Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
dundee
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:27 pm

Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by dundee » Thu May 04, 2017 3:04 pm

Dear Bogleheads,

We are planning a family vacation to a beach area during the Christmas holidays this year. We hope to rent an Airbnb condo on a beach somewhere. We plan to fly there from the Northeast.

Does anybody have any good places they can suggest? Idea is to spend time on the beach and not do anything strenuous! Been to Florida keys before, so, don't want to go there again.

Is Galveston, TX a good place to vacation?
St. Augustine?
Others?

Please give us some ideas. Thank you.

spoco79
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue May 03, 2016 8:59 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by spoco79 » Thu May 04, 2017 3:05 pm

The 30A area of Florida is a hidden gem. Beautiful beaches.

livesoft
Posts: 63000
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by livesoft » Thu May 04, 2017 3:07 pm

I can't say I'd go to Galveston. Maybe South Padre Island or Mustang Island, but not Galveston Island.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
Sheepdog
Posts: 5193
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 3:05 pm
Location: Indiana, retired 1998 at age 65

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Sheepdog » Thu May 04, 2017 3:17 pm

Start now to find your condo (or house)on a beach. That may help you to decide where. They, especially on a beach, are difficult to find as many are rented by annual visitors...Christmas even more so.
Last edited by Sheepdog on Thu May 04, 2017 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
It's not what you gather, but what you scatter which tells what kind of life you have lived---Helen Walton

Silk McCue
Posts: 1504
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Silk McCue » Thu May 04, 2017 3:18 pm

There are lots of great options if flying into Tampa. There are an endless array of beach communities that have condos for rent. Beautiful white sand beaches and great sunsets. We live in Orlando and rent there usually once a year. We happen to stay at Anglers Cove in Reddington Shores where all units are 3 bedroom.

renue74
Posts: 1200
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 7:24 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by renue74 » Thu May 04, 2017 3:18 pm

My parents retired to St. Augustine 30 years ago and I've been there many, many, many times.

It is really a nice little area for some slow relaxing.

• The old town and fort are nice to visit and the bay front is a great place to walk.
• Anastasia Beach Park is very beautiful and not busy at all. Great for long walks.
• Lighthouse gives you great views of the town.
• Plenty of great restaurants in the old city area or along A1A.
• Lightner Museum is great for some old Ponce de Leon history of the area.

During Xmas, they have lights up and it's really not as busy as the summer tourist crowd. If for some reason you get bored, Orlando is 2 hours away and can day trip it. We've done that during our Xmas holiday. Visit family and then hit EPCOT for one day.

Also, it's close enough to Jacksonville. The Jax Zoo is nice and there are a ton of things to do.

All in all, the town is great and the whole area is great for a relaxing vacation.

I have a client in Jax, FL now and often will stay in the Renaissance Resort hotel at the World Golf Village when I visit...which is about 10 minutes outside of St. Augustine on I-95. The secret is I can go through Priceline.com and get a room for about $75/night. The resort is never busy and I've used priceline many, many times to get a good deal.

Another possiblity is Amelia Island which is north of Jax, Fl. We've vacationed there and it's quiet. Not as much to do, but nice.

an_asker
Posts: 2204
Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2013 2:15 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by an_asker » Thu May 04, 2017 3:20 pm

dundee wrote:Dear Bogleheads,

We are planning a family vacation to a beach area during the Christmas holidays this year. We hope to rent an Airbnb condo on a beach somewhere. We plan to fly there from the Northeast.

Does anybody have any good places they can suggest? Idea is to spend time on the beach and not do anything strenuous! Been to Florida keys before, so, don't want to go there again.

Is Galveston, TX a good place to vacation?
St. Augustine?
Others?

Please give us some ideas. Thank you.
If you are going to be flying anyway, how about the Bahamas or Aruba or some such?

I would suggest a cruise, but that would increase the vacation cost for sure.

bloom2708
Posts: 5011
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by bloom2708 » Thu May 04, 2017 4:32 pm

Are you OK with not having "beach weather"?

I do not think you are guaranteed warm/beach weather in the locations you list.

The Florida Keys has likely the highest likelihood of being beach weather in December. But, you've already been there.

St. Thomas? Bahamas?
"We are not here to please, but to provoke thoughtfulness." --Unknown Boglehead

MrNewEngland
Posts: 807
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:38 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by MrNewEngland » Thu May 04, 2017 4:39 pm

Silk McCue wrote:There are lots of great options if flying into Tampa. There are an endless array of beach communities that have condos for rent. Beautiful white sand beaches and great sunsets. We live in Orlando and rent there usually once a year. We happen to stay at Anglers Cove in Reddington Shores where all units are 3 bedroom.
The Tampa area is awesome. The beaches at Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, etc are absolutely gorgeous. Plus Tampa has a cool zoo, Ybor is a cool neighborhood, and if you have time it's only a few hours away from Crystal River/the Florida head springs... you can go snorkeling with Manatee (winter is the the best time to go see them).

