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Topic: I've persuaded Matt to head to the coast!

  1. #1
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    Default I've persuaded Matt to head to the coast!

    Backstory: We'd booked Universal's Aventura on a cancellable basis for our first 5 nights as a backup in case our first choice of Margaritaville Resort Orlando wasn't up and running in time for our trip at the beginning of November. It's years since we've done the Universal parksówe always figure that we're paying a fortune for Disney tickets we don't have the time to get the most value from, so why would we want to spend hundreds of dollars more to squeeze Universal in to an already tight schedule? With Aventura costing a fraction of what we'd normally pay for Orlando accommodation that wasn't a consideratiion and we'd begun to talk about how much we were looking forward to all the new Harry Potter attractions, as well as imagining ourselves at the Bar 17 Bistro rooftop bar at Aventura and the Strong Water Tavern rum bar at Sapphire Falls next door.

    Fast forward a month and the possibility of Margaritaville Resort being open is looking less likely and that recognition has made me realise that I'm not as excited as I should be about the prospect of Universal. Ever since we started planning it, the unwavering premise for this trip is "go with the flow". With the exception of Flight of Passage, we intend to make no FP+ reservations and no ADRs. Having to fit all the Universal attractions into a few days flies in the face of that philosophy. With each trip we plan, I talk about how much I've enjoyed the times we've spent in other parts of Florida, but Matt is a man of habit and it's difficult to convince him of the merits of taking time out when there's so much we love in Orlando itself. Indeed, we're right back to the reason we don't do Universal and it's certainly not that we don't want to, so it's not even that I disagree with him.

    The upshot is that he's come around to the idea that the 5 nights (4 days) we'd set aside for Margaritaville could just as easily be spent at the coast as at Universal. My dream is the Panhandle, but even I think that's a push given the alloted time, so we've plumped for Treasure Island. We've done a few of the more upmarket options on both coasts and we like the idea of a more laid-back vibe with beach bars and live music. It has the advantage of being not too far to travel from Orlando and is nicely placed to easily take in St Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille to the south, John's Pass and Clearwater (and everything inbetween) to the north, plus Tampa for a shopping fix and more. We've booked the Treasure Island Beach Resort (part of the Opal Collection which includes the Zota Beach Resort at Longboat Key and Hutchinson Shores Resort at Jensen Beach, both recently reviewed by Simon and Susan).

    So, any recommendations for the area? It's all new to us!

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    Looks a very nice place and if I recall TI is well situated for running up and down that part of the coastal islands.

    I'm not going to be much help with things to do or places to eat as it is ages since we've stayed along that bit of the Gulf and the last time we were anywhere near was in 2016 when we went to Clearwater one afternoon!

    But I'm sure you'll get some suggestions from a number of other members.
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    Sounds like a plan coming together we really like the idea of doing a Florida beach trip
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    I would immediately look at dinner at the Don CeSar for one evening, and another evening on the rooftop bar/lounge at the Grand Plaza nearby. You might well also like RumFish at the Guy Harvey Outpost (it was built by the guys from the Tanked TV programme). The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must-see, IMHO, for their great rescue and rehab work, and Crabby's Dockside is a great place for lunch nearby. The Opal Sands is also well worth a look at the end of the long beachwalk on Clearwater Beach.

    I'm sure we can think of some more, too!

    Oh yes (he says, quickly remembering) - you should definitely head into downtown St Petersburg from TI, as it's a straight shot along Central Ave. The city of St Pete itself is now a really happening place, with some great breweries, diners, boutiques and other eclectic 'neighbourhood' type stuff that is well worth checking out. It also boasts the Chihuly and Dali museums and a great Segway tour!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Veness View Post
    I would immediately look at dinner at the Don CeSar for one evening, and another evening on the rooftop bar/lounge at the Grand Plaza nearby. You might well also like RumFish at the Guy Harvey Outpost (it was built by the guys from the Tanked TV programme). The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must-see, IMHO, for their great rescue and rehab work, and Crabby's Dockside is a great place for lunch nearby. The Opal Sands is also well worth a look at the end of the long beachwalk on Clearwater Beach.
    I forgot to mention that my brother and sister-in-law will be joining us. They've been to the Don CeSar before and love it, so that's a shoe-in. I'll take a look at the rooftop lounge of the Grand Plaza. From my research so far, the problem is going to be working out which bars NOT to visit. There are hundreds of them! I've watched your video featuring Clearwater a few times in the past couple of days and forwarded it to my travelling companions. I like the look of the Seascreamer, but Matt's motion sickness kicks in badly on small boats.

    Oh yes (he says, quickly remembering) - you should definitely head into downtown St Petersburg from TI, as it's a straight shot along Central Ave. The city of St Pete itself is now a really happening place, with some great breweries, diners, boutiques and other eclectic 'neighbourhood' type stuff that is well worth checking out. It also boasts the Chihuly and Dali museums and a great Segway tour!
    Matt and I will definitely drive into St Petersburg. Daryl and Karen are beach lovers, so it remains to be seen whether they'll want to stray far. The Chihuly and Dali museums, you say? Yes, I remember visiting them with a couple of good friends!

    ETA: Incidentally, I was really taken with Hutchison Shores after seeing your review and I was keen to do that, but I'd made the mistake of alerting D&K to it and they've already booked it for several nights after they leave us in Orlando. They stayed at Jensen Beach during their honeymoon 22 years ago and fell in love with it. They're flying home from Miami so it makes sense for them to do it at the end of their trip rather than the start, otherwise I might have tried to talk them in to changing the reservation.
    Last edited by UK Deb; 31-05-2018 at 07:39 AM.

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    We stayed in the Grand Plaza at St Petes beach in 2014, a lovely place right on the beach so I'm sure you will love the rooftop bar.
    We enjoyed Little Toot the boat you go out to see dolphins in the bay at Clearwater but may not be much fun with seasickness....
    I think you will love your time on the coast, we find now that we enjoy spending time there as much as we enjoy Orlando. Shame you will miss Universal but save that for another trip...

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    karalma is offline Proud Recipient of Six--count 'em, six!!--Fast Passes During Year of a Million Dreams!
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    I know how you feel about trying to persuade family members to try something new. I’m sure you'll have a wonderful time.

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    It’s years since we did that area of Florida so cannot come up with any tips, remember stopping off after driving over the Sunshine Skyway bridge and having a wander around Tyrone Square mall, the boy was just 10 months old. It is a lovely coast to drive down.

    I agree with your thoughts on Universal and the plan not to rush around the parks too much has so many benefits.

    Doubt we would be brave enough now to move out of Orlando, mainly as hotels just don’t suit us 3 anymore but for you 2 I think it’s a cracking idea and it could well be the highlight of your holiday.
    It’s probably something we could have done when we had that long Florida break , Orlando can become too familiar if you go every year, spreading your wings could completely change your outlook for future holidays.
    Last edited by Johnny Sharp; 03-06-2018 at 02:49 PM. Reason: you spell probably, probably not pribably!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Sharp View Post
    Orlando can become too familiar if you go every year, spreading your wings could completely change your outlook for future holidays.
    Yes, that familiarity can be a blessing in some ways and a curse in others. Once every 2 or 3 years is probably optimum for us these days. I'm definitely ready for some new adventures.

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