More spring break getaway ideas

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

I'm talking about TradeWinds Resort in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida. My grandsons, Michael (15), Evan (11), and I (age not given) were there for three days in November, and we thought it was absolutely splendid.

This was the second trip there for Michael and me. The boys' mother was in St. Pete attending a seminar when Michael was 3 years old, and we joined her for a couple of days when her business event was over. He actually remembered more about the place than I did.

TradeWinds has tripled in size since I was first there and every inch of the facility has been updated and lives up to its four-diamond rating.

We arrived late in the day and it was dark by the time we were settled in our beautiful suite. Evan, having missed the first trip due to not being born yet, ran to the balcony to see the ocean at night. Directly beneath the balcony was the resort's moat that encircles the entire property.

"Michael," Evan shouted. "Come here. There are two white things down there in the moat. It's too dark and I can't tell what they are."

"Oh, I forgot all about them," Michael said. "They're swans. They live here."

Evan wanted to go down there right away and take a closer look. I warned him not to get too close because the swans were having their evening meal on the water's edge, and they can be a bit aggressive if they are interrupted.

But there was no need to worry. Evan took a quick look, then discovered the many hammocks scattered on the grassy area between the hotel and the beach. He shouted once again for Michael, but the "old hand" was ready for bed.

The next day turned out to be chilly with a vicious wind. It was our day for the dolphin cruise. We boarded a sailboat docked in a nearby harbor and the captain told us we would likely see a few dolphins because the water was home to many dolphin families. The boys had never been on a sailboat and neither had any of the other six passengers. Before long we did see a few dolphins as they played alongside the boat.

Back at the hotel we had dinner in the hotel's fanciest dining room. It was elegant and delicious. There was a wedding at the resort earlier in the day, and the guests were still dancing and having a wonderful time.

The following morning, we were awakened by the sun streaming through an opening in the drapes. It was warm and the wind had died down. We went to the Bermudas Restaurant for their sumptuous breakfast buffet, and then the boys headed back to the room for their swimming trunks.

On the way they discovered that the paddleboats that ply the waters of the moat were in operation. They boarded and set off. Afterward, we went to the most spectacular water slide we've ever seen. There also were wave riders, water bikes, and parasailing available on the beach. You could even take a ride on a pirate ship with costumes, parrots, and treasures galore.

While the boys played, I went exploring. I saw all the swimming pools. The largest is for families, and one is especially for grown-ups. The courtyard was set up with tables ready for another event, and two sand artisans molded sculptures.

I love the grounds, which are cared for meticulously. Flowers are everywhere and all the walks are edged in finely clipped hedges, many of variegated scheffleria. I had to laugh when I thought of my lone scheffleria plant that receives nothing but tender loving care back home. There I was walking beside hundreds of them growing in the wild and flourishing.

TradeWinds Resort is a many-splendored thing. Check out the website at You can see many videos and views of the rooms and suites. There also is a live beach cam that's lot of fun to watch.

If you have any questions, send them to me at


More photos from the Tradewinds Resort

Mildred Moss has been in journalism for 19 years. A mother and grandmother, Mildred has been writing for Columbus Parent Magazine for several years and is the publication's travel writer.