A Summertime Siesta

It’s July in Florida. Let’s face it, for even the sunseekers among us, it’s just too darn hot to venture much farther beyond your air-conditioned living room—unless there’s a swimming pool or beach involved, that is. And that’s exactly what we’ve got: three sunny destinations where you can relax in the sand, play in the surf and melt away your summertime blues.

Slip Into Island Time

Located between Sarasota and Tampa Bay, Anna Maria Island offers visitors breathtaking sunsets, sugary-white beaches and the perfect vacation destination for the entire family.

Photos courtesy of Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau & Anna Maria Vactions

Where To Stay

Want all the amenities of a hotel suite without the crowds of a hotel? Then a stay at one of Anna Maria Vacations’ luxury rental homes is what you need. Anna Maria Vacations has a property for every family, from one- to five-bedroom homes and bay-front cottages with docks to Gulf-front condos and beautifully constructed inland homes only a few minutes from the beach. Many properties offer a private pool, too, so when the kids have had enough saltwater, you can lounge the day away poolside.

Anna Maria Vacations’ properties are hand selected and diligently maintained to provide guests with upscale vacation homes that leave nothing to be desired. Homes come equipped with either DSL or wireless Internet, a barbecue grill and a washer and dryer—all the modern features you need in a home away from home. Hate to travel without your canine companion? You don’t have to! The company boasts 27 homes that are pet friendly. And many homes have elevator access for visitors that need extra assistance (or if you’re an overpacker!).

Anna Maria Vacations offers potential guests easy access to the full list of properties—complete with photos—via its website. Looking to travel in a hurry? Go online to see the list of fill-in specials, a great way to see all Anna Maria Island has to offer over a long weekend!

How To Play

The most obvious attraction on Anna Maria Island is the seven miles of white, sandy beaches right outside your door. If not actually beachfront, almost all of the homes managed by Anna Maria Vacations are within an easy five-minute stroll to the beach. The homes do not come equipped with beach chairs or umbrellas, so check out Fun and More Rentals(funandmorerentals.com) for everything you need.

When you’re ready to get to know the town, consider exploring the area via bicycle or trolley tour. Bikes can be rented through various companies, or you can hit all the hotspots on the free trolley service with stops all along the island.

Another attraction you can’t miss? The famous Anna Maria Island sunset. Celebrate the end of a day at Bridge Street Bistro. Every night at sunset, a gong sounds and guests sing “You Are My Sunshine” and enjoy complimentary “green flash shots.” Sounds like a great way to meet some new friends!

What To Eat

One of the best parts about calling an Anna Maria Vacations’ property home is the gourmet kitchens available in each home. This is a great amenity for guests on a budget. There’s aPublix grocery store on the island, so it’s easy to buy all the supplies you need to make delicious, home-cooked meals.

Many of the restaurants on Anna Maria Island offer a family-friendly atmosphere, but for a romantic night out, try The Waterfront Restaurant(thewaterfrontrestaurant.net). Combining fresh, natural flavors with tropical, classic Florida fare, The Waterfront lets you experience laid-back Florida the way it used to be.

Want The Details?

Start planning your vacation today by visiting Anna Maria Vacations at annamaria.com.


A Family Affair

With the Gulf of Mexico as a backdrop and the perfectly white sands providing the ideal Florida beach experience, nothing says family fun like TradeWinds Island Grand.

Photos courtesy of TradeWinds Island Grand

Where To Stay

The TradeWinds Island Grand has it all: five heated pools, limitless beachfront recreation, fine and casual dining, a beautiful—and relaxing—spa and salon, and an outstanding children’s program (that will even keep the teens occupied)—all complete with a $20 million guestroom makeover, which was just finished this past March.

With a wide variety of room styles to choose from, Island Grand has something to meet every family’s budget, without skimping on the comfortable accommodations you expect. Rooms are outfitted in British West Indies, plantation-style décor, giving the room a serene, island vibe.

TradeWinds Island Grand can also provide a home away from home to your furry family members as well, thanks to the pet-friendly suites. The Pet Play Zone features doggie drinking fountains, rinse and drying stations (with towels!) and fire hydrants— always a doggie favorite. Sounds like the dogs have it just as good as the humans here!

How To Play

There’s no shortage of playtime solutions while visiting TradeWinds Island Grand. First on the list should be the Splash Island Water Park, a 15,750-square-foot floating playground in the Gulf of Mexico, just 60 feet off the resort’s shoreline. The water park offers 11 fun-filled features—from jumping and climbing to relaxing and sunning. Between this and the three-story High Tide Slide on the beach, you might not see your kids all vacation (who’s complaining, right?)!

Looking for a water thrill ride with adults in mind? Let TradeWinds Island Grand introduce you to the newJetLev, a water-propelled jetpack that soars up to heights of 30 feet at 30 miles per hour. This experience, which costs $275 for hotel guests, takes riders into the Gulf and allows them to fly over or even walk on water. (Who says adults are too old to act like super heroes?)

Want to get in some R&R (we suggest Body Works Salon & Spa, located right on the Island Grand premises) but need a way to entertain the little ones? Just drop them off with the KONK (Kids Only, No Kidding!) Club counselors for a few hours of games and themed activities. Children ages 4 to 11 are welcome, and there is an extra charge for this service.

Whether you’re looking for something to do as an entire family (maybe the free pirate show featuring Captain RedBeard or hopping aboard a paddleboat?) or want to keep the kids busy for an afternoon (did we mention there’s also a nine-hole mini golf course, bungee trampoline and daily crafts), there’s something to entertain all the kids in your group—even the kids at heart.

What To Eat

There’s nothing like a vacation to make you forget your diet plans, and TradeWinds makes it easy. With 14 distinctive eateries that range from family-friendly casual fare to fine dining restaurants, there’s no reason to ever leave the resort to fill your tummy.

If you’re interested in a romantic evening, try Palm Court Italian Grill, where you can dine indoors or under the stars. And the little ones will appreciate the quick stops located around the resort, where you can pick up a pizza, feast on a freshly made deli sandwich or satisfy your sweet tooth with a homemade sugar cone filled with Edy’s ice cream. Yum!

Want The Details?

There’s so much to do at TradeWinds Island Grand! Want to see more? Visit justletgo.com.


A Luxurious Oasis

Close to home with a large helping of unexpected elegance, The Shores Resort & Spa offers guests a graceful blend of comfort and style on a quiet stretch of Florida shoreline.

Photos courtesy of The Shores Resort & Spa

Where To Stay

Guests are often surprised when they stumble upon The Shores Resort & Spa, located in an upscale, residential area of Daytona Beach Shores. A hidden gem, The Shores is the only AAA Four-Diamond oceanfront resort in Central Florida. Many of the resort’s 212 guestrooms offer private balconies or terraces, which offer an unprecedented view each morning as the sun climbs above the horizon.

Rooms are decorated with chic furnishings and warm hues, and Italian marble bathrooms and pillow-top beds ensure your ultimate comfort after a long day at the beach. Each guestroom offers high-speed, wireless Internet access, ultra-soft, 300-thread-count linens, a doorless Italian marble shower, mini bar and plush robes for guests enjoying oceanfront rooms.

The Shores Resort & Spa is also a certified Florida Green Lodging resort, meaning they have taken an active role to lessen the resort’s impact on the environment and Earth’s natural resources. All guestrooms include a separate recycling bin, and employees volunteer to maintain a one-mile section of the beach, which is not only good for the environment but keeps the area beautiful for everyone who visits.

How To Play

At the Shores Resort & Spa, you’ll find all the amenities you expect and more, including a beautiful, oceanfront salt-water pool with poolside cabanas, oceanside fire pits, exceptional dining and an intimate spa.

If you need to unwind, retreat to Indulge, the full-service day spa located right in The Shores Resort & Spa. Indulge offers a variety of luxurious spa experiences that will help you escape the hectic life you left behind at home, including body treatments using indigenous herbs and minerals, facial care and massage therapies.

If you’ve come to The Shores for a fun-filled family vacation, the resort offers amenities to make your child’s experience unforgettable as well. The Shores Kid’s Club invites children to play, explore, imagine and learn. Trained counselors will ensure your children will make memories that last a lifetime. If you need a romantic night out on the town or a simple moonlit stroll on the beach, you’re children will have a blast at one of the Kids’ Night Out evenings, featuring arts and crafts, games, dinner and a movie.

Be sure to take part in a Shores signature activity with seaside s’mores. Guests can gather their family around the oceanside firepits to enjoy this classic snack—the perfect recipe for a little family togetherness or romantic alone time.

What To Eat

From elegant beach dining at Azure, the resort’s on-site restaurant featuring ocean-inspired cuisine, to laid-back, poolside dining at Palapa Tiki Bar, The Shores Resort & Spa has a taste to satisfy every palate.

But perhaps the most spectacular place to enjoy your evening meal is in a private cabana at a table set for two. Dubbed “the best dining experience you will ever have,” let The Shores wow you (or let them help you wow a special someone) by enjoying a romantic five-course meal and champagne. Whether you’re seeking a quiet evening while the kids are entertaining themselves or you need help planning a romantic surprise, The Shores Resort & Spa can help you create memories you won’t soon forget.

Want The Details?

Before you start packing your bags, check out shoresresort.com for more information.

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