Going Green Vacation – Four years ago, my aunt gave my sons tee shirts from Venice Beach in Florida. She told them all about the shark teeth right on the beach there. Another friend saw them wear the shirts and also raved about the shark teeth hunting and beautiful beaches. From then on, they always wanted to go to look for shark teeth along Venice Beach in Venice, Florida. At long last, we were going! My boys, now 7 and 8 years old, were thrilled. We booked flights to arrive in Tampa on a Tuesday, and we left Sunday at noon.
Where to Stay While Going Green Vacation to Florida?
We looked online for places to stay. We wanted easy access to Venice, Florida and also wanted to stay as close as possible to the water in case someone wanted to go back to the room and someone wanted to stay at the beach. I am usually a name-brand-hotel-person… I like to know what I am getting. From my online search, I wasn’t able to find exactly what I was looking for in Venice, so I looked a little farther north and learned about the fantastic location of Sarasota – close to Tampa and close to Venice. And it boasted Siesta Key which is known for its beautiful white sand beaches.
We found an amazing villa in Sarasota on Siesta Key in a complex called Casa Blanca – C14 Villa Siesta Key. We contacted the owner Teri Evans (262.385.2359 or email@example.com) who was easy and a pleasure to work with. We highly recommend and thank Teri and her Villa C14 for an awesome Going Green Vacation. From what we could tell online — it was decorated so vibrantly with a beach theme — we just had to give it a try. We are so glad we did! Villa C14 was fantastic! My husband and I loved it, and my sons were absolutely elated with the décor…especially the bunk beds. For days, they continued to be excited about interesting things in each of the rooms. On beach-front property, they counted 156 steps from our Villa 14C to the amazing white sand in Siesta Key on Crescent Beach.
This villa was perfect for our family for so many reasons. Yes, it was decorated so nicely which really made us feel like we were on vacation. It also gave us the convenience we were looking for being it was so close to the beach. It was nice to be able to park right outside our covered patio for the times we left to go explore other beaches and to go to town: to buy shark tooth necklaces and get ice cream.
There was an updated and modern clubhouse with a television, couches and computer. We went there a few times just to get out of the sun to play billiards and ping pong. Adjacent to the clubhouse was their amazing swimming pool. It was much larger than we expected. We only had time to swim in it once but it was wonderful. I was surprised it was so very clean. I didn’t even see any sand on the bottom! We all enjoyed it.
Why a Villa is Better Than Hotel For a Going Green Vacation
My husband remarked about how much better it was staying in a villa than staying in a hotel would have been. Can you just imagine all of our swimsuits and beach towels hanging to dry? Where would we hang them? Can you imagine all of that sand getting into the carpet and everywhere? In our villa, aka “our house,” we hung our swimsuits in our two full bathrooms and the towels on the drying rack, out of the way in the enclosed patio. We were able to sweep up the sand from the decorative tile floors. And because we had a full-size kitchen, we were able to create less waste, eat healthier, save money (my husband’s favorite ‘going green’), and enjoy the convenience of eating “at home” instead of going out to restaurants all week. It has two bedrooms which would comfortably sleep five people on the beds. There were clean sheets, soap, ample towels and lots of dresser drawers.
In addition, the PRIVACY! No shared hotel hallways, elevators or lobbies. No noises above, below or next your room. No housekeeping staff (this is my husbands not mine). Multiple rooms so we can spread out, read, rest, or just have a few alone minutes.
How to Have a Go Green Vacation?
Even though it is more difficult when traveling, we try to “go green” every chance we get.
- We packed our stainless steel water bottles (NO plastic or BPA) for the trip, so we would always be hydrated and not have to buy throw-away plastic water bottles. We brought them to the airport empty, and filled them up at a water fountain after passing security and again after landing. Once in our villa, we filled them with the ready-made ice in our freezer, water from our tap (sometimes we mixed in lemonade, tea or freshly sliced fruit) and had wonderfully cold drinks, wherever we went. My husband is a big fan of fruit infused water and wants us all to migrate from stainless steel water bottles to fruit infused water bottles.
- We tried to bring whatever we could from home so we wouldn’t have to buy it and leave it in Sarasota. Because we were able to check our luggage for free (Thanks Southwest Airlines), we brought deflated rafts and swim rings, a bucket and two metal hand shovels for the beach. We brought beach towels from home. We brought our sunglasses, hats, swim shirts, sunscreen lotion (Up & Up Target brand is our preferred sunscreen) and everything else we would need that we already owned instead of buying it while on vacation and then throwing it away afterwards. We returned with all our items as well. The Villa also has a selection of beach items for guest usage as well.
- Because we stayed in this villa instead of a hotel, we were able to buy our own groceries. We ate a lot healthier and saved a lot of waste from the landfills. Think of the “free breakfasts” at hotels with all of the polystyrene plates, plastic drinking cups, plastic cutlery and paper napkins. Everything gets thrown away!
