Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marco Island, Florida: Our first family Vacation!

We traveled to Marco Island Florida, the week of labor day.  Aside from the threat of hurricane season, this was a great time to visit.  Tickets were a decent price ($100/each way non stop from DCA to RSW).  The water temperature was perfect, the beaches and airport security line were nice and empty!  I've never gone through security so fast, there was not a soul in line.

Marco island can be summed up very easily.  A beautiful and quiet retirement community with SO many shells.

Seriously, I don't think I've ever seen so many beautiful shells in my life.  I came back with at least 20 beautiful conch shells all with a unique story imbedded on their swirls.  Sanibel Island which is a neighboring island to Marco, was one of the places Paul and I thought about going a few years ago because of my love for collecting sea shells while at the beach.  So when my Mother in law told us she was throwing herself and her kids a 60th birthday celebration in Marco Island, I knew exactly how I wanted to spend my time!  I don't know about you, but I love letting my mind wander as my eyes focus downwards and my ears hear the beautiful sound of the crashing waves.  I can't think of a better way to enjoy the peacefulness of the simple things in life.

Someone else is following in my footsteps, but for a different reason.  Maybe, he was tasting a salty seafood lunch?!  I kidd, I kidd.  Needless to say, my love of mindlessly wandering looking for shells was put on hold to make sure my child didn't kill himself with his love for putting all things into his mouth (when does this fun little part of babyhood end?). 

Marco, was a great place to take a young baby.  There were no rowdy party goers, the beaches were CLEAN, I mean the cleanest I've probably ever seen, and because it is on the gulf coast you didn't have to worry about standing in the water with your baby and being knocked over by an unexpectedly big wave.  It is also awesome that the sun sets right over the ocean.  As an east coast girl, this was an quite the treat. 
Is there a better way to enjoy breakfast?!
We stayed in a really nice, newly renovated hilton grand vacation club property called Sunset Cove Resorts.  It was stunning.  I was in awe of the interior designer who put the condos together.  The layouts, textiles, furnishings and finishes were amazing.  The shower in the master suite was probably the size of our entire powder room.  I wish I had taken more pictures of the condos, but alas the only thing I managed to take a picture of was the dual toned paint colors which I'm considering doing a rendition of in our family room.  Do you like it?

The only thing I would change about the hotel is the location.  It is part of a marina, which isn't walkable to the beach, so we had to drive there.  The marina is really great if you are there to do boating.  It still provides a great view.  We were able to see a double rainbow, dolphins and beautiful sunsets and an awesome lighting storm from the screen in porch.  There is a free shuttle to the beach, but with a baby and a carseat, you had to drive yourself and pay the $8 a day to park at the public beach entrance which was a few blocks from the surf.  The HGV club on the beach was already booked up in Marco as were all the HGV clubs in Sanibel so since there isn't really a whole lot to do in Marco aside from going to the beach, I think if we had been able to stay right on the beach our opinion of Marco and our trip would probably be very different.  The outer banks still stands as my all time favorite place to go for a family vacation with or without kids.

 Being so far from the beach did make it feel like we weren't actually at the beach.  We ended spending a lot of time at the pool since going downstairs to the hotel's terrace was a lot easier to manage between naps and meals then getting everyone out the door and in the car.  The pool was pretty cool.  I've heard about walk in pools being the new style and they are fantastic!  So easy to get into.  Especially with a baby or young child who is just learning to be comfortable in the water.  The pool was small and got crowded during peak times, but we really enjoyed it.  It has a fantastic view of the marina.  The beach chairs were also really nice and new.  Sammy practically owned them as you can see below.

There was a beautiful new shopping center with a starbucks who be still my heart, gave my first pumpkin spice latte of the season a few days early.  The shopping center also had wonderful restaurants, a marina with some rockin boats and cute shops within a 2 minute walk as well as a grocery store right next door.  Since the main point of the trip was a family reunion, being in condos with our siblings and parents worked out perfectly.

On a dock behind a Marco Island Restaurant
I've written about my love for the beach many times before and even designed Sammy's nursery in a beach theme (read about our beach trips, here, herehere and here!) Needless to say, I was more than elated to finally get some sand on Sammy's baby toes.  What a wonderful experience!  Sammy took to the beach like he was made for it.  Not surprising since he did visit the beach 4 times during my pregnancy!

Hard to believe 10.5 months later, here we are.  Does any first time mother really ever grasp the gift they are about to receive when they become pregnant?!  I certainly never could have imagined that my very happy life was so incomplete before.

I'll trade mindlessly wandering looking for shells to playing in the sand with Sammy anyday. 


And before you get to thinking he is a complete mama's boy, here are some pics with his second favorite person in the world.

Where did your summer travels take you this year?  What are your favorite kid friendly vacation spots?


Mrs in Training said...

Wow, Marco Island looks gorgeous! I'd never heard of it before!

Mimi said...

Hey! It was really beautiful. I hadn't heard of it before either. I think that is why it is still so pretty. I think it is more of a retirement place than anything else.

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