Srq, Jax or tpa

Old May 18, 15, 10:31 pm
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Srq, Jax or tpa

Looking to add a free one way to an award ticket. Looking at a quick weekend getaway after Thanksgiving and can do any of the three. Mostly looking for warmth and a place to relax for a weekend. Never been to any of them, any suggestions, advice about each place?
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Old May 18, 15, 10:50 pm
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Originally Posted by sound48 View Post
Looking to add a free one way to an award ticket. Looking at a quick weekend getaway after Thanksgiving and can do any of the three. Mostly looking for warmth and a place to relax for a weekend. Never been to any of them, any suggestions, advice about each place?
I'm not personally much of a Sarasota fan, I just don't think there's much to do there. If you're looking for warmth after Thanksgiving, Tampa is the safer choice over Jacksonville. Very dependent on the weather of course, but at that time of year Jacksonville can get a bit chilly, though, nothing like Chicago I'm sure.

Tampa is a bit busier than Jacksonville and has a bit more to offer the tourist IMO. Beaches tend to be a bit more touristy and a bit more tropical. Plenty of good hotels and resorts in the Tampa Bay area.

There is a lot to do in Jacksonville as well though. I quite like the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. It's a great property in a very nice area. Alternatively I would stay in Ponte Vedra Beach either at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club or at the Sawgrass Marriott. All good options.
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Old May 18, 15, 11:34 pm
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
I'm not personally much of a Sarasota fan, I just don't think there's much to do there. If you're looking for warmth after Thanksgiving, Tampa is the safer choice over Jacksonville. Very dependent on the weather of course, but at that time of year Jacksonville can get a bit chilly, though, nothing like Chicago I'm sure.

Tampa is a bit busier than Jacksonville and has a bit more to offer the tourist IMO. Beaches tend to be a bit more touristy and a bit more tropical. Plenty of good hotels and resorts in the Tampa Bay area.

There is a lot to do in Jacksonville as well though. I quite like the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island. It's a great property in a very nice area. Alternatively I would stay in Ponte Vedra Beach either at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club or at the Sawgrass Marriott. All good options.
Agree, and i would add that in Tampa, I like the newly renovated Grand Hyatt. It's right on the bay with boardwalks/nature walks, a beach, and two pretty pools on the property. There are a couple restaurants and some of the ("villa"?) rooms are located away from the main building, near the second pool, beach, and a fish restaurant. There's a free airport shuttle, plus staff will give you rides around the property if you don't want to walk.

Is Miami out of the question? Key West? Further south should generally be a bit warmer, other things equal.

Space geeks will want to be Cape Kennedy or whatever it's called now. The space center can take most of the day to explore.

Orlando also has interesting attractions beyond Disney, etc. There's a nice little boat trip around Winter Garden (name of a nearby town) and although it's touristic, I enjoy Gatorland (a zoo focusing on alligators).
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Old May 19, 15, 5:36 am
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As a local property owner, I'd suggest flying into RSW and then renting a car and staying in Naples. It's nicer than Tampa and you can stay in a pretty little hotel in the centre/'historic' part, or the Ritz Carlton further up the beach.
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Old May 26, 15, 1:31 am
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As this question is off topic for the info desk, which mostly concerns itself with Multi-program related questions, the thread will likely do better here in the dedicated Florida forum.

Thanks.

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Old May 27, 15, 10:20 am
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I don't think Thanksgiving is too late in the year to find warmth in JAX. I really doesn't start to get cold until late December. That said, I'd opt to fly into TPA because it is surrounded by more. If you find yourself bored in Tampa, head to St Pete, Clearwater, Sarasota, etc. Will you have your own trasportation? That might make a difference.
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Old May 27, 15, 2:32 pm
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The OP did say relaxation. I wouldn't necessarily use TPA and relaxation in the same breath. Traffic can be insane, especially on weekends near/getting to the beach. But once there, there are some great areas.
It might be tough getting hotels over Thanksgiving at TPA or SRQ.
St Pete has a nice new downtown area with shops/restaurants/etc. Would be interesting place to explore. I would opt for the St Pete/Clearwater side if you are looking for relaxation/warmth over Tampa.

