Clearwater Beach aerial 2

Accommodations or Flight, Which to Book First

Booking Your Flight First

passenger jetBooking an airline flight first is a good idea. Why? Because if you book your accommodations first you might not find a flight to match it. With airlines running their flights tighter than ever, you need to know that you can get to your destination. Plus, your flight needs to be booked well ahead of time in order to save money.

Does booking a flight first come with risks? Yes it does. You can pay for your flight and wind up not finding the rental you want during the time period allowed for by your round trip tickets. That’s not good. You could wind up far away from the beach or other attraction you intended to enjoy.

 

Booking Your Accommodations First

beach accommodationsBooking accommodations first is also a plan that can work. If you book far enough ahead, it will be easier to get a flight to match. Since popular destinations often take reservations a year or more in advance, you might find airfare tickets with greater ease, given a long enough lead time.

Does booking accommodations first carry a risk? Of course it does. You might wind up with reservations and no flight to go with them. If you get a flight that doesn’t match your reservations, your vacation can be thrown out of sync, forcing you to purchase extra nights where you didn’t intend to stay. Worse still, you might have a shorter flight than your paid accommodations, forcing you to pay for nights you don’t get to enjoy.

 

Make Vacation Flight Plans and Accommodations Match

beach vacationThe solution to synchronizing your flight plan with your accommodations might be easier than you think. You see, popular destinations often set availability on a Saturday to Saturday schedule. During high season especially, vacation rentals in our personal favorite destination, Clearwater Beach, will often only book beach cottages, homes, or condos on a one week, Saturday to Saturday, basis. The majority of problems with booking during peak seasons comes when travelers do not know about the one week restrictions. While you can book hotels for any nights you want, vacation rental homes and condos stick rather rigidly to their weekly schedules, at least during peak times. In case you don’t know, booking a vacation rental for a week is much less expensive than staying at a hotel for seven nights. That means staying in a hotel that was not part of your plans can take a heavy toll on your expenses. As with any hotel or vacation rental, check ins are in the afternoon and check outs are in the morning, so plan your flight accordingly. Put this all together and you might find making your flight and accommodations match much easier.

  • Plan ahead
  • Book your accommodations at least six months to one year before your vacation
  • Have in mind that your vacation accommodations might need to be Saturday to Saturday
  • Book your flight on a Saturday to Saturday schedule
  • Have a plan to fill the hours where flight schedule doesn’t match check in and check out times, especially for families with young children

Clearwater Beach accommodationsIf you schedule your flight and accommodations to match a standard one week stay, and you book far enough into the future, your job becomes easier. Even here in our vacation rental office, we had to agree that booking a flight first is probably the best plan of action, due to the sometimes-volatile nature of flight reservations. Understanding the vacation rental field before you book is advantageous. Call ahead or use the Internet to get a feel for the accommodations at your destination. We suggest Clearwater Beach!

Study your destination, understand booking dates, and plan ahead. With your research done, you can book your flight and accommodations like a pro.

 

Other posts you might enjoy;

To Drive or Not to Drive on your Clearwater Beach Vacation

9 Need to Know Differences between Hotels and Vacation Rentals

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

 

Super Boat National Championship Clearwater Beach

Super Boat Races 2014 at Clearwater Beach

Super Boat National Championship Coming to Clearwater Beach

Clearawter Beach Super Boat National ChampionshipThe time has come again to get excited about Super Boat racing at Clearwater Beach. This year, the Bright House 2014 Clearwater Super Boat National Championship will run from Friday, September 26th through Saturday the 28th. Last year’s event was exciting, drawing a great beach crowd as well as a flotilla of boaters to watch the event. Eight classes of boats will blast past America’s favorite beach in a series of exciting racing events. The races is timed to coincide with fantastic weather on the Florida Gulf Coast, experiencing daytime temperatures that typically rang from the mid 70s to mid 80s. Sunshine and moderate temperatures equals a great day at the beach to for a spectator event. Before you reach the sands you might hear the roar of the powerful engines of these apex race machines, getting you in the mood for an exciting coastal event at Clearwater Beach.

