Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, St. Pete Beach, Florida

 

During our last Florida vacation, we scheduled a quick 3-day getaway at the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort in St. Pete Beach Florida.  This was our first experience at a TradeWinds Island Resorts property and our first visit to St. Pete Beach.  We were traveling over a holiday and many of the city shops and restaurants were closed for a full day of our stay.  However, we absolutely loved St. Pete Beach!   Honestly, there are so many activities available at the Guy Harvey and their sister resort, the TradeWinds Island Grand, we found plenty to do to keep us occupied during our short visit.

*Our stay was partially hosted by the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort, all reviews and opinions are that of our own.

The Rooms:

Guy Harvey SuitesThe Guy Harvey Outpost Resort features suite style rooms with a nice sitting area, kitchenette, and bedroom.   Each morning, housekeeping left us a few bottles of complimentary water, which was a nice touch.  We especially liked the kitchenette that featured a full refrigerator, microwave, and stovetop.  Due to our youngest son’s food allergies, we usually seek out properties that offer a way for us to bring our own food and make special meals for his needs.   In the evenings we were able to put the kids to sleep, shut the door between the bedroom and sitting area, and enjoy a glass of wine together.

View from the Guy Harvey

View from our Front Door

St Pete Beach Guy Harvey

What a welcome basket!

Must Do

Morning walks along the Beach: The water is calm and beautiful.  There were many locals andSt. Pete Beach Florida visitors on the beach enjoying a  morning run or leisurely walk.  If you pay attention, you’ll most likely see dolphins swimming along the shoreline.    We took full advantage of the beach, enjoying the warm weather and building sand castles.  Because we visited in November, the sea water was a bit cold, but that didn’t seem to detour many people.  The area is bustling with water sports rentals such as kayaks, paddle boards, and jet skis.

 

Sandcastles on the Beach St. Pete Florida

St. Pete Beach Family Vacation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resort Activities:  When you stay at either the Guy Harvey Outpost Resort or their nearby High Tide Slide Tradewinds Islands Grandsister resort, The TradeWinds Island Grand, you receive a Go Pass that allows guests to enjoy the amenities and activities at either location.  Between the two resorts, there were enough activities to keep our family busy throughout the entire visit!  One of our kid’s favorite activities was the High Tide Slide located just a short walk down the beach at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort.  This is a huge inflatable beachfront waterslide with three slides.  You can also use any of the heated pools at either location.  When we weren’t playing on the beach or the waterslide, we were enjoying the heated pool at the Guy Harvey Outpost.  Each location also offers various family-friendly evening activities ranging from dive-in poolside movies to our favorite after dinner treat, making S’mores on the Beach.  During our three day visit, we didn’t have enough time to enjoy all of the activities available at the resorts.  Ah well, another reason to go back!

Tradewinds Island Grand Kids activities Smores on the Beach Guy Harvey Outpost

Guy Harvey Touch TankOne attraction you should not miss when visiting the Guy Harvey Outpost is the touch tank experience located inside the outfitter shop.  Our boys got to touch and learn about various sea creatures like sea stars, hermit crabs, and horseshoe crabs.
Here they are holding a brittle star, a type of sea star with long spiny legs that they use to crawl along the sea floor. The touch Touch Tank at the Guy Harveytank program is offered twice a day for one hour by trained marine volunteers from the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium. It’s a pretty cool educational experience for both kids and adults!

 

 

 

 

Guy Harvey Outfitter Shop

Some of the cool swag available at the Guy Harvey Outfitter shop.

Shopping:  St. Pete Beach is such a cute beach town!  We spent a few hours driving around.  I highly suggest a trip to their downtown where there are locally owned shops and boutiques.  Because we were visiting on Thanksgiving the shops downtown were closed, but I was able to get my “shopping fix” at the Guy Harvey Outfitter shop, located inside of the Rum Fish Grill at the Resort.  This shop features a large selection of Guy Harvey Marine Art and apparel.   I purchased a hat, several pieces of jewelry and miscellaneous items all featuring Art by Guy Harvey.

