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The Big Florida Hunt of 1869

Posted on: September 25th, 2016 by MB No Comments

The year of the big hunt was 1869. Florida had been part of the United States for only 48 years and Pinellas County was just getting its start. In fact, it was not yet called by that name. It was a wild, and as yet untamed area in that year. Wild animals roamed freely; too freely for those trying to settle in the area, and into the development of the area emerged the idea for a major hunt. To picture the area properly, however, you must first undo the infrastructure that spreads across what is now the state’s most populated area.

pinellascounty_2-700px-framed

Pinellas County’s namesake was the pine tree, its name originating from the abundant scrub pines that grew across the area. It was a very different place back then, the only roads carved through the palmetto palms, oaks, and pines. After clearing, carts and early automobiles still had only the soft sands of Florida to drive across. The hot and humid weather offered no reprieve, other than measures pioneers built into the homesteads, such as breezeways, doors facing the prevailing winds, and kitchens built separately from the houses. Mosquitoes did as they pleased and the original population of alligators ruled the inland waterways.

heritage-village-cabin-aged

Ranchers discovered Florida and liked it. Grass grew in a frenzy, invigorated by frequent rains, providing ample food for cattle and horses. In fact, the first cowboys in the Unites States worked their trade in Florida. With livestock came the struggle against predators. Panthers and black bears roamed the region, unchecked by the fledgling settlements that sprung up.

Florida_black_bear

While Fort Harrison occupied a central location, the region had yet to gain its first incorporated city. The road from Tampa, then known as Fort Brooke, was long and arduous. Despite the hardships, people continued to arrive to settle. Just two decades earlier, the U.S. had opened the way for land grants in the regions not yet settled with the Armed Occupation Act. The American Civil War had just ended four years earlier and the people were eager to create new opportunities.

heritage-village-house-aged

So it was that the people of future Pinellas County decided to make the land more inhabitable for people and livestock. Hunting parties were organized with the goal of eliminating the threat of bears and cougars. One can imagine that ranchers joined the ranks eagerly. The sound of gunfire would have echoed across the palmetto palm flats and through the forests of tall scrub pines. In the end, the two species were driven back, leaving the peninsula that forms the shape of Tampa Bay open for development.

Florida_panther

In the present, the region has grown into the most populous area of the state of Florida. The well-known cities of Tampa, St Petersburg, and Clearwater occupy the terrain now, drawing new visitors regularly to their beaches and other attractions. The sandy roads of old are covered by pavement but still sometimes travel past broad swaths of pine and palm forests. Kitchens are now inside the house, chilled by the wonder of air-conditioning. Horse and cattle ranching still thrive in Florida but have moved to other parts of the state where the lands are broad and open. But what of the Florida panther and black bear? They survived the attempted extermination, though in greatly reduced numbers. The black bear inhabits scattered forests throughout the state while the panther has been relegated to the most southern regions where the fairly untamed wilds of the Everglades and its adjoining wilderness areas create a safe habitat. Through management, their numbers continue to return from the brink, leaving those of us in the present with the satisfaction that a piece of our world’s natural past yet survives.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Curious History of Philippe Park

Florida Springs

Where the Heck is Pinellas County and Why Should I Care?

 

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Life among Florida Mangroves

Posted on: September 20th, 2016 by MB No Comments

Mangroves trees are a common sight along the coast of Florida, some growing only to the size of bushes while others reach heights of fifty feet or more. But who really cares about mangrove trees? If you knew more about them, you might be more interested. Not only do they create a habitat for a host of animal species but they also protect the shores of Florida from erosion. In fact, they are durable enough to withstand hurricanes, and that makes them important. So keep reading to learn more. The next time you’re in Florida, you’ll know that a gathering of bushes along the coast is actually quite a bit more.

