For me, the month of March means an annual spring break family vacation. Living in Minnesota, I am always eager to escape the harshly cold temperatures and deep snow. In March of 2007, our tropical, sunny destination was Fort Myers Beach, Florida.
As we flew in on an early morning flight, the Gulf of Mexico below looked sparking blue and particularly inviting. This was an extremely necessary vacation for me as well as my parents and brother, as it allowed a week of relaxation away from the stress of school and work. Because our resort was on Estero Island, we had to deal with over an hour of bridge traffic to get there. I would advise anyone traveling to Estero to avoid the Estero Bridge from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., as it backs up daily.
Upon reaching our resort, the Pink Shell, I realized that the beach was going to be my temporary backyard. We hit the sand within ten minutes of arriving (after applying sunscreen of course!). Day one was a fantastic start to a seven day vacation that would be filled with fun activities and family bonding. Throughout the week, we explored the Fort Myers area to the max. We went on beach walks daily to the Ft. Myers Beach Pier, and enjoyed street performers and ice cream in “Times Square” at night. One day, we rented a small speed boat and took it up the shore to Sanibel and Captiva Island. We were able to have the original “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (Jimmy Buffet song) on Cabbage Key, an island off the coast of Sanibel. Another day, we were able to rent jet skis and participate in a Dolphin Tour on the Gulf, led by a guide. Driving to the Sanibel Island beaches was another highlight, as the shelling is considered the best in the world! My mom and I spent the entire day walking the beach, finding monstrous conch shells. My brother and I body-surfed the roaring waves, as some grew up to almost six feet before crashing down! On my mom’s birthday, which happened to fall towards the end of the trip, we had a special family dinner at The Bridge Seafood Restaurant. Sitting at the table that night, I realized towards the end of the week that I was becoming closer to my family. It was a good feeling, just to know that we were all having fun together and relaxing for an entire week. There was no stress, and nothing to worry about. By the time our last day came around, we all wanted to stay longer! Who would want to fly back to the snow anyway?! We said our last goodbye to the Gulf, the sand, and the Pink Shell Resort.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience exploring Fort Myers Beach. It is a vacation that still comes to mind often, as I recall the many smiles and laughs my family shared. We have continued to go on our annual spring break vacations, and I hope to carry on the tradition someday when I have children of my own. I learned how genuinely important it is for a family to have relaxation and downtime together, especially during busy periods of time. This will be my last year at home with my family, and possibly my last spring break with them, as I have no idea if my college spring break will coincide. I plan to enjoy it to the absolute fullest, and have the time of my life with the family I love so much.
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