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Trip Report March 18-26

Destination Expert
for Vermont
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2,309 posts
37 reviews
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Trip Report March 18-26

We (2 adults and a 2 year old) had a GREAT time on AMI as usual. Weather was fantastic the whole time we were there. Highs in the 80s, lows in the upper 60s. I never put on a jacket once!

We flew into SRQ on Friday evening so we stayed in a hotel at the airport - the Sleep Inn. The room was small but the location was great and so was the price (we used points).

Saturday morning before we headed over to the island we went to Sarasota Jungle Gardens - a nice small place perfect for kids. Feeding the flamingos was a highlight! Also got to see some birds, reptiles, monkeys etc.

Saturday afternoon we drove over the Cortez Bridge to our condo in Bradenton Beach. We stay 2 blocks from Bridge Street near the Beachhouse Restaurant. We love this location as we can walk everywhere.

Things we did (in addition to hanging out on the beach):

Coquina Bay Walk - beautiful walk through some mangroves. Highly recommend.

Durante Park on Long Boat Key - Another beautiful area to walk. Highly recommend. They also have a nice playground for little ones.

Save Our Seabirds in Sarasota (next to the Mote Aquarium) - wonderful bird sanctuary for injured birds. Admission by donation.

Desoto Nat'l Historic Park - again, another great place for walking. Also the living history demonstrations were interesting.

Ellenton Outlets - if you like shopping, go. If not, don't bother.

Bean Point - BEAUTIFUL small beach.

Farmers Market/Craft Market on Sunday. Picked up some veggis and fruit for the week and scored a nice bracelet.

Where we ate:

Rotten Ralphs for lunch - fried grouper sandwiches. YUM.

Bridge Tender for lunch - I had a really good grouper salad and my partner said the cuban with black bean soup was excellent.

Sharkeys - one of my favorite meals - a seafood pasta. Really good.

Cortez Kitchen - we tried to get into Star Fish but it was busy so Cortez Kitchen it was. Service is slow and food was decent, but nothing to write home about.

Fire & Stone Pizza (off island on Cortez) - I was a little skeptical about this place since its a pizza buffet place - a little under $8 for all you can eat pizza & salad bar plus a dessert. I was wonderfully surprised. I really liked the pizza. Really good value. Get there early (before 5) or expect to wait a while.

Beachhouse - we eat here on our last night as a tradition. Again go early if you don't want to wait and go REALLY early if you want to eat outside (this was a Friday night). Really enjoyed my stuffed grouper and cheesecake for dessert. You can take a nice long walk on the beach afterwards to work off all the calories!

Other thoughts...we rented a crib from ABC Rentals ( I think that was the name ) located on Cortez just onto the mainland. Very nice folks and priced well.

Did our shopping at Publix...I found the prices there expensive compared to what we are used to. I wonder if its cheaper to shop on the mainland?

Looking forward to coming back next March!

Cleveland, Ohio
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1,443 posts
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1. Re: Trip Report March 18-26

jealous...sounds like you had a great enjoyable trip! we dont arrive til the 20th.

glad you enjoyed your trip to paradise.

Baltimore, Maryland
3 posts
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2. Re: Trip Report March 18-26

We have a 1.5 year old and are visiting in May and am curious to know where you stayed? Was it kid friendly?

When you rented a crib did it come with sheets or did you provide?

Any other good toddler tips would be appreciated!

Destination Expert
for Vermont
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37 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Report March 18-26

We stayed at a 1 bdrm condo on Highland Avenue. The Villa. It was very small but we didn't care because we weren't there much! There is a small playground across the street.

Yes, the crib came with sheets.

Our toddler loved running on the beach and on the elevated walkways at Joan Durante Park & Coquina Baywalk. She also loved Save Our Seabirds. Jungle Gardens in Sarasota was a hit with her too.

Hope you have a great time!

Bradenton, Florida
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4. Re: Trip Report March 18-26

Toddlers love playing in the sand. Pick up a bucket, shovel, and a few other sand toys and they will be busy for hours transfering sand. Mote Aquarium is good for little ones, as is Jungle Gardens.

5. Re: Trip Report March 18-26

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