Thanksgiving in Margaritaville Pre-trip Report

Who: Rich & Kathy
What: Central Florida Trip
Where: Tampa Bay & Orlando
When: Thanksgiving 2016
Why: Catching up with Central Florida

It’s been over four years since we were last in Florida and it always seems to live on the possible places to retire list because we really don’t want to retire in Las Vegas. Always planning ahead, that’s us. But having spent most of our budget and time on the 20th Anniversary this year, we would have to do a Central Florida trip on the cheap by taking the 3 days off Thanksgiving week and booking less expensive hotels. But our purpose was just to catch up with how we feel about Central Florida, hang out at the beaches, and not make it a big WDW vacation.

First, we booked a flight to Orlando. Then we moved the flight to Tampa (Southwest allows a one-time switch without penalty), and actually saved some money by doing that. We booked and unbooked hotels in Tampa and Orlando, choosing between spending all of our time in Tampa Bay with day trips to Orlando and splitting the trip with stays in both Tampa Bay and Orlando. This in-between booking and unbooking hotels near Disneyland instead of Florida. We, thankfully, never cancelled the flight. We could keep the flight until 10 minutes before flight time.

When I wrote this, there was still plenty of time to cancel the Tampa flight. But we went ahead with the Florida plans with a full stay at a beach hotel on Clearwater Beach with day trips to Orlando. Our beach cottage came with a kitchen so we could make some meals at “home.” We’re excited and curious about this trip. Could it be not only our past and present but could it be our future, too? Or will we shut the door on Florida for good?

The Plan:


Fly to Tampa, pick up rental car, drive to hotel, pick up a few grocery items at CVS with dinner in cottage or at a local beach bar.


Coffee/breakfast in cottage with morning walk on beach and 11 a.m. appt. for tour of model homes, our old home, stop by Citrus Park Mall, lunch at Tijuana Flats in West Chase, Dunedin Causeway and back to beach cottage.

Dinner at Frenchy’s or Caddy’s or other beach bar.


Coffee/breakfast in cottage and then scout out the beach with lunch at John’s Pass or Pass-a-Grille.

Dinner at Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge to see the Christmas decorations followed by boat or walk to Ft. Wilderness and back.


Coffee/breakfast in cottage and then check out Ruskin Fl. Tour model homes, Sunshine Skyway Bridge to or fro.

Dinner in cottage.


Coffee/breakfast in cottage and then lunch or sunset on the beach?

Dinner at Captains Grille at the Yacht Club and then shopping at Disney Springs.


Coffee/breakfast in cottage and then what?

Dinner at Columbia Restaurant.


Coffee/breakfast in cottage and then what?

Afternoon flight back to Las Vegas. 

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer