Spending our first Christmas In Florida
It was something I had always dreamed of doing, but had not managed to do in the past. To be able to spend Christmas in Florida was simply incredible. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you are thinking about escaping the cold at this festive time. Here are just some of the reasons why.
Arriving in Florida
The best part of flying to Florida with a 2 year old boy, was meeting the other desperate parents,. To give nearby passengers a break, they had congregated at the rear galley (sorry crew). Most of all, having cleared around 50 or so laps of both aisles you probably wont get DVT. Our first glimpse of the Florida sun made it all well worth it.
Car Hire Tip
Avoid picking up your hire car from the airport because short queue takes for-ev-errrrrr!!! It’s the last thing you want to do after a long flight if travelling with children. So get a taxi and pick up you pre booked hire car locally the next day. Make sure to include all insurance, local taxes, unlimited mileage, sat nav and child seat at time of booking as this will make a huge saving.
Also, it is best to use a major credit card (one that racks up free airmiles) for holding deposits, otherwise companies will put a hold on funds in your bank account which can take a while to be released back to you. The same applies when on a cruise.
Tampa to St Pete
I took a cab to the Beachcomber Beach Resort on St Pete Beach. It cost $72 dollars but I notice that the local company, Bats Taxi charge $54, as a result it is worth booking directly with them before you leave home. This was the the first time I had seen the hotel decorated for Christmas and it was beautiful.
They recently refurbished the hotel rooms and the bar known as Jimmy B’s Beach Bar giving a plusher feel to the resort.
Good Morning America
Since we woke up at 3am, we were ready for the beach by sunrise!
St Pete is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida therefore I wasn’t going to miss my first glimpse of it in over four years.
We stayed at the Beachcomber Hotel which is a great value considering the location, facilities and atmosphere.
Not too far from St Pete Beach is Madeira Beach where you will find the beautiful John’s Pass Village. They have an annual Christmas Boat Parade. The boardwalk was beautifully lit up and the parade was amazing. I met my friend Deb of 22 years and as Josh slept through the whole thing, we went for a drink and had a good catch up.
To The Rescue
When I picked up my hire car from Dollar, I discovered that you have to fit the child seat yourself and I’m not a great with diagram instructions. I had heard that Fire and Police Stations often supply and fit child seats, so we made our way to St Pete Beach Fire Station (any excuse!)
The fireman was friendly, helpful and gorgeous! He explained how to adjust the seat straps, as a result I was able to install it myself. Consequently, we had photos with one of the fire trucks, which was decorated with a Christmas bow. Another fireman came out to Josh with a plastic firemans’ hat and a sticker. It made Josh’s day……… and Lucy and I were quite pleased too.
Back at the Hotel
Josh loves the pool. This is where Lucy learned to swim many years ago, so it holds fond memories.
A Day at Walt Disney World
No trip to Florida would be complete without a visit to Disney.
Tip – For most things the first place to try is Walgreens, as they actually had the cable I needed for about $5 instead of the $20 multi charger pack I ended up having to buy at Target. There is one on St Pete Beach and on Treasure Island.
Carolling on Sunset Beach
My friend Deb, had invited me to join her on Sunset Beach for some Carolling. We met at 5pm and people had put a lot of effort into dressing their dogs, golf buggies and themselves for the occasion.
Local people and businesses open their doors to the “carol singers” and provide them with a drink and a snack. As a result there were a lot of people taking part.
We had popcorn and a shot of Fireball Whiskey at the first stop. Due to my naivety, I was keenly waiting for the singing to start, but I didn’t hear anything. Deb had warned me that there would be a lot of drinking. A song sheet was handed and some singing did take place.
After a few stops I was ready to call it a day, since I had a 4 hour drive to Fort Lauderdale in the morning.