Tag Archives: Clearwater

Strange Florida news

Weird Florida News Right Here in Clearwater

Weird Florida News

Florida map of Pinellas CountySometimes a news story comes out of the state of Florida that sounds a little odd. Strange news from Florida includes the legends of the chupacabra and the skunk ape monsters, the house made of bowling balls, the drive-in church, and more. Then of course comes the crazier variety like the woman arrested after throwing her husband’s chicken into the pool, or the man who attempted robbery with a tomahawk.  Yes, we citizens of Florida smirk at these too. However, a while back we noticed our own local slice of bizarre Florida, not all that far from Clearwater Beach. While we won’t be disclosing the exact location, we took pictures of the strange occurrence we found.

 

Local Piece of Weird Florida

Guinea Pig and Marsh RabbitA common variety of rabbit living in Florida is the marsh rabbit. These rabbits are most often seen at dusk, and almost always next to areas of tall grass, where they like to make their homes. They frequent marshes where the abundant undergrowth makes perfect homes for them. Within the stiff grasses that grow along the water, the small-eared rabbits create pathways that look a lot like tunnels. While there is nothing surprising about finding marsh rabbits in Florida, this time we found something else. Living in perfect harmony with the wild rabbits was a Guinea pig! He huddled next to the rabbits and foraged alongside of them. The rabbits had clearly accepted the Guinea pig as part of their community.

The animal was well-known to local residents who said the Guinea pig had lived among the rabbits for quite some time. Apparently, each evening at sunset, when the rabbits come out to forage, the small Clearwater, Florida resident draws a small crowd of onlookers.

Other posts you might enjoy:

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

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Gulf Coast Local Big Bird Secret

 

Pinellas Trail

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

Pinellas Trail Scope

Pinellas TrailThe Pinellas trail currently consists of 37 miles of pathway that runs from Tarpon Springs in the north down through multiple communities until it reaches downtown St Petersburg at the southern end of the Peninsula. The trail is dedicated to Fred Marquis who was instrumental in the development of the pathway. Despite traveling through nine cities, the trail most often passes between tall trees that provide much welcome shade and solitude. You will find multiple opportunities to sightsee along the trail, the type of attraction depending on which section of the trail you choose. (We particularly like the connection to the bike path leading to Clearwater Beach.) Pinellas TrailThe path will take you past waterways, interesting features of small communities, and the more complex sights of the larger cities of the peninsula. Taking the entire trail is a bit much for most people so just pick the area you are most interested in seeing. The trail winds through Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Belleair, Largo, Seminole, Gulfport, and St Petersburg. Choose your favorite city and get started on your tour of the Pinellas Trail!

 

Pinellas Trail Experience

Pinellas TrailDeciding which part of the Pinellas Trail is the best for you is a matter of personal preference. Some people enjoy the long stretches of wooded pathway while others like the stopovers in popular cities like Tarpon Springs or Dunedin. At Clearwater, you can take a diversion on the bike path over the causeway to the beach. In Largo you will pass by the large grounds of Largo Central Park and, farther south, Walsingham Park, home to Florida Botanical Gardens and Heritage Village. Passing from Seminole to St Petersburg, you will have an opportunity to cross the longest bridge on the trail, spanning the waters of Long Bayou, with sweeping views across the water to the north and south. The trail begins –or ends- at the docks in St Petersburg, a great place to bike and walk along the scenic downtown waterfront. Regardless of where you use the trail, you are bound to have a relaxing and interesting experience. The memorable sights and enjoyable stretches of the Pinellas Trail are worth visiting.

 

More Information on the Pinellas Trail

Pinellas TrailHere are some links to more information as well as some maps of the trail

Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail

Guide to the Pinellas Trail

Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (map)

St Petersburg Bike Map

 

Related Blogs:

What Is a Causway?

Top 7 Walks at Clearwater Beach

Caladesi Island Kayak Trail

 

Florida road trip

Top Clearwater Beach Day Trip Destinations

Clearwater Beach Day Trip Adventures #2

Map Tapron Safety Dunedin Tampa StPetersburgFun Florida Gulf Coast Cities

Looking for a great place to go on a day trip from Clearwater Beach? The region has some great tourist spots that you might want to know about. Try sampling some of the tourist hotspots in the neighboring towns of the area. Here is a brief summary of what you can find in the towns and cities of Tarpon Springs, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Tampa, and St Petersburg.