Caladesi Island mangroves

They are easy to recognize thanks to their root systems, which are designed for living in saltwater shallows. The longer you stay in Florida, the more likely you might be to notice that not all mangroves are alike. You will also surely notice that mangroves are perfect places for animals to take refuge. And, while a coastline of mangroves might not be as nice as a beach, the trees play a vital role in protecting the land.

eagle-point-park roseate spoon bill Florida

Florida has a number of varieties of mangrove trees but some only exist in the southern half of the state that does not experience freezes. The two varieties that have spread throughout the state are the red mangrove and the black mangrove. While that might not seem important, if you enjoy testing your knowledge in the real world, you can easily identify the two of them on your own.

magroves and foot bridge

Red mangroves are only red on the inside. You can see the color when you remove the bark. So how will you know one when you see it? That’s easy. They are the ones up on stilt-like roots. Array of a roots in a red mangrove forest is amazing to see. Those roots are also very attractive to animals. Fish and shellfish live underneath of them, birds will hide among them, and crabs love to climb them. There is even a type of snake that can live its life perched on the stalks. If that sounds creepy-crawly, well, okay. That’s hard to argue against. When you consider, however, that you are never going to successfully walk through a red mangrove forest, it puts it back into perspective. The reason they are such good hiding places is because it’s nearly impassable terrain. Larger predators, including alligators, are not going to negotiate the thousands and thousands of closely placed roots. Residents and visitors to Florida can enjoy the red mangrove forests from the outside. Thanks to their design, it is easy to see into the forest. That is best done from a small boat, where the gentle sea breezes can keep you separated from one of the less pleasant denizens of the mangroves, which is the no-see-ems.

Red mangrove

Black mangroves live up on the shores, rather than in the water like the red mangrove. You can identify them by their breather roots. If you ever find yourself by the shore and see a tree or bush surrounded hundreds of straw-sized stalks protruding from the mud, sand, or water, then you are looking at a black mangrove tree. Those actually are breather roots, drawing nitrogen for the unseen root system below. The trees will often sit right at the shore where they experience the ebb and flow of tides.

black mangrove roots

Here in Tampa Bay area, we have warm enough winters to also have the white mangrove growing on our coastlines. It is not as easy to identify as the other two because its roots are all below the ground. On the other hand, it is usually found hanging out with its cousins, the red and black mangroves. They tend to grow taller and, more importantly, they grow on higher ground, preferring to avoid the tidal waters. Florida parks often have boardwalks that pass through mangrove forests. If you see a mound with a tree growing from it, it is probably a white mangrove. Vice versa, if you identify a white mangrove, look down and you will see it is on higher ground.

white mangroves

Once you are very familiar with mangrove trees, you will know that their leaves grow differently and have different shades of green. Once you know that, you can actually spot the rise and fall of coastal lands from aerial photographs, which is handy for boating and fishing (and Google Maps enthusiasts).

black mangroves on Florida island

Mangroves are so important for the preservation of coastline that cities have legal codes regulating their pruning. Chopping down all the mangroves on your property so that you have a water view might seem like a nice idea but your waterfront will then be open to erosion and very vulnerable during major storms – and your neighbors as well.

weedon-island-kayaking

So, the next time you are in Florida and you see a shoreline of bushes and think, “I wish that was a sandy beach,” don’t be so sure. Mangroves play an important role in keeping Florida safe.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Sharing Natural Paradise of Three Rooker Bar

Discovering the Artificial Reefs of the Florida Gulf Coast

Native American Indian Mounds of the Florida Gulf Coast

 

 

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Fishing Charters on the Florida West Coast

Posted on: September 14th, 2016 by admin No Comments

A fishing charter into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico is a dream come true to many. The beautiful blue waters, the warm climate, and the fantastic fishing combine to create one of the best fishing charter locations in the country. But what does a fishing charter on Florida’s West Coast entail? That’s a we’re going to answer.

Fishing the Gulf of Mexico

While you can also find the larger tour boats that take large groups, most fishing charter boats are relatively small, taking four to eight people. That means you need to be prepared to spend time in close quarters with companions and the boat crew. Here at Clearwater Beach Marina, crews are almost always a team of two.

Clearwater Beach Marina

It is a good idea to choose a comfortable boat. The reason is the length of the trip. The Gulf of Mexico is shallow along Florida’s West Coast while the best fishing is in deeper waters. That means charter boats most often will take you straight out into the Gulf, heading for the shelf where you will experience the best fishing. Powerful engines are standard equipment and the boat ride is usually a lot of fun. The entire trip is most often set as half day and full day, which means either four or eight hours. If you want the best fishing, however, ask for the full day. That will get you well over the shelf and into the waters that will fill you cooler with fish and usually a bit more.

Gulf of Mexico fishing

Florida is famous for sunshine. Your chances of sun on a morning trip into the Gulf of Mexico are very high. Our skies usually start clear with clouds slowly gathering as the day goes on. Larger boats provide interior areas but the more common charters do not. That means you will be in the sun most of the day. Even if you are acclimated to being in the sun, be sure to use sunscreen to avoid getting burned. On the upside, you will be out on a very blue body of water in the bright Florida sunshine, which is actually quite nice.

