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Sometimes you just need to let it all go, kick back and relax. But when you’re the vacation planner of the family, it isn’t always easy to do. Read on to learn how the whole family – even mom – can just let go at Florida’s TradeWinds Resort.
Choose to Let Go at Tradewind Islands Grand Resort
We have a wild crew. From the grandparents to the littlest little, every one has an opinion. It’s hard to find a destination that is going to please everyone.
For our last trip, we narrowed down the state to Florida, which seemed to work for everyone. My parents like low-key with access to amenities. My preschooler is always on the go and loves the outdoors. I’m an adventurer with a foodie soul. My husband requires good beer. And the big kid? He needs thrills.
This is a tall order, I know. We struck gold with the perfect resort for everyone – really! Everyone! Many acres of vacation bliss can be found at The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort and Rumfish Beach Resort at St. Pete Beach in the heart of Florida’s Sun Coast.
While there are many places to go in Florida and almost all of them are pleasant and memorable, St. Pete Beach boasts a wholesome, please-everyone vacation spot. And more: Kids club programming. Dive-in movies. Evening entertainment and night life. Ocean and sunsets. Foodie paradise. Yep, it’s all at one location: TradeWinds Island Grand Resort!
I later learned if your family includes a furry friend, the resort will welcome him as well. There is a small cupboard full of pet amenities and paw prints on the sidewalks indicating where animals are welcome.
We’d been there previously as a small family and it was great. The TripAdvisor community raves about it, and it’s pet friendly. I figured it was a good bet for an extended multi-generational stay.
Lock Up and Let Go
When you enter the resort grounds, there are reminders everywhere to “Just Let Go!” Trust me, you won’t need to be reminded. I didn’t have any trouble leaving all of my worries and cares behind. I just securely parked and locked our minivan for the duration of our stay. In fact, we only left the property to visit nearby Clearwater and take a trip to Publix. My one regret of the entire stay is leaving!
Heads up – don’t get this surfside paradise confused with St. Petersburg, which is about 18 miles away. Tradewinds Resort is situated on miles of white sand beaches at St. Pete Beach, on the Gulf of Mexico. It feels like a tropical foreign country, but is conveniently located in the United States.
The resort is only a short drive from Tampa, or an easy Uber or car rental trip from the airport there. We pulled into the check-in station of the resort and were greeted by bellmen wearing safari-style hats and tropical shirts. The vacation vibe was evident, even in the parking lot! We locked the van and let go of traffic, chores and time itself. We were ready to enjoy our family and our vacation time!
For a few days I had no mom guilt. No dishes. No diet or calorie-counting. Staying at TradeWinds was like my own personal fairy tale. on the Sunshine Coast
Investments of Time
I believe in investing time in your vacation. Take all the time you can get! Our first stay at TradeWinds was three days. This year we added a day. And trust me, it still wasn’t enough! An extra week would be ideal.
With our past experience to guide us, we planned in time for listening to local artists play music, a live pirate show (from our balcony, no less!) and even fun some in the KONK Kids Center. The kids had adventure passes to keep busy, but we made sure to allow everyone some down time. That’s what vacation is all about, right?
The Tide Is High
Water sports are the name of the game here. We were addicted to the High Tide water slide, a three-story monolith. If the winds aren’t too high, there is a floating water park.
But do venture out of the resort. Saint Pete Beach holds a Guinness Book world record for most consecutive sunny days and the beach is certainly the star! Head for the sand for banana boat rides, Sea Doo rentals, stand-up paddleboards, kayaking, and romping in the surf.
Booking a beach hotel helped our main mission: uncovering early morning shells and discovering ocean life. We woke up early to go shelling (my favorite time with my boy – my heart is happy whenever I think back to those mornings). Of course, we stayed up later than normal to take in dive-in movies and sunsets.
And there was even more sealife when we ate! Everyone enjoyed the food and ambiance of the Rumfish Grill. I knew the grandparents would appreciate some finer food and the kids would be so busy with the fish that we’d have time to soak in the aquarium atmosphere.
Tradewinds Island Grand and Rumfish Beach Resort Dining and Drinking Day in and Day Out
We had several on-site dining options to enjoy. Dining at the Flying Bridge, beach-side and al fresco, was perfect for eating with the kids. With the kids playing with sand pails or on hammocks nearby, the grown ups were actually able to taste their food! You can’t really get more family-friendly than this!
