Kids eat free at theme parks
We’re coming up on the best time of year for families to save on rooms and food at Orlando theme parks. From Aug. 15- Sept. 30, Orlando’s room rates dip to the lowest of the year, and theme parks offer free dining plans. Meal deals include a full day at Sea World Orlando with all day dining ($32.99 value) with each paid admission; two days of free dining with a four-night stay (from $56 per person per day) at Universal Orlando Resort; and a free dining plan with a non-discounted 5 night/6 day Magic Your Way room and ticket package at selected Disney resorts. For more information and other summer savings, call 800-551-0181 or visit VisitOrlando.com/deals.
Lobster hunting contests and wreck dives
Divers and lobster lovers will want to pack up their gear for a trip to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, from July 21-July 27, for the always fun BugFest-by-the-Sea. Events range from beach diving clinics and bug hunting contests to cooking competitions, wreck dives and Calypso music. A beachfront lobster cookout on Friday night (July 26) includes a lobster chef cooking contest. Divers can win cash and other prizes. For more information, call 954-640-4209 or visit www.lbtsevents.com.
Affordable luxury at The Breakers
During the summer, rates are reduced and include a variety of amenities either free or at significant savings at The Breakers Palm Beach. From now until Sept. 30, weekday room rates (Sunday-Thursday) start at just $299 per room, per night, and $379 per night weekends (Friday/Saturday), based on standard accommodations. These rates represent 40 percent savings compared to winter season. Complimentary incentives include continental breakfast, kids’ meals, kids’ day camp and unlimited tennis — but guests will also save on golf, spa, bungalow rentals and on-site shopping. For details or reservations, call 855-313-8851 or visit www.thebreakers.com.
Explore islands on Jet Ski
Maybe you’ve explored Amelia Island aboard a horse-drawn carriage or on a cruise boat. But have you even taken a tour on aboard a Jet Ski? Flying Fish Adventures, a new Jet Ski tour operator, recently opened on Fernandina Beach. Guided Jet Ski tours of the Florida and Georgia coastline are available and showcase the beauty of the Cumberland Island National Seashore, creeks winding through marsh prairies, and the Intracoastal Waterway around Amelia Island. Master Naturalist George Morris leads the tours and will to help guests identify wildlife. He also provides a history lesson about the Isle of Eight Flags and has some interesting stories to share about the area. One, two or three hours tours are available. For details, call 904-583-3420 or visit www.FlyingFishFun.com.
Water taxi rides included in resort fee
As travelers, we can whine about the dreaded resort fees. But sometimes, those fees aren’t as bad as we might think. What the fees cover actually may enhance your vacation. Sometimes, it’s something you wouldn’t expect. At the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, for example, the $15 per room per night fee offers everything from water taxi rides to and from Fort Myers Beach, bike rentals, a fully-stocked kitchen including plates, silverware and cooking utensils and a number of weekly resort activities like yoga or a guided butterfly bike ride, among others. Hmmm, maybe that $15 resort fee isn’t so bad, after all. The resort has a marina and is pet-friendly, too. For reservations or more information, call 239-541-5000 or visit www.westincapecoral.com .
Mary Thurwachter is a West Palm Beach freelance writer and founder/producer of INNsideFlorida.com. Email: email@example.com.