Our Split Inexpensive Vacation & Tips for Traveling with Little's - Post #1

By 9:16 PM , , , , , ,

We had the BEST vacation this year! We were gone for 8 nights/ 7 days and decided to break up our vacation and spend half the week of vacation at the beach and half the week in Orlando hitting up some of our favorite parks. Why not have the best of both world's right? It was AWESOME. So awesome that we are already making plans to do it again next year. I highly recommend it and am excited to share all our tips and tricks with you guys along with wayy too many pictures ;)). 

Our first (tip #1) for traveling a long car trip with a little one is to break up the drive as much as possible. With a eight hour drive from our house to Redington Beach in Florida we did just that. One of the perks to traveling for my job is that I accumulate hotel points. We always try to get about 3-4 hours of driving in after work on Friday night and stayed the night (paid for with points at a Hampton Inn) just north of the Florida border. Doing that allows us to sleep until 8 Saturday morning, eat a late breakfast, and still make it to the beach by lunch time. Fun story...we stayed at a Hampton Inn like I mentioned in the middle of no-where south Georgia and our little guy LOVED it. I guess it's the simple things in life right? There was something so fun to him about staying in the same room as Mommy and Daddy and waking up to a free all he could eat breakfast with waffles. As we were leaving the hotel that sweet guy exclaimed, "that was the best 'day-cation' ever!" Guess we could have saved some money. Ha.

You might wonder why Redington Beach? I'm going to be honest...we got lucky and found a goldmine. So much so that I hesitated when writing this post on whether or not I should be honest or just say we went to Clearwater Beach so you guys wouldn't find out about our 'secret spot.' Redington still seems like a hidden gem that not many people know about and I hope it stays that way - buttt.....you guys are my friends so I opted with going the honest route. Anyway back to how we found Redington Beach. One of my best friends and her family lives in Clearwater and we really wanted to be able to go down and see them (I have visited her several times but my hubby had never been to the area) I knew the area had beautiful beaches so we started searching airbnb options and happened upon the cutest, most amazing little house on the bay that was just a few steps across the street from the beach. Again the best of both world's....and the best part? It was ONLY $90 a night! SCORE! This leads me to our second (tip #2) with kids we have found you can often find a lot better options, not to mention cheaper if you are willing to not go with a box hotel. This will allow you a lot more finds that are great for kiddos.

pic of the guys getting ready to go out on beach from our house

We stopped for lunch on our way in at this adorable beach bar/restaurant on the bay called Seabreeze just two doors down from our house for the next few days and loved it so much we ended going back for at least one meal every day the rest of our time there. We even got to watch dolphins play in the water while we ate. The food tasted great, the drinks even better, and the prices were so great as it was a local place and thus couldn't charge touristy prices.

watching dolphins at our first lunch at our local lunch/dinner spot

yet another meal at our "spot"

and again...they literally knew our names by the time we left

We had such a fun amazing week. Some of the highlights of the week included: 1) renting a tandem kayak (tip #3) that would fit all three of us for just $60 for half a day and kayaked the beach and the bay, 2) spending lots of quality time on the beach as a family and with our sweet friends, collecting some incredible shells, (tip #4) exploring the playground at Clearwater beach (our little guy loved it), playing put-put in pirate ships with alligators (SO FUN)....

AND the absolute favorite part about this portion of the trip (and maybe the trip in all) was visiting Clearwater Marine Aquarium and getting to meet Winter from the movie A Dolphin Tale. Hope, the other dolphin that you are familiar with if you have seen A Dolphin Tale #2 literally fell in love with our little E and vice versus, forgive the overload of pictures but my heart literally melted. You can understand why this photo is the background on BOTH my iwatch and phone right? I can not say enough amazing things about the Marine Aquarium, how cool that place is, and the amazing things they are doing. Don't believe me? Go follow them on instagram!) 

This year we also visited Sam's Club in advance of our trip (tip #5) and purchased a sun shade tent for $100 and a beach wagon for $50. Seriously the BEST $50 we could have ever spent. I meant check out that setup. And honestly it really made the beach setup quick and easy - just stuff everything into the wagon, drag said wagon to the beach, pop up tent (took about 10 mins), and tada! Our other tip? (tip #6) bring a plastic pool to feel up with water so the little ones can swim without always getting knocked over by the waves.

All in all the first half of the week was INCREDIBLE and we had an absolute ball. I can not say enough good things about Redington Beach and ESPECIALLY the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. I can't wait to go back!! 

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