Eye patches and bandannas packed, we were totally ready to head off to the beautiful waters of Treasure Island to kick off our pirate-themed Florida family road trip. We specifically chose a hotel on the beach so we could wake up to the soft sounds of the crashing see waves, the clear blue sky and the beautiful view of the Gulf Coast.
Our first morning began with breakfast on the beach followed by a treasure hunt game for the family. My husband had custom-made a washed-up treasure map and placed it in a bottle. He had a small treasure he buried with gold doubloon’s and costume jewelry. Our kids, no doubt, had a big blast searching around and digging for the buried treasure. It was a great way to start our Florida road trip.
Then we headed over to Historic John’s Pass to start the adventure off by sailing on a pirate ship filled with a crew of pretend-pirates and a captain. The pirate crew did a wonderful job entertaining the kids and even the adults with an on-board treasure hunt, water gun and toy sword battles, and pirate stories. Then, the crew rocked the ship with booms from the cannon.
The ship took us to the waters of Treasure Island and Boca Ciega Bay. The cruise provided us a wonderful opportunity to see some dolphins. The music started playing and it relaxed us all. We let loose and joined the kids doing the limbo and dancing the Macarena. The Pirate ship cruise is located off of John’s Pass Boardwalk which offers a nice waterfront dining and shopping galore. After having enjoyed the pirate cruise and the waterfront dining, we headed over to Hubbard’s Marina and searched for a red and white lighthouse to listen to chilling ghost stories about how the pirates haunt John’s Pass that will definitely give you goosebumps.
You can just guess how tired the day made the kids. After the fun-filled day of pirate encounters at John’s pass and Treasure Island, the kids had passed out in the car snoring to tunes of “Yo Ho Ho A Pirate’s Life If For Me.”
Getting more serious about this trip, we started taking this family road trip inland to Tampa Bay to join the legendary Pirate Jose Gasper, in spirit of course, for a good night’s rest. We woke up the next day and visited a beautiful replica of an exquisite pirate ship at the Tarpon weigh station. We headed next to Raymond James Stadium. It is home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Football Team. We were met by their mascot, Captain Fear.
Aside from the football team, the main attraction in the stadium is the Buccaneers Cove. It hosts a 103-foot replica of an early 19th century pirate ship, complete with a crew to raise the sails, skull & crossed swords, a mouth that breathes smoke and eight cannons that release confetti, mini-footballs, and Buc’s merchandise into the stands. Even if you are not a football fan, this stadium is sure to entertain everyone in the family. Take note, this stadium is the future site of Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
Time for Day 3. Having had involved our kids in the road trip planning, they knew exactly what was on the itinerary for that day: Disney Orlando! The theme park created a pirate attraction inspired by the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie and this one at Magic Kingdom takes you on an encounter with Captain Barbosa and Captain Jack Sparrow, which was a major hit to the kids and to my husband as well. While waiting in line for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, we were surprised by a guest appearance of Jack Sparrow himself stumbling through the line and then climbing over a gate to stand up on a bench and started speaking to the crowd. I still have no clue of what he was saying as I was in shock over the fact I was that close to the one and only Captain Jack Sparrow, the best pirate ever to set sea. Jack Sparrow definitely was one of the highlights of our family vacation.
After the Disney part of the trip, we headed off to the east coast of Florida and relaxed at Cocoa Beach. Then we checked out Cape Canaveral to view our modern day space pirates at Kennedy Space Center. The kids thought that it was awesome!
Usually, I am the family trip planner. This time, though, everyone in the family gave their share of ideas on what we should see and do. Therefore, the trip flowed peacefully and kept everyone satisfied for having met their interests the whole time. This Florida road trip is perfect for families with young children. Ship Ahoy!
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