Boating Florida West Coast

If your fishing experience is anything like mine, you might ask whether you are actually going to catch any fish. The answer is yes. The Gulf of Mexico is known for its excellent fishing. Whether you are looking for a good fight or a good meal, you have a chance of encountering either. Tell your boat crew what you prefer and, chances are, they will be able to accommodate.

Two Tails fishing charter

When it comes to extras, each boat is different. Some will tell you to bring a cooler of your own beverages. Others will provide drinks for you. Usually, it’s a little of both, with waters provided and other types of drinks on a bring-your-own basis. Let your boat crew know what you have in mind and they will tell you what you need to buy. If you think the ride is too long to go without eating, be sure to find out what is provided and what is not.

Florida West Coast Grouper

Keep in mind that when you bring the fish back, your charter crew will offer to clean the fish for you. That means you walk away with fish that is ready to cook. But, here on the West Coast of Florida, a good catch is not a surprise. Because of that, restaurants that sit near marinas will often take your fish and cook it for you! Yes, you will have to pay for the meal, but the cost of the fish subtracted. It’s a great way to enjoy your catch without the need to learn any recipes.

Florida sport fishing

When you put all the factors together, and you love fishing, the overall image is a good one. Fresh air, good food, sunshine, sparkling waters, and some hefty bites on your line are all in store for a fishing charter on the Florida West Coast.

Other posts you might enjoy:

Discovering Anclote Key All Over Again

Finding the Lost Dunedin Pass

Fort Desoto Beaches, Boating, and History

 

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New Beach Rentals on the Florida West Coast

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by admin No Comments

We are always looking for quality vacation rentals to offer at our beaches. When we get new units, we get excited about it. Here are few new units we wanted to share with you.

Clearwater Beach

 

Sandpearl 607D

Adorning Clearwater’s pristine beachfront, Sandpearl Residences offers the highest caliber of guest experience and quality of appointment on the Gulf Coast. One of the newer resorts on Clearwater Beach, Sandpearl seamlessly blends refined amenities and nature’s splendor to create moments that enrich the spirit well beyond your stay.

Sandpearl Residence vacation rental Clearwater Beach

This luxurious 3 Bedroom 2.5 Bathroom Sandpearl Residence Condo is 2,181 sq ft and easily accommodates the whole family. The spacious living room has a flat screen TV and plenty of seating.

The large kitchen with granite counter tops and island is the perfect for mealtime. This unit has two dining tables, a small table in the kitchen and a more formal setting in the dining area.

The spacious balcony has a beautiful view of the white sand beach and ocean water in addition to overlooking the Sandpearl pool.

Master bedroom has king size bed, flat screen TV and attached full bathroom with garden tub, walk in shower, vanity and private lavatory.

The first guest room has queen size bed and attached full bathroom with walk in shower and the second guest room has queen size bed. There is an additional half bath in the unit and laundry room with washer and dryer.

Some of the rooms in the condo have motorized blinds and adjustable lighting switches.

Beautiful pool area has access right on to white sand beach of Clearwater.

This is a luxury monthly rental property. While this unit is in the Sandpearl Residences, it is a separate entity from the Sandpearl Resort next door. Guests of the Residences have access to all Residences amenities. Resort amenities are not included.

See more about this unit here.

 

House on the Bay

“House on the Bay” is a charming three bedroom, three bath house with a wonderful view of Clearwater Bay.

Florida Beach Rentals House on the Bay sunroom

This home is spacious and has all the essentials a family could want in a vacation rental. Enjoy a large living and dining area plus a cute kitchen with tile counters and pass-through to the sunroom.  The open, airy sunroom is the perfect place for family interaction with comfy couches to watch TV and cozy dining area.  Panoramic windows capture captivating waterfront views.  TVs in every bedroom and three full bathrooms.

House on the Bay has a great backyard adjacent to the water with a waterfront dock. It is the perfect place to sit and pass the time away watching all the exciting endeavors happening at Clearwater Harbor.

Come on over to the House on the Bay and have a great waterfront vacation.

See more about this unit here.

 

Harborview Grande 307

Come spend your vacation in this gorgeous three bedroom, two bath condo with breath-taking views of Clearwater Bay.

