Archive for the ‘Gulf Coast Lifestyle’ Category

Lighting up the Holidays at Tarpon Springs Boat Parade

Posted on: December 6th, 2016 by MB No Comments

Warm Florida Holiday

Snow Place Like Tarpon

The Central West Coast of Florida is famous for its white sand beaches, sunshine, and a bounty of vacation activities. Unbeknownst to many however, is a whole other activity that we do quite well, and that’s the holiday season. While it might seem unlikely that Florida does the festive season the way it’s meant to be, that’s okay. We don’t do it the way you’d expect, and that’s what makes it so fun.
The coast from Clearwater Beach down to St Pete Beach is actually a great place to spend the holidays. Aside from not freezing in the winter, the local populace has come up with a host of ways to celebrate the season. While snow will never be part of the scene, that doesn’t stop the holiday lights from coming up, and, perhaps to compensate, they’re done with flair.

Holiday Lights in the Garden

Christmas palm tree

The Thanksgiving to New Year’s span is kicked off at in Largo with the Holiday Lights in the Garden at the Florida Botanical Gardens light show. The gardens are an amazing display on any day of the year but during the holidays nighttime gains an added dose of awe. The exotic trees, plants, and walkways are lighted with what seems to be a million lights. The gardens are extensive and no part has been left out of the light show. Santa and his misses make an appearance for photo opportunities with the kids while the adjacent walled garden has an electric train circling the central Christmas tree. The light display truly deserves he title of must-see.

Lighted Boat Parades

lighted boat parade

The other holiday season crowd-pleaser is the lighted boat parade lineup. Florida has become famous for them and our coast definitely participates in the phenomenon. This year I attended the Tarpon Springs Lighted Boat Parade. It’s one of the regional favorites because of the accessibility to the waterfront and because of the major street event that goes with it called Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs. The street event pulls in tens of thousands who, if they choose, can stream down the street to Spring Bayou where the boat parade is held.
Spring Bayou has a waterfront sidewalk that winds along the calm waters for a very long way. Spring Bayou derives its name from the spring near its main pier. Most people are not aware it is there, flowing huge volumes of water into the bayou every day. The waterway winds around, giving spectators a choice of where to watch the parade. Banked sides add to the perfect venue, with the attendees using the grassy slopes much like a stadium.

Tarpon Springs Holiday Boat Parade

Holiday lights on boat

The first sign that the boats are approaching is the music that many of the vessels are playing. With thousands of dazzling lights, they round the bend and ply into the bayou. The event is lively, with people in the boats shouting holiday greetings and the spectators returning the hails. The highlights this year were the rowing team and a brightly lit Sea-Doo that spun in rapid circles. Cheers rose highest while the rowing team circled the bayou, going faster than the most of the boats, although the whirling Sea-Doo gained plenty shouts each time it went into a spin.

Video:

I invited some friends, one of which had never attended a boat parade! We had a good time watching the parade and over-stuffing ourselves on food from the Snow Place Like Tarpon street carnival. It made for a memorable night shared by many thousands of local residents and hopefully a good number of visitors to Florida too.

Boat Parade Tarpon

Other posts you might enjoy:

Wonders of Winter on Clearwater Beach

Sky Surfing Clearwater Beach

Treasure Island Kite Festival

 

Crossing Tampa Bay on a Bike

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

Courtney Campbell Causeway

Causeways have one purpose; or at least they’re supposed to.

Bike on Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

When a body of water requires a long bridge, one way to avoid a costly bridge of pure concrete is to pour dirt instead, creating a long strip of land on which to put a road. To maintain the flow of water and to allow boats to pass, true bridges are built along the way. The result is several long island-like structures with a few bridges hooking them together. And, just like that, you have a road across a large body of water that previously created a barrier for motorists.

Courtney Campbell Causeway

The Courtney Campbell Causeway spans the waters at the northern end of Tampa Bay, Florida. In one of the most populated areas of Florida, causeways like this one changed a drive that used to take two or more hours into one that now takes only twenty to thirty minutes. The Courtney Campbell is one of three such long causeways that cross Tampa Bay, connecting Tampa with St Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as providing access to a dozen other smaller cities.

