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Old 07-17-2012, 02:18 AM   #16
butterflygirl3
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OP here - thank you for all the tips!!! My hubby and I were talking about a beach day on the way down and he said, "I will have to research it to see what I can come up with!" I said, "Don't worry about it, I will ask on my disboards, they will help us!!! " And you didn't let me down Thanks so much!!!
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:29 AM   #17
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So, I want to take my kids to the beautiful soft sandy beach, look for seashells, build sandcastles and jump in the waves. Which beach am I wanting? Or is it out there? Forgive me if I sound like in a fantasy world I haven't been to the beach in over 15 years.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:54 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HayGan View Post
There are public parking places for the beach all along the main street (sorry can't remember the name right now.) They are very eay to find and clearly marked. Some have meters and some do not.

Check out these links
http://www.clearwater-fl.com/info/ab...hy/beaches.asp
http://www.visitclearwaterflorida.co...formation.aspx
Thanks so much for the great link! I will be visiting Clearwater this August!

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Originally Posted by butterflygirl3 View Post
So, I want to take my kids to the beautiful soft sandy beach, look for seashells, build sandcastles and jump in the waves. Which beach am I wanting? Or is it out there? Forgive me if I sound like in a fantasy world I haven't been to the beach in over 15 years.
I think Gulf Beaches are better for what you are looking for. there are parks attached to some of these beaches, for grilling , hanging out.
I haven't been to a Gulf beach in 15 years myself, but with small kids I'd head to the Gulf instead of to the Ocean.
The BIG waves are on the Ocean side, like Cocoa Beach or Daytona Beach.
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Old 07-17-2012, 11:45 AM   #19
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I've actually never been to the FL Gulf coast, to be fair, or at least not since I was very young, but I've been to other bay areas and lakes. To me, it's not a real beach unless there are real waves. A big part of the beach is hearing the sound of surf.

Yes, you have to be careful with small kids at any beach, but especially ones where they allow cars. As far as I've seen though, the vehicles stay in a single lane/zone, and the blankets stay in another. But if I had toddlers, Daytona might not be my first pick for a week long visit.

The resort I mentioned also has a beautiful beach view pool. So that's the best of both worlds. You can go down on the sand for a bit, hit the surf, then head up by the pool.
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:40 PM   #20
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If I was going to an east coast/Atlantic beach I personally would choose Cocoa Beach, definitely over Daytona Beach.
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Old 07-19-2012, 10:48 AM   #21
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I used to live in Pinellas county, so I visited the beaches from St. Pete up through Clearwater often. Unless you need waves big enough to surf, there is plenty of wave action on the Gulf coast. The sand is softer and there are more shells than on the Atlantic coast.

That being said, now that I live near Orlando and have family in Cocoa Beach, I mostly go to the Atlantic side. Although I do spend time walking on the beach, even as an adult I often find those larger waves intimidating. But it's fun to watch the surfers fighting them.

If you want shells and good sand for sand castles, I recommend anywhere along the Gulf coast. It will be easier for the kids to get water without being knocked over by large waves, and the shelling is much better. I would imagine coming from St. Louis, that it would be less out of your way to choose a Gulf coast beach as well.
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Old 07-19-2012, 12:28 PM   #22
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Just got back from visiting both a Gulf beach and a beach on the Atlantic. I can say without a doubt that the gulf beach was much nicer. Hubby and I first went to Siesta Key (without the kids!) for 3 days. We enjoyed the soft sand and the beautiful clear water. We had some waves the first day, but after that the water was pretty calm. Lots of kids using skim boards/boogie boards on the beach. The water is great for younger kids as it is shallow for a long way out...and you can just sit in the shallow water and play. No rocky sand fillling the bottom of your bathing suit! We then got the kids and went over to Amelia Island for 4 days. The waves were pretty rough. The sand was very shelly/rocky....our bathing suits were filled with broken shells/rocks....very uncomfortable. Water is not clear at all....you cannot see your feet once you step into the water. The kids spent more time in the condo pool than in the ocean due to the waves ( DD10 and DS5). More unique shells were found on the Gulf beaches.

We are going to take the kids to Siesta Key for the day next weekend so they can enjoy the ocean...it is only 1 hour and 10 minutes from my house....and I live about 40 minutes from the parks.

Of course this is all my opinion...and yours may differ. We just prefer the soft, cool sand and the clear, calmer water. If you are not used to going to the beach....then I think any beach will seem like a great beach day, but if you are a little jaded like we are....then only certain ones will feel like heaven.
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Old 07-19-2012, 05:02 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by butterflygirl3 View Post
So, I want to take my kids to the beautiful soft sandy beach, look for seashells, build sandcastles and jump in the waves. Which beach am I wanting? Or is it out there? Forgive me if I sound like in a fantasy world I haven't been to the beach in over 15 years.
If this is what your looking for go to Siesta Key! The beach is beautiful, sand is white powder that is cool to the touch and makes great sandcastles. While the waves aren't huge my son & friends manage to skim and boggie board here just about daily in the summer. There is a reason this beach is always listed in the top beaches in FL. Stay for sun set it is not to be missed.

Google Siesta Key for pics. We love it so much we moved here from a southern CA beach town 10 years ago and never looked back. People here are wonderful as well.

Parking can get crowded in season but in Sept you shouldn't have an issue with parking.

It's about 1.5 hours drive from WDW.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:24 AM   #24
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I would encourage you to look into Anna Maria Island. It is a few islands north of Siesta Key and much less crowded. Also, the buildings on Anna Maria are not as tall as those on Siesta Key & Long Boat Key, so you can view the water quite often as you drive along. We spent a week in the Holmes Beach section of Anna Maria and we absolutely loved it. We tried to go to Siesta Key for a day, but unfortunately they were having trouble with small jellyfish that day (and the day before that), so we didn't get to check out the water there. The beach seemed nice, though it was hard to find parking and easy beach access because we weren't staying on the island. I think the gulf island beaches are definitely the place to be.
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