My children have only been to the beach once, when they were small. Austin hated the sand and cried the whole time on the beach. Ava was in a life jacket – I was terrified of her drowning! Other than that, it was a great time! However, I knew, I wanted to wait until they were older to go back again.
I traveled a lot for work this year, I opened the silver amex with delta at the airport, during a promotion to get enough sky miles and free bags checked for all of us to go on a trip this year! So I decided that THIS was the year for us to FLY and try the beach again! When I was in college my mom and I would stay close to John’s Pass, in Treasure Island, Florida. I wanted to go back. Scott’s boss has a place in Madeira Beach (which is right in the same area), that he rents out, so we decided to go there!
We flew out of CVG (we used Fast Park to Park our car for the week) into Tampa, rented a car and drove to the condo (about 45 min from the airport). This was one of our only family vacations, just the four of us, since we went to Disney, 3 years prior. We always try and go with other families to keep costs down. Going with other families is always fun, but it was nice having 7 whole days with just the four of us! I can say this was the first vacation where I truly was able to unwind and relax – and I NEEDED it!
The Condo was beautiful. We had covered parking in the garage under the complex and an elevator up to the unit. The unit had key-less entry which was so nice, not having to mess with keys (it’s the small things). The balcony was the largest balcony I have ever seen in a condo on the beach. Scott and I put the kids to bed one night and got take out from the restaurant across the street, the Daiquiri Shak Raw Bar and Grill, had dinner and drinks on the balcony listening to the waves. It was so nice.
View from our Balcony
John’s Pass, ten minutes away, is a fun area on the water with lots of shops and activities for the kids. Everything is within a few blocks- great restaurants, sports bar, upscale shopping, groceries. We went there several nights for dinner or Ice Cream or just to shop around.
Austin and his KING Crab Leg at the Friendly Fisherman Restaurant, John’s Pass
The pool area of the condo complex is really nice, there is a tiki bar, shuffle board, and large grills you can use. Beach chairs, umbrellas, beach toys, and beach towels were well stocked in the Condo storage! They even had boogie boards and wake boards. It was nice to be able to fly down there and not worry about purchasing all those items for the week. The beach in front of the condo is Private! Which was really nice!
Ava and Austin and the Wake Board. Austin was a PRO by the end of the week!
All set up at the Beach 🙂 We spent most mornings at the Beach. The kids played a LONG time.
They LOVED the hot tub!
Ava floating in the pool!
There were two bed rooms, the master was HUGE with the most comfortable bed and pillows. I slept like a dream… this is always a challenge for me away from home. The kids had their own beds and a TV in their room – they were living the HIGH life! The condo had a washer and dryer which was really nice, when flying, I didn’t over pack. I washed all of our clothes before we came back- so I didn’t come back to loads of laundry. There were two bathrooms, which is a must when traveling with Ava now, apparently! The condo was very spacious for the four of us.
The location of the condo is really a Prime location. There is so much to do! Orlando is only 90 min away, Sea World, Discovery Cove, Disney World, Clearwater Marine & Aquarium, and more are not far! We will look into doing those things next time. We kept plenty busy Madeira Beach, “near”! Here are all the things we did, outside of shopping at John’s Pass and relaxing at the Condo/Pool/Beach:
The Cincinnati Reds played the Tampa Bay Rays at the Tropicana (indoor) Stadium – Kids are $2.00 on Tuesdays
We checked out the Famous Don Ce Sar Hotel, in St Pete Beach
They have a 1950’s Ice Cream Parlor, Uncle Andy’s, that has the BEST Cookies and Cream Ice Cream!
Across the Street is Smugglers Cove, we played Putt Putt Golf and Fed the Alligators! You can find coupons online!
Lots of different FUN themed holes!
We ALL loved Feeding the Gators!
We played lots of games of cards in the Condo.
We ate lunch at the Maderia Beach Snack Shack, which is right next door to the condo on the beach.
My favorite Restaurant was the Conch Republic. They have call ahead seating!
We had fried gator! It was good!!!
The 7/11 Across the Street had the BEST Twix Donuts!
We went on a Dolphin Cruise that stopped on Edgemont Island where we went shelling and snorkeling!
We booked through the John’s Pass Ticket Booth.
This was the highlight of our trip! The boat ride to the island, was about 30-45 minutes, it was relaxing and enjoyable. Captain Randy did a fabulous job spotting dolphins and slowing down so we could watch them play. It was amazing how close they were to the boat (get a seat in the back for the best view). We packed a lunch and ate on the boat.
The destination of the cruise is Egmont Key- a beautiful island you can only get to by boat. We went shelling, you won’t be disappointed. Lots of GREAT shells! The best place to find the shells is near the waters edge, and about a foot deep if you walk around in the water the tide brings them up. We also snorkeled. This is a great family trip for people of all ages. There were young children, teens, and adults on our boat everyone had a great time!
Tips: bring a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, water/snacks for boat and water shoes.
Considering the price of other Florida attractions, we think this was a great deal and would do it again.
My last morning walk at the condo. This guy let me get SOOO close to him!
Sunset from our Balcony at the Condo!
Sunset pictures right outside our Condo.
This vacation was by far one of my top 5 vacations we have been on. I loved the condo and location so much, I can’t wait to go back!
If you would like to book the condo for your next vacation or see more pictures here is the link: https://www.vrbo.com/402738
Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this posts by any of the locations listed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.