- By buying our food at a grocery store at the beginning of our trip – even before we stepped foot in our villa – we saved gas by not having to drive to all of the restaurants each day. (We ate just two meals in restaurants the entire trip and one was on the last day at the airport)
- We recycled everything we could in unit’s convenient bin right outside our door. We left it at the curb, and the maintenance staff emptied it daily.
- We even managed to save some water by rinsing out our swimsuits, towels and sandals a few of the times it rained. We just hung them on the drying rack and left them outside for a few minutes during a downpour! The unit has a washer/dryer but we did not use the washer and had no need for the dryer because of the screened covered porch.
- We brought library books instead of buying new books. The clubhouse even had a nice selection of books to share, borrow and return. (Don’t bring library books to the beach; however, because sand sticks around!)
- Other going green vacation things, but obvious ones: We ate snacks on the beach once and carried all of our trash back with us. We didn’t feed any seagulls or other wildlife.
- We didn’t pick up or disturb any marine life we saw.
- Finally, in our quest to be going green vacation, and because we wanted to maximize our time at the beach, we didn’t go to any commercial tourist attractions. This was a “nature only” trip, and we all loved it.
More About the Food
Another reason this villa worked so well for us, my boys are very picky eaters. We also deal with milk, egg and tomato allergies. It is often a hassle to get ready to go out to eat, much less going 2-3 times a day. When we stayed in villa 14C, we were able to buy healthy choices for our kids and only buy in the quantity we could and realistically would eat. The owners had everything we needed in the kitchen to prepare everything we bought to eat. We were also able to reduce waste by washing our own plates, cutlery and glasses.
Gorgeous Siesta Key
We loved every 156 glorious step to Crescent Beach on Siesta Key! What a convenience to not have to drive and find a parking spot to enjoy this picture-perfect, white, clean sand. The sand is not made from coral, as most beaches are, but from quartz so it’s always cool to walk on…never HOT! It was easy to walk on because while there were lots of beautiful shells, they were not crushed up and rough on your feet like at other beaches. The sand was cool to the touch and enjoyable to walk on. I love how everyone left their shoes right on top in the grass by the stairs before walking onto the lush sand. There was a tall shower and a foot shower by the exit. It was perfect for rinsing off the sand and salt water. I really loved how the showers turned off immediately when you let go of the button. No wasted water! Casa Blanca also had a lot of lounge and upright chairs for the residents and guests to enjoy at the beach.
I didn’t see a lot of garbage, but I did meet a nice older gentleman picking up trash along the shore. “Beach-combing,” he called it. But instead of treasures, I saw he had a bag of garbage. He did this almost everyday as doing his “part for this beautiful community”… and get some exercise.
How to Find Shark Teeth
We also loved looking for shark teeth (or as my boys and husband kept calling it “Shark Teeth Hunting” in funny Cajun accents). We went to Casperson Beach and also to Venice Beach. Each time, we found at least 10 -20 shark teeth and/or tips. Sometimes it was easier than others, depending on the tide and how fast the waves pushed them up onto the shore.
At the end of each day, the boys would clean, dry off and organize the days shark teeth and other finds. The boys would spend hours every evening studying and discussing their finds and try to determine what it was, what it came from and/or shark kind of shark the teeth were from.
We had our best luck looking without the sifters and shovels. We did rent the ‘sifter shovel’ one day from the bait shop on the pier by Sharky’s. My husband got the last one when we got there around 4pm. We found three teeth right away using it, then nothing the rest of the evening. We had the most luck just walking the shore and looking in the washed up piles of crushed shells. (When we arrived home we realized maybe instead of sifting with the shovel in the water – sometimes difficult with strong waves – we should have scooped up the sand a little farther out, and then dumped it onshore to look through.)
At Casperson Beach, many people were finding them along the big rocks that lined the shore. We were unsuccessful finding them there and had our best at the beach just north and south of Sharky’s By The Pier.
2 Tips to Find Shark Teeth
- Know what you are looking for. Sure, we know what shark teeth are supposed to look like but it really helped us to actually see them. So, after about an hour of not finding any, we asked a few people to see what they found. It helped us immensely to see what we were looking for! Right after that, we started finding them ourselves. It was helpful to see both the shark teeth and the shark tooth tips.
- Train your eye. I read before coming to Venice Beach and Casperson Beach about “training your eye” to only look for the black. It really helped to filter out the seaweed, rocks and shells, and we found the shark & barracuda teeth, tips and stingray barbs much faster.
It was addicting looking for them! It was so nice to see how fun it was for everyone – young and old.
Our Wonderful Going Green Vacation Had to End
We had a fantastic time on our Florida vacation and cannot wait to return. We would do the exact same thing again, including staying at Casa Blanca, villa 14C. It was a vacation home which offered us exactly what we were hoping for and more. We have had fun looking at our shark teeth, measuring them, organizing them by type and trying to figure out what kind of sharks they are from. What wonderful memories my sons will have whenever they look at their prized shark teeth. And they learned about and enjoyed really simple ways to having a Going Green Vacation and live green even while on vacation.
Casa Blanca Villa C14 Contact Info:
Teri Evans – (262) 385-2359
6154 Midnight Pass Rd, Villa C14
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