Toes in the Sand: Marco Island

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Boy oh boy! The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind! I've finally found a hot minute while C is napping to sit down to sort through some of our vacation photos (shhhh...don't tell T, who will probably waltz through the door, take a look at everything strewn about and question what, if anything I got accomplished today). We all had tons of fun on our Florida getaway, but we are fully enjoying being back home and...dare I say...finding a little time to relax a bit more?!? If there is a parent of a toddler out there that knows the trick for getting in some rest and relaxation on a beach getaway with your kiddo, I'd love to hear your tips!



A Rundown:

Our trip started out on a less-than-spectacular foot when after driving three hours to the airport in order to be checked in by 2:30pm, our flight was delayed due to mechanical reasons, and then ultimately cancelled altogether. Of course, the 'rescue' plane wouldn't be available until 10:30pm and had to fly from another airport first. Oh, and did I mention our original flight was supposed to leave at 4:30pm? #YUCK. Eventually, around 7pm, the mechanics cleared our original plane for takeoff, and we were able to board. Unfortunately, many people had already given up and left the airport, so the flight crew had to allow a full hour for their return. Of course we didn't learn this until those of us who stayed were already on board. Womp womp...Anyways, C behaved like a champ, and miraculously just took everything in stride. #CHILL After finally arriving in Florida around midnight, we still had a little over an hour left to drive to our resort on Marco Island, so by the time we got all checked in and settled, it was almost 3am. C who had fallen asleep on the car ride, was absolutely terrified when we arrived at the resort in a completely unfamiliar place. His entire body was shaking from fear when I woke him up to get checked in. Poor little guy!








As you can imagine, the first night of sleep was not particularly wonderful as C was too frightened to sleep in the Pack'N'Play in his new surroundings. Thankfully, our room had blackout curtains, and C & I were able to sleep in a little later than usual our first full day. T unfortunately had a medical conference to attend, and had to get up about three hours after going to bed. All's well that ends well though, and thankfully, the rest of the week went by without any more hiccups. The first full day of our trip was pretty chill, and looked a little something like the above picture...


Our resort, the Marriott Resort Marco Island, was absolutlely AMAZING, and had soooo many fun things to do and explore. This was the view from our balcony on the 8th floor. Definitely check it out if you are looking for a fun warm-weather place to stay! It was great for kids (zero-depth entry pool!, and had an amazing looking spa, adult pool area, and several nicer restaurants for those of you traveling sans kiddos). C & I found our routine for the morning while T was attending his conference, and made a daily trip to the on-resort coffee shop for a muffin or banana bread, yogurt, and fresh fruit to start our day. After spending a good 45 minutes eating (mealtimes just don't go quickly with C), and watching other resort guests walk by the coffee shop window, we would usually walk by the pool or beach and see what was going on. T was finished up with his conference for the day by 12:30pm, so after a little exploring, C & I would end up back in the room for some downtime out of the sun before heading out to find lunch with T. 






On one particularly warm day, we decided to hop in the car and drive to Naples for the afternoon (about a 30min trip north). We found a cute little restaurant to grab lunch outside by a marina, and then headed to the Naples City Pier to check out the beach. If you've never been to Naples, the beach is TINY (depth-wise), and SUPER busy. The sun was hot, and we didn't bring our beachwear, but we had fun walking to the end of the pier and watching some of the people fishing. T & I even saw some dolphins swimming off the beach, but I'm not sure if C caught a glimpse since they only came up every so often. We ended our afternoon in Naples with a trip to Tin City (a bit of a tourist trap with a bunch of gift shops), and a stop for some ice cream before heading back to Marco for the evening. Overall impression of Naples...A nice place to visit if you are planning to do some serious shopping (there is a great upscale outdoor shopping area), but the beaches are better elsewhere if you're looking for a strictly beach vacation.











Back in Marco, C's favorite activities for the week were hands down playing in the sand on the beach and swimming in the pool. The only time the kid took a nap the whole week was if we ended up driving somewhere in the car. He was a trooper though, and we managed to get through the week without any major meltdowns. It's a good thing C is so versatile...no napping, and late nights probably wouldn't mesh well with lots of kids. By late nights I mean he had to wait until T & I were ready for bed usually about 9pm, since he refused the Pack'N'Play all week and was sleeping in bed with us. While I can't say it was the best sleeping arrangement, it was a BIG treat for C, who we don't typically allow to sleep with us. He absolutely LOVED being able to snuggle up with mom and dad, and he'd roll from one side to the other snuggling in as close as possible. Just the cutest. Of course, his sleeping position of choice was usually crosswise with his head on someone's pillow, and his bottom in someone's face, but hey...you can't win 'em all!


After a long afternoon swimming, while T was quarantined in our hotel room for the Iowa basketball game, C & I snuck down to the beach area to share a virgin pina colada. As you an tell, it was a hit!




Another favorite from our trip to Marco was checking out some new restaurants. We have been going to the same island for our last few trips to Florida, so it was fun to check out some new places. We had so much fun listening to live music on the Esplanade at Mango's Dockside Bistro (you should have seen C - he was smiling ear to ear and bouncing up and down with the beat of the music), having some of the best chicken quesadillas we've ever eaten at Quinn's on the Beach (on our resort), walking up and down the esplanade and watching all of the crazy St. Paddy's Day shenanigans before dinner at CJ's on the Bay, and enjoying the awesome Italian atmosphere and some of the best prosciutto and arugula pizza at Joey's Pizza & Pasta House on our last night in town. 










The second leg of our vacation took us to Anna Maria Island by way of Sanibel. We'd heard from a few friends and relatives who have vacationed in Sanibel that we should check it out, so we stopped for lunch at Gramma Dots and hit up the beach to break up our trip. Ultimately, neither T or I was impressed with the island, and found the beach to be very littered with seaweed and lots of shells. Not someplace we'll probably ever visit again. That being said...I have heard that the far north end is maybe a little nicer, so if we ever do make it back, we'll have to check that out. Either way, it was good to get out of the car and let C roam around for a little while before continuing our trek north to Anna Maria.






Here's C at Gramma Dot's on Sanibel Island insisting he get to lick the lemon. Too funny!




While the beach wasn't nearly as beautiful as on Marco Island, as you can tell from the look on C's face, he didn't mind at all. He loved walking back and forth from the parking lot to the beach on this boardwalk, and burning off some energy before we hopped back in the car on our trek north.


One last pic from Marco Island playing in the sand! Stay tuned for part 2!

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Thanks for visiting! Let me know if you have any suggestions of recipes I should try, fun ideas to do with the kiddo, or a suggested adventure to add to our bucket list!

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