Waterfront Recreational Playground

While causeways were originally intended to do no more than support a road, the truth is that when you build and island, people will come. Causeways throughout the region have become recreational favorites for the people of the Tampa Bay metropolitan area. Since the “dirt” in Florida is actually sand, that’s what causeways are made of. Where sand meets water, you have a beach. It is easy to imagine why these areas become popular. Beyond the obvious attraction of sand and water is the relaxed atmosphere. Causeways are laid back areas where come-as-you-are applies. Parking often follows a similarly loose guidelines. While city codes do apply, such as no fires, for the most part you can do as you please.

Courtney Campbell trail sign

Regarding the tradition of public use and recreation on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the cities of Clearwater and Tampa agreed. Like the great railroad built across the USA, the two cities built bike paths from their shores toward the opposite city, meeting halfway across Tampa Bay. The effort resulted in a ten-mile bike path linking the two cities together. The Tampa side completed in 2013 and the Clearwater side in 2015. The news was greeted by locals with enthusiasm. The drive between the two cities had always been known as a scenic drive, treating visitors who land in the Tampa airport with sweeping water views on their way to the beaches that are across Tampa Bay. With the new bike and walking path, the vistas were now open to everyone.

Sunset on Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

Making the most of the Courtney Campbell Causeway Trail

When I heard about the trail opening last year, I put it on my list of things to do. After moving much closer to the trail, I set out to see it for myself. The ride turned out to be more enjoyable than I expected. The levelness of the trail was, perhaps, the greatest bonus. With little effort, I crossed half the causeway in the blink of an eye. Because I went after work, the November sun was setting while I rode, offering a view even better than I imagined. The trail is a great place to take in the view, blow off the stress of the day, bird-watch, and, of course, get some exercise. If you are a cyclist or an avid walker who is visiting our area, you might want to put this trail on your list.

Courtney Campbell sunset

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

Ditching a Car for the Ferry to Clearwater Beach

No Roads Found to Caladesi Island

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

 

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Fun in the Autumn Sun on the Florida West Coast

Posted on: November 22nd, 2016 by admin No Comments

Autumn Events 2016

Super Boat Races Sep 30-Oct 2

The Super Boat races were as much fun as they always are. Tons of people show up along the beach and crowd onto the pier to watch the most powerful racing boats in the world roar by. You can hear the sound all along the beach and when you get close enough, you can feel the vibrations in your chest. This is an event that is worth fight the crowd for. If you want to draw the event out, attend all three days, enjoy the boats on display in Coachman Park, and dine on the carnival style food available along the marina.

Super Boat at Clearwater Beach Super boat Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Jazz Holiday Oct 13-16

The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a perfect excuse to lay out on  your beach blanket in the park and listen to some music. The greats of jazz appear to fill Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater with excellent jazz music. The event is a laidback yet exciting event, with daytime and nighttime music to enjoy. Clearwater Harbor provides the backdrop and a nice place to stroll either on the way or out.

Clearwater Jazz Holiday

Chalk Walk chalk art festival Oct 20-23

The Chalk Walk Festival is only a few years old but it’s already a favorite at Clearwater Beach. This event draws ample spectators to stroll down the Beach Walk sidewalks watching the chalk artists create intriguing images. It makes the beachfront stroll just that much more exciting to visit. While you’re there, the beach restaurants are right beside you and the white sands that made Clearwater Beach famous are just across the street.

Mermaids sidewalk chalk art Chalk Walk art Clearwater

Stone Crab Festivals Oct 21-23

The Stone Crab Festival is another Clearawater Beach and regional favorite. While stone crab season is much longer than the two-day festival, this event brings the season to light and a whole lot of people together. Live bands, dining tents, and trinkets make this festival a hit. Several Clearwater Beach restaurants offer their own venues for the event.

Stone Crab Fest

Volleyball America Nationals Oct 22

While a volleyball tournament at Clearwater Beach is nothing new, this one occurred during the Chalk Walk Festival and the Stone Crab Festival, rounding out the festival atmosphere at the beach. Set next to Pier 60, which runs a sunset festival of its own each night, the volleyball tournament drew in yet another dynamic for this top-weekend-of-the-year for Clearwater Beach.

Beach volley ball pier 60 Clearwater Beach volleyball October

John’s Pass Seafood Festival Oct 27-30

The Madeira Beach favorite tourist destination of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk set up its own seafood festival again this year, including a Halloween costume contest in its midst. The food on display ogled passersby and satisfied anyone ready to chow down. A large dining tent included a live stage for a well-rounded experience. In addition to this fantastic foodie event were plenty of vending stalls plus the great shops and waterfront boardwalk that have made John’s Pass a coastal favorite for the region.

