Last Minute Spring Break Planning???

Are you still looking for a great place to get away with family over the upcoming 2019 spring break?  

Below are a few of my family’s personal favorites that are all within a reasonable driving distance and provide just the right blend of kid activities and on-premise water attractions to keep everyone happy when you aren’t off exploring mega-amusement parks.

A money-saving personal tip to share — if you’re not already a Marriott Rewards member you may want to consider joining & accumulating some points…because each and every recommendation that I have shared is a Marriott-owned or affiliated property and my family has enjoyed each of these terrific properties “FREE” — 100% on our rewards points!  

If these look like places you might enjoy, drop me a note or email me, I’d be happy to share how we’ve managed to save thousands of dollars on accommodations while enjoying some of the most amazing resort properties in Florida.

Amelia Island:  The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island…We loved this place.  They did an amazing Easter egg hunt and had dozens of free carnival-type games for the kids to play.  There were smores around the fire in the evenings right down on the beach. If you’re not up for socializing around a big bonfire, there are also pairs of adirondack chairs scattered around the property with their own personal little firepits to enjoy.  The pool was very peaceful and the service was fantastic. We even had a personal visit from the Easter Bunny on Saturday evening when we checked in!

last moment prep before getting ready for the egg hunt

We’ve made multiple visits to Orlando over the years and you really can’t go wrong with any of the options where we’ve stayed.

The JW Marriott Grande Lakes is super kid-friendly and has great (enormous) lazy river that circles the multiple pools on property.  This place definitely draws families & can provide you with as much social interaction as you want. Given that you are in Orlando, you’ve got thousands of entertainment options all around you, but if you’re just looking to relax and forget about your car for a few days you’ll find plenty to do here without ever leaving the property.

Orlando:  JW Marriott Grande Lakes

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sneak away for a cozy fireside snack at the JW Marriott

The Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes is immediately adjacent to the JW Marriott and is connected by a walkway along the back of the property.  The pool at the Ritz is pretty basic…beautiful, but not geared as much towards kids as the neighboring JW Marriott. The upside however, when you’re ready to take a break from the relative tranquility at your own pool, you can make the short walk over to the JW and have access to the lazy river & all their activities.  

Orlando Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes

The Orlando Marriott World Center is ENORMOUS.  When you’re there for a family spring break you’ll see a lot of other families, but you’ll no doubt also run across a convention or two being hosted at the property as well… One really fun part of this property is that in addition to a great pool with cascading waterfalls hiding a hot tub grotto, they also have a couple of very fun water slides that the kids will love (I can attest, even 49 year old kids)!

Orlando Marriott World Center

pool hijinks at the Orlando Marriott World Center

Marco Island:  JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort  In fairness, we were really, really fortunate to be able to work the front desk into an upgrade to one of their villa suites that enabled us to walk right out our backdoor and take 5 steps before hitting the sand.  If you go here, pour on the charm at check in & ask about a villa upgrade. The beaches and the water are absolutely fantastic — with bright white, almost powdery, sand and crystal clear gulf waters.  There are some terrific casual restaurants in the resort right there along the beach or you can reserve a beach tiki cabana & enjoy drink/food service while you relax in the shade.

take in some shade & amazing views in Marco Island


beautiful day for boating in Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island is wonderful.  It’s sleepy little beach town just south of Tampa and north of Sarasota that reminds me of the old-school Florida beach towns.  Situated on the western coast of Florida, you’re treated to amazing nightly sundowns over the Gulf. You can pretty much bicycle anywhere, or if you plan ahead you can rent a golf cart for the duration of your stay to help make treks to the beach or the ice cream shop even more enjoyable.  My family was turned on to Anna Maria a few years ago by friends and on that visit we actually rented a small house (no Marriott Points on that one!). There a so many great home rental options but you might need to act fast if that’s the way you want to go. Besides VRBO searching, there are a couple of rental management companies right in Anna Maria that can assist you in your search.

This spring we’re headed back to Anna Maria & back to my favorite luxury… “FREE” accommodations with our points.  Anna Maria Island is home to one of Marriott’s Autograph Collection hotels, the Waterline Marina & Beach Club.  We haven’t been there yet personally but the pictures and reviews are amazing. They offer multi bedroom suites with kitchens, living rooms etc so we should have plenty of space for the family.  We’re excited to check it out!

Anna Maria:  Waterline Marina & Beach Club

incredible beach & nightly sunsets over the Gulf from Anna Maria Island