White Sand, The Ocean, Beach Houses and Family Time
Last October, I was incredibly lucky enough to photograph a destination wedding in Florida on St Pete beach and as a result my family joined me and we spent a few days exploring St Pete beach area, driving over the sunshine skyway, visiting Anna Maria Island before finishing off in Orlando. I knew when I went to Florida, I wanted to spend some time at the beach and visiting one of the small islands on the Gulf of Mexico. It certainly didn’t disappoint and of how I wish it was easier to pick up your belongings and move to the sunshine state.
St Pete Beach
As the wedding was on St Pete beach we stayed here for a couple for a couple of days and spent the time relaxing, walking along the beach, eating amazing breakfasts and even swam in the ocean. It was the first time my son had done this. As we jumped the waves, his face was pure joy with a smile from ear to ear. Oh how I wish I had a photograph of that but the vision of his face will stay in my mind forever. Funny how sometimes we don’t have a visual image to remind us but the memory is so clear in our minds.
Some of my favourite memories of this trip was the sunset. Each evening we would choose where we would watch the sunset from, sit on the sand and just take it all in together. We never grew tired of it and it became this wonderful routine that grounded us at the end of each day.
Anna Maria Island
I just knew that this island would be the highlight of my trip. I had spent ages before we left searching for an Island that didn’t have high rise hotels, or heaving beaches but would offer us a quiet retreat. A quaint motel with a porch, a small enough island to get around, white sand and everything just a slower pace. We felt pretty excited on the way as we drove over the sunshine skyway and made our way to the island. Arriving was like going back in time when holidays were a keep-yourself-amused affair – pretty much non-existent internet, a beach, the ocean and a few bars. I was in my element. Wandering on to the white sand, I could have cried with happiness as it really was like a world away from social pressures and a slower pace of life.
Im going to be completely honest with you – this was the part of the holiday I had the lowest expectations. I really didn’t want to go to the theme parks and be surrounded by people, wait in long lines, pay extortionate amounts for drinks and generally just feel claustrophobic with the general business. However I knew travelling with the boys that I couldn’t not go just because of my own pre-conceptions. But ….. I am the first to admit when I am wrong. I actually had the BEST time. Im not sure if it is because my expectations were so low but I honestly felt the theme park spirit while I was there. Our boy is too old for Disney now (or so he says), so we just did a day at The Space Centre and then a couple of days at Universal Studios. That was perfect. We experienced a rocket launch while at The Space Centre and I was the one who embraced having their picture taken with Scooby Doo! I would also say, Im not really a Harry Potter fan but I left wanting to read all the books (which Ive never read!). Yes – you do need a small mortgage to go there and eat out but I think we did it the wrong way by only booking a couple of days and driving ourselves and not one of these large hotels with shuttles. None-the-less we had the best time.
We all came home and agreed that it was the best family holiday we had ever had. I think we did a little bit for everybody and there was the opportunity for so many firsts for Lucas.
As always, I like to finish off with a little round up of a collage of the iPhone pictures. Nothing special but those are the ones that capture the moment in the moment (Im useless at carrying my main camera around!).