Johns Pass Seafood Festival Johns Pass Seafood Festival

Tarpon Springs Seafood Festival Nov 11-13

The Tarpon Springs Seafood Festival added the Greek flair for which Tarpon Springs is so famous. The fishing-town-gone-tourist-stop has plenty of gift shops to entertain you for hours, which made a fantastic venue for a seafood festival. This event allowed attendees to walk the street and choose from a wide array of seafood plus Greek food.

Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks

Taste of Indian Rocks Beach Nov 12

Taste of Indian Rocks Beach is a one day event that puts out a pretty big spread. Folks attending this event gathered in the park for this Saturday event in the beach town that still retains the feel of Old Florida while having no problem keeping up with today.

Indian Rocks Beach

Discover Egmont Key Nov 12-13

This unique event took you on a ferry ride to an island that has oddly escaped fame. The sand and palm trees cover this island that sits right at the mouth of Tampa Bay, which is why it has the history it does. Military bunkers from the past as well as crumbled barracks make this island a fascinating place to visit. Once off the ferry you could inspect the old lighthouse, walk along sandy palm shaded trails, stroll the old brick streets where the barracks used to stand, and then explore the old military compound inside and out. The Discover Egmont Key event was just a really good excuse to visit a place you should have checked out before anyway.

Egmont Key lighthouse Egmont Key ruins

St Pete/Pass a Grille Chowder Challenge Nov 13

The Chowder Challenge might be the best culinary event of the year, at least if you like chowder. Top restaurants of the region chip in to present their best chowders. Guests received samples of various types and then sat down to taste and fill out a survey sheet. At the end, you got to vote for your favorite chowders. If you love food, outdoor events, and especially chowder, this event was not to be missed.

Chowder Challenge St Pete Pass a Grille

Sanding Ovation Nov 16-20

Sanding Ovation earns a place in the strata of events not to be missed on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida. The key draw are the sand sculptures made right on the beach at Treasure Island. On the last day of the event, the votes from visitors and sculptors determined the top sculptures for the year.

Sanding Ovation sculpture Sanding Ovation vendors

Dunedin Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival Nov 19

This was one of the most entertaining events of the year for not only music but for beer tasting and souvenir shopping. Tents with Celtic themed items lined the field to explore between music sets. The Celtic bands were top notch and a whole lot of fun to watch. The later the night got, the wilder the music became. Add beer tasting to the mix, and, well, it was a lot of people having a lot of fun.

Celtic Music Fest

 

 

Look for these local events coming to the Central Gulf Coast of Florida this holiday season.

Clearwater Turkey Trot, Nov 24

Florida Botanical Gardens Holiday Lights in the Garden, Nov 25 – Dec 31

Snow Place Like Tarpon Festival and Tarpon Springs Boat Parade, Dec 2

Clearwater Color Run, Dec 3

Clearwater Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, Dec. 10

Madeira Beach Holiday Boat Parade & ROC Park Concert, Dec 10

Treasure Island lighted boat parade, Dec 11

Indian Rocks Beach boat parade, Dec 11

Clearwater Beach Outback Bowl beach event, Dec 30

Clearwater Midnight New Years Fireworks, Dec 31

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Escape Room Joins the Fun in Clearwater Florida

Clearwater Color Run Strikes Again

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

 

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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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Shell Collecting in the Clearwater St Pete Area

Posted on: April 14th, 2016 by MB 1 Comment

Seashell collection

The Beauty of the Florida Gulf Coast

The Central Gulf Coast is the area of Florida from Tampa Bay regional beaches down to greater Naples region. The area is defined by the remarkable white sands that cover the beaches in volume. This article will cover our stomping grounds of Tampa Bay, where we have personally gone to collect our shells. These beaches have grown in popularity, now that the secret it out. The weather is usually agreeable in this region and basking on the beaches is a slice of heaven. During the hot months of summer, the water turns to a striking turquoise hue, lit from above by the more direct rays of the sun that are not present in the winter.

seashell collecting

The Best Seashells

The beaches are better traveled now, more visitors understanding the joy of walking the shores. That of course, leads to shell collecting. So are there enough shells? You would think not, but experience has shown that a walk down the beach will find beautiful shells to collect. Still, the question has arisen, “Where can I find the best shells?”

