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Florida Beach Resorts for a Family on a Budget

Summer is just around the corner and you may be thinking about heading to the beach. If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you have probably noticed a recurring theme of praising vacation rentals on sites such as VRBO over hotel rooms.  However, there is one serious downside to house and condo rentals: The lack of entertainment for  kids. Usually, there is a pool and not much else.

Sure, if you are going to Disney, it probably matters very little. But if you are going to a beach and want to hang out at the rental, it makes a difference. I wanted to highlight 3 beach resorts in Florida and hopefully give you some ideas for a summer vacation.

I wouldn’t say they are  cheap, but in my opinion, provide decent value if you travel with kids, due to all the entertainment options. I also wanted to price 1-bedroom units with a kitchen, because it makes it more comfortable  and saves money on meals.

Cape Canaveral Beach Resort 



Photos taken from hotel’s website.


This is the only resort on the list I personally stayed at. It is kids’ heaven! There is so much to do there. The resort consists of two wings and they run a trolley between them. My kids had a blast riding it. They also have an enclosed playground which can entertain them for hours, a water park and so much more.

Also, once or twice a week, they have a special animal showcase from the local zoo. Kids can touch the critters and interact with them. Most activities at the resort are included in the price of the rental, while some charge a nominal fee.

I checked sample rates for the beginning of June, and they ranged between $215 and $259 per night, depending on location and the size of the unit. We were able to get a 2-bedroom unit in September (the peak of the hurricane season) for $169 per night. The resort actually just got rebranded and became  part of IHG chain, though the rate is 35,000 points for a regular room, a bit steep.

They don’t charge resort fees and you should be able to get 10 percent off with AAA membership by calling (at least that was the case in the past). This resort provides a great value for a family on a budget.

Tradewinds Resort in St. Petersburg 


Photos taken from hotel’s website.


This is a resort that has been on my wish list for quite some time. You can look at the website, which lists a host of kids activities.  Some are included in the price, some (like babysitting) cost extra. They have a pirate show,  movies you can watch from the pool and mini-golf, plus much more.

The rates for the beginning of June were $287 for one-bedroom garden view unit with AAA card, $319 without one. Additionally, you have to pay a $35 resort fee that covers the whole unit.

They run specials constantly, like resort credits and discounts. You can call and inquire or sign up for their email offers. The resort is located on one of the best beaches in the country, so if you are looking to spend most of your time on location, it could be a good value IMO.

South Seas Resort in Captiva island

Photos taken from hotel’s website.
Another place on my wish list.  As you can see from the first photo, the resort occupies a huge area. There are many activities and tours that cater to kids. From the reviews on Trip Advisor, grocery store prices are quite high, so stock up in Sanibel beforehand. There is a trolley taking you where you need to go and you can also rent bikes.
The best rate for the beginning of June was $206 for a 1-bedroom tennis villa with AAA card, $229 without one.  Though cheaper than other units, it is located away from the main building and all the activities. Also, there is a mandatory $19 fee per person per day for all guests over 13 years of age. Hate those resort fees almost as much as award ticket fuel surcharges!

Very often this resort runs specials for the summer, where you get the 5th night free, so keep an eye on it by signing up for email updates. In spite of ridiculous fees, this could be a good value for a family. Also, you can rent some units for less by going through VRBO, but you wouldn’t be allowed to use resort amenities, which is the main point of going there.

Which bonuses can help  pay for these resorts?

If you haven’t heard, there is a new card called Wells Fargo Propel Amex. It’s at the top of my Best Deals page currently and can potentially knock $400 off your bill, plus extra from the points you’ll get on your minimum spend.

Reports on Flyertalk indicate that you can redeem for statement credit. Be aware, some folks report that you can get a better value by redeeming for airfare. This is a great offer and I hope to get it soon. Pays no commission.

If you have absolutely no interest in US Airways Mastercard, you could consider getting Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases It does pay me commission. You would get $440 towards travel expenses, and these resorts should qualify.

Well, I hope I gave you some ideas for that beach vacation. Oh, and you should absolutely get that AAA card if staying in any of these places!

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Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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