 

Rum Fish Grill Guy HarveyAlso featured inside of the Rum Fish Grill is a 33,500-gallon saltwater tank that was designed by the Animal Planet show, Tanked. It’s an amazing sight, filled with over 20 species of marine life including grouper, redfish, stingrays, and a green moray eel. For $35, you can actually snorkel inside of the tank as a guest at The Guy Harvey Outpost.  Tip: The tank snorkel opportunities are limited, so make sure to make your reservations early.

In a separate tank, they feature other species including the invasive lionfish that are invading and damaging reefs throughout the Caribbean. We ran into Captain Tim at the Guy Harvey Outfitter shop who gave us a mini educational talk about the lionfish and how they are affecting the ecosystem.

 

Who is Guy Harvey?

Guy Harvey is a Marine artist and conservationist, originally from Jamaica, who is famous for his depictions of various sea life and sportfish.  He is an avid marine conservationist and founder of the Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.  Guy Harvey works closely with many marine conservation organizations around the world to protect global fishery resources.  He is a researcher, a scientist, conservationist, and marine artist; and he is the man behind the famous Guy Harvey Outpost resorts.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at The Guy Harvey Outpost Resort.  It is extremely family friendly, and because their suites feature a small kitchenette, we found the resort to be allergy friendly as well.  The onsite restaurants were happy to go out of their way to make special accommodations for our food allergy needs or allow us to bring our own food for our son if necessary.  Guy’s Gulf side Grill made a special fruit plate for us in the morning, and the Rum Fish Grill made a special grilled vegetable kabob using separate cooking utensils to prevent cross contamination of our son’s food allergens.  We were very happy with both their food allergy friendly efforts and service.   The Guy Harvey Outpost Resort offers something for everyone.  Families with kids of all ages could spend a week here without ever leaving the property.   If you are looking for an adult getaway, they also offer adult options including a separate adult-only pool area.

Guy Harvey Art

Guy Harvey’s Marine art is featured throughout the Resort.

Curacao Travel

Driving in Curacao – 10 Things You Should Know

Driving in Curacao – 10 Things You Should Know Before You Go
Driving in Curacao

Willemsted at Night

A few months ago, we had a fabulous Fun Family Vacation in Curacao for a week filled with snorkeling, diving, and exploring.  During our stay we had a few hiccups while getting around.  Driving in Curacao is relatively easy, however there are a few things we wish we knew before our visit to the Island.

Car Rental is a necessity.  Unless you are staying in an all-inclusive resort or a resort with a shuttle service, you will need a car to get around.  Curacao is a big Island and the public bus service is not realistic for vacationers.

Google Maps and other smart phone directions apps do not work well on the Island.  Rent the GPS from your car rental company.  Most of them have the most popular attractions and beaches pre-programmed in the GPS unit.

Driving is on the right side of the road (same as the U.S.).

Be observant when pumping gas, both the diesel and regular gas nozzles will fit the gas tank. Diesel is colored black and regular is YELLOW. Double check to prevent filling your car with the wrong gas. *Read the labels on the pump as they may vary between gas stations.

The gas stations on Curacao do not take credit cards and do not sell anything but gas.  You will need cash to purchase gas.

As with all tourist destinations, Do not leave anything in your car even if a security guard is on duty.  Having visible items in your vehicle increases your chance of a break in. Take all your valuables with you and leave the car unlocked.

We found most drivers to be courteous, however inside of the roundabouts drivers will give you a short honk, to let you know they are entering the roundabout “out of turn.”  Don’t be surprised if you hear people honking as a “courtesy.”

Speaking of roundabouts, Curacao is filled with roundabouts.  If you aren’t used to driving through a roundabout, this could be a bit of a “driving-culture shock.”  You want to remember to yield to drivers who are inside of the roundabout, stay in your lane, and don’t stop once you are inside of the roundabout.  Roundabouts can be a tricky to maneuver at first; but they become easier once you have done it a few times.

Traffic on the main road is congested during the day.  Leave early to ensure adequate time to get to your destination.

