What do you do when you need a break from the day-to-day doldrums and workaday life? You get away! Living in the Tampa area, that usually means taking a weekend over on the east coast to go play on the beach and soak up the sun while playing in the the massive saltwater playground surrounding you. You know…all those things you can’t do while in Tampa…oh wait.
FTC Disclaimer – I was invited to visit The TradeWinds Island Resorts and let my family experience what they have to offer. While I was compensated for this post, the opinions contained herein are mine and my family’s.
Ever since moving here, we’ve always gone across the state to take some time off. One peculiarity I noticed on one of our trips happened while talking to the bartender at the hotel we were staying at. We were talking about getting some time off and just unplugging. She mentioned that she was going to take a weekend off and get away from it all, herself. I asked her where she was going.
“I’m heading towards the Tampa Bay area.”
Wait, what? So, I started asking around at most places we went to. And, as it turns out, the people on the east coast of Florida, tend to go to the west coast of Florida for their mini-vacations, and vice versa. They always talk about how the Tampa Bay area is so awesome. Odd. Was this a case of the grass being greener on the other side of the state? Perhaps.
I was contacted about possibly going to check out The TradeWinds Island Resorts for a day of family fun. You know I said yes! This was going to be the test. Does the west coast (where we’ve lived for the last 9 years) compare with the east coast? I wanted to see if there was a need to drive all the way across the state when we could visit something closer to home.
I had no idea what I was getting into.
I’m just going to deluge you with pictures here because no matter what I say about the feel of the warm silky sand crunching beneath my feet as we made our way through an ocean of cabanas before reaching the pristine beach bathed in blue-green water teeming with life….it just won’t do it justice.
…and then we’re going to do some ACTION! They do keep me on my toes!
The boys wasted zero time getting into the water. We had barely set our stuff down before they started dragging us out the door.
(The TradeWinds Island Resorts opened up a room for us and the rest of the bloggers there, to rest, and reset in. And it was much appreciated!)
We had barely set our stuff down on the cabana before…zoom!
This is an amazing structure, and I’m sad I didn’t get a chance to play on it. As you can see in the picture, there’s no one on it. This is because there was a thunderstorm looming behind us that was throwing out some lighting. So, for safety, they pulled everyone from the structure. Yay, Safety! (I’ll be adding some facts at the bottom of the post about all the stuff you’re looking at here. So, stick around!)
This is how the pros do it. You know…except for much longer. ProTip: Don’t celebrate too soon.
It was time to beat the heat and knock back some lunchage. I got the boys set up with some hot dogs and grilled chicken breast. Then, I sat down for a cheeseburger and some loaded baked potato salad. That’s when I noticed I was drink-less. I asked my wife to get me a soda. She brought me this:
After lunch, we took in the sites. I knew the place was big, but pictures just don’t do it justice. We splashed around in 4 separate pools. Then, we found the paddle-boats.
Who knew we’d hit traffic??
After splashing around in another pool to cool off, we headed back to the beach. I decided to try my hand at sitting in one of the cabanas and doing NOTHING. I’m proud to say, I think I may have perfected that skill in record time.
Oh, and if all of this isn’t enough…there’s this:
My oldest and I climbed up this massive inflated slide and shot down together. I’d love to show you the absolute ninja move I pulled while going down the slide to avoid hitting my son, who decided that sliding in front of me was going to be more fun than sliding beside me, but we were going too fast and my wife didn’t get a good shot of us. We were going to give it another go, but shortly after that was the ‘lightning warning’.
So, we went back to the room and got cleaned up. The boys watched cartoons for a little bit before it was time to go. One of the most important aspects of being a parent is knowing your kids’ limits. If you push them too far, it could turn into meltdown city. Having gone through that at Disney one day, I vowed, “NEVER AGAIN!”. And the boys were starting to give off the ‘exhausted vibes’. We loaded up in the car just in time for my youngest to pass out.
Now, this is just a slice of a slice of what’s going on at the Tradewinds. They were kind enough to give me some additional information about their resorts. Wow. I’m only going to touch on the highlights, but needless to say, there’s just about something for just about everyone here.
Is your child autistic? Did you know that Tradewinds is one of only three hotels in Florida that are labeled as Autism-Friendly?
The TradeWinds Island Resorts Island Grand and Sandpiper Suites have been named an autism-friendly business by the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (C.A.R.D.)
For more information, I’ve got it all laid out for you here!
Now, onto some of the things you’ll see!
- Remember the pictures of the splash park and the slide? Splash Island Water Park is a 20,000-square-foot water park and playground floating in the Gulf of Mexico just 60 feet off the resort’s sandy shoreline. A perfect accompaniment to the popular three-story High Tide Slide on the beach, the water park offers more than 11 fun-filled features – from jumping and climbing, to relaxing and sunning.
- Want to bring a pet? They can help you out with that. A select number of newly-renovated pet-friendly suites are available at the Island Grand for furry family members wanting to join the fun. The resorts Pet Play Zone features doggie drinking fountains, umbrellas for shade, doggie rinse and drying station with towels, owner sitting area, fire hydrants, and more.
- All guest rooms and suites feature refrigerators, microwaves, dishware, toasters, coffee maker with daily complimentary coffee, stocked mini-bar, hair dryers, lighted makeup mirrors, irons and ironing boards, high-speed wireless Internet access, in-room safe, pay-per-view movies and cable TV with premium channels. (Seriously, they had me at INCLUDED wi-fi)
- Relax knowing your carbon footprint isn’t taking a pounding while on vacation! The TradeWinds Island Grand is a designated Two Palm Certified Green Lodge by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
- Hungry? Because they have no lack of places to get your grub on:
Palm Court Italian Grill Ice Cream Shoppe
Bermudas RedBeard’s Sharktooth Tavern
Flying Bridge Salty’s Tiki Bar
Beef ‘O’Brady’s Island Grand Deli
Pizza Hut Express Awakenings Coffee and Spirits Bar
Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Resort:
Guy’s Gulfside Grill The Sand Bar
Perks Up Coffee & Cocktails
Room service is available at both TradeWinds properties.
- On the Beach
20 acres of white sand beaches
Beach Cabanas – Two-person and hooded with cushions
ScheldePro Beach Volleyball
Beach Toys – Sand buckets and shovels, sand molds
Beach Front Hammocks
Beach Games – Bocce Ball, Horseshoes, Cornhole and more
- Make a Splash
Five Heated Swimming Pools – One covered, one kiddie, one adult
Splash Island Water Park
JetLev Jet Packs
WaveJet Surf School
Three-Story High Tide Inflatable Slide on the Beach
Paddleboats Along Waterway
Snorkeling, Shelling and Dolphin Watch Cruises
Fishing charters, boat rentals and more can be reserved through the neighboring Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Beach Resort.
- On the Go
Two Har-Tru Tennis Courts
- Nearby: Golf Privileges at some of the area’s best private & public clubs
- Kids Stuff
KONK (Kids Only, No Kidding!) Children’s Program and Activity Area TradeWinds Adventure Center Recreational Programs
Bonded Babysitting Services
- Shops, Services, Centers, Salons and More
Hertz Rental Car
Two Retail Shops
Full-Service Salon & Spa Services
On-site Concierge Services
Dry Cleaning Service
And there’s still more. You’re just going to have to go there or to their website for more information.
TradeWinds Island Grand
Toll free 1-866-JustLetGo (587-8538)