Tag Archives: Clearwater Harbor

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?

 

Winter the dolphin

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

A Day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine AquariumThe Clearwater Marine Aquarium has grown into a beach vacation activity that can last a family the better part of a day. Thanks to the Dolphin Tale movies with stars Winter and Hope, interest in the aquarium has risen dramatically, and the things to do and see at the facility have expanded. Going to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is no longer confined to just the main building. You can now take a ferry ride across the harbor, a marine excursion onto the bay, and see an expanded exhibit detailing the filming of the Dolphin Tale movie. All of that is in addition to seeing the dolphin movie stars Winter and Hope, along with the other rescued sea life at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

 

Harborview Center

A great way to see all the sights at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is to start at the Harborview Center. The Harborview Center is located off the beach in downtown Clearwater, at the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Street. Inside you will find displays showing you and your kids about the making of the Dolphin Tale movie. While you walk through the center, you will pass various TVs running scenes from the film. Some of the scenes were actually shot at the Harborview Center, allowing you to compare the physical settings in front of you to the movie scenes. Plenty of fun facts about Winter and the movie are posted for visitors to read.  In the Dolphin Tale film, a hurricane impacts the Clearwater area. You can experience a simulated hurricane in an exhibit which puts you at a mock up of a city street with hurricane winds blowing. A hands-on sea life tank allows the kids (and kids at heart) to touch a variety of sea animals. When your viewing is done, you can grab a souvenir at the gift shop to take home some Winter the dolphin memorabilia.

 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Ferry

Clearwater Beach causewayWhether you start at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium or the Harborview Center, getting from one building to the other is not only easy, it’s fun! You can choose between the Jolly Trolley or the Clearwater Marine Aquarium ferry. The Jolly Trolley is an open air trolley that services Clearwater Beach and the coastline northward to Tarpon Springs. You will be treated to a ride over the scenic causeway bridge, which is included in the price of your admission. Also included in your admission is the alternate water crossing on the ferry. Enjoy a ride under the bridge instead, giving you close up views of Clearwater Harbor.

 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Features

Dolphin TaleThe highlight of the tour for fans of Winter the dolphin is a trip to see the celebrity dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The aquarium is located halfway across the causeway to Clearwater Beach, in the Island Estates community. Once you arrive at the aquarium, you can view the houseboat used in the filming of Dolphin Tale, which is docked near the entrance. On your way in, be sure to get a green screen photo of your family that you can purchase later with fun sea life edited in around you. The well-stocked gift shop greets you as you walk through the doors, with lots of cool stuff for the kids and the adults. Near the entrance is a small movie theater and a sting ray tank where you can touch the rays. Sea TurtleOn the same level you will find a pirate themed hallway, a life sized diorama of area sea life, and a large tank with fish and a shark. You can also find a kids’ room with drawing books, a TV, smaller aquarium tanks, and full skeletons of otters, dolphins, and a species of a rare, small whale. Nearby is a tank housing rescued sea turtles, giving visitors fantastic underwater views. After you explore the ground floor, it is time to head upstairs to see the famous dolphins.

Winter and Hope

Winter the DolphinViewing Winter the dolphin from Dolphin Tale I, and her new co-star, Hope, from Dolphin Tale II, is very easy. Their tanks are in the open, allowing for plenty of opportunities to view them. During our visit to the aquarium, Winter and Hope where in separate tanks. The two solved the problem by whistling to one another over the wall between them. A larger tank joins to the private ones, allowing Winter and Hope to interact. While we were there, some of the kids lined up for a chance to stand on a platform in front of Hope’s tank to personally meet her.

