Back over the winter, we tossed around the idea of a family vacation and figured we could do it! I searched, planned and booked…then we waited. I didn’t want to say “I can’t wait” because I wasn’t going to wish away our summer. But summer went fast as it always does and it was time to go. First time the girls were on a plane!
We flew out on Tues, had a lay over in Atlanta, and arrived in Tampa 10 min early…but there was a bad lightning storm and they couldn’t unload the luggage so we sat around for over an hour waiting to collect our luggage! Finally arrived at our hotel at 8pm.
Day 2 we took a shuttle to Shell Key Island. We found lots of shells and saw manatees! Then we headed to Clearwater Beach so the girls could swim in the Gulf!
Day 3 we headed to Orlando…MAGIC KINGDOM! I am not a huge fan of crowds or amusement parks…so one day at Disney World was enough for me. Juli is very into the Princesses and couldn’t wait to see her favorite, Belle. Rae wanted to see Mike and Sully at the Laugh Floor and Nina’s (and mine) favorite turned out to be Space Mountain! We rode lots of rides, including Thunder Railroad, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain (not me!), Pirates of the Caribbean, among others. Saw the Electric Parade and the fireworks. It was a very long day (up at 5am and returned to the hotel at 1am). But, we did everything we wanted to do…including trying the Dole whip!
Day 4- we slept in a bit on Friday! LOL We started to the day out at the pool, then headed to Honeymoon Island and back to Clearwater Beach. We hung around at Pier 60 for the little craft show and saw a gorgeous sunset!
Day 5- Today we headed to the Weedon Preserve. We saw LOTS of crabs and an armadillo! Then we spent most of the afternoon at St. Pete beach. A spur of the moment decision had us back in Clearwater to take a dolphin cruise with Mega Bite! It was fun and we got to see several dolphins!!
Day 6- We headed to Lakeland to the Circle Bar B Reserve. I found it in a travel book as a good place to see alligators- one thing Nina really wanted to see while in FL. We headed out on the trails and heard them. What a weird sound! Then, I spotted one! A wild gator! It was quite the experience! We ended up seeing 5 of them along the Alligator Alley trail! Saw lots of osprey too! From here, we headed to visit our family that lives outside of Tampa!
Day 7- we headed out early and spent the day along the East Coast. Swam in the Atlantic at Jetty Park (Cape Canaveral), stopped at the Cocoa Beach Pier and drove up to see the space center!
It was a great week and we were able to fit so much in! I took over 1300 pics and put 907 miles on the rental car!! I will be updating my photography website very soon with more pics from our trip! I hope you’ll stop by and take a look!