From downtown to beachfront - top hotels for families visiting Tampa
Whatever you’re looking for – a stay downtown right in the heart of it all or a beachfront suite with a perfect sunset view – you’re sure to find it in the Tampa area. There are many options here from the budget-friendly to the luxurious and extravagant.
1/The Don CeSar
3400 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach
The Don CeSar, or The Don as it's affectionately referred to by locals, is the ultimate resort when choosing your next Gulf Coast getaway. Rich in history, lavish in décor, and perfect in setting, this family resort has everything you need. You'll never have to leave, and trust me, you won’t want to. Situated right on St. Pete Beach, this pink palace features water sports (extra fee), two heated oceanfront pools, and a complimentary half-day Camp Cesar Kids Camp. Starts at $249/night.
KidTripster Tip: Request for a room with an ocean view, and you will be astounded.
Located one half-mile down the beach from its pink sister resort, The Don CeSar, you’ll find the newly-renovated Beach House Suites by The Don CeSar. Perfect for families, these spacious suites allow guests to spread out. All the suites include full kitchens, in-room washer and dryers, and all the luxury you would expect from Loews. A $25/night resort fee allows visitors to enjoy all the amenities and activities of The Don CeSar, including the popular Camp CeSar Kids’ Camp. Rates begin at $269/night.
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Located just a few short minutes from St. Armand's Circle, the prestigious The Resort at Longboat Key Club is set right on the Gulf of Mexico. This first-class resort emphasizes family comfort. Children (ages 5-12) are invited to participate in Camp Loggerhead with games, arts and crafts, beach excursions, and more. Starts at $239/night.
5/Residence Inn Tampa Downtown
101 E. Tyler St., Tampa
The Residence Inn Tampa Downtown offers guests spacious suites with full kitchens and laundry facilities, plus a pool and basketball court. Located right in the heart of downtown, Residence Inn is within walking distance to Tampa’s Channelside District with its plethora of restaurants, frequent firework displays, and live outdoor music. Pet-friendly too, this hotel is a perfect find for the budget-conscious family. Starts at $104/night.
6/Embassy Suites Downtown Tampa Convention Center
513 S. Florida Ave., Tampa
The Embassy Suites has the perfect downtown Tampa location with an extremely courteous staff, rooftop pool, complimentary made-to-order breakfast, and amazing downtown views. Board the TECO Trolley right outside the front door to get to all the downtown attractions, like The Florida Aquarium and Glazer Children’s Museum, or to Ybor City, known as Tampa’s Latin Quarter. Rates begin at $169/night.
7/Lido Beach Resort
700 Benjamin Franklin Dr., Sarasota
A true family paradise, Lido Beach Resort could be the highlight of your visit. Located right on the beach a few minutes’ walk from St. Armand’s Circle, the area has everything you need – beach, restaurants, shopping, ice cream, and more. The walk to town is short and extremely scenic, but the resort does offer a convenient shuttle that runs frequently. Rooms are recently updated, and fully-equipped kitchen suites are available. Good luck getting your kids out of the two heated pools! Starts at $199/night.
8/Holiday Inn Lido Beach
233 Benjamin Franklin Dr., Sarasota
Arguably the nicest Holiday Inn anywhere, the Holiday Inn Lido Beach has some swanky style and a top floor restaurant with a breathtaking view. Take advantage of the hotel’s “Kids Eat Free Any Time of the Day” offer. While the hotel is located across the street from the beach and not on it, it’s an easy walk; plus the hotel has multiple pools. Starts at $181/night.
1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven
While pricey, you and your kids won’t soon forget a stay at LEGOLAND Hotel! Every guest room is themed from a popular LEGO line. Parents are treated to a king-size bed, while kids have a separate sleeping area with a fantasy bunk bed and pull-out trundle. And check out the swimming pool with its floating bricks, just begging to be snapped together. Guests receive complimentary breakfast and early admission to the amusement park. If your vacation is centered on LEGOLAND’s theme and water parks, a stay here will complete your kids’ dreams! Rates begin at $303/night.
10/Tradewinds Island Resort
5500 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach
Set right on the beach, Tradewinds offers two resorts on the same property – the new aquatic-themed Guy Harvey Outpost with outrageous fish tanks and the Island Grand Resort with its three-story water slide for your little daredevils. With seven swimming pools, giant ocean inflatables, 14 restaurants, a kids camp, paddleboats, and beach fire pit (think s’mores at sunset), the only problem with this resort is…. you probably won’t want to leave. Multiple room and suite sizes available. Starts at $180/night.
Greg Bailey lives in the Tampa area with his wife and two sons. Born and raised in Michigan, he has happily traded in his winter parka, snow shovel, and gloves for the beach, sunny skies, and gentle breezes of the coast of Florida.
This writer received some complimentary stays for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions expressed are solely his own.