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Help us pick a spot in Florida

Vermont
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Help us pick a spot in Florida

My family (me, my husband and our almost 3 year old) are looking for a 5 night trip at the end of April or beginning of May somewhere warm and are having trouble deciding on location in Florida.

My needs:

Warm weather (in the 80s)

Nice beach

Warm and calm water

Nice hotel or resort (4 or 5 star) with a nice pool and a kids pool

Not isolated - want to be able to walk to restaurants, shops, etc

My husband's needs:

Other activities: museums, aquarium, sports (baseball game?) water park, etc - fun things to do as a family other than hang at the beach and pool

Free Wifi

Our budget for a hotel is $300 max per night.

We have looked into South Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Anna Maria Island, Sanibel and Marco Island.

I am leaning more towards south Florida (Miami, FLL) since there seems to be more resort type properties there.

Any suggestions for area and specific hotels would be greatly appreciated.

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Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale
Broward County, FL
Melbourne, Florida
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for Melbourne, Florida
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1. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

Ft. Lauderdale & Miami are very large cities, lots of traffic, lots of people. Many more higher end hotels / resorts to choose from and much more shopping and dining as well as other things that you mentioned. Also close enough for a day trip to the Everglades or to the upper keys. Gulf coast will have less traffic and less people. If you were to stay in Clearwater or St. Pete Beach you would be close enough to Tampa which also has things you mentioned as well as Busch Gardens which is a great park to visit.

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Tampa
Tampa
Florida
Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

You've described just about every tourist town. Choose one near to the cheapest town to fly into

Boston...
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3. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

Cheapest is always good

Edited: 19 March 2013, 11:43
Limerick, Ireland
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4. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

Lido Key, Sarasota

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Sarasota
Sarasota
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
Cocoa Beach, Florida
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for Cocoa Beach
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5. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

The differentiators on your list are your husband's wants for museums, aquariums, and maybe a baseball game. For the most part, those are found only in the Tampa and Miami areas. Right now, there are major league baseball teams playing around Florida for spring training; for example, the Washington Nationals are near Cocoa. By late May, it will be regular season, and you will be limited to the Marlins in Miami and the Rays in Tampa. You may want to look at the schedules to see the dates of home games as part of your selection process.

Other factors would include where you will fly to -- domestically, it's usually easiest and cheapest to get to Orlando, which is closer to Tampa (2 hours) than Miami (4 hours). However, the top-level resorts available in Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties far exceed those around Tampa, but the prices will be higher also. A $300/day hotel budget will do well around Tampa, but will not get you in some places in South Florida.

Some of the better places have already been mentioned. Clearwater Beach is more urban, Anna Maria Island is less developed, with a smaller town feel, but both are close to Tampa. Sarasota may also work for you. Farther south, the urban features are closest to South Beach, but also look north, going into Broward County, which has a number of communities, including Fort Lauderdale.

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Tampa
Tampa
Florida
Orlando
Orlando
Central Florida, FL
Sarasota
Sarasota
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale
Broward County, FL
UK
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for Florida
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6. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

Hyatt Siesta Key beach club, Siesta Key.

The Ritz in Sarasota (with beach club on Lido Key)

South Seas resort, Captiva

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Sarasota
Sarasota
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
Bradenton, Florida
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7. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

Sarasota has several museums and a fantastic aquarium, Mote, with the Mote boat into Sarasota Bay. There is a minor league baseball team in Bradenton. Anywhere from Anna Maria Island to Siesta Key offers a gentle, white sand beach, good restaurants, shopping, fishing, and plenty of other activities. Also close enough to Tampa for a baseball game.

With an almost three year old I would be looking more for condo properties. A kitchen, a separate bedroom, and maybe a balcony facing the Gulf would add a lot of space to spread out.

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Sarasota
Sarasota
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
Tampa
Tampa
Florida
UK
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for Florida
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8. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

I'd take a condo over a hotel room any day with small children.

9. Re: Help us pick a spot in Florida

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