Gulf Coast Vacations – Family Travel Magazine

Spread the love


Florida is one of the top family vacation spots, although many families visit the world-class theme parks. If you are looking for a different type of vacation, consider a Gulf Coast vacation. The west coast of Florida offers gorgeous white-sand beaches, numerous water activities, and natural treasures.

There are multiple beaches and coastal towns to consider, depending on what you’d like to do on your trip. Read our recommendations, tips, and more.

Disclosure: We’ve received some complimentary stays, trips, and admissions at these locations, but have paid for others. This post contains affiliate links and a purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no cost to you.

If you are considering a trip to the Tampa Bay area, consider purchasing a CityPASS. With CityPASS, you can pay one price for admission to several of the most popular attractions. Learn more about the Tampa Bay CityPASS here.

Click these links below to go to the specific section. Then, click into that link if you want to read our full post.

Colorful huge umbrellas on their sides lined up along the beach

Review of the Dolphin Explorer Marco Island Tour in Florida
Marco Beach Ocean Resort Review
Marco Island Florida Restaurants
Busch Gardens Tampa Tips
Visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
A Review of the Westin Tampa Bay
10 Activities in Fort Myers With Kids
Review of the Resort at Longboat Key Club in Sarasota Florida
Things to Do in Sarasota With Kids
Things To Do In Tampa With Kids
Places to Visit on the Florida Gulf Coast With Kids
Review of the Lido Beach Resort In Sarasota Florida
A Guide to the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival
All About The Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival
Things to Do in Clearwater FL
A Guide to Busch Gardens Tampa Rides
Review of the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
A Guide to Clearwater Beach Florida
Things to Do in Marco Island With Kids
The Best Clearwater Beach Restaurants For Families
The Best Day Trips From Tampa

Gulf Coast Vacations

Review of the Dolphin Explorer Marco Island Tour in Florida

One of the most pleasant surprises of our Marco Island vacation was the Dolphin Explorer. This three hour cruise is offered twice a day, and has limited capacity. During the trip, you’ll get to learn about the dolphins in the area from a naturalist who is on the boat with you.

It leaves from Rose Marina right on Marco Island. Book it in advance, because the boat is relatively small and doesn’t accommodate too many people.

In addition to cataloguing and watching dolphins, you’ll stop at a small island to gather shells. There are loads of shells on these small islands, so it’s a great opportunity.

Marco Beach Ocean Resort Review

When we booked our Marco Island vacation, we weren’t too familiar with the area. Therefore, I didn’t have a specific hotel that I wanted to stay in. The Marco Beach Ocean Resort, located right on the beach, offers beach chairs and umbrellas for families, as well as an outdoor pool and several restaurants.

We loved our stay at this comfortable and convenient hotel and would definitely return. Read our full review to learn more.

Marco Island Florida Restaurants

When you visit Marco Island, you’ll be able to enjoy a selection of restaurants. Many of these offer fresh seafood and shellfish, and have indoor and outdoor seating. Read more about our restaurant reviews for your Marco Island vacation.

The Dolphin Explorer Eco-Tour, one of the best things to do in Marco Island
The Dolphin Explorer Eco-Tour, one of the best things to do in Marco Island

Things to Do in Marco Island With Kids

Whether you’ve planned a trip to Marco Island, or are just considering one, you may be wondering what types of things you can do in Marco Island with kids. The beach is obviously the main draw, but there are other fun activities both on the island and nearby.

Read all about things to do in Marco Island with kids, including tips for your vacation.

Busch Gardens Tampa Tips

My kids love theme parks and thrill rides, so they were excited to visit Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay. We visited twice in the last few years, and have always enjoyed our visits.

Read our tips about visiting Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, including when to arrive, how to get tickets, what strategy you can use for rides, what optionals can be added on to your ticket, and much more.

A Guide to Busch Gardens Tampa Rides

Although Busch Gardens is also known for its animal exhibits, my kids find the rides to be the main attraction at this theme park. Many of these rides are thrill rides, with height restrictions that apply to younger riders.

Read our guide to the Busch Gardens Tampa rides, so you can be better prepared during your visit. If you are visiting during peak season, you’ll want to have a plan to ride the more popular attractions early in the day.

A Guide to the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival

Each spring, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay offers their food and wine festival, located right in the park. You can visit for lunch, dinner, or a snack, and we definitely recommend visiting if you’ll be in the park during the festival.