 

Super Boat Racing next to Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

Super Boat Races Clearwater BeachThe Super Boat racing event occurs right offshore from famous Pier 60 at the heart of Clearwater Beach. Seating for the event is ample, being the beach itself! Bring your own chair or towel to spend the day on the beach watching the high speed boats roar past. You will experience all the pleasures of a typical day at the beach plus a whole lot more. You can still wade out a short distance to cool off in the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico, even with the powerful boats thundering past just off shore. Be sure to bring a cooler and some sunscreen, as well as any other sun protection, like a wide brimmed hat. You won’t want to leave once you arrive at the Clearwater Beach Super Boat Races.

 

Viewing Super Boat Races from a Boat

Super Boat National Championship Clearwater BeachThe other unique viewing opportunity for the Clearwater Beach Super Boat Races belongs to the boaters. A long line of boats forms, parallel to the beach, demarcating the event boundaries. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t own a boat to join the armada. Many of the local boat touring companies offer rides out to see the races. The event is fun to watch and draws plenty of people to the beach, so be prepared ahead of time. If you plan to book a private charter boat, you might want to call ahead for reservations. Calling the larger tour boat companies in advance is also recommended. Regardless of means you choose for getting out on the water, your views for this event are sure to be spectacular.

 

Booking Ahead for the Super Boat Races at Clearwater Beach

Take it from a Clearwater Beach vacation rental company, you will want to book your accommodations in advance when choosing Clearwater Beach as your destination. The Super Boat Races are right around the corner, so make your plans now to attend this upcoming event. If you want to use Florida Beach Rentals, we do have openings at the time of this writing.Clearwater Beach Super Boat Races

 

Enjoying Clearwater Beach during the Super Boat National Championship

Clearwater Beach Super Boat RacesBe sure to check out all the other great entertainment opportunities at Clearwater Beach. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the beautiful shores of the Florida Gulf Coast. Possibilities include walking the beach at night, touring the souvenir shops, dining, beach combing, touring local parks, boating, parasailing, and, of course, visiting famous dolphins Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale movies. The list does not stop there, however. You can look into all the other remarkable things to do at Clearwater Beach during the Super Boat National Championship in our Gulf Coast Activities and Attractions posts.

 

Other posts you might enjoy;

5 Favorite Party Spots at Clearwater Beach

Walking the Streets of Clearwater Beach

Ultimate Tourist Attraction at Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

 

Clearwater Beach Marina

Clearwater Beach Marina

Clearwater Beach Marina

Clearwater Beach MarinaClearwater Marina enjoys a central location on Clearwater Beach, adjacent to the roundabout at the entrance and across the street from the beach and Pier 60. It is home to a fair number of private boats and yachts but also an extensive collection of tour boats and fishing charters. On ordinary days, you will see visitors gathered along the sidewalks that run the length of docks. The number of opportunities to get out onto Clearwater Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico is surprising. If you are considering spending a vacation at Clearwater Beach without an excursion out onto the water, you should think again. The Clearwater Beach Marina is a perfect place to create treasured vacation memories.

 

Things to Do at Clearwater Beach Marina

Clearwater Beach Marina jet skisAt first glance, the Clearwater Beach Marina has two things, tour boats and fishing charters, but if you look deeper, you will find more. In the lineup of tour boats you will discover a wide variety of choices. The docks provide pirate cruises, dolphin sighting tours, giant cigar speedboat tours, party cruises, sunset cruises, and dinner cruises. The fishing charter choice offer a wide range of choices too. Charters run either half day or full day, run to our shoreline reefs or out to the deeps of the gulf, use small private boats or large multi-passenger vessels. With smaller charters, you can even request certain types of fish, and, if possible, the captain will take you to where they are found.

