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Old 11-29-2014, 06:12 PM
 
11 posts, read 13,178 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello all,

My family and I are heading to Florida for a vacation in December. We will be staying at a hotel in Clearwater, but would like to check out Tampa as well. Maybe even take a drive down to Sarasota for a day. I'm aware of a lot of the 'obvious' major attractions, but would like a couple of suggestions...

- My family consists of my wife, a 3 year old boy and a 3 month old girl. We are from Arizona. (My sister and her family will be driving down from Virginia as well.) Very curious what the best places would be for the kids to enjoy? I say 'kids', but the 3 month old ain't doing much yet, right. So, some place for my 3 year old boy and my 3 year old niece might be cool. Things unique to the Clearwater/Tampa area would be great.

- I have managed to make arrangements for someone to watch the kids so my wife and I can have a night together. In our early 30's and dancing/clubbing isn't up our alley, but most everything else is. If you had one night to treat your wife to someplace really nice/interesting, what would you do or where would you take her? Don't have $500 or anything outrageous to spend on the night, but I worked some overtime at work to be able to spend a couple hundred to treat her nice. Would really love to hear some ideas.

- Anything specific to the Tampa/Clearwater area that we can't do or see somewhere else? Places to eat that you all recommend?

- Quick tips on where I should stay away from? Don't want to travel into high crime areas.

Really looking forward to having a good time with my family and checking out an area we've never been. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance!

Last edited by Rainram; 11-29-2014 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 11-30-2014, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Beautiful Pinellas County
1,402 posts, read 2,498,183 times
Reputation: 980
Might be too young for Winter the Dolphin - it lives at Clearwater aquarium, star of disney film about dolphin with prosthetic tail.
Tampa Aquarium is great for children of all ages, including big ones!
When ours were that young, the beach, sand, water and parks were perfect. If your hotel has a heated pool and slides etc you will be set there.
Boat rides - perhaps more gentle ones for the youngsters, so not the sea screamer.
Botanical gardens in Largo - lovely Christmas lights
Just driving the streets to see crazy outdoor decorations is fun
downtown st pete is lovely to walk and sat morning market is nice too
look out for art shows, outdoor events, there is plenty to do here, you prob don't need to go to Sarasota.
enjoy your visit
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Old 12-01-2014, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
265 posts, read 318,047 times
Reputation: 525
I don't have kids so I probably wouldn't give the best suggestions for them, other than the obvious stuff like the zoo and the Florida Aquarium (which I do recommend, for people of all ages!)... But for your date night out, I would highly recommend spending time in Downtown St Pete. You could maybe start the afternoon off with a visit to the Dali Museum (you can't do that anywhere else!) and then after that you could choose from a myriad wonderful local restaurants and/or bars. You should narrow down for us what kind of food you would want, for further recommendations. One thing that I have to point out is that, after having traveled around the country myself, I learned that there is nowhere else where you can experience GOOD cuban food than here in Florida, so I recommend that, personally. If that sounds up your alley, I recommend the Columbia Restaurant. I think the one in St Pete closed, although I'm not sure about that, but the original location is the best one anyway, especially for the ambience, and the architecture. But it is across the bay in Tampa, in the Ybor district. It's only a quick half hour jaunt away from St Pete though, so it's not far.

Or for that matter, you could have your date night in Ybor, which is the original Tampa. It's the old historic district that put Tampa on the map, actually. While a lot of the original buildings were razed for the chain-restaurants and touristy venues, the original stuff is still plentiful. There are bars, nightclubs, and resturants down there, as well as the Improv comedy club and a few other things.
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Old 12-01-2014, 03:44 PM
 
11 posts, read 13,178 times
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Thanks for the suggestions! We eat anything. Love mexican...which, from what i hear, is quite different from cuban...but we are good for it. I've heard South Florida is the place for good cuban food. We also like sushi. We enjoy everything, but i think one of those might be great places to try while there. Would really like someplace nice with a great feel, ambience, view or something.

Thanks again!
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:58 PM
 
2,365 posts, read 1,118,426 times
Reputation: 1541
I am only assuming that your staying on Clearwater Beach, because that's where 95% of the hotels are located. You didn't mention the specific Hotel your all staying at. Here are the best places to visit with websites for your review.

There is a great dinner time restaurant on the beach called Shephard's Beach Resort. 619 S. Gulfview Blvd. Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 727-442-5107. Restaurants Clearwater Beach | Shephard's Beach Resort | Florida

There is another restaurant if you like Mexican in downtown Dunedin which is a 10 minute drive north of the beach area. On Friday/Saturday the city has a fresh market with fresh produce along with other home made items. Dunedin is a very main street location, lots of visitors. 365 Main Street
Downtown Dunedin, FL 34698
727-734-9226
http://www.casatinas.com/hours.html
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Old 12-03-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Sandy beaches...
403 posts, read 353,096 times
Reputation: 798
If you're here near the holidays and can catch one of the various boat parade around the area, that is to me is a unique thing to see - a bunch of boats all decked out in holiday lights going thru the waterways. You can catch street parade or drive to neighborhoods to see light anywhere but the boat parade is different and my kids enjoyed it.
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