The festival offers numerous booths with wine, beer, cocktails, and food. You’ll pay individually for whatever you order. The portions are small, so you’ll be able to try lots of different drinks and foods. There is some seating, and the festival also offers entertainment. Read our review, and then check their website for festival dates.

A Review of the Westin Tampa Bay

We love Westin hotels, and were thrilled when we had the opportunity to stay at the Westin Tampa Bay during a recent trip to the area. The Westin is located a bit away from the downtown area, and has a small private beach, and indoor pool, and a delicious restaurant.

While there isn’t much in the area to walk to, there is a bus to the nearby mall. We took advantage of that and visited several of the restaurants in the small.

You can learn more about the hotel here.

Things To Do In Tampa With Kids

Considering a trip to Tampa? There are lots of things to do in Tampa with kids, beyond Busch Gardens. Read our review, which offers some of the best things to do in the area.

The Best Day Trips From Tampa

While Tampa does offer so much for families to see and do, there are also lots of options for places to explore beyond the city. If you are renting a car, consider taking a day trip or two to explore beyond the city. Here are some Tampa day trip options to consider.

10 Activities in Fort Myers With Kids

In addition to the Gulf Coast beaches, Fort Myers Florida has many things for families to enjoy. Fort Myers has their own airport with service to many larger cities, and is close to other Gulf Coast destinations like Marco Island and Sanibel Island. Read about things to do there on your next trip.

Review of the Resort at Longboat Key Club in Sarasota Florida

The Resort at Longboat Key Club is a AAA Four-Diamond full-service resort, located in the Gulf Coast barrier island of Longboat Key. This beautiful resort is a destination, offering a spa, golf course, tennis courses, a marina, a private beach, pool, and so much more.

Things to Do in Sarasota With Kids

With its own airport, Sarasota Florida is an easy destination from most major East Coast cities. We definitely recommend a visit with your family, especially if you love the beach.

Read all about the best things to do in Sarasota Florida, including the Ringling Museum, kayaking through mangroves, numerous beaches, and so much more.

Review of the Lido Beach Resort In Sarasota Florida

The Lido Beach Resort, located on the barrier island of Lido Key, is another fun beach family resort in the Sarasota area. This casual, colorful resort offers a great location right on the water, as well as several restaurants and a fun beach bar.

Amenities at the resort include a fitness center, concierge, three jacuzzis, and a shuttle to nearby Armands Circle. It’s also a pet friendly hotel.

Clearwater Beach at sunset

Visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium was made famous in the Dolphin Tale movies. Although Winter the Dolphin has passed away, Hope from the Dolphin Tale movies still lives at the aquarium.

Unlike some aquariums, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium focuses on rehabiltation. There are animal demonstrations as well as some animal education. We definitely recommend spending a day there – my kids really loved it.

All About The Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival

Each spring in April, the Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival is hosted each year on Pier 60, right on the beach. During the festival, you can purchase tickets to walk into the enclosed structure featuring huge, beautiful sand sculptures. There are also lots of other activities, including rides, vendors, food trucks, entertainment, and much more. Learn more about it in our guide.

Review of the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

During our most recent trip to Clearwater, we wanted to stay right on the beach. The Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa was a great option. It’s located adjacent to Pier 60, and offers family activities, restaurants, and great amenities.

While we did venture out beyond the Clearwater area, we spent most of our time on Clearwater Beach. Most restaurants were within quick walking distance, and the resort is right on the beach. There’s also a nice outdoor pool, as well as family games and activities.

A Guide to Clearwater Beach Florida

Planning a trip to Clearwater Beach? Before you go, you’ll want to read our guide to Clearwater Beach Florida. It includes information about where to stay in the area, what activities are available (including festivals, museums, boat trips and more), as well as an overview of restaurants.

Things to Do in Clearwater FL

Clearwater Beach is just an area within the larger area of Clearwater Florida. If you are staying in the area, read our things to do in Clearwater Florida. It includes more than just the beach and offers information about the entire area.

The Best Clearwater Beach Restaurants For Families

As a beach town, Clearwater Beach offers dozens of delicious restaurants. Many of these casual restaurants are located on or near the beach, and most offer fresh seafood among other specialties.

Read about our favorite Clearwater Beach Restaurants for families in this post.

Places to Visit on the Florida Gulf Coast With Kids

Looking for a beautiful, warm vacation destination within the United States. We love the Florida Gulf Coast, thanks to its numerous small towns, cities, airports, and beaches. Read about some of our favorite places to stay on the Florida Gulf Coast in this post.

Photo of Osprey bird nest on an orange triangle sign



Source link

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

indian fitness care