In addition to the passenger and charter vessels, you will also find a host of other watercraft available. The Clearwater Marina vendors rent jet skis, speed boats, pontoon boats, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards. Scuba excursions, parasailing boats, and sailboat charters also set off from the docks of the marina. You can even charter a boat to take you sightseeing or shelling on Clearwater Harbor or Clearwater area beaches and barrier islands.

 

 

Clearwater Beach Marina Experience

Clearwater Beach cruiseIncluding the Clearwater Beach Marina experience in your vacation plans is a good idea. Boating adds a dynamic dimension to your stay.

You will find the Clearwater Harbor and Gulf of Mexico tours offer more than you would expect. The smaller tour boats will always have a cooler on board, many with alcohol. You will also find the boat crews are very hospitable, allowing you to bring your own drinks and store them in their coolers. Some boat crews will give informative talks about the Clearwater Beach area. There is usually a photo op available on the docks via the tour company too.

Clearwater Beach fishing charterFor those who love fishing, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico are renowned. Some of the best tasting fish in the world come from our waters, and casting a line to catch them is fun. Whether you like the relaxation of being out on the water or the excitement of reeling in a great catch, the Gulf of Mexico will satisfy.

Some of the tour boats offer a fun atmosphere with music, like the Tropics Boat Tours, the Calypso Queen, or the pirate ship, Captain Memo, which is a favorite for kids. The dolphin sighting tour guides usually right were the dolphins are, helping to make your ride memorable. Dolphin sighting Clearwater BeachBe sure to take your camera because the dolphins love to play in the wakes of boats, giving you ample opportunity to make them part of your vacation photo collection.

All of the tours are enjoyable, some of them exciting. Whatever type of excursion you choose, you will probably come away with more than you expected.

 

 

Other posts you might enjoy

Dolphin Sighting Tours at Clearwater Beach

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

Fishing Charter Hotspots on the Florida Gulf Coast

 

Sky Surfing Clearwater Beach

Sky Surfing Clearwater Beach

What is Clearwater Beach Sky Surfing?

Sky Surfing Clearwater BeachWhat kind of views do birds get of Clearwater Beach? You no longer have to use your imagination. Sky Surfing Aviation offers flights over Clearwater Beach, Florida, and the neighboring barrier islands. Dane Hauser, owner of Sky Surfing Aviation, offered Florida Beach Rentals a chance to take a look at the beaches we love from the air and we jumped at the chance. The vehicle Hauser uses in called a Trike or a Delta-wing by pilots, and a Weight-shift-Control aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration. It is easy to see why it is called a Trike, since the craft supported by the glider wings is a three wheeled vehicle. Sky Surfing AviationHauser loves flying and has operated Trikes since 1994. He has become one of the leading flight trainers for this unique type of aircraft, putting your flight in very safe hands. The flights take off from a private air strip in Clearwater, relatively close to the shores of the Florida Gulf Coast. In no time at all you are flying high over some of the most beautiful beaches in the America.

 

Clearwater Beach from the Sky

Sky Surf Sand KeyThe tour flew over Clearwater Beach, Sand Key, Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island, and the Dunedin Causeway, in addition to the waters of St Joseph Sound, Clearwater Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches look incredible from the air but the waters of the Florida Gulf Coast are the real treat. The bird’s eye view allows you to look straight down through the water. With the waters of our harbors rarely reaching more than twelve feet (three meters), you can see right to the bottom. Having worked at the beach for a while now, it was a special treat to see all the sights from the air, like Pier 60, the causeway, Sand Key Beach, the fun waterfront activities along Clearwater Pass, the big hotels like the Hyatt and the Sandpearl, Clearwater Municipal Marina, the spoil islands of St Joseph Sound, and, of course, the remarkable white sands along the coast. If you know the individual tour boats you might also spot them making their way from the marina out into harbors or the Gulf of Mexico. Best of all, you can take in the barrier islands all in one glance, a list including Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, and Clearwater Beach.

