We have a wild crew. It’s HARD to find a destination that is going to please everyone. My husband likes low-key. My preschooler is always on the go. I’m an adventurer with a foodie soul. And my toddler, as a rule, likes anything new for all of five minutes. This spring, we found the PERFECT resort for everyone — really! Everyone! Many acres of vacation bliss can be found at The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort at St. Pete Beach in the heart of Florida’s Sun Coast.

Kids love digging into the sand at The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort at St. Pete Beach in the heart of Florida's Sun Coast.

Kids love digging into the sand at The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort at St. Pete Beach in the heart of Florida’s Sun Coast. Photo Credit: Amanda Williams / Rural TravelingMom

While there are MANY places to go in Florida and almost all of them are pleasant and memorable, St. Pete Beach has a gem that should not be overlooked in your search for a wholesome, please-everyone vacation spot! SNUBA. Kids club programming. Dive-in movies. Adult entertainment and night life. Ocean and sunsets. Foodie paradise. Yep – it’s all at one location: TradeWinds Island Grand Resort!

TradeWinds Island Grand Resort: Just Let Go

It’s not a rule when you enter the resort grounds, but there are reminders everywhere (though you won’t need them) to “Just Let Go!” I didn’t have any trouble leaving all of my worries and cares behind and securely parked and locked in our Zipcar minivan named “Minnie” for the duration of our stay! In fact, we only left the property to visit nearby Clearwater. And that is my only regret of the entire stay — leaving!

Many acres of vacation bliss can be found at The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort at St. Pete Beach in the heart of Florida's Sun Coast.

Many acres of vacation bliss can be found at The TradeWinds Island Grand Resort at St. Pete Beach in the heart of Florida’s Sun Coast. Photo Credit: Amanda Williams / Rural TravelingMom

For a few days I had no mom guilt. I didn’t do dishes. I ate without worrying about carbs and sodium and focused only of the freshness and the flavors. Staying at the TradeWinds was like my own personal fairytale.

Though we stayed a short time — just three days — we tried to soak in all that the resort had to offer. Of course, we failed miserably.

Three days is NOT long enough, and we were addicted to the High Tide Slide — a three-story monolith that was functioning morning to evening.  We didn’t get to hang at the KONK activities center or take part in the fun scheduled parties and activities around the property. Seriously, plan a week at least!

We were busy waking up early to go shelling (my favorite time with my boy – my heart is happy whenever I think back to those mornings) and staying up later than normal for dive-in movies and sunsets. We didn’t have time to do anything except focus on FUN!

In addition to the activities center and the kids KONK camp, you can also have fun feeding the fishes and the Swans near the Italian restaurant on-site. The kids got a kick out of the Koi. They also spent a good chunk of time at the Shark Tooth Sandbox — but be forewarned. We managed to find two teeth after a long scouring, so that the boys would each be able to have one. If you have a big gang, you might check with the concierge to see if the box is replenished often or if you might need to have a black ops tooth “planting” operation before beginning excavation! Your resort fee covers all of this extra fun and is well worth it.

The gated property features uniformed bellman and parking attendants, so you can be at ease when you leave the car in the lot.

Booking Tip: TradeWinds Island Grand Resort

Our only tip for booking is to request a “Gulfview Suite” for the extra living space and small kitchenette. Be sure to request one 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 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. Or you MAY be charged a fee for the treat when you leave your preschooler unattended near the refrigerator momentarily! Not that we would know or anything

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. While I didn’t have time to get SCUBA certified during our short stay, I did want to experience the big blue up close. So I did the next best thing: SNUBA!

Made popular in Hawaii and brand-new to the TradeWinds this year, this hybrid that marries snorkeling familiarity and comfort with scuba-diving freedom and reach is perfect for beginners, apprehensive adventurers, and kids too! And the best part is it requires little effort or expertise and only an hour or so of your time.

It was marvelous to tap into that rusty area of myself that craves new experiences and best of all, the whole family was able to enjoy the gentle rock of the morning waves while our guides showed us a first-class foray into the sea, in spite of red tide and less than ideal conditions.

We walked by the hydraulic trampoline several times to and from our beachy gulf view suite and finally made the stop at the activity center to purchase a few tokens to let our preschooler fly high too. I’m sure between the High Tide Slide (which we may have set records for most times consecutively conquered) and the trampoline, we ensured that our kids would have some pretty rad memories of our stay at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.

Tradewinds Kids Activities

Photo Credit: Amanda Williams / Rural TravelingMom

 

The boys got to experience the WARM ocean, after a lukewarm reaction to the COLD ocean in Alaska — this was the moment that will forever remain in MY memory. We all got to experience firsts and favorites and lots of fun. We’ve not had another resort experience match this one — it was PERFECT.

Just Let Go and then 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. I get burnt out on tantrums 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!” and drags me out of my tropical trance, I’ve decided I’m bringing the kids, and they’re going to love it!

Well, love it they did. We all did. TradeWinds Island Resorts, especially the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort, is the epitome of what I dream about and expect from a truly well-rounded family getaway. Hats off to them! This stressed mama was able to really, unabashedly just let go the entire vacation!