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where to vacation

Level Contributor
131 posts
11 reviews
where to vacation

We hope to spend about a month in Florida sometime between May - August. Not sure where to consider especially in light of the possible oil polution. Any thoughts? We have loved the CLearwater/Sand key area in the past, but are also considering both the Panhandle and Vero Beach area. But it's hard to predict what the oil spill may do by nest summer.

Vero Beach, Florida
Destination Expert
for Vero Beach
Level Contributor
9,423 posts
179 reviews
1. Re: where to vacation

That's a long time from now. It's possible that one or more areas of the state might be recovering from a major hurricane. The 2004 storms on the Atlantic coast had a particular knack for smashing up or soaking oceanfront hotels in areas that otherwise didn't suffer much damage.

My best non-expert guess is that assuming the oil leakage stops by September, the Pensacola to Panama City beaches will be in decent condition by next May, but it'll take a very long time to return them to pristine conditions. Clearwater might possibly get tarballs. The coast south of Clearwater is likely to escape oiling altogether. Vero Beach on the Atlantic coast has a modest risk of tarballs, a nuisance more than hazard.


I suspect you might also be driving, in which case the Panhandle might be an excellent. I'm not all knowledgeable about the region's beaches, but should you visit earlier, March-April, there's quite a lot of spring beauty, ranging from whole prairies of pitcher plants to hardwood forests with atamasco lilies. It's a lovely, if steamy-hot region in summer.

The additional drive from, say, Panama City to Vero Beach is (without checking the online mapping tools) about nine hours.

Since you've been there, you're fully aware that St. Petersburg-Tampa is a major urban area, a bit smaller than St. Louis and equal to Orlando-Daytona Beach.

Vero Beach is a bit of an oddity. The only tall buildings in the county are a pair of 12-story condos (Stuart/Martin County to the south has similar restrictions). As in Martin County, the oceanfront areas are mostly upscale, serving as tax havens for affluent retirees. The beaches themselves tend to be fairly narrow with a fairly high shell content. Surf is usually tamed by limestone reefs that are barely offshore. Vero is large enough to have the usual suburban chain restaurants on the mainland, but also has local fine/near-fine dining places, some of them quite durable. May-August is the off-season (September is even more "off"), meaning some summer closures and far less traffic.

Melbourne, Florida
Destination Expert
for Melbourne, Florida
Level Contributor
17,928 posts
116 reviews
2. Re: where to vacation

August is usually our hottest month so I would stick to either May, June or early July. Less chance of hurricanes then too. As blue said you can't predict what things will be like a year from now but I would make sure anything I booked would be refundable if possible. Try www.vrbo.com for month long rentals. There are lots of condo's and homes on that site. Many have reviews here on TA.

As blue said Vero Beach is the odd one in your mix of choices. The area is nice tho and the east coast beaches are a little smaller with a little stronger waves than west or gulf coast. Vero is a very small quiet town compared to Pensacola or Clearwater. You might also look at New Smyrna Beach, St. Augustine / Amelia Island or further south Ft. Lauderdale which altho a much larger city has really nice beaches and lots to do there.

Level Contributor
131 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: where to vacation

Thanks for your feedback.

I know it is a long way off, but I am hoping to narrow down what part of Florida we want to stay in.

We will have a month - possibly mid May to mid June. We have stayed in Clearwater, Sand Key and Vero Beach in the past. We are older, so enjoy something a little quieter. (Hence our choice of Sand Key & Vero Beach) However, we'd like something flexible so that our grandkids can come & visit for one or two of the weeks.

We love long white sand beaches and beautiful water. That's why we are considering the Panhandle. But my initial research seems to indicate that since May - Aug is prime time, most places do not rent for the month then.

Edited: 12 July 2010, 03:19
Destination Expert
for Florida
Level Contributor
50,168 posts
22 reviews
4. Re: where to vacation

There is no way to know about the oil so I will discount. Apart top say if there is a problem left it will be in the pandhandle.

Of al the places you metionned I'd pick Vero Beach. I dont' like big, busy, built up high rise places unless I am going for nightlife in s=which case I;d look at Ft L or miami sobe.

What you don't ask is about the beaches on the gulf coast south of Tampa. The best in FL IMHO. Why not? Are you driving?

Level Contributor
131 posts
11 reviews
5. Re: where to vacation

We have stayed at Treasure Island and St Pete's Beach and at Sanibel. We are not driving, by my son & his family will be driving from the Chicago area, so I was hoping for something not quite that far south. But at this point, we are still open to suggestions. :-)

Level Contributor
11,349 posts
51 reviews
6. Re: where to vacation

For nice white sandy and uncrowded wide beach ck out South Hutchinson Island about a half hour South of Vero. It has easy access to both quiet little downtown Jensen Beach and Historic Stuart. Both with excellent locally owned restaurants. A bit to the West on US 1 you will find plenty of shopping and the usual national chain restaurants. Along the beaches, particularly in May/June you can walk a long way seeing few other people.

7. Re: where to vacation

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