 

Clearwater Beach at Five Hundred Feet

Sky Surf Clearwater BeachThe flight takes you over Clearwater Beach and the neighboring barrier islands at around five hundred feet. Keep your eyes sharp because, aside from the overall sweeping views, there are a lot of smaller things too. The most amazing part of the tour is spotting the sea life of the Florida Gulf Coast. While cruising over St Joseph Sound we saw a herd of manatees stirring up sediment, and more than one pod of dolphins. Along the Gulf Coast of Caladesi and Clearwater Beach we caught sight of a pair of stingrays, two large tarpon fish swimming side by side, and, best of all, a sea turtle coming up for a breath of air, all right here along our coast.

 

Clearwater Beach Sky Surfing Experience

Sky Surfing AviationThe overall experience of flying over Clearwater Beach is fantastic. The shores of Clearwater Beach and the surrounding areas are beautiful from the ground, but they might be even more remarkable from the air. All the blues and turquoise colors of the water are still visible from the air, with the beach sand glowing white. Locals and visitors alike can spot all the places they have visited. Because it is Clearwater Beach, you will probably spot several locations you have enjoyed during your stay.

 

Is Sky Surfing over Clearwater Beach Recommended?

Sky Surfing Caladesi IslandThere are pros and cons to flying over Clearwater Beach. The pros are that you will understand the area better and have a greater appreciation for the lay of the land. You will also admire the beauty of our barrier islands with a new point of view. The cons would have to be that you will no longer be happy on the ground. The experience is a bit haunting, sticking with you long after you are back on solid ground.

So, with those pros and cons considered, we would say yes, you should experience this tour. If you like taking fond memories home from your vacation, Sky Surfing over Clearwater Beach will definitely help you achieve that goal.

 

Sky Surfing Aviation  727-755-IFLY

Other posts you might enjoy

How Big is your Vacation Activity Zone?

Florida Barrier Island Breakdown

5 Most Exciting Beach Activity Rentals at Clearwater Beach

 

Segway Adventure

The Segway Adventure at Clearwater Beach

What is a Segway?

Segway Adventure Clearwater BeachSegway is a two wheeled, motorized transport that has the unique feature of gyroscopes to help the user to maintain balance. The machine is truly amazing, checking the pressure of an individual’s footprint a hundred times a second, according to Jean Varn, owner and tour guide of The Segway Adventure at Clearwater Beach, Florida.

Segway Adventure Clearwater BeachThe inventor of the Segway envisioned them being used in droves on every sidewalk in America, but cost and legal restrictions on their use created a different reality. While they are indeed utilized as personal transports, the real surprise of the Segway’s evolution was its adoption into the tourism industry. Across the United States you will find them in use as touring devices, giving their riders  unobstructed views from the comfort of a device that does all the work for them. The Segway Adventure has joined this trend, offering guided Segway tours through Clearwater Beach and the City of Clearwater.

 

The Segway Tour at Clearwater Beach

Segway Adventure Clearwater BeachIf you are staying at Clearwater Beach very long you will surely see Segways cruising down the beach sidewalks. The Segways rides are available from The Segway Adventure, located on the beach. The tour sets out from an alley south of the central roundabout, conveniently adjacent to Cone Heads ice cream shop and close to Post Corner Pizza. You can usually get parking right next to The Segway Adventure in the hotel parking lot for five dollars. The tour starts with a much needed training session, letting you drive around the parking lot until you are comfortable. Then it’s off to Beach Walk, the wide sidewalk that runs the length of the beachfront on the southern end of Clearwater Beach Island. After a fun spin around Beach Walk, your tour guide, Varn, takes you to the beautiful Clearwater Beach Memorial Causeway. This palm tree lined strip of land has a wide bike trail which is perfect for touring on Segways. The ride along the waterway is comfortable and beautiful, with great water views. The best part, however, is the bridge span, where you can take in views of Clearwater Harbor. Varn lets you stop to take in the all the remarkable sights from the top of the bridge. She then points off into the neighborhoods of Clearwater, where you will see some of the most historic and expensive houses in the region. The ride then takes you across the bridge into the City of Clearwater. After a spin through Coachman Park, with more views of the harbor, Segway Clearwater Beachyou will get to enter the incredible historic neighborhood Varn pointed out from the bridge. The large, old homes are very inspiring. Vern knows a lot about their history which she will share with you on the tour. The tour reaches its farthest point at a pier reaching out onto harbor. Here you will get a break that you can spend leaning on the railing, taking in the blue and turquoise waters of Clearwater Harbor. Then it’s back the way you came, allowing you take in all the great sights of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach a second time.

