so i have a ton of marriott points and want to take my family (2 kids - 8 & 5) for a week vaction the 1st week of April. We live in NC & want to drive so i am thinking Northern FLA cause we can get there in less than 8 hours.
any suggestions on great places to stay for a week? nice place with a lot for the kids to do. we want to avoid Disney this trip because it is spring break & it will be very busy there...
You might want to consider the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. The beaches in St. Pete's are really nice, and Busch Gardens is a wonderful amusement park. The Residence Inn in Treasure Island is on the beach and has received very good reviews on Trip Advisor. The Renaissance International Plaza in Tampa is a beautiful hotel located near the airport and not too far from Busch Gardens. They also have a pool and great restaurant.
As Superchief suggests, Florida's Suncoast from Clearwater to St. Pete's Beach is a great alternative to Disneyworld. There's so much to do, it's a matter of budget and what to do. Marriott offers several choices to use points near Busch Gardens.
If you're thinking about the beach, the Suncoast is magnificent that time of year. I highly recommend the Residence Inn Treasure Island. It's 25K points per night and with Platinum status request a comp upgrade for a southfacing 1 BR king corner suite on the 9th floor. For a sneak peek, see Postcards from Treasure Island, Florida
For an unforgetable family dinner, check out the Salt Rock Grill, about 5 miles north of Treasure Island in Indian Shores.
If you are willing to drive a little farther, there is a new Marriott Resort on Singer Island in the Palm Beach area. This appears to be an all suite hotel and is right on the beach. We own two timshares in the area and really like Singer Island. The beaches are clean and the water is very clear since it is on the Gulfstream. You may also be able to rent or use points for a one or two bedroom villa at Oceana Palms or Ocean Pointe, but these are usually used by owners at that time of the year.