Going the Extra Mile for Seashells

The answer is that to get the best shells, you have to do a little extra work. You probably saw that coming but to soothe your disappointment, we will point you in the right direction.

The Right Timing for Seashell Collecting

The best time to collect seashells is before someone else gets there! Too easy, we know, so let’s break it down. Morning is best, sunrise even better. If you can arise early and hit the beach, you will find the shells that will otherwise get picked up by the larger daytime crowds. The other timing you might want to watch for is low tide. Check local charts for your area to see when the water will be lowest. More goodies which you can reach will line the shore. Be careful to leave living creatures alone, which includes starfish. Starfish go so slowly that their movements are often missed. Shells with inhabitants should be left alone.

Beachcoming Clearwater Beach

The Right Place for Seashell Collecting

The best places for seashell collecting are those that are infrequently visited. Plenty of beaches along the Central Florida Gulf Coast fall under that designation, so let’s get started.

Caladesi Island State Park is hard to get to. You have the choice of walking for a very long way north from Clearwater Beach or taking a boat. A ferry runs from Honeymoon Island to the Caladesi Island which makes it not so difficult as some other islands, but you have to pay the ferryman. Once there, you will not have to wonder why this beach is on the list of good shelling locations. While you will still have to hunt for the big, dazzling shells, you will find no lack of scallops, clams, oysters, and cockles. Depending on how the waves have impacted the shore, you might find them in heaps.

Honeymoon Island State Park is another place that has hard to reach parts. The northern end takes a long time to reach on foot, leaving boating as the easiest method to reach it. Once you leave the frequently visited parking lot area of the island, headed north, you will head farther and farther into the zones that people don’t often go. Thanks to that, and the great length of the beach, you are virtually guaranteed to find great shells. If you do make it to the northern tip of the island, congratulations. Not only will you find fantastic shells, you will also be standing at one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

spiral seashell

Anclote Key Preserve State Park includes the island of Three Rooker Bar, Anclote Key, and North Sand Bar. These three islands are uninhabited and have no roads to reach them. Boating is the only option. Non-motorized craft should be operated by those with some experience because of distance, waves, wind, and motorized boat traffic. Once there your eyes will pop at the shells you find. We have no need to run through the list of Florida shells for these islands. You have a chance to find them all. Anclote Key Preserve State Park sees so little traffic, especially Anclote Key, that you might encounter the shelling treasures of a lifetime.

Fort Desoto County Park and Shell Key are side by side barrier islands that have fantastic shelling opportunities. Fort Desoto is accessible by car and Shell Key by boat. Kayaks can be rented at the park to help you reach Shell Key. While Fort Desoto receives a large amount of traffic during peak seasons, it still has areas that are hard to reach, or which visitor simply don’t explore. That leaves those zones to you, the shell collector. Walk away from the main parking lot area in any direction and you will encounter a wide variety of shells. And if you rent a kayak, here is the key; cruise the shallow inlets where the water is only a foot deep or so. Shells no one else will find will appear just beneath your boat.

Egmont Key is the last location on our list. It is far from the other islands and motorized boats are recommended as reaching it crosses major boating channels. Fortunately, a regular ferry departs Fort Desoto for the island. Here you will find miles of beaches that see very few visitors. Aside from the archeological goodies on Egmont Key, walking the beach will fill your shelling bag, and quite quickly. It is a shell collector’s dream.

Seashell on Clearwater Beach

Finding Shells the Easy Way

Clearwater Beach, Sand Key, Indian Rocks, Redington, Madeira, Treasure Island and St Pete Beach all receive tourism traffic but enjoy ample sea life as well. Lucky finds can still be encountered on our standard beaches, and often are by the fortunate passersby. Keep your eyes sharp in all these locations for things other than shells. You never know what you might find amid the sands of the Florida Gulf Coast.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Discovering the Artificial Reefs of the Florida Gulf Coast

A Beach Less Traveled

Beach Walk of a Lifetime at Honeymoon Island State Park

 

Escape Room Joins the Fun in Clearwater Florida

Posted on: August 18th, 2015 by MB No Comments

Tampa Bay Escape RoomAn escape room has arrived in downtown Clearwater. This latest international trend in entertainment is now a part of the scene in one of America’s favorite vacation destinations.