 

Experiencing Clearwater Beach on a Segway

Clearwater Segway AdventureThe Clearwater Beach Segway tour might take you by surprise. The actual experience is much different than it appears to a bystander. The first thing you will enjoy is the feel of the Segway. To put it simply, they are fun to operate. The computer system is so sophisticated, it seems to respond to your thoughts rather than just your feet. The simplicity of using them leaves you with an unobstructed experience of all the goings on and activities of Clearwater Beach. You will cruise past the beach goers while music from the restaurants and pubs drifts by. Riding past the marina and down the causeway is fun. SegwayThe bridge is tall enough to offer views of the entire Clearwater Beach Island, Sand Key to the south, and Caladesi Island to the north.  For those who know the terrain, you might also spy Honeymoon Island, and the City of Dunedin. You will also overlook the small islands running the length of the harbor to the north. To the south, you will see a bird refuge on a mangrove island and, farther off, the popular tour boat stop of Shell Island. Segway Adventure ClearwaterThe ramp taking you onto and off the bridge is a spiral that tests your new-found Segway driving skills. Varn gives an interesting talk about the wealthy Harbor Oaks neighborhood, which you then get to roll through. If you like mansions and old homes, you will love this part of the tour. The Segway Adventure allows you to view the sights in a very distraction-free style. It provides a fresh view of the area along with a chance to absorb all the atmosphere of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

 

Is The Clearwater Beach Segway Adventure for You?

Segway Adventure Clearwater BeachIs The Segway Adventure something you should do on your Clearwater Beach vacation? Well, we sure had fun! The Segway Adventure costs 65 dollars per person and lasts two hours. The Segways are enjoyable to operate, and the sites visitied on the tour are worthy locations. What is more, the Segways allow you to take in the beach and other sights in a way that walking, biking, or driving cannot. On a Segway, you are basically just standing there while you whiz along the sidewalk. Because of that, all your senses are left free to take in the experience. It is a one of a kind way to absorb the character of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach.

 

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Walking the Streets of Clearwater Beach

Dolphin Sighting Tours at Clearwater Beach

What Is a Causeway?

 

Gulf Coast artificial reefs

Discovering the Artificial Reefs of the Florida Gulf Coast

Pinellas County Artificial Reefs

coral on reefLittle known to most tourists at Clearwater Beach, St Pete Beach and the various tourists stops of the Central Gulf Coast are a series of artificial reefs located just off the coast. The reefs vary in distance from the shore, some being only a few hundred yards out while others are as far as 38 miles out in deeper waters. The artificial reef program was started in 1975, growing to the present day total of 42 sites. Most of the reefs, 29 of them, are close to shore. These inshore reefs were set down to help with beach replenishments. After sands were taken from the seafloor to help bolster area beaches between Sand Key and Treasure Island, the reefs were set down at areas where sands were removed. The 13 offshore reef sites are in deeper water and consists of larger materials than those close to the shore.

Both types of reef share a similar life cycle, growing barnacles and other sedentary sea life within just weeks. Fish arrive soon after to feed on these stationary creatures. Coral completes the reef community around the one year mark.