Rescued Sea Life

Dolphin Tale pelicanNearby you can find a pair of white pelicans which were used in the filming of Dolphin Tale I and II. Other tanks on the same level contain rescued sea turtles and sea otters. Be sure to grab a schedule at the door or check online to find out when the aquarium staff and volunteers will be giving educational talks. You can learn about the lives of these animals in the wild and about the risks they fell victim to that led them to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Another fun attraction is on the top deck of the aquarium. There you will find Nicholas, a dolphin rescued from a stranding along with his mother. Although his mother did not survive, Nicholas has done very well. He is now well known for his antics, such as doing spontaneous flips or splashing the audience. He is young and playful, earning him a reputation as the most energetic dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

 

Sealife Safari Boat Tour

Sealife SafariOne of the best parts of the adventure at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is the Sealife Safari boat tour. Aquarium staff take you on a ride across Clearwater Harbor with some special extras in store. The boat trails a net across the seafloor, pulling up local sea life that are then displayed in tanks throughout the rest of that day before being released. Kids and adults can view native sea life up close, such as sea horses, sea urchins, pin fish, flounder, and more. It is fun to note that when catfish are caught, they are thrown back, because the dolphins of the harbor like to eat them. You stand an excellent chance of seeing local dolphins while out on the bay waters. The boat stops at a popular boating destination called Shell Island. The island is aptly named. It is a shell pile create when the boating channel was dredged in earlier decades. Nowadays boaters can stop off at the island, collecting shells to their hearts’ desire. The Sealife Safari boat allows you to disembark on the tiny island for a short stay before heading back across the water of the harbor. The boat ride offers fantastic views of the turquoise waters of the bay, the shoreline of the City of Clearwater, the beach causeway and bridge, and the barrier island of Sand Key. Sealife Safari is a hit with kids and it is a great way for adults to experience Clearwater Harbor.

 

Perfect Family Outing at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Sea TurtleThe Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a perfect family outing while staying at Clearwater Beach. Aside from the attractions already at the famous Gulf Coast beach, you can spend the better part of the day touring this now-famous facility. It is a favorite for kids who loved the Dolphin Tale movies and has actually spawned an increase in tourism to the area, being named Florida’s number one attraction by a 2013 USA Today readers’ poll. If your vacation destination this year is Clearwater Beach, be sure to put the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on your list.

Dolphin Tale I Trailer

Dolphin Tale II Trailer


Other posts you might enjoy:

Dolphin Sighting Tours at Clearwater Beach

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Clearwater Beach vacation

Spoil Your Vacation at Clearwater Beach

Defining Spoiled

The word spoil has a list of different definitions. While they all follow a common theme, they are not all alike.

The common modern usage of the word spoil means to ruin or degrade, such as

  • 1. A spoiled child, 2. Spoiled fruit, 3. Spoiled plans.

The word spoil comes from an older usage however, originating in the days of attacking and looting cities. It means to loot the valuables from a location, such as a city or town. It is synonymous to despoil, as in

  • 1. Spoils of war, 2. A spoiled city, 3 spoiling enemy villages
great blue heron

Great blue heron on a spoil pile

Another definition comes from the byproducts of construction or mining. Waste materials created from drilling or digging are called spoil. An example would be spoils from a basement excavation being used for landscaping.

  • 1. A large spoil pile

So what does all of that have to do with a Clearwater Beach vacation? Let’s see!

 

Pirate Spoils at Clearwater Beach

Pirate ship

Captain Memo Pirate Cruise

Did you know the Florida Gulf Coast has a pirate history? It’s true. Tampa Bay area is no stranger to pirates. In fact, the modern Gasparilla Invasion celebrates a pirate who sailed the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Gasparilla treasure, along with some others, is rumored to be hidden along our shores. Many of those pirate spoils, taken from victories over merchant ships, have never been found! Have they sifted down deeper into the sands of the beach? Has the landscape shifted and put the pirate spoils under waters of the Gulf of Mexico? While you walk the sands of the beach on your Florida Gulf Coast vacation, will you inadvertently walk several feet above the long lost treasure of pirate spoils? It’s possible! Rumor has it that, after large storms on the Gulf, coins from pirate conquests might wash up on the shore. None of our guests have discovered pirate treasure yet (that we know of), but it is fun to imagine coming across a coin poking out of the sand.

