Put away the Gameboys and the PSPs, turn off the Blackberrys and iPhones, load the car, pile in the family, and get back in touch with each other and nature. Fishing is a great family-building escape, and the down time between battling the fish of the day is the perfect time to get reacquainted with the family who spends the school year shuttling between soccer, swimming, and dancing only to return home to rush through a number of meal schedules and retire to calling homework.
Here are the three best fishing escapes that cater to the busy family and offer the ancillaries that take the fun late into the night.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
The Isle of Palms’s Wild Dunes Resort is a great escape from the high pressure resort areas like Orlando or Miami and isolated enough from an urban center to let the family know you’re in this for camaraderie. The fishing is spectacular for red drum, speckled trout, dolphin, false albacore, and tarpon. And Wild Dunes has a number of knowledgeable fishing guide willing to take your family out for a full- or half-day.
However, if you’re looking for a fun, personal, family-oriented guide, Captain J.R. Waits of Fish Call Charters is hard to beat. His fishing sponsors make sure he is armed with the best tackle year-round and he is always willing to snap photos to remember that monster leviathan the family will talk about throughout the year.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources understands the need to make fish licensing and regulations easy to decipher, and it’s always a good idea to know before you go in any fishing situation that may arise. The SCDNR has a great website, which highlights all licensing requirements and a few educational ideas for the school-aged kids.
Families can never go wrong with the Florida Keys. Islamorado is close enough to Miami International Airport to keep the kids from asking, “are we there, yet,” but far enough for mom and dad to escape the doldrums of office life. The best escape is the newly renovated Cheeca Spa and Lodge on the Atlantic side of the key. The fishing is kid-friendly, but also challenging enough for hardcore fishing daddies and mommies. And Cheeca Spa prides itself in creating a one-stop shop for everything related to the key, ocean life.
Florida’s six-billion dollar recreational fishing economy prides itself on the ease of anglers to ply their waters. In fact, Florida has a shoreline fishing exemption for anglers who’d rather fish from piers and banks than boats. However, to fill in the details of restrictions and regulations, check out Florida Wildlife Commissions website for season dependent fish species, regulations, and licensing requirements.
Lower Laguna Madre, South Texas
Escape to the spicy flavor of the Tex-Mex Texas Caribbean. Getaway Adventures Lodge on the Lower Laguna Madre’s famed shores is the quintessential family escape. Fish by day for speckled trout, red drum, tarpon, shark, king fish, or flounder or escape the blistering Texas sun by the lodge pool. The fishing is spectacular and by night the kids can feed white-tailed deer by hand as the sun sets orange on the horizon.
Texas Parks and Wildlife makes their regulations and license requirements easy for out-of-towners. Their website offers educational ideas and great escapes for the traveling, fishing family.