While many families are hunkering down for the start of the new school year, our family is still enjoying a little more summer lovin’ before the autumn season arrives and another homeschool year begins.
This year will be our 12th year homeschooling our little ones. It has been such a blessing and full of rewards that we never could have imagined.
The FREEDOM to learn, explore, and discover together daily, is priceless! Read more about our homeschool journey here.
Recently, we headed south on a family road trip to visit my husband’s folks for their 60th wedding anniversary in FL. Each time we visit, we look for an affordable Air BNB to fit the needs of our larger family.
We made the transition to Air BNBs a while back. Hotels work fine in a pinch, but being able to rent a house with all the amenities of home, just makes for a better choice in this season of our life.
In the past, we have stayed in the cities of Clearwater and Dunedin. This time around, we stayed in a quaint little town called Tarpon Springs.
Air BNBs range from every kind of budget. We have splurged in the past to celebrate a special occasion and we have also settled for some that were a little more frugal and packed in.
This particular Air BNB was somewhere in between. Eclectic in style with splashes of antique collectables and coastal decor, made this home away from home, a nice respite from a long day of exploring the local sights.
In the mornings, my husband and some of the littles, took the canoes out for a little scenic ride. Then in the afternoons before the next event, we had the near by Pinellas’ Trails to enjoy. We even made time to get a few runs in with our puppy.
Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks is known for its location right next to the Anclote River and has been dubbed the “Sponge Capital of the World.” Their streets are lined with cute little cafes, unique store fronts, and patriotic symbols of their American Greek heritage.
Authentic Greek food and architecture added to the sights and smells of this special little community which began in 1875. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.
Souvenir shops that sell, you guessed it, sea shells and sponges were plentiful! Check out this ginormous sponge! I wish we had a coastal farmhouse near the ocean so that I could display something like this. (smile)
We stopped by a favorite soap shop and picked up a couple new bars for our guest bathroom. I am super sensitive to smells and artificial ingredients, dyes, and colors, so it is a nice treat to be able to walk into a natural soap shop and not leave with a headache.
The Sponge Factory is a must see when visiting the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks area. They have an interesting video explaining the history and the process of how the fishermen fish for these incredible sponges.
Their downtown is lined with unique shops and cafes. And I may have taken an hr of “Mama Time” to visit an antique shop or two. I came out empty handed, but the sea shells we found on the five different beaches more than made up for the lack of vintage finds.
Our son would have loved to visit this train depot. Trains and cars were his favorite. I sure do miss our little fella!
One evening, we stopped at an ice cream shop and the owner gave us this cup of homemade vanilla ice cream with a doggy treat for our puppy, “Seder Joe.” He was quite the charmer during our travels down south. Everyone wanted to pet him and comment on how handsome he is. (smile)
Another day, we went on a boat tour ride and saw several sightings of dolphins swimming close by. We learned a little more about the historic town’s history and had some time to play in the water on one of the many beaches in the Gulf of Mexico.
We went back the next day and rented our own boat and visited the Anclote Key Preserve state park and the northern sand bars. I left my phone on the boat, so I didn’t get to capture the beautiful sand bars up close, but it was a very unique experience. The water was so warm. Much like bath water in some parts and the whole sand bar was slightly under water. The littles enjoyed boogie boarding on the waves and collecting sea shells all along the shore line. They were everywhere!
Just on the other side of Anclote Island, there was a lagoon and I could hear Reggae style music faintly in the background from the boats anchored just on the other side of the island.
Sunset on the porch lit up the night sky at the end of each day. It was a very refreshing and memorable trip.
I hope this little family road trip tour encourages you to make the most of exploring the world around us. There are so many wonderful family-friendly destinations just waiting to be discovered.