The purpose of the artificial reef program is to enhance fishing opportunities and to provide diving sites for scuba enthusiasts. The reefs also help to disperse the recreation areas of the Florida Gulf Coast, a very popular vacation destination. The increased number of diving and fishing sites offer visitors and locals greater opportunities for sport and play.

 

Materials for Gulf Coast Artificial Reefs

Deploying artificial reefsThe materials for the Gulf Coast artificial reefs ranges from the unique to the mundane. Many of the reefs are constructed from relatively simple items, such as pipes, pylons, and deconstructed bridge debris. Other sites contain treasures such as sunken barges, sunken ships, and even obsolete military tanks from WWII. The reef building materials have to pass an inspection for hazardous wastes and have to be relatively large in size. While it might seem that builders would simply drop the items into the water and be done, it is not so. The reefs are constructed with careful planning, intentionally creating openings that differ in size. The construction technique creates habitats for the various species that will arrive as the reef matures.

Diving on Florida Gulf Coast Artificial Reefs

Scuba diving on artificial reefsWhen we questioned divers regarding the artificial reefs of the Gulf Coast we were surprised to find out that even the simple reefs created from construction debris were popular dive sites. It seems that the attraction of many reefs is the sea life that surrounds them. Grouper, sting rays, eels, sea horses, sharks, coral, sponges and more find homes on and around the reefs. Lucky divers might also encounter sea turtles or dolphins. The visibility changes with Gulf conditions, giving views through 15 to 60 feet of water. Unique dive sites include the large barges and fishing boats, which divers can enter. The WWII tanks are also a popular dive.

Fishing Florida Gulf Coast Artificial Reefs

Fishing Gulf of MexicoThe other inspiration for the artificial reefs on Gulf Coast of Florida is to increase the fishing opportunities. The reefs not only provide good fishing destinations, they also create habitats for bait fish. Fishermen start at the reefs, casting their bait nets to scoop up the smaller fish. They can move on from there or stay, trying for the larger fish that troll the artificial structures below. Some of the more popular fish to catch are grouper, snapper, amberjack, and Spanish mackerel. The reefs closer to the shore are all marked for fishing on the maps, while those in deeper water are designated for mixed use. With the overwhelming popularity of fishing along the Gulf Coast, these new habitats provide additional locations for local fishermen and tourists to cast their lines.

How to Locate Gulf Coast Artificial Reefs

Artificial reefsModern technology makes finding the reefs quite easy. Each one is marked on the official maps, with GPS coordinates included. The intra-coastal waterways of the Florida Gulf Coast are shallow, creating a need for depth finders aboard pretty much every boat that plies the local waters of Clearwater Harbor, Boca Ciega Bay, or St Joseph Sound. Purchasing a GPS to have on board your boat is a good idea, although the more expensive devices come with both depth sonar and GPS. The reef program is no longer creating new sites but those that already exist are being maintained. Florida artificial reefsThat includes, in a few locations, buoys to mark them. If you are not interested in trying to find the reefs on your own, try a local dive shop. Guided tours will take out to the reefs and allow you to dive. Local fishing charters will know where the reefs are, naturally. It is their job to give the best fishing experience possible, which is an easy task on the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 Enjoying the Artificial Reefs of the Florida Gulf Coast

Fishing artificial reefsThe artificial reefs of the Florida Gulf Coast are there for the enjoyment of fishing and diving, creating locations that would otherwise be unavailable. The artificial reefs supply an added bonus for an area already full of recreation opportunities. With Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg being very popular Florida vacation destinations, it makes sense to expand the resources. If you are looking to take your Gulf Coast vacation a step further, why not give them a try?

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

How Big is your Vacation Activity Zone?

Never Confuse a Bayou with a Backwater Again

Gulf Coast Sunken Ship

 

white beach sand

Remarkable Origin of Clearwater Beach Sand

Geological History of Florida

Florida Below Sea Level

Clearwater BeachWhile walking the beaches in Florida, you might take a moment to reflect on how the beaches came to be. Underneath the beautiful soft sands is a marine legacy that reaches back millions of years.