 

Tarpon Springs

Tarpon Springs, FloridaTarpon Springs is known best for its history and Greek culture. The sponge industry began in the early 1900’s with many Greek divers recruited for the industry. The Greek community still thrives in Tarpon Springs and so does the sponge diving industry. You will see this for yourself when you walk past the sponge-laden boats moored alonge the riverside docks. You will also have multiple opportunities to eat Greek food at the area restaurants. Gift shops abound in Tarpon Springs. The souvenirs have a nautical theme, with an interesting addition of specialty soap and culinary shops. The Tarpon Springs Aquarium is entertaining for adults and a lot of fun for kids. If you like history, you will love Tarpons Springs. The historic district makes a nice scenic drive. History buffs should not miss the antique shops on East Tarpon Avenue, the Tarpons Springs Cultural Center, or the restored Safford House.

 

Safety Harbor

Safety Harbor, FloridaSafety Harbor is a quiet town on the east side of the county that is known for its art. Main Street in Safety Harbor is a pleasant walk with a mixture of diners, restaurants, art shops, and pubs. The walk to the Safety Harbor City Marina and pier is a pleasant diversion, while the dock area are often used for community events. The small but interesting Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center is very nearby. The local library is bracketed by the Art Park to the north and Baranoff Park to the south. The well-known Safety Harbor Resort and Spa sits over natural springs, which have been in use as a spa since the early 1900’s. The scenic drive along the coast of Safety Harbor is one of the best in the area, with beautiful Phillipe Park near the north end of the scenic drive. The other thing to note about Safety Harbor is that they seem to have an endless line up of festivals and street fairs.

 

Dunedin

Dunedin, FloridaThe Main Street strip of Dunedin is well-known for its large events and smaller street fairs. It hosts a Mardi Gras parade and a large St Patrick’s day evening event, as well as other seasonal events. Keeping an eye on Dunedin events is a good idea for anyone looking for diversions in the Clearwater Beach area. Main Street has a good number of pubs, restaurants, and gift shops. Main Street ends at a pier, marina, and city park, all within easy walking distance. Fresh seafood is available for sale at the docks. The popular Pinellas Trail bicycle and walking path runs directly through the center of town, and is built along the old railroad tracks. The old train station is a central historic building to the downtown area. The Toronto Blue Jays baseball winter training games are also held in Dunedin and are very close to Main Street.

 

Tampa

Tampa, FloridaTampa sits on the other side of Tampa Bay from the City of Clearwater, and is very likely where you will land when you fly into the area. While downtown Tampa is oriented more toward business than tourism, there are still plenty of great sites to see, especially along the many miles of waterfront. The popular Channel District is a great place to try out the dining or the bar scene. In the same general area you will find the Tampa Museum of Art and the Florida Aquarium. Another great museum you should visit is the Henry B Plant Museum, located at the grand hotel the railroad tycoon built to attract visitors to the area once the railroad was built. Old Water Street and Channelside Walk Way are great places to dine or spend the evening out. Close to the waterside attractions is the Tampa Bay Times Forum sports stadium. Tampa is also the home of the yearly Gasparilla Pirate Invasion, one of the largest events in the entire Tampa Bay area, in which a pirate invasion of Tampa is reenacted. The city of Tampa is large, so be prepared to drive between the many attractions.

 

St Petersburg

St Petersburg, FloridaWhile St Petersburg is also a large city, the downtown attractions are all surprisingly close together. In a relatively small area along the waterfront you will find the famous Dali Museum, the St Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts, and the St Petersburg Museum of History. The Bay Shore Drive area is a hotspot for nightlife and is a good choice for an interesting dining experience. The University of Southern Florida is found amid the downtown attractions, with its own Barnes and Noble bookstore. The developed shorefront parks go on for a surprising distance, including Vinoy park, North Straub Park, and South Straub Park, among others. The sports stadium is located on the western side of downtown. Two main attractions of downtown St Petersburg are the very large pier on 2nd Ave, and the popular Saturday Morning Market, an outdoor flea and farmers’ market.

 

Road Trip!

While on your Clearwater Beach vacation, don’t miss the opportunity to head out for a day of fun. Find out for yourself what makes the Central Gulf Coast of Florida one of the best places on Earth!

 

Other blog posts you might like;

Florida Springs

Safety Harbor Museum

Dunedin Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival

 

 

Clearwater Marina

Fishing Charter Hotspots on the Florida Gulf Coast

Fishing the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf shores fishing

Dunedin Causeway, Florida

Fishing the Gulf of Mexico is lots of fun. While this blog is about charters, be aware that you can also fish from beaches, piers, causeways, and other great locations. Wading into the coastal waterways is popular, especially in Clearwater Harbor or St. Joseph Sound. Our coasts are very shallow, so you can wade out a surprising distance. If you take a drive down the coastal roads of Clearwater and Dunedin, you will spot fishermen wading far out into the harbor. However, the shallow waters are home to certain types of fish, while the deeper waters off the coast are home to completely different varieties. That is why fishing charters on the Central Gulf Coast are so popular.

