Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gulfside Resorts Review

While it's true "There's no place like home." Sometimes there are places better than home. Too many years ago to admit, I saw a commercial for a brochure on the mid-western side of Florida. I called the 1-800 number and discovered pages and pages of high rises but one 1/8 of a page ad featuring a peach little building caught my eye. I called, booked our first trip and we've been back four times since.


There is a tiny stretch of beach just south of Tampa called Indian Rocks Beach. For us the drive is long but so totally worth it. Tampa is just about a 40 minute drive from it and home to Busch Gardens, LegoLand, a zoo and an aquarium among other things. Orlando is about an hour and twenty minutes east and you can easily take a day trip to Disney or Universal. Indian Rocks Beach its self is home to tons of restaurants, little cafes, bars and several are within walking distances. John's Pass is a cool pier with tons of little shops and restaurants, boat tours, fishing charters, you name it, about a 30 minute ride down Gulf Bvld.

While there are countless accommodations to choose from, there are few if any as adorable as this. They own several properties and the charm in them is their size. We stayed the first two times at 810 Gulfside and I think there are 4-5 units there. The last two stays were at Sarah's Seaside. I want to say there are 7 units available at that property. If the others are like these two, I can assure you there is not a bad one in the bunch. I photographed the outside of Sarah's Seaside to share, but with 75% of our belongings in the room, I thought it best to point you to their website for interior photos. Mine wouldn't do it justice.

   
The pool and the view from our porch balcony which also includes a view of the beach just off to the right of this shot.
  
The sunset view from our porch balcony.

This is a shot of the small beach cottages that make up Sarah's Seaside. I am standing on the edge of the dunes. Up the sand paths are beach toys, boogie boards and a kayak with various size life jackets for our use. Behind me is the beach, with reserved beach chairs (pads and umbrellas are in a shed for us but we didn't bother with them). There were also four adult beach bikes on the property for our pleasure but given my recent experience with spinning, I passed this trip.

The little seating area and grill outside our unit.



Homework time. I think Ella is the only one excited about it.
  This trip we discovered 2 parks very near by and both free. One had nature trails and a pond where we fed turtles and played on a swing set.
A quarter buys a cup of turtle food.
The second park had nature trails, lush tropical gardens, fountains and a heritage village filled with homes, stores and buildings from the early Florida citizens of 1900's. I would have loved to have stayed longer but I was out voted.T

As per my normal disclaimer, this post was not solicited nor was I compensated in any fashion. This is merely my humble opinion.
 

6 comments:

Greg said...

Glad to hear you had a good trip!

Christina said...

It looks perfect. Small, quaint. I love that. For 10 years my family went to Myrtle Beach every summer. We always stayed in a small cottage on the strand that was amoung a bunch of highrises. We loved our little cottage. A couple of years ago they tore it down. We were all so sad. When we started taking the boys, we had to start all over and find a little place. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Stayed at Sarah's Seaside and for one nite at 810 Gulfside. Would recommend both for a stay on the Gulf. Prefer this type of accommodation over a motel/hotel. This is where I would stay during my next visit.

helen tilston said...

I am familiar with both Sarah Seaside and Beachfront 810 and the delightful Inn Keepers, Lee and Mary Wilkerson.
I have a second home at Indian Rocks Beach and I run on the beach daily - when I saw your pictures, I have a recollection of seeing you on the beach. Did you manage to visit The Seabird Sanctuary aprox. 2 miles s. of Sarah Seaside, it is a haven for injured sea birds and magical.
Hope to see you at IRB soon
Helen

Sarah said...

It was such a wonderful, relaxing trip. Or at least as much as one can be with 3 kids and 4 days of make-up homework. Another TV would have been nice too.

Helen, we didn't make it to the bird sanctuary, but we will add that to the list for the next time we visit. We find a new treasure each stay.

Jane Fader said...

Hi Sarah,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blog posts about Indian Rocks Beach to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you :)
Jane