3 nt beach vk in April with kids?

Looking for a non-stop flight locale, probably Florida (don't want to be on flight more than 3 hours if possible) where its walking distance to the beach and restaurants with pool and fun (thinking mini golf or aquarium, etc) for an 8 and 5 year old (they can spend hours in a pool, too). I hear good things about Sanibel, Captiva & Naples but don't want to break the bank too much. Anyone know Siesta Key? Or are parts of Tampa good and not cheesy (don't know why I have that in my head having never been there). TIA

A friend of mine used to go to Panama City (FL) every year and raved about it, but I've never been there so I can't give any first-hand info. He loved it and went year after year.

We were in Siesta Key not too long ago with our then 3/5 year olds. They loved it. Beach is great as it wasn't too rough and the sand is like sugar. In town is walkable with lots of restaurants and you can rent bikes, etc. We spent our time between the beach and the pool. We were there for a solid week, though.

I would check out the strip of barrier islands just west of Tampa/St. Pete from Clearwater Beach south to St. Pete Beach. There's an aquarium in Clearwater Bch - think there might be another farther south. John's Pass Boardwalk in Madeira Beach is a cute area with shops, bike and boat rentals. Lots of mini golf all over. Great seafood places all up and down that strip of islands.

Lots of places to stay from old-time cottages to new condos. Gulf coast is gorgeous - early morning walks on the beach almost guarantee you'll see dolphins swimming just offshore.

I'll check that out. Thanks!

This Captiva Island resort, near Ft Myers is supposed to be good and reasonable priced. I haven't been, heard from a friend about it. Check it out:


We stayed at West Wind Inn on Sanibel a couple of winters ago. We are nature lovers. We loved being quiet
area. There were bicycle rentals. Took an evening cruise around the Ding Nature Preserve. THat was gorgeous. Some decent restaurants.

I love Sanibel for cycling, the little beaches and Ding Darling. Last year we chartered a boat for a half day of fishing, dolphin chasing and shelling in the uninhabited islands in Pine Island Sound. (We even found a restaurant that will cook your catch and serve it for lunch or dinner.) There is also a very interesting Calusa (pre-Seminole) Indian site near Ft. Myers to explore.

If you go, you can learn a lot about the area by reading a couple of novels by Randy Wayne White, who owns the Doc Ford restaurants there.

Where do you fly to go to Sanibel?

We fly into Ft. Myers.

Half off at Tampa Aquarium with your valid Turtle Back Zoo membership.

Another vote for Tween Waters Inn. We had a room overlooking the bay, and the manatees swim right up to you in the morning. Great breakfast, too.

Fly into Ft. Myers.

Sanibel and Captiva are completely different from the east coast of Florida, and reminiscent of Cape Cod (with much prettier, warmer water).

BTW - Clearwater Beach is fabulous. Don't know prices.

Love tween waters and captiva.

If Sanibel & captiva are too pricey, try Fort Myers Beach. It's on the mainland and much cheaper, w similar weather.

I am considering a Gulf Coast trip for Spring Break as well, probably not Sanibel/Captiva as I'd prefer soft sandy beaches but something between Clearwater (north) and Marco Island (south). Any thoughts on which town would have the most Caribbean-like beaches (soft white sand & warm sparkling blue water) and/or give the most bang for the buck for lodging? Also, will it be warmer the further south we go, or would temperature differences be negligible at that time of year?

We went to the Pelican Grand in Fort Lauderdale last year. Direct flight. Hotel sent a van to pick us up at the airport. Two restaurants and an ice cream shop at the hotel. Lazy river, pool, beach. We didn't leave the property for five days. It was very easy and relaxing.

spen661 said:

We were in Siesta Key not too long ago with our then 3/5 year olds. They loved it. Beach is great as it wasn't too rough and the sand is like sugar. In town is walkable with lots of restaurants and you can rent bikes, etc. We spent our time between the beach and the pool. We were there for a solid week, though.

New Nonstop Flights from Newark on United to Sarasota (Siesta Key, Longboat Key)
Award winning beaches, the Ringling Circus Museum (worth a trip for kids of all ages) and lots of great food and places to stay....The West Coast Vibe is like Maplewood Village, first class low key.....

Any of those places good for couples? Now I'm thinking we can fly to FL and leave a kid with her grandmother for a few days. We've been to Miami, I'd like less of a scene, biking, beach, good food, peaceful!

Oh shh go to Captiva!!! Take a tour of the protected waters by boat, go shelling. It's the most wonderful place. Get one of the cottages at Tween Waters. http://tween-waters.com/

You can cycle from Sanibel to Captiva and stop off at beaches along the way. Nice restaurants, low-key vibe, hiking in the nature preserve, totally great destination for adults, too. The boat we chartered was at a marina under the bridge on the Ft. Myers side of the sound. I have a hunch you'd like Matlacha, an "old Florida" fishing village on Pine Island with several colorful art galleries, boutiques, restaurants and traditional cottages.

Bike trail map here

Rent here and get this handy map:

Google image search for Matlacha:

Definitely Tween Waters oh oh

I love Captiva and Sanibel but Siesta Key beach (Crescent beach) is gorgeous if soft white sand is your thing.

How many days does one need there? @boomie, did you book it yourself or go through a TA?

I'm thinking if the 3 of us fly into Fort Lauderdale we can go to MIL, and then drive on as two. Do you. Eat at the resort or elsewhere? Sorry for so many questions, I just have No idea and I get so overwhelmed by vacation planning, especially because I am so picky with food.


Siesta Key is my personal Favorite, but Anna Maria has a charm all its own......

Totally will rent bikes though, that's very helpful!!

Book it yourself. Breakfast is included, and very good. There are a million little restaurants nearby, from sandwich shops to white table cloth.

The drive from Ft. Lauderdale should be 3.5 hours, or so.

Ok, I don't see cottages available.


In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.


Sponsored Business

Find Business

Advertise here!