Vacation fun in Florida

As parents, we know that our children can often have different interests. On vacation, this can lead to a hard time finding the right resort to keep everyone happy. A recent trip to the Resort at Longboat Key Club in Sarasota, Fla. proved just the right mix of sports and pampering for my family of four.

My oldest “super-girly” daughter of 14 has discovered the luxury of the spa experience, and she and I enjoyed our time together at the 9,000-square-foot Island House Spa. She was donning that spa robe and sipping fruit-infused mineral water like she had found her nirvana.

We booked the “Couples Massage” room, so that we could enjoy our massages side-by-side. She went with the “Sugar & Spice and Everything Nice Massage” from the “Kids at the Island” treatment menu, where a 50-minute massage using Whoopie white velvet buttercream shea butter made her feel truly indulgent. The “Tropical Island Paradise” 50-minute massage was just what was needed for me to kick-off the stress-free weekend.

More wellness-oriented fun came in the form of a 60-minute stretch class the next morning on the beach. It was the perfect way to start our day. The resort offers an extensive amount of fitness classes including yoga, water aerobics, body sculpting, spinning, and more. The minimum age is 12, so budding teens on up can join mom and dad at the Mind and Motion Studio, or at a class at the beach.

As my teen and I were spending the rest of our time underneath umbrellas poolside or on the resort’s beautiful, wide, powder-white sand beach, my husband and 11-year-old were taking full advantage of the tennis and golf facilities. The impressive $4.5 million award-winning Tennis Gardens opened in 2009 and includes 20 Har-Tru clay courts. They took a lesson with a pro, who was equally good with my beginner tween tennis player as he was with my intermediate-level husband.

Children’s clinics are also available and are segmented by ability and age. Tennis is complimentary and unlimited at the resort, so those who love the sport can play all day and night with five lighted courts.

Another day for this sports duo was dedicated to golf. The resort has the 18-hole Islandside Golf Course and the Harbourside Golf Course, which consists of three nine-hole courses. The first time my daughter actually played on a golf course proved to be a true bonding day for her and dad, starting with a lesson, nine holes, and time driving the golf cart.

The resort itself is family-friendly with newly renovated spacious accommodations featuring washers and dryers and either full-service kitchens or kitchenettes. A supermarket is only a five-minute drive, so families can stock their fridge with snacks, breakfast, and lunch items, and then splurge on dinner out. The two-bedroom suites are perfect for families of four or larger, with two full bathrooms and a living room with a pullout couch. An added bonus is the large balcony, and ours faced the lagoon, where we spied dolphins playing and manatees seemingly kissing the day away.

All of the six resort restaurants offer kids’ menus and the ability to tweak from the regular menu to make younger guests happy.

A complimentary shuttle takes you around the expansive resort, making it easy for families to spend time doing activities geared toward each child’s interests. Of course, the best part is meeting up at night for dinner and hearing about the day’s adventures.

Call the Resort at Longboat Key Club at (800) 237–8821 for package choices and rates or visit longboatkeyclub.com.

Stacey Zable is an award-winning veteran travel writer and family travel expert who has written about destinations, resorts, and cruise lines around the world. Her favorite trips are those that she shares with her husband and two daughters. Send travel questions and comments to Zable at info@familytraveltrails.com.