PARKING: in some areas (including near the Willemsted floating markets) you will have to pay for parking.  The machines only take Antilles Guildersmake sure you have a few guilders on hand for parking. In downtown Willemsted, parking is 1 guilder per hour.

Curacao is a wonderful Island to visit, but could be frustrating for travelers who like to depend on public transportation to get around.  As mentioned above, public transportation is not geared toward vacationers and you’ll spend most of your time waiting for the bus.  Due to the sheer size of this Island car rental is a necessity to make the most of your stay here.

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Family Vacation with Radisson

Our Top 3 Radisson Take Me There Destinations

 

*See Link at the bottom of this post to Enter the Radisson #TakeMeThere Sweepstakes!

Radisson is offering an incredible giveaway with their #TakeMeThere sweepstakes April 4th – April 22nd.  When I found out about this giveaway, I began to select my #1 Radisson Take Me There destination out of 12 fabulous choices.  I spent the afternoon browsing through each of the Radisson #TakeMeThere hotel destinations, learning about their unique features.  I could not come up with a favorite because they are ALL fantastic options.  So, I picked my top 3 Dreamy Radisson Getaways.   As many of you know, our ideal Fun Family Vacation includes beach travel, so without further ado, here are my Top 3 Radisson Take Me There destinations in no particular order:

Our Top 3 Radisson Take Me There Destinations:

 

Radisson Grenada Beach Resort – St. George Grenada

This 20 acre hotel sits on Radisson GrenadaGrand Anse Beach surrounded by lush rainforest.  After a morning of diving and snorkeling we’d spend our afternoons hiking in the rainforest of Grand Étang National Park.  Our perfect vacation here would be at least 5 days. Enough time to enjoy all the local water sports including kayaking and sailing, while balancing our days with hiking, visiting local attractions, and shopping.  What I like about this hotel is the beach front access, beach side gardens, nice sized swimming pool with waterfalls, several onsite restaurants, and other great amenities.

 

 

Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina – Belize City Belize

This hotel and Marina hasFamily Vacation with Radisson beautiful Caribbean views and of course our favorite activities of Snorkeling and Diving.  Belize is on our bucket list and this hotel would be the perfect destination for us.  The Radisson Fort George Hotel has their own dive shop.  This would make it easy for us to book an excursion to The Cayes off-shore Islands, where we might get to see Manatees.  We would spend a full day exploring the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins, located just a short drive from the hotel.  With so many activities both at the resort and surrounding area, we’d plan for at least a 5-7 night stay at this location.  What I like about this hotel is they offer three different restaurants and a bakery, beachfront access, and an onsite spa.

 

Radisson BarbadosRadisson Aquatica Resort – Barbados

We’ve never been to Barbados and this Radisson Hotel in Carlyle Bay would make a great extended weekend getaway. We’d have our choice of a relaxing beach weekend, or a fun filled adventure weekend. We could fill our days with local attractions including paddle boarding, visiting Harrison’s Caves (the world’s largest underground caves), checking out the Flower Forest Botanical Gardens, and maybe even a ride in the Atlantis Submarine.  What I like about this hotel is they offer onsite dining, a lovely pool, and it’s located right on the beach.

 

Radisson hotels offer a variety of creative hotel options from city centers to resort destinations.  They understand what travelers, like my family, are looking for, from free high speed Internet access to exceptional dining experiences, fitness centers and pools.

We especially love Radisson’s flexible 6am check-in and 6pm check-out policiesThis makes a world of difference when arriving early at a destination with little kids.  Make sure to download the Radisson iConcierge app for access to room service, local attractions and more.  We look forward to planning a future Fun Family Vacation with Radisson.

 

Enter the Radisson #TakeMeThere Sweepstakes For a Chance to WIN a FREE Vacation! 

*Sorry This Giveaway Ended 4/22

 

Radisson #TakeMeThere Sweepstakes

 

You can Enter for a Chance to win a Vacation for Two (and other great prizes):

 

Visit the #takemethere Sweepstakes and create your own virtual postcard and Tweet your Entry.