Eating at Bermudas was our favorite way to start the day. We were able to easily find enough to fill a plate (or two) and the kids could always fall back to a breakfast cereal. To be honest, I enjoy sugary cereals, too. I was delighted to add a bowl of Frosted Flakes to my array of food options.
Tradewinds Island Resort Activities On-Site
In addition to the activities center and the kids KONK camp, you can have fun feeding the fishes and swans near Palm Court Italian grill restaurant. We spent a good chunk of time searching for teeth at the Shark Tooth Sandbox. We even managed to take home two teeth – a great souvenir.
Mini golf is another option we found while wandering the vast property. My kids schooled papa in a multi-generational grudge match. And for more fun, nake sure to check out Bucky the Shark (think mechanical bull, Florida style!). Softer adventure awaits at adjacent Rumfish Beach Resort where guests can ride a surfboard simulator. Your resort fee covers most of this extra fun. (We did use adventure pass tokens to ride Bucky.)
Resort Orientation — Use the Experts!
The bellmen act as parking attendants and have golf carts and luggage trolleys to help facilitate your transition from vehicle to vacation. They are also most helpful in getting you to your suite or room, since the property has several buildings. There are full-size tennis courts and an event tent adjacent to the parking lots which help as landmarks for orienting as you explore. Don’t use swimming pools as guideposts, as there are seven of them on-site!
TravelingMom Tip – get online and reserve a beach cabana (one is complimentary each day with your room; you get two with a two-bedroom suite) and reserve your sun shelter before 2 a.m. the day prior for the best spot for your family. We liked having a spot close to the slide and nearer the guest rooms. The most popular are the front row cabanas, which are reservation-ready for an additional fee.
Booking Tip: TradeWinds Island Grand Resort
When you book the resort, be sure to request a “Gulfview Suite” for the extra living space and small kitchenette. Be sure to ask for a suite that isn’t right next to Salty’s Tiki bar. If you like to hear the waves crash with open windows at night, your best bet is a room a little further down the way from the carefree night owls nearer the activity center area.
Also, if you have kids that are curious and independent, you might request the chocolate covered strawberries and champagne NOT be placed in your fridge. If you don’t, you may be charged a fee for the treat when you leave your preschooler unattended near the refrigerator momentarily! We may have been there…
Just Let Go of Your Inhibitions
It’s been a decade or more since this skydiving, whitewater rafting, adventure mama has done much in the way of daring feats or exhilarating attempts to awaken the explorer spirit within. I was in a funk. I was a mom after all, so I needed to do “mom things.” On this trip, I finally let that foolhardy thinking go. So I decided to SNUBA!
For the uninitiated, SNUBA is a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving, where you breathe through a regulator attached to a floating supply tank. It’s easy to learn and can take you to a variety of depths. One warning, however – all participants are required to sign a standard release form that covers a variety of situations, from having a head cold to pregnancy to being asthmatic or using an inhaler. This is serious stuff, so read the release careful and be honest in responding. SNUBA is fun, but it’s not worth cutting your vacation short with a medical emergency.
The kids were tempted by the hydraulic trampoline, which we walked by several times as we went to and from our gulf view suite. Finally we stopped at the activity center to purchase a few tokens to let our big kid fly high. I’m sure between the High Tide Slide (which we may have set records for most times consecutively conquered) and the trampoline, our kids will have some pretty rad memories of our stay at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.
And a bonus – the boys got to experience the warm ocean, finally. This surprised them, after a lukewarm reaction to the cold ocean in Alaska. Like the rest of this resort experience, the warm Florida tides were just perfect.
Let’s Go Back Again!
As much as my friends look to me for advice – I’m a traveling mom, after all – sometimes I feel like an utter failure. Tantrums run me down just like everyone else. Just because I’ve spent hours meticulously planning, researching and writing about taking a trip with tots doesn’t mean the tots are going to cooperate. I admit it: sometimes I dread traveling with my kids and would love to go back to the days of free-spirited solo spontaneity.
But you know what happens?
I start to daydream about an island getaway like the TradeWinds Resorts without my kids. Ultimately before one of them screams “Mom!” I’ve decided I’m bringing the kids and they’re going to love it. Or so I tell myself….
Well, love it they did. We all did. TradeWinds Island Grand Resort is the epitome of what I dream about and expect from a truly well-rounded family getaway. This stressed mama was able to really, unabashedly just let go the entire vacation and so did papa and granny. It’s surely something the kids will remember forever, too.