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Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

Lakeland, Tennessee
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Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

Okay... my wife and I are going through the same contemplation that many of you have likely gone through with a toddler... do we go on vacation this year?... where do we go?... what location/activities can we pick that we can enjoy on vacation but that also won't burn-out our 2-year-old?... should we just scale-down our vacation and go somewhere that's a couple of hours away from home and doesn't require a flight to the destination?... etc...

Here's the deal... trying to figure out where to go on vacation (or *if* to go anywhere at all!) around mid-June of this year. We live in a suburb just outside of Memphis, TN.

Thinking about either St. Louis (easy 5-6 hour drive) or maybe Florida.

As many of you know, it's literally anyone's guess sometimes as to how a 2-year-old child is going to do traveling. We've heard many stories from friends and read postings on the Internet about people that took a plane flight to the beach with their small child and the child had the best time of their life, and others stated that they saw obvious signs 30-minutes into the plane flight that their vacation attempt was simply the dumbest thing they'd try to do with a child that small and that they spent the entire vacation trying to keep an unhappy child happy/content and ultimately wished that they had waited several more years until the child was older to try a vacation like that.

My wife and I have been to Clearwater / St. Pete Beach several times in the past and were thinking this location *might* be a nice play to spend a few days with our little girl in just over a month.

We would avoid the whole theme park thing in Orlando like the plague, as so many of the parks are simply geared towards older children and adults and are little girl wouldn't really have that much to do/ride there at just 2 years of age.

I can tell you that we're not the type of parents to book 200 things to do during a vacation & just drag our little girl along... not us at all... we have no problem taking a vacation that's less busy than our vacations used to be prior to our little girl being born. That way, each and every day isn't packed with 10 things that we absolutely *have* to get done and we can let the energy level and/or mood and/or interest level of our little girl sort of determine from day to day as to what we think we can do/see/visit during each day. We'd much rather be sitting out on the beach in a leisurely fashion and if our little girl decides that she's had enough of playing in the sand/water and begins to have a "meltdown", then no big deal... we'll just head 100 feet from the beach back into the hotel room and we'll all rest/relax and do something else or encourage our little girl to take a nap or whatever. That's much less stressful than being in the middle of Disney World with an unhappy child that can't ride anything or doesn't want to ride anything and you're contemplating over the fact that you just spent several hundred dollars to be in a theme park that your little one could care less to be in.

So, basically here's what I'm looking for comment/recommendation-wise for readers of this forum.

--- Anyone else here have any great or terrible vacation stories when traveling with a 2-year-old that they'd like to share for either encouragemenet or DIScouragement as far as our vacation idea is concerned?

--- Anyone have any good/bad vacation stories regarding a stay in the Clearwater / St. Pete Beach area with a 2-year-old that they'd like to share?

--- Anyone have any positive/negative opinions about the "friendliness" of the St. Pete Beach / Clearwater area as far as being a "good" vacation spot to be at with a 2-year-old? I would think generally that St. Pete Beach and/or Clearwater are generally going to be less-crowded and less "crazy" than say, for example, Daytona Beach or Panama City Beach.

--- If we were to drive to Orlando for a day, are there any attractions there that are geared specifically towards an age-appropriate for a 2-year-old child that we might want to visit?

--- As for hotels or condos that are directly on the beach/water, any personal recommendations from anyone? Send 'em on, please! Would be looking for something definitely *not* in the cheapest of prices, but prob. something of a moderate expense range... basically, we don't want to be in a 1-star motel that we don't feel is clean or that we feel is unsafe, but on the other side, we don't at all need to be in a 5-star upper end / upper-priced hotel with valet parking and the finest luxuries of life being thrown at you either. We're reasonable folks and just want somewhere on the beach w/a view of the water that's safe, clean, and in the mid-range of prices of all of the hotels or condos that are available.

Many thanks for reading through all of this and for whatever information / opinions that any of you can present to us!

Sincerely,

Brad H McCollum

bmccoll1@midsouth.rr.com

Brandon, Florida
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1. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

The thing to do is take day trips to see how the 2-year old fares. Were you planning to drive to Clearwater if you chose to go there?

Just as nice an area and much closer would the Pensacola/Ft. Walton beach area. That would be about 450 miles.

Lakeland, Tennessee
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2. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

We would be flying there, as we don't want to make the 16-ish hour drive from Memphis to Clearwater.

Our daughter generally does well on shorter trips and we really haven't taken any longer trips than just 2-3 days, but the Florida trip would really only be 4-5 days in length total.

Thanks again!