In addition, if you share your postcard creation to Facebook or Pinterest you’ll receive a 10% off e-discount certificate!

 

ENTER TO WIN:
  1. Design and Tweet Your Virtual Postcard from the Radisson #takemethere Official Sweepstakes Page.

 

*PLUS you can Enter Once Per Day through April 22nd for More Chances to Win!  Make sure to Bookmark this page.

 

Radisson Sweepstakes

There is nothing quite like a weekend getaway to really relax and refresh.  Experience all that Radisson has to offer from upscale dining options to exceptional hospitality.  What are you waiting for? Enter the Radisson #TakeMeThere sweepstakes for a chance to win a stay at one of the eligible Radisson hotels today!!

Good Luck!

 

 

 

Teaching Kids to Snorkel

Teaching Kids to Snorkel

 

Teaching Kids to Snorkel

 

Snorkeling with Kids

Starfish Point Grand Cayman

Planning a beach vacation is always fun for our family. We enjoy all of the activities the beach has to offer, and the excitement of the unknown. Looking back at our first fun family vacation, we had to take turns snorkeling because our kids were not yet comfortable in the ocean. After that trip, we were determined to enjoy snorkeling outings as a family and show our boys the joys of snorkeling.

From an early age our boys have been interested in swimming, but like many kids were unsure of their abilities in the water. Breaking through that barrier can be difficult especially if there was a traumatic introduction to water for your kids. Teaching Kids to Snorkel is more than just throwing on a mask and fins and jumping in the water; they need to know how to comfortably wear the equipment and learn proper snorkel safety. Having the proper equipment, understanding water safety, and picking the right location for their ability, has been the bases for our kids great snorkeling experiences.

Picking the Proper Snorkel Equipment

Snorkeling St Croix Isaacs BayBecoming comfortable with the equipment is probably the single most important tool in minimizing the “freak-out factor” while teaching your kids to snorkel. From the inhalation of a big gulp of sea water to blisters from your flippers, understanding how to use your equipment is key.

Basic Snorkeling equipment for kids includes a mask, snorkel, and fins that can be purchased individually or in a snorkeling equipment package. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your gear, (after all they will grow out of it quickly), but you also don’t want to purchase the cheapest gear.  Tip: Most junior snorkel gear sets are sized by shoe size.

Masks are unique in that everyone has a different size and shape of their head, nose, and face. You want to find a mask that seals firmly and is comfortable for your child to wear.  When you place the mask on your child’s face, the silicone seal should touch all around their face at the same time with no gaps. Some mask features include:

  • Tempered glass lenses, with good front and side visibility
  • Soft, double, 100% silicone seal that covers their face
  • Low profile to minimize clearing ability
  • Head strap with easy to use adjustments

Snorkel – should be sized appropriately to your child’s size and include:

  • Purge valve – a one way valve or flap that lets the user purge excess water out of the snorkel effortlessly during normal use.
  • Swivel strap/clip is a great comfort addition for small kids as it prevents the snorkel from binding up and allows for easy adjustments and removal.
  • Removable 100% silicone mouthpiece, makes fitting a snorkel to even our youngest child and jaw fatigue non issues.
  • Dry snorkel or splash guard helps prevent water from entering the top of the snorkel
  • Ultra flexible bend at the bottom for comfort, and stay with a standard size for easy clearing.

FlippersLook for flexibility and comfort.

  • Quick release straps with easy to use adjustment
  • Ability to use with water socks/booties
  • Bright color easy to spot
  • Make sure the fins are flexible – rigid fins are difficult for kids to swim in

We started off with a US Divers Junior Sets sized SM 9-13 for our youngest and a MED 1-4 for our oldest. When we purchased the sets, they were at the smallest shoe size of the fins, so they are still using their original fins. However, we have since purchased new masks and snorkels as they have grown out of their original gear.

