Gulf beach vacation- need suggestions please

kaddjr

<font color=peach>Now I'm going to have to stalk t
Joined
Feb 23, 2005
While on vacation in Orlando last week, DH and I drove over to Clearwater Beach for a dayfor some down time from the parks. We have been there once before way back in 2005. We ususally go to Siesta Key Beach, however this time we didn't want to spend the extra time to go to that beach. The weather that day was beautiful. There was a nice breeze so while it was hot, it wasn't terrible (Orlando was MUGGY that day). We had a great time and most of all, it was relaxing.

I will stop right here and give a little background on us. I LOVE the beach. I have always said that if I lived near the beach, I would be a beach bum! I have suggested several times in the past that we do a week long gulf beach tour vacation, and everytime have been shot down by DH. He doesn't mind the beach for a day or two but always said he would be bored with any more time than that. So imagine my surprise when about half way through our day he looks at me and says, "I could really get into this! Let's do a beach vacation! No parks, just beaches." :Pinkbounc

He did put some conditions on it:

1. Where we stay has to be on the beach. He wants to park the car and not move it until we move on to the next one, unless there is another beach we would be interested in within a half hour drive max. Which leads to...

2. There has to be plenty to do/see/places to eat in the evening within walking distance of where we are staying.

3. Needs to be in a safe area.

I would also like to find a good beach for shelling.

We will be flying in and out of Tampa. We are not looking at Panama City or Destin (maybe next time). Also not really looking at renting beach houses or timeshares but can be flexable with that if need be. Really just looking at major hotel chains right now.

Can anyone please point me in the right direction? All of the planning is on me. I want to really impress DH so he will want to do this again. It will just be the two of us, unless DD21 decides to go along. That is an unknown at this point because she is looking at changing to a job that would help her career after she gets out of college. If she does, then she would be unable to go. Thanks in advance for all suggestions! :)
 

TexanInTheMidwest

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 30, 2018
We've been to Ft. Myers Beach the last 3 years around New Year's - this is the place we stayed at last year and will again this year. It's ON the beach. Walkable. And there are even bikes you can borrow. (The Gullwing) https://www.gullwingfl.com/

https://www.pointeestero.com/


Three years ago, we stayed at the sister resort next door (Pointe Estero). We loved it, too, but changed to the Gullwing because it has 3 bedroom units, not just 2 bedroom units. It's run by the same management company. This place is also on the beach.

 

scard192

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 11, 2009
We've been to Ft. Myers Beach the last 3 years around New Year's - this is the place we stayed at last year and will again this year. It's ON the beach. Walkable. And there are even bikes you can borrow. (The Gullwing) https://www.gullwingfl.com/

https://www.pointeestero.com/


Three years ago, we stayed at the sister resort next door (Pointe Estero). We loved it, too, but changed to the Gullwing because it has 3 bedroom units, not just 2 bedroom units. It's run by the same management company. This place is also on the beach.

Love Ft. Myers Beach! have stayed at Pointe Estero as well as Diamondhead Resort.

Have found Ft Myers Beach to be more laid back than say, Naples. Kind of funky, fun and lots to do.
 
  • Leigh L

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 8, 2019
    I like the beach, but I'm like your DH and usually can only tolerate a few days before wanting to go do something else, my DH is the same way. When DH was stationed in Tampa in 2004-05, I was down there at least once a month and we almost always spent those weekends on the beach.

    We love the Treasure Island/Madeira Beach area (John's Pass has a lot of things to do and is between the two beaches and within walking distance from many hotels). After he left his FL assignment, we didn't get back down there for a while,. In recent years we've been building a few days there on one end of our WDW trips and recently it seems the area is changing with old businesses gone and tons of new hotels/condos going up. This may mean more things cropping up to do as well. On our December 2018 trip, we dropped by the Florida Orange Groves Winery over near St. Pete since DS turned 21 a few months earlier and took the tour and did a tasting which was fun.

    We've also stayed at the Doubletree in North Redington Beach but I don't think there wasn't a whole lot over there walking-wise, mainly some hotels, a couple of restaurants, and residential. It was such a short stay though - I think one night passing through, two at the most - so I'm not sure if I'm remembering it right. Since DD loves mini golf - I do remember that being there!
     

    jods

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 26, 2017
    I say go back to Clearwater. You can stay at the Hilton. It has a tiki bar and it's literally next door to pier 60. Walkable to all tge restaurants and bars. We took an uber from tampa airport. No car needed.
     

    JayMass

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Oct 18, 2019
    Clearwater has a ton of activity and everything is in walking distance. With that said, it can get super crowded. Madeira Beach is also really nice and John's Pass is really cool with lots of shopping and dining. St. Pete Beach is nice. Driving down to Sarasota might be a nice choice too. Long Boat Key is beautiful as well.
     

    kaddjr

    <font color=peach>Now I'm going to have to stalk t
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2005
    Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions! It's a big help and I do really appreciate the input. :)
     
  • twinboysmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 26, 2010
    We like North Redington Beach, just south a bit of Clearwater. Specifically we like the doubletree resort. I like that the beach is not as wide. Easier to walk. And everything is an easy walk. We stay there a few times a year as we have family in the area. Love it.
     

    mikehn

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2008
    I could easily do a week at St Pete beach. Tons of restaurants and bars. You could resort and bar hop all week long.
     

    ChanaC

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2014
    I LOVE Anna Maria Island. There are almost no big chains on the island, just a lot of local businesses, restaurants and inns. I think we stayed at a place called Cedar Cove, but there are a lot of other great smaller inns that are right on the beach or just an easy walk across the street. If I remember right, there is a free shuttle that goes up and down the main street. Some driving might be necessary though. I do remember a few small streets and shopping centers that had restaurants and cafes grouped together. Take a look, you'll find some great options.
     

    kaddjr

    <font color=peach>Now I'm going to have to stalk t
    Joined
    Feb 23, 2005
    We like North Redington Beach, just south a bit of Clearwater. Specifically we like the doubletree resort. I like that the beach is not as wide. Easier to walk. And everything is an easy walk. We stay there a few times a year as we have family in the area. Love it.
    I could easily do a week at St Pete beach. Tons of restaurants and bars. You could resort and bar hop all week long.
    I LOVE Anna Maria Island. There are almost no big chains on the island, just a lot of local businesses, restaurants and inns. I think we stayed at a place called Cedar Cove, but there are a lot of other great smaller inns that are right on the beach or just an easy walk across the street. If I remember right, there is a free shuttle that goes up and down the main street. Some driving might be necessary though. I do remember a few small streets and shopping centers that had restaurants and cafes grouped together. Take a look, you'll find some great options.
    Thanks for the suggestions! This why I love the dis- so many helpful people here! As soon as life slows down a bit, I will be looking into all of the beaches and get things planned. Looks like there is plenty to do/see for two vacays!
     
  • Disneyfan754321

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 19, 2019
    We have family in tampa area, the locals go to honeymoon beach.
    Clearwater is amazing but can be very busy depending on when you go so our family does not go there.
     

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