Florida has spent much of its long life below sea level. Millions of years ago, North America and South America had not yet connected and the Gulf of Mexico did not yet exist in its present form. Florida was merely sea floor, part of the continental shelf of North America.

Florida Rising out of the Sea

Florida bayouSea animals lived and died over millions of years, depositing their skeletons and shells on the sea floor. That happened in such volume that the marine animal remains became a sediment that eventually formed into limestone. The limestone build up became the foundation for more sediment, bringing Florida closer to the surface. The sea level fluctuated with the coming and going of the ice ages. Each time Florida rose above the water, only to be covered by the seas once again.

Prehistoric Florida

Giant slothsWhen the land was above sea level, vegetation and land animals moved into Florida. The animal life of early Florida included elephants, sloths, saber-tooth tigers, and giant beavers. When North America and South America joined together, the Gulf of Mexico was born.

Modern Florida

beach sandFlorida subsequently rose and fell beneath the waves until, finally, portions of it remained above sea level permanently. The Florida we recognize formed at the end of the last ice age when sea levels matched those we know in present time.

 

Origin of Clearwater Beach and Gulf Coast Sands

Quartz stoneThe powdery white sands of Clearwater Beach are part of the legacy of Florida. With the talk of sea beds and millions of sea creatures creating a limestone bedrock, it might seem logical to assume that the seashore was created from fragmented shells. In fact, the soft, white sands of Clearwater Beach came from the Appalachian Mountains. Clearwater Beach sands are made of quarts rather than sea shells. This light colored rock is responsible for the brilliant color of Gulf Coast sands. In ages past, rivers that are now long gone, carried the eroded stone of the Appalachian Mountains southward. Appelachian MountainsGeologists have said that the mountain range was once as tall and jagged as the Rocky Mountains. The Appalachians are actually a much older mountain chain, eroded, over the millennia, into rolling peaks at lower elevations. All that rock traveled southward, ground eventually into tiny grains. Those beautiful bits of stone now form the sands of Clearwater Beach and the Florida Gulf Coast on which we walk today.

Florida Gulf Coast

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

A Beach Less Traveled

Ever Changing Sands of the Florida Gulf Coast

The Best Beaches in America

 

references: http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/student/barr1/report.htm    https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Pangaea    http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/lessons/land/land.htm    http://www.dep.state.fl.us/geology/geologictopics/geohist-2.htm     http://practical-microscopy.blogspot.com/2011/06/where-is-best-beach-sand.html

 

Sea turtle

Sea Turtles of the Florida Gulf Coast

Florida Sea Turtles

Out of the 7 species of sea turtles on Earth, 4 of them lay their eggs on the Florida coastline.

    • Loggerhead sea turtleLoggerheads are large sea turtles that are named for their wide heads, sometimes 10 inches in width. Loggerheads are the most common turtle to nest on the beaches of Florida.

 

    • Green sea turtleGreen Turtles are known for their beautiful green shells, that are also, unfortunately, one of the reasons the species was hunted into an endangered condition. They range in warm waters across the globe and, when nesting in Florida, usually lay their eggs on the east coast.

 

    • Leatherback sea turtleLeatherback turtles are the largest of the sea turtles, some weighing as much as a compact car. The trademark shell is leathery with ridges running from front to back. These turtles can inhabit colder waters and dive over 3000 feet deep. They range worldwide, a small number of them laying eggs on Florida beaches.

 

  • Hawksbill sea turtleHawksbill turtles are named for their beak-like mouths. This turtle uses its sharp beak for eating sponges and invertebrates, common species in the Gulf of Mexico. In Florida, these turtles most often lay eggs on the east coast between Canaveral National Sea Shore and the Florida Keys.