U.S. Divers Junior Dorado Mask, Proflex Fins and Sea Breeze Snorkel Combo Set, Fun Blue, Large/X-Large

TIP: Our family always brings our own snorkeling equipment on our vacations, and typically has a spare of each piece.   Equipment that is available to borrow or rent is either of average quality, has been used so many times that it’s cracked or leaking, and does not fit to your specific body features. As an experienced snorkeler and scuba diver, poor fitting or lower quality equipment can hamper and ruin a snorkeling trip.

 

How to teach Kids To SnorkelPREPARING KIDS TO SNORKEL

Wearing and using your snorkeling equipment in a relatively safe environment like a pool is a great way to become familiar with all the ins and outs.

  1. Let them try the gear on at home and practice putting it on and taking it off.
  2. Help them with their mask and check the seal. Make sure all of their hair is pulled back before tightening the mask as hair stuck under the mask’s seal can create a leak.
  3. Take your equipment to a local pool and let your kids practice using it. Our kids played with their masks, looking down in the water, for quite some time before adding the snorkel.  We threw toys and fun items in the pool for them to “find” in a hide and seek snorkel game.
  4. Let them practice breathing through the snorkel out of the water before they try to use it in the water.
  5. Let them practice at their own pace and stop if they get frustrated.
  6. When you introduce them to snorkeling in the ocean for the first time, make sure you are in relatively calm water.
  7. Give them an underwater camera and let them take pictures! This was one of the best ways we kept our kids faces in the water. They were focused on taking pictures of the sea life below (and each other), and forgot all about being nervous!

 

Kids Snorkel Saftey

Our 8 year old giving us the “thumbs up!”

TEACHING SAFETY

Our family follows a simple list of safety rules when snorkeling:

  • Never take off equipment while out in the ocean.
  • One adult per child.
  • Know how to use a whistle and understand basic hand signals. The snorkels we purchased have a whistle on the mouthpiece. Our kids have trouble making the “ok” symbol with hands so we use the “thumbs up” to signal everyone is ok. When they are tired we use an “I’m done” signal, sliding the hand across the neck.
  • Stopping when tired. Whenever one person gives the “I’m done” signal, we all leave the water.
  • Always wear bright colored life vests or snorkeling vests.
  • Take only pictures.  Never take any objects out of the ocean or touch the endangered reef.  Leave them for the next snorkeler to enjoy!

 

Additional Snorkeling Items

Wet Suit – or shorty suit can be a great addition to your kids snorkeling gear and can add a level of comfort to any snorkeling trip. Both of our sons have low body fat and are very fit and Kids Wetsuit for Snorkelingactive in sports. At a young age we noticed that they would get cold quickly and their lips would turn blue (even at the pool). Although we typically travel to warm destinations, with water temps in the 80 deg range, we found that extended time in the water left them shivering cold. The wet suit has been a great comfort item for them for several reasons. Their wet suit helps them snorkel for extended periods of time in the water.   A wet suit also provides a layer of protection from reefs, coral, and pests like Snorkeling with your kidsthe occasional jelly fish sting. Gone are the days when our boys would get sun burned from swimming all day, because the suit protects those otherwise exposed areas from the sun. Their wet suits have provided a certain level of coolness, security, and comfort to our snorkeling trips. When they are not wearing their wet suits, they typically have a long sleeve swim shirt that can provide some of the same results.

NeoSport Wetsuits Youth Premium Neoprene 2mm Youth’s Shorty, Blue Trim, 4 – Diving, Snorkeling & Wakeboarding

 

Swim Vests – or life vests are a must have for young snorkelers. Although a vest limits the snorkeler from diving under the water, they are perfect for a new or inexperienced snorkeler. IMG_3343They provide security and flotation to a snorkeler so that they can work on their snorkeling technique. The next step up is the snorkeling safety vest; it allows the snorkeler to purge the air out of the vest for diving down. The transition from a swim vest to a diving vest is best practiced in the pool or area where you can touch the bottom. Although my kids enjoy diving down, most of their time is spent with a vest on. A great addition to these vests is a tether that allows our family to stay together as a group during snorkeling trips

 

 

 

 