Florida Beach Rentals Harborview Grande 307 balcony

This unit has all the conveniences of home that includes a full kitchen and wet bar with built in wine cooler. Open floor plan makes for easy family interaction.

Each bedroom has its own flat screen TV. The master bedroom has an attached full bathroom and access to the balcony.

Walk out onto the balcony to relax or look for dolphins, sipping your favorite beverage as you take in the scenic view. Beaches of Clearwater are a short 10 min walk. This unit also has a boat dock available for use. Immerse yourself in vacation life at this Harborview Grande vacation condo.

See more about this unit here.

 

Harborview Grande 707

Your relaxing, fun-filled vacation awaits you here in this beautiful 7th floor, three bedroom, two bath condo.  This spacious vacation rental has all the conveniences of home with a full kitchen and flat screen TV’s.  The balcony will dazzle you with its large size and beautiful views of the Clearwater Bay.  Take a few moments to breath in the warm, salty air before heading off to the nearby beach.

Florida Beach Rentals Harborview Grande 707 view

This open floor plan has 1800 sq ft for the family to interact.  Unit also has washer and dryer for your convenience.

On site pool is heated during the months of November through March.

There is one assigned parking spot in the covered garage and secure entry.

Harborview Grande is centrally located to all kinds of restaurants, shops and activities. Stroll the new Beach Walk to Pier 60 to play, eat and shop on the Pier.  Daily sunsets are free!!  There are summer movies on an extra-large inflatable screen at the park next to Pier 60.

See more about this unit here.

 

Belle Harbor 307M

This beautiful 3 bedroom, two bath Belle Harbor unit overlooks the courtyard and enjoys partial views of Clearwater Bay.

Florida Beach Rentals Belle Harbor 307 patio couch table

The open floor plan of this unit is perfect for the family, featuring large living, dining and kitchen areas.  The kitchen has granite countertops stocked with all of the conveniences of home.  Quaint kitchen bistro table is wonderful spot the have coffee.  A breakfast bar with seating for 4 is a great place for a quick meal.  If you are feeling a little more formal, the dining table will accommodate with seating for six.  The living room has two comfy couches, a flat screen TV and delightful electric fireplace… so charming.  Walk out onto the balcony and take in the sun and warm breeze with peek-a-boo view of the Clearwater Bay over the beautiful clubhouse

The master bedroom is spacious with a king bed, flat screen TV, balcony access and attached master bathroom.  Master bathroom has a walk in shower, his and hers vanities, and private lavatory.

Second and third bedrooms have king beds and patio/balcony access.  Guest bathroom has shower/ tub combination. Unit has washer and dryer too.

Unit has one garage parking space.

Belle Harbor has heated pool, hot tub, grills, work out facility and community room.

Monthly rental

See more about this unit here.

 

Ocean Sands 504

Ocean Sands 504 is a beautiful, newly renovated studio right on the white sands of Madeira Beach. Enjoy our fabulous sunsets on your private fifth floor balcony.

Beachfront condo Florida West Coast

Nothing was left behind when modernizing the unit, from the kitchen to the bathroom. The recent updates include all stainless steel appliances in the kitchen along with beautiful white granite counter-tops and a flat surface cook top. The kitchen is very functional with a full-size fridge, range, microwave, and a dishwasher for your convenience. Kitchen overlooks the dining/living room area and right out to the beach! The dining table seats four with two additional seats at the breakfast bar. This condo has great entertainment for many hours outside or inside.

Inside, the HDTV is a whopping 42” with high-definition digital cable and a blue ray player. The Murphy bed in the living area is disguised, yet easily transitions in or out of its hiding place as needed.

Madeira Beach, as well as Ocean Sands, has a lot to offer. On-site at this vacation rental you’ll find a junior Olympic size pool, a Jacuzzi, a tiki hut, a large charcoal barbeque, shuffle board, and plenty of lounge chairs. Madeira Beach offers soft white sands and gorgeous sunsets for your slice of paradise. For the days not spent on the sand, there are countless places nearby to experience. John’s pass has The Friendly Fisherman Restaurant, Hooters, Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Company, unique crafty shops, Fishing, Dolphin Tours, Ghost Tours, The Florida Winery—more than enough unique shops and restaurants to spend a whole day, if not two!

The Ocean Sands Condos are located right on the sands of Madeira Beach, which is centrally located to St. Petersburg, John’s Pass Village, Clearwater Beach, and Tampa Bay.

