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!
Brad H McCollum