Dottie57
Posts: 4806
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Dottie57 » Thu May 04, 2017 5:09 pm

Not a beach. But I think Santa Fe would be fun.

User avatar
Pranav
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:25 am
Location: Texas

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Pranav » Thu May 04, 2017 5:33 pm

Padre Island National Seashore

https://www.nps.gov/pais/index.htm

"The Longest Stretch of Undeveloped Barrier Island in The World

Padre Island National Seashore separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Laguna Madre, one of a few hypersaline lagoons in the world. The park protects 70 miles of coastline, dunes, prairies, and wind tidal flats teeming with life. It is a safe nesting ground for the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle and a haven for 380 bird species. It also has a rich history, including the Spanish shipwrecks of 1554."
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki

tigermilk
Posts: 536
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:32 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by tigermilk » Thu May 04, 2017 5:44 pm

Galveston in December could be in the 70s or in the 40s. The beach isn't that appealing, and it could be pretty dead that time of year.

chrisam314
Posts: 18
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:22 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by chrisam314 » Thu May 04, 2017 6:26 pm

Dundee,

If you are looking for a warm/hot December beach destination in the carribean: Turks and Caicos. If you want to stay in the US there are a few options:

1) Florida's southern gulf coast. From Fort Myers down to Naples. Fly into RSW. I preferred Naples. It is a very popular with folks from the Northeast. I was in Naples this past February and the weather was warm enough to go to the beach, but not to swim (except for some kids and brave souls).

2) If you want some more "southern culture" then the northern gulf coast is your spot. Fly into either PNS (Pensacola) or ECP (Panama City). Pensacola, Destin, County Road 30A (as mentioned above), and Panama City Beach all have varying accommodations depending on what you're looking for. Pensacola has a beautiful beach, an old civil war fort (Fort Pickens), and a nice little downtown area with good restaurants and a New Orleans vibe. As much as I love the area (I went to college in Pensacola and lived on Panama City Beach for a few years), I would probably recommend Fort Myers/Naples area that time of year because it will be warmer.

3) On Florida's east coast I would recommend Delray Beach. Fly into PBI. Its about a 20 minute drive/uber from the airport. Lots of direct flights to the northeast as this area is very people from folks up there as well. The weather will likely be pleasant.

dundee
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2016 2:27 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by dundee » Thu May 04, 2017 7:53 pm

Wow, thank you folks. A lot of great ideas. I think Galveston is not a great idea. I agree. I will do some search in the various locations mentioned in FLorida.

We thought about Caribbean destinations. But, they seem rather expensive for that time of the year.

How is Cocoa beach area? Worth visiting? I understand that the weather cannot be guaranteed.

User avatar
William4u
Posts: 1325
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:02 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by William4u » Thu May 04, 2017 8:17 pm

renue74 wrote:My parents retired to St. Augustine 30 years ago and I've been there many, many, many times.

It is really a nice little area for some slow relaxing.

• The old town and fort are nice to visit and the bay front is a great place to walk.
• Anastasia Beach Park is very beautiful and not busy at all. Great for long walks.
• Lighthouse gives you great views of the town.
• Plenty of great restaurants in the old city area or along A1A.
• Lightner Museum is great for some old Ponce de Leon history of the area.

During Xmas, they have lights up and it's really not as busy as the summer tourist crowd. If for some reason you get bored, Orlando is 2 hours away and can day trip it. We've done that during our Xmas holiday. Visit family and then hit EPCOT for one day.

Also, it's close enough to Jacksonville. The Jax Zoo is nice and there are a ton of things to do.

All in all, the town is great and the whole area is great for a relaxing vacation.

I have a client in Jax, FL now and often will stay in the Renaissance Resort hotel at the World Golf Village when I visit...which is about 10 minutes outside of St. Augustine on I-95. The secret is I can go through Priceline.com and get a room for about $75/night. The resort is never busy and I've used priceline many, many times to get a good deal.

Another possiblity is Amelia Island which is north of Jax, Fl. We've vacationed there and it's quiet. Not as much to do, but nice.
I agree with all the above. A few more ideas for St Augustine and the area: The Alligator Farm is amazing. Cumberland Island is beautiful. I will reiterate that Anastasia Beach Park is one of the prettiest beaches I've ever seen, and it is not very busy even at the height of tourist season. The National Park fort is nice. The "ghost tours" are cheesy but fun. There are houses on St George St that are over 500 years old.