 

Beginnings of the Escape Room

Escape Room escape code padEscape rooms perhaps first appeared in their most basic forms in role playing games where players had to sort through only a handful of unseen and imaginary items described only in text. Nowadays, digital escape games are easy to find on the Internet. Tampa Bay Escape Room puzzleThey range from mundane settings like an office to more imaginative scenes where players escape monsters by escaping the room. The games involve logic and math puzzles that, when you solve them, offer a piece of the overall puzzle. Solve all the clues and you can escape. Sometimes the final riddle provides a key, other times it is simply a means to get away, such as an open window. An added feature to most of the digital games is a time limit. For the online game we “researched,” a hungry bear would enter a cabin in the woods if the player was unsuccessful at getting out in time.

 

Real Life Escape Rooms

Tampa Bay Escape Room participants

Florida Beach Rental’s winning team

Within the last decade, Escape Rooms have entered the realm of reality. Small groups can enter a real life room containing various clues and riddles. The door is locked and players are left to find their way out. The variety of puzzles is endless. Some are purely intellectual while others are hands on. Some escape rooms require players to dismantle furniture to find clues. In most cases, a combination of brain twisters and hands on manipulation will get players to the right answers. Played against a clock, the reward is the escape itself.

 

Tampa Bay Escape Room

Tampa Bay Escape Room Tampa Bay Escape Room is located in downtown Clearwater, Florida, on Cleveland Street, a popular boulevard known for holding outdoor markets and festivals. Tampa Bay Escape Room describes their experience in this way; “An Escape Game is a real-life escape game that consist of players, in groups of 2-8, that are locked in a room and have 60 minutes to find clues, solve puzzles and work together as a team to escape the room before time runs out.”  Inside the suite, players wait in a lobby for their game time to begin. Once instructed to enter the room, the Tampa Bay Escape Room host gives instructions on how the game is played. Music Producer Tampa Bay Escape RoomWe were assured that for our room the furniture did not come apart. A panic button to escape early was pointed out for any who might not enjoy the experience. The room was entitled “Music Producer,” appearing much like one would imagine such a person’s office would look. It had no lack of clues and puzzles. Our Florida Beach Rentals office entered the game in two teams, each vowing to escape in less time than the other. While describing the means of escape would make for an interesting article, the game is simply too enjoyable to destroy it for others by giving away clues. Music Producer Tampa Bay Escape RoomWhat I can say is that both teams thoroughly enjoyed the game, Team One escaping in 37 minutes and Team Two in 42 minutes. Our office often looks for venues to recommend for rainy days and this is now definitely on the list. The current price, which matches the national average for escape rooms, is $28 per person. Is it worth it? Yes, it is. This escape room adventure earned 5 stars from everyone on our crew.

 

Rooms are booked online: TampaBayEscapeRoom.com

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Geocaching in Paradise

Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

The Segway Adventure at Clearwater Beach

 

 

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Paddleboarding Clearwater Beach

Posted on: June 9th, 2015 by MB 1 Comment

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Clearwater Paddleboard CoPaddleboarding dates back over a thousand years, but modern paddleboarding, as a widely popular sport, seems to have its start somewhere around the year 2000, when boards designed for standing were brought to the US. The new style boards were easier to stand on than a surfboard, and far more buoyant. With the surge in popularity, the boards continued to evolve, the newest editions being wider and more stable than ever before. Stand Up Paddleboarding was born. Today when paddleboarding, falling into the water is far less likely. Some constants still remain, of course. Paddleboarding is still a workout, and first-timers will still discover new muscles –especially the next day.

 

Morning Paddle at Clearwater Beach

Stand Up PaddleboardClearwater Paddleboard Company extended an invitation to go paddleboarding a while back, which was easy to say yes to. The big decision was not so much when to go but rather whether we should paddle the shores of Clearwater Beach or the waters of Clearwater Harbor. While that decision might be a hard one for visitors, it was a little easier for us locals. For visitors, the sandy shores of the beach are a big draw. You can wave to your friends on the shore or enjoy the lively beach activities while you paddle by. For two employees who work on the beach, our bets were on the guaranteed-to-be-calmer waters of the harbor. With our plans set, we met in the morning, before most beach businesses opened. Clearwater Paddleboard Company has a large van which is capable of carrying a lot of paddleboards. We unloaded the boards at the library. Yes, the Clearwater Beach library has a boat ramp and a dock. After a short paddleboarding lesson, we pushed off the dock and into Clearwater Harbor.