See more about this unit here.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Discovery Tour of Anclote River and Anclote Key

Vacation Rental Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodations or Flight, Which to Book First

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Beach Temperatures on the Central West Coast of Florida

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by admin No Comments

Clouds over beach

How Warm is Florida?

We get a lot of requests for info on what the temperatures are here in Clearwater Beach, Florida, as well as our area in general. While you might think they are mostly aimed at finding out how warm it is here in the winter, a lot of them want to know our summer temperatures too.

Beaches of Tampa Bay

This coastline, in general, is called the Central Gulf Coast of Florida. Our portion of that coast is the beaches of the Tampa Bay area which border the Gulf of Mexico. That encompasses the beach towns of St Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, and all the beach communities between. It also includes the beach parks of Egmont Key, Fort Desoto, Caladesi Island State Park, Honeymoon Island State Park, and Anclote Key Nature Preserve.

Clearwater Beach morning clouds

Summer on the Florida West Coast

Summer is where we will start. To shortcut the conversation, our summers are hot. It’s Florida. June, July, August, and September are the hot months. No surprise there. According to the U.S. Climate Center website, our average summer temperatures are 89 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit/32 Celsius. Of course, that’s the average. It does go above and below those numbers. Add the humidity brought to us by the Gulf of Mexico and it feels quite warm.

Hyatt pool deck view

 

The saving grace from the heat is the same thing that makes it feel warmer, and that’s the Gulf of Mexico. All you have to do to cool off is dive in. But there’s more to it than that. The Gulf is not quite as cool as you would imagine. In the summer it reaches the mid-eighties. This summer we had a few days of ninety. That was warm but it only lasted a short while and then the water perceptibly cooled off – down into the eighties that is. Despite how warm that sounds, it’s still refreshing to dive in and it does cool you down.

Winter trips to Florida are famous. People come here to escape the winter chills of the north, from both the U.S. and Canada. But how warm is it exactly? There’s good news and bad news. The bad news first. To someone who lives in Florida, it gets cold! The good news, to someone from the north, it’s not cold at all. December, January, and February are the coldest, with a bone chilling 55 degrees Fahrenheit/12 Celsius. Winter water temperatures range around 70 Fahrenheit/21 Celsius.

Swimming Gulf of Mexico

While we joke about how cold it is here we know that it’s really not. However, we once in a while get a person who thinks we enjoy eighty degrees all year long, and that’s just not true. We experience winter, just on a very mild scale. The truth is that our winter is very refreshing. After a summer of high temperatures, a cool winter is actually quite welcome.

The remaining months between summer and winter are some of our favorites. Oddly, they are not as popular with visitors. If you lived in Florida and knew how amazing the weather was, you’d wonder why that was true. It’s not chilly, it’s not hot. We refer to that as very nice weather. The temperatures range between 65 and 85 Fahrenheit/17 and 20 Celsius. They are very enjoyable months to be outdoors.

Clearwater Harbor sunrise

As for rain, we do get that. For nine months of the year we get rain like everywhere else, which is to say, every now and then, whenever nature feels like it. In the summer, however, the weather gets very predictable. The days start sunny, then in the mid-afternoon the clouds gather. By about 5pm, it’s time for a rain storm, often a thunderstorm with dazzling lightning. By 6pm to 7pm, the rain is gone and its time to walk the streets again in the remaining hours of daylight. You can almost set your watch by it. While odd weather is always a possibility, that is pretty much what to expect. So will it rain on your summer vacation here at the beach? Yes, it will. Will it ruin the day? Not at all.

Clearwater Beach rain

That’s the summary of our weather here on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida, especially in the Tampa Bay area and its beaches. The reality is that it’s pretty nice just about any time of year, so long as you’re not expecting something else. So if you are coming to visit us, you now have a better idea of what to anticipate. That often makes for a better stay.

Sunny beach day Clearwater Beach

Other Posts You might enjoy:

Paradise Lost; A Beach in Peril

Wild Winter Wonders on the Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Barrier Island Breakdown


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My Four Hour Vacation at Clearwater Beach: Belle Harbor Vacation Condo Feature

Posted on: July 18th, 2016 by MB No Comments

After three years working at Florida Beach Rentals, I decided it was time to check out one of the Clearwater Beach units for myself. That doesn’t mean I haven’t seen our vacation rental units. I have been to almost every one of them and photographed them for over a year before our current, very talented photographer took over. Currently I provide the social media content for our vacation rental company here in Clearwater Beach, Florida. You might have seen our videos and photographs on our Facebook page (FLBRentals). When I say that I wanted to check out a rental I mean that I wanted to get a taste of the vacation rental experience. While touring the units and photographing them is actually a lot of fun, I always wondered what it would be like to stay in them and get a feel for the units we as a company provide.