Jacksonville Beach is pretty nice, laid back. Some good dining and beachside drinking places. Not a lot of great properties to stay though. The new Sheraton Four Points is okay, as is the Courtyard.

I agree with another poster that if you are going to fly into SRQ, head to Naples.
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Old May 28, 15, 2:18 pm
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Fly into TPA and stay in Downtown St. Pete - my suggestion for relaxation would be the Vinoy (Marriott property). Tampa is great, and the Grand Hyatt is very nice, but St. Pete is much more relaxing and only 20 minutes from the airport. Even if you don't want to rent a car, take a shuttle to DTSP and everything there is walk able. You've got great restaurants - Michael Mina's new Locale Market is awesome - great museums - Dali museum has the world's largest collection of Dali outside of Europe and great weather.

There are trolleys that run around DTSP and up Central Ave to the beaches if you want to do that. There's even a boat shuttle from DTSP to the beach, though I prefer the Vinoy's pool to the beach.

If you really want to stay IN Tampa and do the relaxation thing, the Grand Hyatt is nice if you don't want to leave the property. If you do, I would stay at the Epicurean Hotel (Marriott). They have a lovely spa, a nice pool, great restaurants (across the street from Bern's Steakhouse) and great Friday night wine tastings. It's walking distance to Bayshore which has the world's longest continuous sidewalk and about 5 minutes to downtown Tampa if you really want to go to the Aquarium or something like that. Plenty of bars and restaurants to walk to and a cheap Uber ride to lots of other things.

Originally Posted by pbiflyer View Post
The OP did say relaxation. I wouldn't necessarily use TPA and relaxation in the same breath. Traffic can be insane, especially on weekends near/getting to the beach.
As a native, the worst traffic is out at the beach on holiday weekends and going North on 275 out of downtown (which OP should only do if they want an exceptionally BORING vacation). Thanksgiving doesn't tend to be as awful as Easter and the spring holidays though. The traffic in Tampa really isn't that bad. We have normal rush hour on the interstate (worst going north of downtown - airport is West or coming east over 275 from St. Pete during peak periods), but from TPA to DTSP there shouldn't be much traffic at all. From TPA to South Tampa you don't even need to take the interstate and from TPA to the beach, once you're at your hotel you shouldn't need to leave. Just plan your flight to land in the morning or middle of the day if you're worried about traffic.

Last edited by JMR1223; May 28, 15 at 2:25 pm Reason: Adding a note
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Old May 29, 15, 1:32 pm
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Have to 2nd what JMR said about DTSP and the Vinoy! The Birchwood is alternative boutique hotel w/ a rooftop bar on Beach Drive (which isn't actually on the beach ). There are a handful of new restaurants to check out in St Pete that are local and aren't chain restaurants. An alternative to the Vinoy is the Don Cesar or the new Hotel Zamora out on the beach.

Personally, I'd recommend renting a car, if you don't plan on using Uber. While there is a trolley that goes around DTSP and to/from the beach, everything else is pretty spread out.

Last edited by ChevyCruze; May 29, 15 at 1:34 pm Reason: Forgot about the Birchwood
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Old May 29, 15, 2:31 pm
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Originally Posted by ChevyCruze View Post
Have to 2nd what JMR said about DTSP and the Vinoy! The Birchwood is alternative boutique hotel w/ a rooftop bar on Beach Drive (which isn't actually on the beach ). There are a handful of new restaurants to check out in St Pete that are local and aren't chain restaurants. An alternative to the Vinoy is the Don Cesar or the new Hotel Zamora out on the beach.

Personally, I'd recommend renting a car, if you don't plan on using Uber. While there is a trolley that goes around DTSP and to/from the beach, everything else is pretty spread out.
How did I forget The Birchwood!? Doh!

At the very least have brunch there and check out the Canopy (the rooftop bar)! Great spot and really good food. I've been seated next to Curtis Stone and Michael Mina (not together, different nights) so I think thats a pretty good endorsement for a St. Pete restaurant!
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Old Jun 14, 15, 6:48 pm
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I lived in St Petersburg for 10 years before I moved south of the bay. If you want a vacation to just relax, I recommend Sarasota. If you want a more active scene, go to Tampa.

Both areas offer excellent food and great hotels.
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