ChicagoSparty
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by ChicagoSparty » Fri May 05, 2017 4:37 pm

I would not go to Galveston. The beaches there aren't very nice and the town doesn't have a lot to offer for a beach town.

radiowave
Posts: 1880
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2015 5:01 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by radiowave » Fri May 05, 2017 5:15 pm

MrNewEngland wrote:
Silk McCue wrote:There are lots of great options if flying into Tampa. There are an endless array of beach communities that have condos for rent. Beautiful white sand beaches and great sunsets. We live in Orlando and rent there usually once a year. We happen to stay at Anglers Cove in Reddington Shores where all units are 3 bedroom.
The Tampa area is awesome. The beaches at Clearwater, St. Pete Beach, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, etc are absolutely gorgeous. Plus Tampa has a cool zoo, Ybor is a cool neighborhood, and if you have time it's only a few hours away from Crystal River/the Florida head springs... you can go snorkeling with Manatee (winter is the the best time to go see them).
+1, Pinellas Co has a lot to offer. In addition, the Dali museum in St. Pete, Ft Desoto (and kayaking), Caldesi island just north of Clearwater Beach (you'll need to take the short ferry ride from Honeymoon Beach SP in Dunedin or also rent kayaks on the causeway just west of A1A to the park. There is also a really cool big cat rescue called EZ Street just north east of TPA (airport), lions, tigers, jaguars, bobcat, etc., also Busch Gardens and the Yingling Brewery (I would do it in that order : ). There are some sailboats that will do day trips out of New Port Richie, and some charter boats out of Dunedin if you want to try a day on the water fishing or just chilling. We did a canoe trip up the Crystal River, awesome.

Edit: here is the URL for the Big Cat Rescue (not called EZ Street anymore): https://bigcatrescue.org/ My wife volunteered here for a few years when we were in FL and it is very humane and well run. The tours help fund the operation.
Bogleheads Wiki: https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Main_Page

AUTigers36
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Dec 12, 2015 6:18 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by AUTigers36 » Fri May 05, 2017 5:46 pm

Rent a place in Rosemary Beach of Alys Beach! Both along the 30A strip but beautiful and private.
Drink deeply of the cup for it passes only but once.

Silk McCue
Posts: 1504
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Silk McCue » Sat May 06, 2017 6:08 am

dundee wrote:Wow, thank you folks. A lot of great ideas. I think Galveston is not a great idea. I agree. I will do some search in the various locations mentioned in FLorida.

We thought about Caribbean destinations. But, they seem rather expensive for that time of the year.

How is Cocoa beach area? Worth visiting? I understand that the weather cannot be guaranteed.
Cocoa Beach is a short drive from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) and has nice beaches. Cocoa Village has a cute little down town with shops and restaurants.

In regards to the weather in Florida it simply cannot be guaranteed. We could have a cold, cool, mild or warm Christmas and be either wet or dry all in the same week. That is not unique to Cocoa.

User avatar
jabberwockOG
Posts: 1509
Joined: Thu May 28, 2015 7:23 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by jabberwockOG » Sat May 06, 2017 9:24 am

At Christmas time you have to be in South Florida to have a chance at nice weather. Anything north of Tampa area could have nasty weather at that specific time of year. You could get lucky and have nice weather in a place North of Tampa at that time but get unlucky and you will regret it. Cold and rainy at the beach is no fun.

Beth*
Posts: 734
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2014 9:57 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Beth* » Sat May 06, 2017 9:52 am

Dottie57 wrote:Not a beach. But I think Santa Fe would be fun.
Santa Fe is beautiful at Christmas, but it is likely to be very cold with snow on the ground!

MrNewEngland
Posts: 807
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2014 11:38 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by MrNewEngland » Sat May 06, 2017 9:59 am

dundee wrote:Been to Florida keys before, so, don't want to go there again.
While the keys certainly aren't for everyone it's a place I don't think I could get sick of. It's my favorite place in the continental US.

Have you only been to Key West? Places like Marathon and Largo have a much different feel. I actually think West has gotten kinda cheesy to tell you the truth. If you're into watersports like fishing, diving, snorkeling there's not a better place to be.



EDIT: oops... just saw you're looking for beach time and non-strenuous relaxation. The keys aren't that - this post has been worthless.

Bacchus01
Posts: 2083
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:35 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Bacchus01 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:44 pm

What is South Padre Island like in December? I'm thinking too cold, but we want to get away around Christmas and my parents vacation about 1.5 hours from there for the winter (Mission, TX).

novemberrain
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed May 09, 2018 12:26 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by novemberrain » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:23 pm

I have been to galveston. I wouldn't recommend it.

You mentioned you have been to the keys (I have been there too). I would say galveston is worth 10% of keys (If such things can be measured).

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14615
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Watty » Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:37 pm

This thread is from 2017 so unless they have access to a Tardis it is too late to give any advice.

integrity
Posts: 401
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 12:57 am

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by integrity » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:14 pm

Watty wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 1:37 pm
This thread is from 2017 so unless they have access to a Tardis it is too late to give any advice.
No reason why this thread couldn't be used to make some last-minute travel plans for this year (Dec 2018).

Dottie57
Posts: 4806
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm

Re: Vacation ideas in the US south - Christmas 2017 - Galveston, St Augustine? Others?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:34 pm

Not warm, but Iwould like to spend Christmasin Santa Fe some year.

Post Reply