Some of my fondest memories revolve around family vacations while I was a kid. The best vacations were the ones that we took to Florida. Being from the Midwest, we didn’t have white, sandy beaches or theme parks. There were no palm trees or the smell of salt air. Florida was like another world and it was a place my brother and I eagerly awaited.
It was more than just a chance to wear bathing suits and flip-flops all day. It was an opportunity to be together as a family. With work and activities, there was little time to be together at home. On vacation, the four of us had a chance to bond. We relaxed, explored, and had fun as a family. We stayed in a cozy motel and walked every day with my parents to the beach, which was just a few blocks away. We had great talks going to and coming back from that beautiful beach and the warm Gulf waters. My brother and I would brag about the shells we found and how big our sand castle was.
Back then, the motels were usually owned by a family that loved people. You were usually friends with them by the time you left. The room had a kitchenette where Mom would fix most of our meals, including fish that we caught from our half-day fishing charter. The motel supplied extras that the hotels wouldn’t think about loaning you, like beach chairs, bicycles, and beach umbrellas. They would even let you borrow a cooler if you were planning an all-day excursion. Of course, the heated pool was the big attraction besides the beach.
As I look back, I realize that these vacations were less about my parents needing a good rest from their jobs (which they obviously did) and more about making memories for my brother and I, as well as creating a deep family bond that would last the rest of our lives. Their happiness came from creating experiences for us. That was their stress buster. That was how they melted away the built-up stress from the rat race of adulthood. The only thing I regret is that we didn’t take more pictures.
Now, being a father of a grown-up child, I realize just how important our family vacations have been to my son. We often talk about the trips we took and the experiences we had together. Even though I thought we took quite a few photos, I still regret not taking more. There’s nothing like a photograph to bring back faded memories or to spark a conversation about what everyone remembers. There are always details I forget until my son tells me about a specific incident. Then, lost memories rush back and it ignites hours of reminiscing. Even after a decade or two, we find ourselves bonding once more about the adventures we had or the silliness of a time gone by.
Now, I’m delighted to say that he is taking his own young son on vacations every summer and they are continuing the tradition that was started by my parents. Just like every responsible parent, his life is filled with responsibilities. He has a tough job. There is laundry to do, bills to pay, and a million other errands that need to be juggled. However, the annual family vacation never gets sacrificed and it warms my heart to see the importance he places on it.
Family vacations are a time to unplug. While we didn’t have cell phones or handheld devices when we were a kid, it’s hard to live without them anymore. During his vacations, my son only uses his phone in cases of emergencies (and takes many, but probably not enough, pictures). The rest of the day he is enjoying his precious family time and creating new experiences that his son will hold dearly for the rest of his life.
The one thing we all had in common is we avoided the large hotels and opted for smaller inns. We feel it gives a more personable experience than a place where hundreds, if not thousands, of people are stacked dozens of stories high. Those places are fine for business trips, but not family vacations. We want to step out of our room and feel the Florida sunshine immediately on our faces, not walk down a long hallway, get on an elevator, and then walk through a crowded lobby, just to get outdoors. To me, that’s just adding to the stress, not taking it away.
The Cabana Room at the Inn on Siesta Key is just like one of those quaint rooms we stayed in as a kid, with some modern upgrades. The Inn has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, along with a full kitchen and plenty of vintage charm. A 65” flat screen and a Blu-ray player are perfect for unwinding after a long day at the beach or by their heated pool.
The Inn on Siesta Key is located on Siesta Key Beach and the beach access is right across the road. It is a short walk to the beach, but the talks you can have with your children during that time could be remembered for many years to come.
Siesta Key Beach is known for its white quartz sand and shallow turquoise waters. It is regularly ranked as one of the top beaches in the U.S. If you are planning a trip to the Gulf Coast, there is no better place to bond with your children than beautiful Siesta Key, and there are no accommodations on Siesta Key that capture the spirit of family vacations better than the Inn on Siesta Key.