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florida gulf coast advice needed

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isles of scilly
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florida gulf coast advice needed

my husband and I are thinking of flying from UK to ?Tampa? we would like to go down the coast and stop in the resorts for a couple? of days at a time (not having been to this side of Florida before). I guess we would have to hire a car to do this. So could anyone advise on best way to do this and offer ideas as to the best resorts to stay in (we like beaches and bars to chill out in at night with a bit of entertainment would be great.

Is it safe to drive around and walk around these resorts and any recommendations of accomodation

Clearwater, Florida
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1. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

The busier, more active beach areas will be Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, and Ft. Myers Beach. These will have beach bars, shops, Boat rides, plenty of restaurants, activities, etc.

Some of the less busy, more chill-out types of places will be Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Sanibel Island, and Naples/Marco Island. These will have restaurants, and some bars. But are not as big on nightlife as the busier beach areas.

There is not too much North of Clearwater Beach, so from Tampa, Clearwater Beach is about a 40 minute drive. Then you could just head South from there.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

What time of the year are you thinking of visiting? Some of the popular beach towns get busy certain times of the year.

isles of scilly
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3. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

not sure but november/december/january?

Tampa, Florida
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4. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

In any of those months the water will be too cold to go into, if that's what you were planning to do. So for the best chance of some warmth in the air the further south you go the better. If the sun is out it will be very pleasant to take walks on the beach and the sunsets will be incredible.

The Bakery
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5. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

There is a climate zone line that puts Ft Myers and points south - including Ft Myers Beach, Sanibel, Captiva, Naples, and Marco Island in a warmer area. That said, it really all depends on how cold the air coming down from Canada is.

January is typically the coldest month of the year. Feb has colder Gulf temps, but warmer than the Atlantic. November is warmer than either Dec or Jan in part because the Gulf Water is still cooling off and keeping the islands warmer. The island are a bit warmer than the mainland, but nights are still cool. Locals think cold and wear coats. Canadians run around in shorts and tee shirts. It's subjective.

November to just before Christmas (excluding Thanksgiving Week) is also some of the lowest rates of the year and quiet time on the islands. The snowbirds (winter residents) are back, but vacationers are busy with the holidays at home. You get all the lights and festive air of Christmas, and save money to boot. I've vacationed on Sanibel/Captiva in Nov/Dec a number of times and really enjoyed it. Early Nov can be quite warm during the day is great beach weather.

Edited: 30 September 2012, 22:29
isles of scilly
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6. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

yes swimming in warm water was something we would look forward to

isles of scilly
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84 posts
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7. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

ok, so if we want warm days and a warm sea to swim in then we need to go in November or wait until the spring next year?

Tampa, Florida
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8. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

You might be able to tolerate the water in November but you wouldn't find locals in it. And in Spring it will be about late April/early May before it starts to feel warm. Personally I wouldn't go in until late May.

Burlington, Canada
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9. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

I would definately not make Tampa as my home base. This would be among my last choices of anywhere in the state. If you want to stay in the area then l would stay in St. Petersburgh or Clearwater instead. Tampa also isn't the best choice if feeling safe is an issue. There are some parts which are sketchy.

The Tampa/St. Pete's area will be nice and warm during November but December and January can be somewhat unpredictable. Staying closer to Ft. Myers/Naples/Marco during December/January would give you a much better chance of shorts/t-shirt weather.

Naples/Marco are very safe as well....not to mention beautiful. Although the area isn't reknowned for it's nightlife (it's known for relaxation, the beach, the sun and more relaxation), it does meet your requirements for chilling in the evenings while listening to some live music in a bar. I honestly think you would enjoy Marco Island very much.

London, United...
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10. Re: florida gulf coast advice needed

When we first went to the Gulf Coast many years ago, we flew to Tampa, stayed in Clearwater, then moved down the coast to St. Petes, and (rather reluctantly ) went on to Marco Island. I fell in love with Marco, and have been going back most years since then.If you like beautiful beaches, and an informal laid back atmosphere you will like it.You can go anywhere in a sundress and sandals and don't have to worry about dressing up unless you want to. We have been in August, June, November/December, and May. I think May is my favourite time, the water is beautifully warm and the rainy season has not really got under way. I find the sea too cold to go into in November. The pools tend to be well heated, and it's warm enough to swim.If night life is your priority, you won't find much in Marco, but Naples is an easy drive away, about 30 minutes and there is more there.

Edited: 02 October 2012, 10:19