Every winter, we take a family vacation for ten days. We choose a new destination each year. While I am determined that the kids experience different landscapes and attractions, we always head somewhere warm. Living in the northeast, the winters are especially long and extremely cold. I typically turn up the thermostat by the end of October. We might have several inches of snow on the ground at Halloween and still need to run the furnace at Easter. Getting away from blizzard conditions, brutal wind chill and sub zero temperatures is such a welcome relief. This past year, we chose to explore Florida’s Gulf Coast. We stayed in Tampa, which is a city located right on the water. I really enjoyed exploring the historic Ybor City neighborbood and the waterfront. The kids had a great time at Busch Gardens. The theme park covers 335 acres and is designed around themes of Africa and Asia. There is a nearly endless selection of amusement park rides, shows and restaurants. We also spent a day at Caladesi Island State Park, which is absolutely stunning. The beach is somewhat secluded and features pure white sand and truly blue water. My only complaint with our trip is with the accommodations. While I read reviews and chose a highly rated hotel, the room was a disappointment. The biggest issue was the air conditioner. The unit was obviously old and struggled to keep up with demand. It made such a rattle that it woke my whole family every time it started up. Overall, our vacation was wonderful, and I would love to go back to Tampa sometime soon.