For the past two years, we’ve gone on a family vacation with my husband’s family. Last year we went to the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms in South Carolina and had a great time with all my in-laws.
This year we decided on Clearwater, Florida. John did really well on the two airplanes (OKC – IAH – TPA) and was obsessed with the safety information card. He showed me how the oxygen masks would be available if necessary, and stressed that I put on mine first, and then helped him with his…this little boy…
Most of the family had already arrived when we got to Tampa and we shared a cap to the the Hyatt Regency, which was a really great, family-friendly resort. They had a great restaurant in the hotel did a great job at accommodating our party of 16; the food was super yummy at Shor and the service was prompt. If you go there, get the mixed grill for dinner. It was seriously delicious! John even loved the chocolate croissants for breakfast from the coffee shop in the lobby.
We had seriously some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life! The fireworks on July 4th were also pretty beautiful. They may have woken John up, but they were quite the show.
Sleep proved challenging. I brought a twin-sized blow up air mattress for John to sleep on, but he wanted absolutely nothing to do with it; in fact, the first night he was silently crying (I thought he was sleeping) for almost an hour after I put him to sleep. Instead, he insisted on sleeping with me. This would not have been bad, except he insisted on sleeping literally on top of me the entire night. My chest was his pillow. This wouldn’t have been terrible, except my 2.5 year old is the loudest snorer! Even with ear plugs, I had a difficult time sleeping at night.
My sister-in-law Lina was really amazing for coordinating the hotels, getting us cabanas on the beach, making sure everyone was fed and clean and dry and even babysitting John at night so I could go eat with “the adults.” I really wish we lived closer and got to see everyone more often.
The only thing that would have made this vacation better was if Bashar was able to come. Unfortunately, he had to stay in Oklahoma City and work the July 4th holiday at the hospital. We really missed him, but our days were full of text exchanges and FaceTime calls. John really missed his “baba” as he calls him, and was attached to my brother-in-law Andrew, who I think he viewed as his baba-replacement. John’s not really able to say many multiple syllable words, but he nailed Andrew after about 2 hours. It was impressive. He also played with his cousins non-stop. I swear he had expanded his vocabulary significantly after being around older kids for 5 days.
John was absolutely obsessed with the beach. It was the first thing he asked for in the morning, “me go beach?” and the last thing he asked for before bed, “mama, me go beach?” It makes me sad that there isn’t a beach in Oklahoma City where I can take him. I suppose the playground with the sandbox will have to suffice until our next trip!
I think next year we’ll pick a different location, although this one was really nice; I certainly wouldn’t mind returning. Next year though, we’ll definitely plan it better to ensure that Bashar can come. It was a real bummer that I was with all of his family and he had to miss it! Any other suggestions for fun family-friendly beach vacation in the US? Leave them below!