My young family (inc. kids aged 2 and 5) and I have just returned from a two week break in Florida ... and only went to Disney World once. For those not keen on 'coasters, crowds and queuing I can't recommend St. Pete's Beach enough. Glorious white sandy beaches, delicious sea food restaurants and steak houses and many hours of brilliant sunshine.
Isla Del Sol is located on (surprisingly enough) an Island connected by a series of causeways to St. Petersburg to the east, St.Pete's Beach to the west and the fabulous Fort De Soto State park to the south. (Hire bikes or kayaks, walk the miles of pathways, fish from one of the piers, take a BBQ to cook in one of the permanent brick built picnic areas or just lay back on the white beach.
Accommodation on Isla Del Sol is comprised of large, quiet, well maintained estates of tower blocks and low rise condos. With large feature lakes, semi-private pools (per block of units), fishing jetties and a Golf Course (But be warned guests are only allowed at certain times of the year...the rest of the year is members only.) The residents are a mix of permanent residents and holiday makers (and during the winter months 100's of 'snowbirds' (usually retired Americans and Canadians) come down from the northern states to escape the brutal winters and get a little sunshine and take up 2 - 3 month rentals.
My husband is a fishing fan and the opportunities for pier and beach fishing are outstanding ... his pride and joy this year was catching a four foot Hammerhead shark from the Jetty below our Bahia Del Mar Circle apartment! You don't even need to go to sea as decent sized game fish can be caught from the many piers in the area.
Watch out for hurricane season .... we were unlucky enough to drop on Tropical Storm Debby - one of the worst storms they've had in 50 years and the Tornado wasn't much fun! But it's a peril of going in the summer .... climate wise spring and autumn are fabulous times to visit ... don't bother packing more than one jumper.
The local beaches are clean, well kept white sand and the sea mostly child friendly - but listen to news reports as dangerous rip currents can arise (particularly after bad weather). Also watch out for major public holidays - we went to the beach on the Saturday before the 4th July and it was packed! Sea front parking can be costly at $12 a day - you can use your credit card in the machine.
The kids loved the beach and most restaurants positively welcome young people. Beverley's Croisette on the north end of the main seafront road is fabulous for a hearty reasonably priced breakfast - you might have to wait for a table but it is worth it!
If parks ARE your thing - Busch Gardens is about 30 - 45 mins away at the other side of Tampa Bay and the 2 week unlimited pass (which also gives unlimited access to Seaworld Orlando and its water park Aquatica ... though NOT to the Busch Garden's Water 'Adventure Island' at the present time) is great value for under £90 and can provide relief for days when it is maybe a bit wet or you are bored of the beach. The white knuckle rides are some of the best in the country but there is plenty to keep even hardened youngsters busy for days - we barely got out of the Sesame street area!
Loads of rental condo's are available for hire from many different agents and owners - decor can look a little dated but lets are usually clean and well maintained. Do your internet research, look at the pictures pay your money and take your chance.
If you go ... have a great time. We'll be going back and my parents go twice a year every year!
There's so much more to Florida than Mickey Mouse!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.