Just Let Go to Sensational Sun, Surf, Sand, and Spectacular Leisure Going-ons!
By Charlene & Richard Mixa
Go to a tropical paradise on St. Pete Beach. Slip on your flip flops, leave all your inhibitions, worries and cares behind – “Just Let Go!” Go for a walk on the beach, go down a huge slide, go nap in a hammock, go swim with the fish, go for a dip in the pool, go for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, go to dinner or go find a hidden sanctuary. A 20-acre beachfront playground, the TradeWinds Resort is a place to escape, totally relax and have fun. The Resort lives up to its latest logo or mantra: “Just Let Go!”
Ready to “just let go”, we arrive in our Tropical Suite at the TradeWinds Island Grand. Ah! The suite reflects the feel of a classic British West Indies plantation. Custom-made dark wood furnishings, crisp white linens, travertine flooring and one of a kind nature-themed artwork lends a serene island ambiance. A separate bedroom, living room and full kitchen are all welcoming in soothing island colors. From our balcony we have an expansive view of the tropical gardens, ponds, pools and the Gulf of Mexico beach.
Gulf breezes, clear blue waters and the award-winning white sands of St. Pete beach beckon. Quickly slipping into swimsuits and flip flops, we head out for a restful and serene afternoon of surf, sand, and sun. Hurrah! Upon check-in we received a “GoPass” wristband that provides a wide a variety of unique amenities in just one fee. Our GoPass gives us access to many activities, delights and pleasures including the High Tide Slide, Triple Wipe Out, Fitness Center, Hooded Beach Cabana, Paddelboats, Mini Golf and Beach Volleyball. Fluffy beach towels are available at the stand and then we pick out a special cabana for sunning and resting on this 100 yard deep beach! Carefully, slathering on the sunscreen, we first enjoy a leisurely walk down the beach before taking a dip in the serene blue Gulf waters. With gentle breezes off the Gulf, we chill out for a nap time in the cabana.
Exploring our beachfront options, the Guy Harvey Outpost is only 200 flip flops away where we visit its specialty gift shop then cool off in their pool. Next, the Breckenridge Pool (an adult only pool) is a delightful place to relax and listen to the beat of island music. With five-heated pools we indulge in visiting each one. The pool in the tropical gardens of the TradeWinds Island Grand attracts families with young children and offers some nice shady spots. Here, we enjoy watching little ones as they laugh and play. “Just Let Go!” Yes, we have – “Let Go!” The TradeWinds easily transports us to another dimension. Its wonderful beach, tropical acres, pools and the Gulf of Mexico easily creating a paradise.
For the evening we decide to walk to a local eatery for dinner before returning to the resort. Its movie time! Kids and adults of all ages gather to watch a movie on the giant screen around the pool. We opt for a stroll along the beachfront and enjoy the beauty of the reds and oranges as the sunsets.
Up early and well rested, we do some stretching and mild workout at the up-to-date fitness center located at the Breckenridge. It’s Monday morning, the beach is quiet with just a few early birds out for a morning stroll, run or dip. The sand is calling! Under clear blue skies with the gentle Gulf breeze we walk along the shoreline to the Don Cesar Resort. Back in the early 80’s, my parents would spend weekends at the Breckenridge. A favorite activity of my Dad’s was to walk the mile and half along the beach to the Don Cesar and back. It is fun recapturing the memories of long ago. Returning, we have a stop at Bermuda’s to enjoy their expansive buffet of hot, cold and made-to-order breakfast items. This is definitely our breakfast and lunch. After a morning workout, beach walk and breakfast, we find cozy hammocks for a respite.
Now back in our swimsuits and flip flops we’re off. Choices? The weekend crowds are gone making it perfect for taking advantage of our GoPass. With a short wait line, it’s a slow steady climb to the top of the High Tide Slide. Looking down to the sand below and a long blue flute, it takes bravery and nerves. “Just let go!” I do! Swoosh! Yahoo! In seconds, I’m at the bottom, laughing at the thrill of the slide. It will be a blast to take our grandchildren on this phenomenal slide! Now back to an afternoon of sun, surf and sand at the Cabana and leisurely beach walks and dips. Time for another activity! Paddleboats! Attempting to keep in sync we paddle through the tropical waterways at the Island Grand even going under the Flying Bridge Beach Bar. Reaching the end of the waterway, we carefully steer around the swans for our return.
Seeking an afternoon libation, we wander over to Guy Harvey’s Outpost. Unbelievable! The Guy Harvey Rum Fish Grill showcases a 33,500 gallon aquarium. We peep in this upscale restaurant and walk around this massive aquarium while we attempt to spot each fish from the list.
Click! Click! I snap a great photo of Richard reeling in a huge Tarpon. Okay it’s fake but fun! At the Sharktooth Tavern we settle at the bar for an afternoon drink while chatting with the bartender and a local couple. Now to “let go” and enjoy a nap during an afternoon storm.
For dinner, the Flying Bridge Beach Bar fits our desires with its variety of sandwiches. For our final evening it is a walk on the beach as the sunsets. The TradeWinds has another special memory. Twenty two years ago on another beautiful June evening under a moonlit sky with the sound of waves softly breaking on the shoreline, Richard, dropped to one knee on our walk along the beach and proposed. I quickly accepted, anxious to not lose the engagement ring in the sand. On our final evening at the TradeWinds, we recall that special evening how far we have come, the many memories we have created and the blessings we have shared. Sitting on our balcony at the Tradewinds, we toast those memories of yesteryear and today!
If you go:
The TradeWinds offers a variety of accommodations from standard rooms to suites in either the Island Grand, the Breckenridge or the Guy Harvey Outpost. Couples will enjoy the adult only areas while families and kids will be find a plethora of activities for children (and children at heart), as well as, an active kids program. Plus pet owners will be thrilled with their pet friendly suites and pet friendly outside areas. Be sure to get the GoPass with all the amenities it offers, which is also available for day visit to the resort.
The TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach, 5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706