Clearwater Beach Florida

Our reservations team leader, Jackie, suggested a perfect unit. It was upscale, clean, had a water view, was close to the beach, and was open for me to use. I set out with my social media hardware to capture the experience. While I was looking for the perfect vacation experience, this one didn’t take me too far away. It was right across the street from our office, which I thought was a bit funny. It reminded me of putting a tent in my parent’s back yard and calling it a camping trip. Despite lacking a romantically remote location, I couldn’t argue. It was a very nice condo.

Belle Harbor rainbow

Rainbow captured over Belle Harbor condos

The featured condo for my day of social media broadcasting was in the Belle Harbor condominiums, unit 408. I shot about six videos for the unit, some inside and others showing off the features of the condo and what was nearby. That was not hard to do at Clearwater Beach, Florida. The poolside area at Belle Harbor is waterfront, as is the Jacuzzi and even the fitness center. A walk to the beach was definitely on the list. I was curious how long it would take me to get from the room to the beach. The video pegged at five minutes. That’s not bad. Next I went to get a Starbucks coffee. I’m not going to give away here the secret of how to find Starbucks at Clearwater Beach. There are no signs and you have to know where it is. To discover it for yourself, watch the video below.

Belle Harbor pool

While I didn’t sleep at the unit, I was very enjoyable to be there. I caught up on the weather with the big screen TV and took a stroll on the waterfront sidewalk which I didn’t know Belle Harbor had! The unit was a three bedroom that looks perfect for a family and the master bedroom is large.

Master bedroom Belle Harbor condo

In truth, I should not really be writing this in the past tense, because, right at this moment, I am typing this blog post in the master bedroom. When I walked in and saw the desk, I knew I had to find a reason to sit there and make use of it. Right now I am looking out the large picture windows at palm fronds waving in the breeze.

Balcony view vacation condo

If you’re wondering why I haven’t said, “It would sure be nice to stay here,” that just seems too obvious. It’s a very nice unit. While I won’t get to reap the benefits of a full month’s stay here, taking an afternoon outing to enjoy the unit has been a really great time. In fact, my seat here, with the relaxing view, is genuinely soothing to the soul. So, I will write my last lines here and then fold down the screen of my laptop. My mini vacation will be over and it will beill beh was mantic mping trip c them and  time to head back across the street to the office, which I can see peeking out from between the palm trees.

More info on this unit

Please enjoy my Belle Harbor virtual vacation videos below.




Other posts you might enjoy:
Fairy Tales in the Sand at Clearwater Beach
Fantastic Fall Festivals St Pete to Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach Marina

 

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Hopping a Ride on the Little Toot Dolphin Tour

Posted on: June 28th, 2016 by MB No Comments

After years of watching the Little Toot dolphin tour set out onto Clearwater Harbor, I finally decided it was time to get on board. While I’ve done dolphin sighting cruises at Clearwater Beach before, I’ve never done one on the unique vessel called the Little Toot. In fact, the best dolphin pictures in my collection are from a ride where we ran parallel to that boat with the dolphins jumping in its wake.

Little Toot

The dolphins in Clearwater Harbor are bottlenose dolphins, made popular in numerous TV shows and movies. Most recently, Clearwater area dolphins appeared in the movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale II, with the celebrity dolphins Winter and Hope.

Living in the Clearwater, Florida area gives locals ample opportunities to see dolphins. They appear quite often along the boat docks, in the harbor, and out in the Gulf of Mexico. Boaters in the area are treated to sightings regularly. In fact, if you are here long enough, you will eventually see them from your car as you drive near the waterways. While we are accustomed to the sightings, we all agree that each sighting is still a special event. For visitors to the area, dolphin sightings take on somewhat magical air. That’s why the dolphin sighting tours on Clearwater Harbor and out on the Gulf of Mexico are so popular. You will often see the tour boats cruising the harbor or past the beach.

