Maine sun family winter filter
November 26, 2018 5:25 AM   Subscribe

New to Maine and want to plan a winter vacation for the family. Criteria are, sun, warmth, family easy, but quiet and no need for resort type functionality. Bonus for snorkeling! Of course cost is a huge issue!

Looking at the map it seems that a vacation somewhere between like Tampa Bay, The Bahamas and the Yucatan is where we want to go. We are two adults, two children. Love to cook and be in a quiet area, mostly just want beach and simplicity.

No idea if any of the areas on the western side of Florida are a good idea, like Marco Island area? It has been many decades since going to the Bahamas, but that sure looks great! I have spent time in the Keys and dont really care for that much, but I am also surer there are areas I no nothing about.

Is it crazy NOT to look for a package deal from AAA or Costco?

Since we have been in California for a long time, just haven't looked into a winter holiday recently. Any thoughts or guidance appreciated
posted by silsurf to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The gulf-coast beaches of Florida are wonderful, but don't offer much in the way of snorkeling. Lots of flat sand, maybe a sandbar around which you can find some sand dollars and whatnot. My favorite spot along that bit of coast is Sanibel-Captiva Island. World-class shelling, among other things. Quiet and unspoilt. We've had good luck with VRBO in finding decent places to stay in along the coast, though most recently have been stomping around the Mobile/Destin/Ft. Walton Beach stretch of the Gulf along the north. That area's likely to be quiet, too.
posted by jquinby at 5:37 AM on November 26, 2018

My grandma had a place in Marco for a long time (still in the process of renovations and repairs for the condo since Hurricane Mathew). It’s a calm nice place, but in December you might get some hot days but temperatures are more likely to be in the 60’s and 70’s than 80’s and 90’s. I don’t think there’s any snorkeling to speak of but you could do kayaking and whatever those big parachutes pulled by boats are called.

I think you’re likely looking for something warmer though. I’d recommend getting a apartment rental in St. Croix or St. Thomas for what you’re looking for if you want true warmth (or do you just want warm enough to play on a outdoor playground with no jacket?)
posted by raccoon409 at 5:38 AM on November 26, 2018

I Love Costco for just about everything but feel like I can do better than their offerings when it comes to price.

For inexpensive I love the Yucatan area (not Cancun). I've been to Akumal, Tulum, Playa del Carmen area about 15 times since it's cheap and pretty great. We've done inns, villas, b & bs. For a family of 4 I'd think the most cost effective is renting a 2 bedroom condo somewhere. Maybe around Akumal area. Tulum has the best beach but it's more expensive.

A place like this might work or this

I love the area and there are a dozen fun cenotes to swim in, snorkeling, wonderful restaurants, and two fun towns to walk around shopping and get an ice cream.

(I've frequently done Florida and about 15 of the Caribbean islands but I feel what Mexico offers is a much better value if you are looking for a nice beach that isn't surrounded by mini malls and high rises)
posted by beccaj at 6:14 AM on November 26, 2018

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