Okay I’m thinking I probably don’t need to do that MUCH convincing that you could use a little getaway. With work, random obligations, kids activities, more work, practices and an ever-growing to-do list, sometimes you just need a weekend away, am I right?
A weekend with nearly nothing on the agenda except relaxing, especially one by the water, is good for the soul. Which is why I popped up and did a little happy dance when Southwest Airlines gave me the opportunity to jump on a flight and spend a few days on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. And here’s why you need to pick a weekend and go hit “book a flight.”
1. It’s Easy. Vacations are the best but admit it, planning them can be stressful. This is truly one of the easiest vacations to book. No elaborate flights to research, just a quick nonstop flight from Louisville or Cincinnati straight to Tampa International Airport, from there it’s a short drive to Clearwater. It’s as easy as picking a date, booking a flight and making a reservation at a hotel. From there, you just have to throw a bathing suit in a bag, toss in some flip flops and leave all the to-do’s and plans behind.
Hop in a quick Uber or taxi and you’re beachside in minutes. Seriously you can go from a cold, rainy day in Kentucky to sipping a fruity drink on the beach in four hours flat.
Need a recommendation on where to stay: The Avalon Club Hotel was perfect. Right on the beach, just a couple blocks away from all the best restaurants with a pool that has a view of water and a nice little bar. They have two and three bedroom suites with kitchens and washer/dryer units so you can stay for a couple days or a full week and be right at home.
2. The Goldilocks of Beaches. I’m pretty sure you were already convinced when I said it was easy to plan but here’s the first of four more reasons why you need to book that trip. I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge “sit at the beach” girl. Mostly I hate sand. I LOVE looking at the beach. I love sitting by the water but man oh man, sand is my nemesis.
The beaches in Clearwater though, are the Goldilocks of beaches. It’s that good soft white sand and it’s flat. So no huffing and puffing to get to the perfect spot. And once you’re there, you won’t have the wind blowing sand up in your face or ruining your cocktail. All very important when it comes to a great beach day.
3. The Vibe. The vibe is good. Easy-going but not to the point where you’re waiting forever for food or to get into your room. Casual but in the best way possible. The come as you are attitude coupled with great amenities.
Clearwater reminded me a lot of the way Miami used to be when I was growing up with a little bit of the Keys thrown in. You feel like you’ve been there before even if it’s your first time.
4. It’s for All Ages. Want to take your kids for a fun beach weekend?. You’re good. There’s plenty of activities and restaurants to accommodate kids. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is on my list for when we go with the kids and you can rent bikes and do lots of exploring of the national parks nearby.
Want to get away with your girlfriends for some fun on the beach? Perfection. You can keep it low-key with long days at the beach sandwiched between brunch at Clear Sky Cafe, a fish sammy at Frenchy’s and dinner at Island Way Grill. Or you can amp it up by heading over to Tampa or St. Pete for a night out on the town.
Doing a family trip with parents? It’s legit made for this. Everything is easily walkable, very accessible with a laid back attitude and something for everyone. Drag them out for live music and some rum runners one night or keep it classy with dinner at Blinkers.
5. Winter is Coming. We all know January – March can be a very gray time in this part of the country. A weekend of sunshine, even if you have to throw on a sweatshirt, at the beach is just what the doctor ordered after a few weeks of gray, rainy days.
The non-stop flights on Southwest Airlines can have you sitting by the beach in no time and the rates in January and February won’t break the bank, making it the perfect time to escape for a few days away.
If you do book a flight, drop me a note and let me know so I can meet you down there because I am already jonesing to go back. A frozen daiquiri and fish sandwich at Frenchy’s is calling my name.
Photos by Tabitha Booth
Thanks so much to Southwest Airlines for partnering on this post. As always, I only work with brands I truly love and projects that I’m excited to share with you all. All thoughts, opinions and ramblings are my own.