 

Paddleboarding Clearwater Harbor

Paddleboard Clearwater Harbor The harbor in the morning is remarkably calm. On the morning of our paddle it was like glass. The calm waters made up for the lack of sunshine, with seasonal clouds gathered overhead. We started with a tour of some favorite waterfront homes, something only some might appreciate, us among them. We then turned around and headed toward Clearwater Marina. The paddle took us past anchored sailboats, boats docked at the marina, and under the causeway bridge. We did not get to see dolphins but we did get to see some stingrays swimming by. The paddle was relaxing but also a little bit of work. It made for a perfect morning outing before heading off to work. We arrived back at the docks after an easy trip back, where we loaded the boards back onto the van. The owner of Clearwater Paddleboard Company was very accommodating, but who wouldn’t be in a good mood when their job is to help people go paddleboarding?

 

Paddleboard Season

Cleawater Paddleboard CoThe great news about paddleboarding at Clearwater Beach is that you can do it all year round. Cleawater Paddleboard CoThe waters of the Gulf of Mexico are almost always calm and the waters of the harbor are even calmer. A lot of fun sites are reachable with this simple watercraft, and it makes for a very relaxing sightseeing tour. Your chances of seeing dolphins swim by are actually quite high anywhere around Clearwater Beach, with lots of exotic birds thrown into the mix. If you are visiting the area, and you want to try paddleboarding, Clearwater Beach is a great location to get your feet wet, literally.

 

 Paddleboarding video

 

Clearwater Paddleboard Co. 727-744-9008

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

5 Most Exciting Beach Activity Rentals at Clearwater Beach

 

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Pirate Day Fun and Warfare

Posted on: May 31st, 2015 by MB 1 Comment

John Levique Pirate Days at John’s Pass

Happy Return of Piracy

Maidens au portPirate days returned to John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, Florida May 8th through the 10th. The pirate festival has become a well-known excuse to visit the already popular tourist destination of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk. The site is a well-known favorite for locals and visitors alike, due to its fun shops and great restaurants. The tourist-style shops sell nautical knickknacks, T-shirts, mugs, and lots of other touristy items. The restaurants are fantastic, some of them having dining docks on the waterfront. The ice cream and taffy shops add the finishing touch. The boardwalk and village are the perfect size for strolling, big enough to keep visitors looking but small enough so that you can see it all.

 

Pirates Everywhere

PiratesJohn Levique Pirate Days added a special buzz to the shopping and dining village at John’s Pass. Merchant tents lined the streets while the main parking lot had been converted into a tent with a stage for bands. A second performers’ tent stood at the other end of the street, with a fighting ring for pirate disputes and tents for visiting pirates. The streets were filled with visitors shopping, eating or just sightseeing. At every turn more pirates showed up, walking the streets in every directions, grizzly pirates, lady pirates, lone pirates, or packs of pirates. A lot of pirate paraphernalia was for sale in the merchant tents, for anyone wanting to join the fray.

 

Real Life Pirate Battle – Almost

Pirate shipThe pirate invasion of John’s Pass happened at noon. The battle, as it turned out, was between the pirate tour boat that docks at John’s Pass and the Hubbard’s Dolphin Tour boat. The two large vessels spun around the waters of the pass at surprising speed, shooting water cannons at one another. Added to the mix were cannon blasts that echoed off the shops of the boardwalk. SmPirate cannonsaller boats weaved into the battle, armed with their own water cannons, taking any opportunity to strike at the “invading” pirate ship. On the shore, more pirates fired cannons, ones much larger than those on the ships. The pass reverberated, literally, with the booming of cannon fire.

 

 Join the Pirates

John Levique Pirate DaysAfter the pirate show, it was time to return to the shops, the vendor tents, the shows, and a chance to dine on the waterfront. Despite the all the activity, the parking was reasonably priced and easy to find. Thanks to the small size of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, it was not difficult to find the car again. The event was a lot of fun, which it always is. Visitors to this yearly festival are advised to check the online schedule. It will help guide you toward the times when bands are playing, when the pirate invasions and battles occur, and promotional specials offered by bars of John’s Pass. If you are living in the area, or you plan to visit in May, be sure to check this event out in the coming years. John Levique Pirate Days really is one of the best events of the year.

Pirate Battle Video

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Treasure Island Kite Festival and Sport Kite Competition

Pass A Grille Chowder Challenge

Salvador Dali Museum

 

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