Most states always have a popular city or area -- the one place that most people have heard of or visit frequently. For Florida, it’s definitely Miami. It’s known for its nightlife, bars, restaurants, and atmosphere. I’ve been to Miami a ton of times, some directly for vacation and other times just for a few days before heading off on a cruise. When I began planning my 30th birthday trip, I knew I wanted to visit a different area. I love going to Miami, but for my milestone birthday, I wanted to explore a place I’d never been to.
When researching other parts of Florida, there were a ton! Destin Beach, Orlando, Siesta Key, Naples, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Tampa --- the list goes on! I did a ton of research (to the point I felt overwhelmed LOL). I narrowed it down to Clearwater or Siesta Key. Both had beautiful beaches and a lot of activities. I read blogs and made the decision to go with Siesta Key. Every blog and travel review said that Siesta Key was more relaxed and that Clearwater was more of a college-town vibe with crowds of people.
Before deciding on a vacation destination, I always think about the mood I’m in. Whether I want a place to escape and relax or I want to be in the bustling crowds. For vacations with the kids, we usually pick somewhere that has a variety of activities and restaurants. When I’m on an adult vacation, all I want to do is relax and have access to great wine and a few food options. That’s it. Sleeping in with no alarm clock is always the best part for me!
Siesta Key was beyond everything I could’ve imagined! It was the PERFECT choice for my 30th birthday celebration! The thing that I enjoyed is that it’s a grown, yet mature atmosphere, there are times in Miami when it can get really rowdy (and a little raunchy). For the most part, everyone at the bars and beaches in Siesta was having a great time; however, everyone kept their turn up at a respectable level.
I also enjoyed the prices -- I had NO idea! I was used to vacationing in Miami and spending a ton on South Beach. I remember before I went to Miami, a friend told me that they spent $1,000 in a week on South Beach -- I thought that was ridiculous and maybe he was exaggerating. When I went, I saw exactly what he meant. Even a basic breakfast can run you at least $20-$50 per entree. Then there are also mandatory gratuities that normally aren’t included when you’re at home. Whenever I go to Miami, I definitely spend a few hundred dollars.
In Siesta Key, employees who worked at the hotel told us that their market caters more to the locals, so everything is kept affordable. However, Miami is catered more towards tourists - thus higher prices. I remember I talked to locals in Miami and they told us they never hang out in South Beach because of the prices.
Where we would normally pay $15 or more for a cocktail in Miami, the drinks were $6 - $7! Our meal prices were comparable to back home, which was exciting! Even with a few cocktails and entrees, most of our bills were always under $100, which was great!
Overall, Siesta Key was an amazing experience and I didn’t want to leave, which is always a good sign LOL. If you are a person that loves the beach but wants a more low-key vibe, community feel, and great prices, Siesta Key is the clear winner! If you are looking to party all night with tons of nightlife, Miami is for you!