Thursday, July 2, 2015
Our Florida Vacation // Day 4 & 5
When we all woke up feeling well-rested and healthy, we knew the beach was in the cards for us on our last full day in Florida, however, didn't know which beach to check out until a nice conversation with another family during breakfast. They recommended we check out St. Petersburg Beach, just a few miles from Clearwater. They even offered us their garbage bag full of sand toys to take along with us. We took their advice (and their sand toys) and headed back on the highway to the Gulf Coast to spend an entire day in the sand. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and we were ready to soak in as much sun as possible before flying home the following day.
The minute you pull up to St. Pete's, it was obvious it was a much different vibe than the hustle and bustle of the more touristy Clearwater. It was a good thing we arrived early, as the only public parking lot with access to the beach holds room for what seemed like fifty cars. There are a few hotels spread along the extensive beach, but nothing compared to the highrises along Clearwater. I immediately loved the wood plank bridges and tall prairie grass that provided access to the beach, as well as the two very tan beach employees ready to help carry our belongings and escort us to a cabana that had our name written all over it. They welcomed us to St. Pete's, pointed out the tiny little tiki hut that delivered drinks to the beach, along with the outdoor seafood restaurant that served the best fish in town. I was in love with this place and was already dreaming of visiting again.
There isn't much to say about our day other than the fact that it was the perfect way to spend our last day in Florida. We buried Beau's feet in the sand, built castles lined with seashell walls, waded in the bath-warm water, and spotted a few dolphins swimming with us. When we got hungry, we walked along the beach to another Crabby Bills and ate on their roof-top deck that overlooked the Gulf. We ordered fruity drinks, Mila devoured a plate of spaghetti, and Beau and I finally ordered our steamer basket, to which we both attested the best crab legs we had ever had, as well confirmed a new love of steamed clams. Sure, there were moments that made us remember we were indeed traveling with small children, like cleaning spaghetti off of every square inch of our table and fighting to change a poopy diaper in the bathroom with a wet swimsuit, a virgin daiquiri stained child completely covered in a thin layer of beach sand and seashell remnants, all making it very hard to get that little swimmer on and off, however, we were overall so pleased with how well-behaved and patient our kids had been on this trip. Beau was still ready to plan our next vacation just the two of us, while I was convinced traveling with two was a breeze. :)
After our shoulders began turning a shade of pink and I had convinced myself I would never again get through the rat's nest on Mila's head, we headed back to our hotel for late afternoon naps and baths before Beau's work reception that night. Since this was a company sponsored trip, they always treat their attendees to a nice dinner and dance the night before most travelers head home. For the past three years, this has been the highlight of our little guy's adventures and we looked forward to watching him bust a move on the dance floor (and maybe enjoy an uninterrupted dinner as well). We gave the kids one last bath in our hotel, dressed them in their business casual attire, and enjoyed a night dining and dancing in Tampa Bay.
There are sure to be some hiccups traveling halfway across the country with two littles in tow, but overall, we had so much fun and made plenty of memories to add to our history books. We were healthy and happy, revived by the ocean waters, but ready for our own beds and a Mumford and Sons concert back home. Although we loved Disney and Busch Gardens as much as the next person, I think we decided we are beach people - even Mila by the end of the trip. :) Although it did feel pretty amazing to step off that plane in Cedar Rapids the next day and breathe in that dry, crisp, Iowa air. The beach is the beach, but there's no place like home.
Until next time, Florida. :):)