 

Spoil Islands of Clearwater

Spoil island

View from one island to the next

The harbor that runs between the City of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach is very shallow. Navigating a boat through the waters requires staying within the marked channels or having a sonar to check the depth under your boat. The boating channels that run the length of Clearwater Harbor were created in the 1950’s. The waste material from dredging, called spoil, was dumped in piles at regular intervals. The spoil piles collected vegetation and local wildlife quickly, becoming established islands in a very short time. The islands soon became a playgrounds for local boaters, an attraction the islands maintain to this day. The small islands, wrapped in shallow vegetation or covered with small forests of pines, palms, or oaks, are open to boaters and campers. The spoil islands are property of the State of Florida that has no plans to develop the islands or charge for their use. The islands make great stopovers while cruising the waters of the harbor on a motor boat, kayak, or paddle board. They are great places to relax or walk the shore.  Taking a picnic basket or beach chairs to the islands is a popular past time for those who know this local secret. If you are planning on boating the harbor on your Clearwater Beach vacation, be sure to check them out!

 

Go ahead and spoil your Clearwater Beach vacation

Clearwater BeachWhen we say spoil your Clearwater Beach vacation, we are talking about having fun.

Walking our shores under the Florida sun, you can imagine our pirate history. Is there a pirate chest of gold somewhere beneath your feet? Are the spoils of a pirate raid buried under your vacation rental unit? Will you find pirate gold underneath a seashell on the beach?

While boating our beautiful turquoise harbors, look to one of the tiny spoil islands. The small islands are usually empty, ready for you to land and claim the territory for your own –at least for a little while. Occupying your own island for a few hours of your vacation might give you some fun vacation memories for you to treasure.

So go ahead. It’s okay. Have some fun and spoil your Clearwater Beach vacation.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

How to Successfully Use Vacation to Relieve Stress

What Is a Causeway?

What Is a Beach Villa?

 

Beach Walk at Clearwater Beach

Top 7 Walks at Clearwater Beach

7. Clearwater Beach Causeway

Clearwater Beach CausewayThe causeway to the beach is a long stretch between open waterways of Clearwater Harbor. The wide walking and biking path makes the trek a pleasure. A relatively tall bridge marks the border between downtown Clearwater and the Clearwater Beach causeway. Watching the boats go by from the bridge is a favorite past time. The causeway will also take you past Clearwater Marine Aquarium the home of Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies.

6. Clearwater Marina

Clearwater Beach MarinaAnother short but enjoyable walk is at the Clearwater Marina. The docks host all types of charter boats, harbor tours, dinner cruises, party cruises, fishing excursions, and boat rentals. The atmosphere is lively on weekends and even those not looking for a boat ride will find the goings-on entertaining.

 

5. Mandalay Avenue

Mandalay Avenue Clearwater BeachThe northern end of Clearwater Beach begins with a treasure trove of gift shops, cafes, restaurants, bistros, and novelty shops located along Mandalay Avenue. Walking this relatively short stretch is always a pleasure, especially for those seeking the vacation-town experience.

4. Pier 60

Pier 60 Clearwater BeachWhile Pier 60 doesn’t make for a long walk, it is still a good one. Centrally located on Clearwater Beach, it provides excellent views of the beach from an elevated position. A gift shop sits mid pier where visitors can buy T-shirts, seashells, or other vacation souvenirs. The real treat comes at sunset, when Pier 60 hosts a four hour festival in which vendors offer every type of knick knack imaginable. On weekends, street performers join the sunset festival.

3. Beach Walk

Beach Walk at Clearwater BeachBeach Walk is a boardwalk-style sidewalk that runs along the beach and beachfront shops of Clearwater Beach. It is located on the southern half of Clearwater Beach, referred to locally as South Beach. It takes visitors past some of the best stretches of sand Clearwater Beach has to offer, as well as some of the best gift shops and restaurants.

2. Caladesi Island walk

Walking to Caladesi IslandThe walk northward on Clearwater beach is the stuff vacation memories are made of. The long stretch of beach is a peaceful white sand paradise. The further you go, the fewer people you will see, until finally you reach the remarkable powdery white sands at the tip of Caladesi Island. This is a long walk with water bottle recommended, especially in the summer months.

1. Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach FloridaWalking along the shoreline of Clearwater Beach is the perfect activity for locals and visitors alike. Collecting shells, dipping your toes into the gentle surf, and experiencing the sensation of the soft white sands on your feet are the highlights of this fantastic walk.

 

 

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