A staycation doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, there are plenty of beautiful places right here in the Bay Area. We are searching and testing out the best places for your whole family to enjoy a fall staycation and to help you plan ahead for Spring.
Standing in the lobby of the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, you might forget that you are only 35 minutes away from your home. With the shiny baby grand piano in the lobby playing itself, like magic, the tune of a Bruno Mars song wraps your whole family in a calm serenity.
When you enter your room, the view is so picturesque that you swear it is a painting on the wall, but the kids prove it is real when they pull open the sliding glass door to stand barefoot on the balcony.
About 22 miles west of Tampa, nestled on the sugar-sand beach of Clearwater, sits a vacation destination worthy of the many awards it has received. The Sandpearl Resort is a AAA Four- Diamond winner and has a whole slew of best vacation awards from publications around the globe.
Whether you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life or looking for a place to spend the holidays this year, Clearwater has you covered.
Part of the beauty of living in Tampa is that we are close to tons of exciting destinations. We are near theme parks, animal sanctuaries and museums. But the best reason to live where we do is how close we are to the beaches. It is no wonder that the Bay Area has been named the number eight top destination for staycations, according to a recent study from WalletHub.
Whether you have a three-day-weekend, a full vacation, or just want a one-night getaway, Clearwater is a great escape option. One of the go-to attractions at the Sandpearl is undoubtedly the massive swimming pool. Visible from many of the hotel’s balconies, the pool is surrounded by both sunny and shaded furniture and hammocks and boasts pool-side service. You can sip a strawberry daiquiri while the kids splash and play and never have to leave your little slice of paradise.
The beaches at Clearwater are aptly named, so once you have had your fill of the pool your family will be tempted to head to the shore. Whether you choose to cozy up inside one of the Sandpearl’s beachside hammocks or covered lounge chairs, or if you want to lay on the sand itself, you won’t be disappointed. The water laps the shore like a favorite pet licking your ankles in excitement. Without large waves, Clearwater is a great place for younger children to safely explore the shore without a strong current.
Marine life outside of the Sandpearl is fascinating. Schools of fish swim and play near your toes, a manatee will saunter by, a dolphin or two will gently rise above the water and spray a gentle mist from their blowhole. It is almost as though you have stepped out of the real world and into a Bob Ross painting, standing on the shoreline of the serene beach.
Although staying in the hotel for the entirety of your trip may be tempting, there are a ton of things to do in Clearwater that make it worth your while to stay for a while rather than drive back and forth back home every day. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a short drive from the main strip of hotels and is as fascinating for adults as it is for the kids. You can see Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale films and can watch sea turtles and other animals being cared for in the rescue facility. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium also offers a kayak tour of the marina and surrounding waters and as you glide through a flock of pelicans lounging in the water you will feel a true sense of peace.
Another great nearby attraction is Caladesi Island, one of Florida’s rare few all-natural islands, easily accessible by boat and ferry (which is available through Honeymoon Island. Manatees roam the area enjoying warm water and looking for tasty greens to munch on, so you are likely to glimpse a few while you are there. On the ferry to the island, the captain will point out various groups of dolphins playfully leaping together out of the water.
If your family enjoys nature and loves to see some of the beautiful creatures living along the Tampa area’s coast, consider Clearwater.
Relaxation and Food
Foodie or not, the best part of a staycation at a resort is the food. Not only do you not have to spend time cooking at home, but you can enjoy food that isn’t available anywhere else. Caretta on the Gulf, a luxurious restaurant perfect for date night or a nice dinner with the family, boasts unique dishes like grilled lionfish, lobster and salads doused in savory dressings. It is a great place to get the kids out of their comfort zone to try a little something new. Plus, the vertical garden on the wall near the bar is a fun way to talk to the kids about sustainability. If you want to take a picnic, the Sandpearl will also pack a picnic lunch for your family with goodies like sandwiches and fresh fruit.
Another fantastic thing to add to your staycation is a little spa time. Even if you are not a guest of the hotel, you can still book a treatment at The Spa at Sandpearl which is located inside of the resort.
The spa will send you into a place of peace and relaxation that you may have forgotten existed when you had children.
Planning your staycation doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. To read more about our favorite Florida staycation destinations, visit TBParenting.com/Travel. For more information on Sandpearl Resort, visit Sandpearl.com
This trip was paid for by the Sandpearl Resort. All opinions and views expressed are my own.