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Where else in Florida

8 replies

Helenmh · 02/05/2001 19:56

We have just had a wonderful holiday in orlando. The boys are desperate to go back to Florida sometime. We would love to see some of the gulf coast and possibly the keys. Can anyone recommend any places to stay or nice resorts for families

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Rhiannon · 03/05/2001 08:45

How old are the boys? There's lots to see if you can stand touring around. Drive down to the Everglades on the West coast to go on boat rides to see the alligators in the waterways and raccoons come out of the mangrove swamps to eat marshmallows out of your hands (I think the name of the company was Jungle Erv's).

Also trips out to see the dolphins (but didn't manage that due to poorly husband so no details)

The west coast around Naples, Sanibel and Marco Island, accommodation is quite expensive.

Busch Gardens is fantastic and well worth a trip, lovely watery play area for the kids so take their swim things.

We have learned that all the so called resorts are expensive, depends what you want to spend but we've always stuck to Best Western or Howard Johnson type hotels on the coast as we just like the pool and beaches.

We liked Treasure Island a bit further north, lovely shells to be picked in when the tide is going out.

In future we'll definitely be sticking to the west coast as we find it far nicer than the east. Just spent Christmas at Disney's Vero beach resort on the east coast nice resort but not as nice as Clearwater/St Petes area.

Have never found much of interest in the Keys, you may be luckier.

Hope this is useful.

Helenmh · 03/05/2001 14:14

The boys are 7 and 9 at the moment.We thought of the keys because last year in greece they loved snorkelling. Did you find places as you went along or prebook? Thanks for all your tips

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Rhiannon · 03/05/2001 19:24

Florida in general is 'crawling' with hotels and as long as you don't go in their peak holiday times ie Thanksgiving you should have no trouble getting accommodation. Ask for their room rate and then ask again for their very best room rate as they always seem to lower their rates and their 3 night room rate will get even better.

No we've always found things as we've driven around. We had several pre-children trips where we saw (and bought)loads! No need to pre-book but might be worth a phone call before any long drives to check they're still there!

I don't recommend going in July/Aug or Sept because it's so hot and humid and Sept is hurricane season. Feb/March is ideal (avoiding Easter - high prices in hotels and crowds).

If you like designer labels at bargain prices look out for Marshalls, Ross and TJ Maxx on the side of the road when you're driving. Also Walmart and K Mart do a great range of kids clothes and shoes (themed t-shirts etc). They sell just about everything you can think of! A friend of mine told me Target is quite good too so I'll have a look when we go. Put a couple of empty soft bags in your suitcase for all those little extras.

I do remember a place in Fort Myers called The Pink Shell Beach Resort which we kept saying we'd go to but never went. Looked lovely, had a kids club, might be worth a look.

Mel · 08/09/2001 09:29

July/August are really hot, although the Gulf Coast isn't nearly as humid as Orlando. The good thing about the summer is, it's their low season and there's accommodation everywhere,and good deals to be had. Plus the beaches are very quiet, no rushing down to find a spot round the pool either! Don't even consider Christmas/New Year - it's the busiest time over there and complete hell everywhere, plus highest prices!
Marco Island is a bit "Stepford" ( remember the film?), not a blade of grass out of place, but felt very safe. Preferred Sanibel and Captiva. We didn't book any Everglade rides before we went, just drove down Route 41, the Tamiami Trail and found a few places that did the airboat rides, and swamp buggy rides.

robinw · 19/01/2003 06:41

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SoupDragon · 19/01/2003 10:58

Agree with Rhiannon - alway ask for a hotel's "specials". Look in the foyer of restaurants or in dispensers in the street for books of vouchers/offers and maps.

We loved Naples, St Petes Beach & Sanibel and also enjoyed the Keys. Had a bad experience snorkelling there when a storm brewed up so can't really say if it was good or not - DH went again another year and loved it. The Keys were disappointing as there didn't seem to be any good beaches. The Gulf Coast beaches are far far better.

miggy · 19/01/2003 12:30

We went to florida twice last year (lots of virgin airmiles to use up!) !st time did disney etc, stayed in Holiday Inn Sunspree. Great place (not in prechildren terms but things change dont they!) units with 2 bedrooms-one king bed and 3 child beds. sitting room with kitchenette, pool with huge childrens play area. Free breakfast with plenty of choice for pickiest kids, plus children ate free in evening restaurant. 0h and 3 tvs and a playstation in room. About £80 a night for room.
2nd time did miami , sanibel and the keys. went at beginning of september and very rainy in miami but the keys always bright and sunny. Stayed in Condo hotels- again 2 beds/baths sitting room and full laundry facilites- so much easier for children. Booked all hotels on the internet- most through discount sites. Best value was condo hotel in miami-free breakfast and evening meal, pool and really clean-£40 a night (for ALL 5 of us!)

helenmh · 19/01/2003 17:45

Just come back from a wonderful two weeks in anna maria island and Sanibel. We booked it ourselves and found some really nice places. The place in sanibel told us to spread the word. It was called the sunshine island inn ( I think). The areas were so beautiful and peaceful and safe. Wonderful beaches, great kid friendly restaurants, loads of wildlife. We visited sarasota too which has alot to offer families

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