Tennessee
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3. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

We have always travelled with our young children and have had very positive experiences. We live in the Nashville area and try to get direct flights whenever possible. This makes the actual travel time much easier. I fly frequently with my children (often alone) and have found that 90 minute flights are about the longest they can handle before becoming irritable--this makes florida a good choice. My other suggestion would be to try to find a hotel or condo with at least a 1 bedroom. This will allow your daughter to be able to rest quietly at nap time and retire earlier than you and your wife. My husband and I also enjoy this time together. You have the right idea. . . sit back and relax and let her schedule set the tone of the vacation.

Last year we took our 2 1/2 year old and 4 month old to Orlando for 6 days. We had a wonderful time. We stayed at the Residence Inn at Sea World. It was a 1 bedroom and had a great zero entry pool and small playground (~$140/night with free breakfast)--perfect for toddlers!!. We spent 2 mornings at Seaworld and my daughter LOVED it!!! You can get a second day at Seaworld free if you ask before you leave the first day. Tuesday and Wednesdays and early mornings are less crowded. We also went to Downtown Disney one evening and she thought this was great too.

Tomorrow, we are leaving for Florida again. This time we are staying in Indian Shores--just south of Clearwater. We have rented a private 1 bedroom condo with a fully stocked kitchen. The owners also provide beach towels, beach bag, sand toys, and lots of other goodies. This really cuts back on the amount of "stuff" you have to haul with you. The condo has a private beach access that we have been told is very quiet and never busy--perfect for young children. The condo also has a heated pool. All for about $100/night. We plan to swim and relax. I will let you know when we get back how the vacation went.

I encourage you to take your daughter on vacation. I have found that this is great family time--no distractions of all the responsibilities of home!! If you have any other questions about travelling with toddlers, I would be happy to offer any ideas I have found to be useful.

Amsterdam, The...
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4. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

Clearwater Beach is not that attractive anymore. There's too much construction and it's too crowded. We "tried" Clearwater Beach in March this year and ended up in Treasure Island in a very nice small motel Delacado (www.delacado.com) with a nice garden, pool and a dock. This motel is located on the bay and the beach is closeby (<5 minute walk). Beach is great for kids but there's no lifeguard present. We are about to travel to Flroida in 2 weeks and booked that motel for 5 days.

Our son is not that small anymore (he's 19) but we travel to Florida since he was 3 years old and to be honest I didn't like the long stay in the plane with a young kid (10 hours from Europe is not easy)..

I sure hope you have a very nice time in Florida!

Grantsburg,Illinois
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5. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

My husband and I went to Clearwater on vacation last May without our son who is 2 now and we missed him so much so this year we are taking him with us. We have decided to go to Panama city Beach because we plan on driving and it's much closer. There is no way I would fly with him. He is a very well behaved child but after an hour I'm sure he would be climbing the seats so if I were you definitely take a portable DVD player and schedule your flight around the usual naptime so they will sleep through the flight. Also I prefer PCB to clearwater. The beach is very coarse and has lots of shells and it hurts to walk on so invest in some water shoes for your child if you go to clearwater. There is a pirate ship cruise that is fun for kids Good luck and have fun.

Grantsburg,Illinois
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6. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

I forgot to mention hotels. The resonable hotels are across the street from the beach in Clearwater but the really nice places are right on the beach. We stayed at the Sheraton and it was very nice and directly on the beach and the beach was less crowded in that area.

Iowa
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7. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

We just got back from Clearwater. Our first visit. I have a 10 and 13 year old, and they loved it, but it would be veryhard for us to say what it would be like for a 2 year old. What I did want to say to you is...... St Louis is such a fun place to vacation too. If you have never been there, there is plenty of things to do with a 2 year old. The zoo, which is free, is fabulous. Nice Science Center, the Arch of course. But, the MUST see for any child, 2 to 12 would be the Magic House. If you have never been there, I know your 2 year old would love it! Look it up if you're not familiar with it. I know your child would love it. My kids have been there twice and still talk about how great it is. The children's museum is there, etc. If cost is an issue, maybe you consider St. Louis this year, and Florida next year. Just a thought. We love both places. Good Luck and have fun! ( I just noticed the date of your post, I probably missed you already. I would be curious to know what you decided.)

michigan
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8. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

Just wanted to share a funny story with you about our first big trip we took our then 3 year old son on, it was to Disney. Our daughter was 6- the perfect disney age as she still believed in everything. The first night we were in Magic Kingdom and throwing money in the wishing fountain, my three year old son wished aloud "I wish I was at home" !!!!! At the time I almost cried but now we laugh. He had a fun trip and has traveled every year since then.

9. Re: Questions About Potential Vacation to Clearwater w/Myself...

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