Family Getaway On A Budget: Clearwater Beach, FL

Family Getaway On A Budget: Clearwater Beach, FL

Clearwater Beach Lodging…….  $200/night @ 3 nights + $100 cleaning fee =  $700

This price reflects vacationing during “off-peak” season. This price will fluctuate throughout the year for this condo.

We stayed at a beachfront condo that I found on VRBO. With 3 little ones, we prefer staying in a condo or apartment style setup verse a hotel room. This gives us the option to eat in and a place for the kids to have nap times without having to tip toe around.

My favorite condo features:

  • Master suite setup with balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The cleanliness
  • The bedroom setup where our 2 girls stayed. It made them feel like we got this condo just for them with the feminine touches!
  • How well furnished it was. Stacks of beach towels, a fully stocked kitchen, and even a big bottle of conditioner!

Flights for 4 seats………….  $422 (includes all fees, 1 checked bag, and PARKING)

We flew Frontier Airlines out of Chicago O’Hare (ORD) directly to Tampa, FL (TPA).

We parked at the Hyatt Place Chicago/O’Hare Airport. Parking here was $18/day vs. $36/day (cost at O’Hare airport). A shuttle runs every 30 minutes. Because we flew out at 8:00 AM from Chicago, we stayed here the night before ($120 with taxes and fees for 1 king bed + sofa). They offer a well stocked FREE hot continental breakfast that starts at 6 AM.  The pool was well sized, clean, and water was warm. The shuttle service was easy to use getting to and from the airport. It was less than a 10 minute ride from hotel to our terminal.

Tolls to & from Chicago……………………… $25

Transportation………………..  $80

Includes an Uber to and from TPA airport ($70) and a 1 day all-day family pass for the Jolly Trolley ($10).

Food for 4 days for family of 4……………….  $500

For us, this included eating out 3 meals a day and drinks. We ate out breakfast, lunch, & dinner. The food down there is amazing. This food total could be reduced drastically if you were to take advantage of the condo’s kitchen. We just didn’t hold back… Basically we beached it and ate for 4 days straight!

  • Favorite breakfast spot: Beach Shanty Cafe. Located just north of Pier 60 on Mandalay Ave. Their waffle with homemade coconut syrup has my mouth still watering. They are also home of the $3.99 breakfast (1 egg, pan fried home fries, and toast).
  • Favorite lunch spot: You cannot go wrong with any of the Frenchie’s. Trust me, if you go to Clearwater, you WILL stumble across a Frenchie’s restaurant! My favorite lunch though was at Salt Cracker Fish Camp. I had their grouper fish tacos… so good! They also had $2 bud light drafts all day. We indulged and all shared a piece of key lime pie which was fantastic! Our average lunch bill (with tip) was $40.
  • Favorite supper spot: Island Way Grill…. Both me and my husband’s favorite meal of the trip. I had the Strip Steak topped with shrimp and a pesto sauce and Spencer had the swordfish. Both were phenomenal. It is a little pricier ($25-40/meal)… A little fancier. We all got in our sun dresses (girls) and button downs (guys) and rode the “jolly trolley” to dinner. The girls LOVE any public transportation!

Attractions………………………………………..  $70

 

We went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. If you take a family vacation, make sure you all watch “Dolphin Tale” the movie before you come. Then go to this aquarium. It is very informational and the girls loved seeing Winter the dolphin. Also, there is a $2 off admission coupon in flyers/brochures that we found near Pier 60.

$20 of the $70 we spent on this giant inflatable slide right there on the beach at pier 60. I even went down once. It definitely gives your belly butterflies! Cost breakdown: $20 for 10 rides.

We didn’t do any water excursions, but there are plenty to choose from: a pirate boat ride, dinner cruises, jet ski rentals, parasailing, deep sea fishing, and the list goes on…

Beach Cabana + 2 Chairs Rental…………………….. $30

Rental is good for the day. We got roped into renting one after our 9 month old son fell asleep and we set him in one not knowing you had to rent them. I don’t regret it though! We ended up spending 9 hours there on the beach. The kids all napped in there and lounged throughout the day. I would rent it again!

Grand Total For 4 Days For A Family of 4 + 1 Infant…………….  $1827

 

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If you plan to vacation to Clearwater, FL soon I hope you find this helpful! I always appreciate knowing the “good spots” before I head out on a trip. If you have been before and have some other personal favorites, please comment below for others to know about!!

One last thing I should mention. The sunsets here are stunning! At Pier 60, every night they have indie/craft vendors up and down the pier 2 hours before and 2 hours after sunset. They also have a wonderful playground for the kids. We did this one night before dinner. Watching the sunset from our balcony at the condo though was by far my favorite! We would get cleaned up for dinner and sit out on the balcony enjoying the sunset and a cocktail…. take me back already!!

 

New Year | New ________

What is your new year resolution?

 

Make it attainable.

 

Narrow it down to one thing.

 

Write it on paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror.

 

My resolution: Better manage my time in order to better succeed in different avenues of my life. AKA: T I M E | M A N A G E M E N T

 

2017 is your year. Tell yourself what you want to make of it. Keep telling yourself again and again and again. Before you know it you will have made it happen. If you dream it and think about it often, you will naturally start acting on it and achieve it.

 

Lastly…

 

My best advice for this new year: surround yourself with those who better you.

Oh and always remember:

Being a positive impact leads to confidence. Confidence builds courage. Courage makes dreams come true… sooooo basically let your beauty shine ; )

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

 

 

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