Cressi Adult High Safety Self Inflatable Snorkel Vest, Fluorescent Yellow

Speedo Kids’ UPF 50+ Begin to Swim Classic Swim Vest, Neon Lime/Red, Large

 

 

 

Tropical Fish Guide – We purchased a tropical fish guide to help the kids learn about the fish they see in the ocean. This has been a great way to keep them interested in snorkeling and learning about the ocean and the environment.
Fishwatchers Field Guide: Fishes of Tropical Atlantic & Caribbean ID Card

 

Neoprene Strap tamer – aids in taking mask on/off. Tangled hair is something that periodically ends in a “snorkeling melt down” so we often use a Neoprene strap. This makes putting on and taking off the mask easier, and it floats in the water if the mask happens to come off.

ScubaPro Neoprene Mask Strap Cover, Scuba Diving Snorkeling (Blue / Yellow)

 

Additional equipment for kids and family snorkeling trips include:

  • Sun screen – Waterproof, SPF 50 -100
  • Swimmers ear drops, lens defogger
  • Selfie pole – Easy telescoping feature with arm or wrist lanyard
  • Underwater Camera – photos and video (Go Pro or even a Disposable waterproof camera)
  • Beach hats – Great as a sun block especially when hiking to that secret snorkeling spot.
  • First aid kit – Must have for a family snorkeling trip.
  • Beach tent – Provides great home base and shade on the beach. Check out our review of the Genji Beach Tent Here.
  • Dive Flag or dive buoy (Many destinations require divers and snorkelers to use buoys and flags to alert boats of divers/snorkelers nearby).
  • Dive bag – Great for organizing your snorkeling equipment and hauling to the beach.

Since our kids have become more comfortable snorkeling we have been able to experience some amazing snorkels together.  One of the best was our family dive/snorkel with Animal Encounters inside of the Curacao Sea Aquarium.  Had our kids not been comfortable swimming and snorkeling, we would have never been able to enjoy such an amazing day together.

Do your kids snorkel?  Do you have additional tips or suggestions or questions about teaching kids to snorkel?  We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

Best Family Snorkeling

 

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Rockingham Beach Western Australia

Rockingham Western Australia Nature’s Paradise

Ron & Michelle from We Are Legging It Share their favorite Nature Spots in their hometown of Rockingham in Western Australia.

*GUEST POST*

Rockingham Western Australia – Nature’s Paradise

Home for us is Rockingham in Western Australia is situated 60 kms south of Perth. It is one of those areas underrated by many but locals appreciate the beauty it has to offer, once you have visited you will understand.

Rockingham can be reached easily from Perth, either by the freeway or a 45 minute train journey and taking to connecting 500 bus to the foreshore area.

 

Rockingham Beach Western Australia

Rockingham Beach

The foreshore is a stretch of shaded parklands that run parallel to the child friendly beach, here you will find a stunning vista of blue coastlines, picnic areas with free BBQ grills, safe beaches and playgrounds for children to enjoy. There are also many coffee shops and restaurants where you can enjoy a meal and take in the stunning sunsets.

Rockingham Western Australia Natures Paradise

Enjoy Beautiful Sunsets

Along the two bays are a walking track that stretched for 16 kms, you can walk along the whole coastline stretching from Kwinana to Port Kennedy. Along the way you can enjoy watching the Pengquin Island Fairy Penguinslocal dolphins who are often seen around the coast sometimes they even swim with you while you are in the water. Also along the coast are areas where you can learn to kitesurf, take a boat trip to Penguin Island to see the Fairy Penguins who live there (although this can be a day trip in itself) and boat trips around the Shoalwater Islands where you can see seals and dolphins.

Rockingham Western Australia truly has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike especially when it is summer.

Ron and Michele are a couple in their 50s who decided not to wait till they retired to travel. They sold their things and left home in January 2014 travelling overland to England before buying a motorcycle to explore Europe. You can follow their adventures on their blog , Facebook or Instagram

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Edit your Vacation Photos Easily online with Ribbet’s Easy Photo Editor and Collage Maker

 

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