Clearwater Harbor dolphinEach tour boat has its own perks. Some are conducted on giant speed boats, others on comfortable pontoon boats with lots of seating. The Little Toot is a vessel that looks like a tug boat. Because of its design, it creates a tall rolling wake when it picks up speed. That’s a good thing when you are searching for dolphins. A wake is a very alluring thing for bottlenose dolphins. They love to play and jump in the waves, and the Little Toot makes the best ones.

Our tour took us around Clearwater Harbor. We skipped going out onto the Gulf of Mexico because it was a windy day the water was too choppy for sighting dolphin fins. It took a bit of time but we did get a few sightings of fins breaking the water. Finally, however, we found some dolphins who wanted to play. When we passed them by, they followed us and caught up to our wake. The following video shows them jumping from the water using the large waves created by the Little Toot.

Most every dolphin sighting tour in the area offers a dolphin sighting guarantee. If you don’t get to see any dolphins, you get your next ride for free. The great part of the tour is that, even without dolphins, the ride is scenic and well worth the time. The other good thing is that you are almost always going to see dolphins. If you get the chance to visit the area, make sure to put one of these dolphin tours on your list of things to do.


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Clearwater Beach Summers

Posted on: June 19th, 2016 by MB No Comments

Summer time at the beach is hard to beat. When that beach is especially beautiful, it’s even better. Clearwater Beach is great to visit any time of the year. Each season has its own perks. If you arrive in one season, you are likely to be envious of those who visit in the others. Perhaps that’s human nature. But let me describe why the summertime in Clearwater Beach will make you happy.

Clearwater Beach with tons of shells

Hot Summer Days

If summer at Clearwater Beach has a downside, it’s the heat. It gets hot here and you might sweat. And there you have it. That’s the downside. But then, that’s why the beach is so great! Three things make this beach enjoyable on a hot day.

  1. You can beat the heat by swimming! The water feels great and a dip into it will refresh you. By observation, the people who go into the water don’t come back out again for quite a while. A walk down the shore on an average summer beach day will find lots of heads and shoulders bobbing above the waves. If you don’t want to go in all the way, the Gulf of Mexico also feels great on your feet.
  2. The breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico usually cools down the beach by about seven to ten degrees -at least that’s how it feels. There are days where walking on the sidewalk will warm you right up but a walk along the shore just moments later feels just fine. The sea breeze is a blessing and smells good too. And really, wouldn’t you prefer walking on the beach?
  3. The sand at Clearwater Beach is white. While the sun does warm it up, it never becomes too hot to walk on. Even on the hottest day you will never have to hop and skip across heated sands. That also means the heat reflecting off the sand is far less.

As far as problems go, beating the heat at the beach is pretty fun to solve.

Clearwater Beach outing

The Joys of Summer at the Beach

Now let’s look at the upsides of going to the beach in the summer.

  1. In the summer you will find more people enjoying the traditional beach outing. That means taking the family to the shore with a cooler and spending the day having fun. Catching sun is no problem and you will never have to worry about bringing a jacket along. The days are longer too. By our count, that makes for more beach time. I think anything you enjoy doing in the summer might just be better at the beach.
  2. The Pier 60 Nightly Sunset Festival operates all year round, yet, somehow, it seems to have a bit of extra magic in the summer. With the long days and blazing sunsets, the fun-seeking crowds show up to see the street performers and to pick up a unique souvenir from the Pier 60 vendors. For whatever reason, the crowds just seem to cheer the performances a little bit louder in the summertime.
  3. The dolphins of our coast also like the warm summer days. Whether the dolphins would agree with me or not, I don’t know, but it seems easier to get them to play in the wakes of the boats in the summer. I’ll let the dolphins have the last word on that because you can successfully spot them on dolphin tours all year long. On a recent dolphin tour in June, we saw quite a few.
  4. The best thing about summer at Clearwater Beach, however, has got to be the colors of the water. In the summer, the sun shines directly down, piercing the water and lighting up the white sands underneath. That creates a dazzling turquoise color that people love to see. But it’s not just the turquoise that makes the Gulf of Mexico special in the summer. When the waves roll into the sand around your feet, it is remarkably clear. Whether it is the angle of the sun, the amount of light, or some other factor, the summertime waters at Clearwater Beach are remarkable.

So, there you have it. The beach is an awesome place to go in the summer. Now that I’ve said it, it seems kind of obvious.

Perfect waters at Clearwater Beach


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