Planning & Advice

Great Family Beach Vacations

Great Family Beach Vacations

Now is the time to take a great family beach vacation. And the best place to reward your family is in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Located on the west coast of the east coast of North America in the west-central region of Florida, there are many beaches to visit, with miles and miles of beach front along the Gulf of Mexico.

Luxury and economy hotel accommodations can be found with deep discounts as tourist dollars have not been plentiful for not only retailers, but hotels and restaurants alike.

With the national hotel stays down 14%, resorts are offering bargain rates and other incentives to attract visitors. The St. Petersburg-Clearwater Convention and Visitors Bureau has reported a drop of 71,000 visitors January through September in 2008, compared to the same calendar period in 2007.

That translates into five to twenty-five percent savings for tourists and Floridians alike.

With average temperatures in the mid to low 70s (F) well into December, coupled with low humidity and little rain, the Tampa Bay area makes for an ideal family beach vacation getaway.

Tampa Bay not only offers great white-sand beaches, its home to the world-famous Dali and Ringling Museums with plenty of fine dining and kid-friendly destinations. Adult-oriented entertainment such as the Seminole Hard Rock Casino and performing arts centers are also available.

In addition, Tampa Bay is the residence of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, a theme park featuring a native African menagerie, great food, live shows and rides. And Orlando’s Disney World, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Universal Studios are just ninety minutes away.

Here are some tips to save money on a family beach vacation:

Book your hotel room in advance and phone the hotel before you take advantage of the internet rates as with the downed tourist numbers, hotels are offering bargain rates and in some cases, free gas-gift cards.

If you plan on visiting one of the many theme parks in the area, phone the park before purchasing your tickets on-line from the park’s web site, often there are unpublished discounts or deals.

Visit the beaches and parks off-season to take advantage of discount deals.

If you plan to stay at a theme park for part of your beach vacation, stay at a value resort and take the courtesy shuttle to avoid the parking charge.

Don’t buy souvenirs in the hotel gift shop chances are you can find them at your local store or online maybe for cheaper.

Bring a cooler for snacks and breakfast.

Remember to factor in sales and hotel taxes.