After a long lapse since our last vacation, we took a short trip to Clearwater, Florida. Just a 4 day trip, but this was also a good warm-up for the impending Malaysia trip- good to see how the girls would put up with the flight.
Well, this was my first trip there. We wanted a beachfront hotel; location was the priority, not the room. And so we stayed at the Hilton Clearwater. It was an older hotel; its age was apparent from the outside though the rooms were modernized and tasteful if not a bit small. If you were unlucky enough, you might get a room facing the ventilation system- section of the hotel which was something of an eyesore. Thankfully we got a harborview room.
The beach, now that was something else. Long stretches of soft white sand. Right outside the hotel. It was easy to get to the beach, and back.
We loved it. The kids spent hours playing on the sand. Kris and I got to relax, and also went out on the jetski.
It was fun, right up to the point when she asked, "Are there sharks in the Gulf of Mexico?". I told myself I could swim faster than her if one ever came for us!
This was Ava's first trip to the beach. One we hope to duplicate in July when we go to the Jersey Shore. And again in November when we make our family trip to Pangkor.
One extra bonus was our visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It's resident Winter inspired the movie Dolphin Tale, and it was exciting enough for Alli to see some of the resident dolphins, and the other marine wildlife. But it was a treat to be able to see Winter as well.
Though the facility was small, and does not at all compare to the larger aquariums out there, and the cost adds up pretty fast, considering this functions primarily as a marine rescue facility, it was pretty entertaining for the kids, and the money goes to a good cause.
After a fun 4-day visit, and what felt to be a never-ending flight, we're home, just in time for me to start call this week.
Oh well. At least I have some tan lines to remind me that we had great trip before work resumed.