa Island... just a 2 mile stretch of road with mostly condos & not a lot of people.
Also a suggestions would be to rent a condo by owner thru www.vrbo.com, or thru some resorts such as www.elmatador-rentals.com. That is the very last resort on the Island, at a dead end, with only miles of undeveloped beach from there. Lots of room to roam.
Much more affordable area & fewer crowds. Very family friendly!
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Old Jul 4th, 2005, 08:21 AM
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Anywhere in Florida in March will be expensive. It's the peak of the tourist/snowbird season down here. There is just no way getting around it, especially if you want an ocean view condo.

Siesta Key (Sarasota) has the best sandy beaches in the "neighborhood".

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