Kemp’s Ridley is a rare turtle that swims the Gulf of Mexico but nests on the Gulf Coast shores of Mexico. Two other species of sea turtle are the Flatback, which lives in the waters north of Australia, and the Olive Ridley, which ranges in equatorial waters.

 

Turtle Hatching Season on the Florida Gulf Coast

Loggerhead turtle hatchlingsTurtle hatching season on the Florida Gulf Coast lasts from May through October. On the east coast of Florida, the season starts as early as March. While four species nest in Florida, only loggerhead turtles nest commonly on the Gulf Coast. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, turtles create 3-8 nests per kilometer on the shores of Pinellas County, where you will find Clearwater Beach and other popular destinations like St Pete Beach, Treasure Island Beach, Madeira Beach and Indian Shores. While Pinellas County is not the most prolific site for turtle nests, you should still keep an eye out for them while you are here.

 

Turtle Egg Laying on the Beach

Sea turtle eggsSea turtles do not return to land once hatched. Only the females will pull themselves ashore to lay eggs. The life cycle of sea turtles keeps the young ones in shallows or in areas with growth where they can take cover. When larger they move to the shallows, and then later, into open water. Loggerheads live approximately 50 years but do not begin mating until they are around 35 years old. Females will mate every two to three years, laying an average of four nests. Florida has groups that help to protect the sea turtles, volunteers locating nests and marking them off so that beach-goers to not dig or set up umbrellas or towels on top of the nests. When walking the beach, be on the lookout for stakes bearing orange or pink tape. Disturbing the nests is illegal. Many nests have cameras trained on them to deter anyone from vandalizing them.

 

Turtle Season Guidelines for Beach-goers

Sea turtle nestYou can play your part in protecting the sea turtles. Always leave the nests sites alone. If you believe you have found an unmarked sea turtle nest, be sure to contact authorities so that the nest can be protected. Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies, will take your calls if you find a nest in Pinellas County, (727-441-1790). Other than human tampering and predation by animals, lights are the biggest threat to sea turtle hatchlings. Hatched sea turtles aim toward the greatest light, which, without beach housing, would be the moon reflecting off the sea. That is why many locations mandate that beach houses and businesses keep their shades drawn during turtle hatching season. You should not shine flashlights or other types of lights onto hatching sea turtles. Loggerhead sea turtleAdditionally, if you come upon an adult sea turtle coming ashore to lay eggs, keep your distance. If the turtle is frightened, it may return to the sea, in which case, it could drop its eggs into the open water where they will not survive. Hunting and loss of habitat has greatly reduced the sea turtle population. If you are given the opportunity, do your best to help them survive.

 

Local Turtle Trivia

Turtle sculptureHere in Pinellas County, home to Clearwater Beach, we love our turtles.

  • The Gopher Tortoise can be seen here in open flat lands like Honeymoon Island State Park.
  • Another local turtle, living in our freshwater ponds and lakes, is called a cooter. Cooter’s Restaurant & Bar, found right here on Clearwater Beach, takes its name from this turtle.
  • Up in Tarpon Springs, home to the famous Sponge Docks, you will find a fun pub called Lagerheadz,which is named after our local loggerhead turtles.

 

Other posts  you might enjoy:

Dolphin Sighting Tours at Clearwater Beach

Florida Barrier Island Breakdown

Fishing Charter Hotspots on the Florida Gulf Coast

Refences:

http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/fl-sea-turtles/species/   http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/fl-sea-turtles/life-history/   http://www.seefloridaonline.com/turtles/   http://www.conserveturtles.org/florida.php?page=nestingseason   http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/articles/2013/freelance-articles-2013/sea-turtle-walks-bonnie-gross.html   http://www.seaturtle.org/faq/answers/6.shtml   http://myfwc.com/research/wildlife/sea-turtles/nesting/loggerhead/   http://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Amphibians-Reptiles-and-Fish/Sea-Turtles/Loggerhead-Sea-Turtle.aspx