 

Find Fishing Charters on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

Fishing Gulf of MexicoFinding a fishing charter near Clearwater Beach is not difficult. In fact, you will find fishing charters on the Central Gulf Coast are plentiful. A walk down the docks of Clearwater Marina will light up the eyes of anyone who likes deep sea fishing. You have the choice of small private charters or very large fishing vessels.

Map of Florida Gulf CoastYou will also find a lineup of fishing charters at the Dunedin docks, just north of Clearwater on the coastal road. If you are closer to the southern beaches of St Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, or the Redington Shores area, you will find fishing charters along the intra-coastal waterway, or at the popular tourist docks of John’s Pass.

Prices will vary, usually related to the size of the boat or the quality of the charter. Some are simple fishing trips. Others include perks like a cooler of beer and snacks. The charters usually run from 4  to 8 hours. The minimum of 4 hours is necessary because of how far out your captain will have to go in order to reach deep waters.

 

Best Fish of the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

Clearwater Marina fishing charter

Clearwater Beach Marina

The Gulf of Mexico has some delicious fish, and the Central Gulf Coast of Florida is no exception. Topping the list of yummy Gulf Coast fish are flounder, grunts, Spanish mackerel, dog fish, and grouper. (If you catch a black grouper, make sure that’s the one you cook up!) The recipe you use is up to you, but if you don’t feel like cooking fish on vacation, that’s ok. Many of the local restaurants will cook your fish for you! That’s right, the local cooks will take your fish and serve it up restaurant style. It’s a great way to go, and it makes for some fond Florida Gulf Coast vacation memories too.

Fishing the Gulf of Mexico

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Clearwater harbor bridge

What Is a Causway?

Definition of Causeway

CausewayWhen you visit Clearwater Beach or any other location on the Central Gulf Coast, you will soon hear the locals talking about causeways. More than one visitor has asked the question, “What is a causeway?” According to Dictionary.com and Mirriam-Webster.com, a causeway is a raised road or path such as those that cross wet areas or water. It also refers to Roman style roads, and can refer to paving a road with cobblestones or gravel. Of course, we are not building Roman style roadways here in Florida. Our causeways are used to get you across the water. But why does the Central Gulf Coast of Florida use causeways instead of bridges?

Bridges and Causeways of the Florida Gulf Coast

We do use bridges here in Florida, but we are also very fond of our causeways. Causeways lead us to our beaches! You will also find causeways leading across Tampa Bay itself. The roads across Tampa Bay span a very large stretch of water, three in total, the Gandy, Hwy 275, and the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

  • Gandy: 2 of the 5 miles is causeway; 3 miles of bridge
  • HWY 275 bridge, roughly half of the 7 miles is causeway
  • Courtney Campbell Causeway is 9.5 miles, almost all of which is causeway

The bridge spans over the bay raise up off the water, with pylons holding them up, allowing for boat traffic. The causeways are made from rocks and fill dirt. Of course, fill dirt In Florida is also known as sand. The dirt then has a long road paved over top of it. Tampa Bay and the surrounding waterways of the Florida Gulf Coast are shallow. Tampa bay is reportedly only about 12 feet deep! Such shallow waters lend well building causeways.

Why Are Florida Causeways So Popular?

BridgeThe causeways around the Florida Gulf Coast are popular for a variety of reasons. The foremost reason is an ease in traffic. According to CourtneyCampbell.org, the roadway between Tampa and Clearwater sees over 50,000 motorists a day! With three such bridges crossing Tampa Bay, you can imagine the relief the causeways give to the land routes that encircle the water. The other reason the causeways are popular might not occur to you until you see them for yourself. Causeways provide many extra miles of coastline!  You will see plenty of Florida natives and tourists enjoying the shoreline along the causeways. They make great launch sites for small craft and are also very popular fishing destinations. The Courtney Campbell Causeway is even considered a scenic roadway, which it truly is. The vistas of Tampa Bay are beautiful from all three of these large Florida causeways.

Clearwater Beach Causeway

Clearwater Beach causewayWhen you come to Clearwater Beach for vacation it is likely you will cross the Courtney Campbell Causeway on your way into Clearwater from the Tampa airport. Enjoy the ride! After you pass through downtown Clearwater, you will be treated to our little causeway here at the beach. It is lined with large palm trees and has a wide biking and walking trail along its southern shore. The Clearwater Beach causeway also takes you past the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movie. Keep the causeway in mind on your Clearwater Beach vacation. The beach causeway is a great place for morning walks or afternoon bike rides.

Top 7 Walks at Clearwater Beach

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Clearwater Color Run

Clearwater Color Run 2014

Is the Clearwater Color Run a Race or a Party?

Clearwater Color RunAttendees to the Clearwater Color Run in January of 2014 were in for more than just a race. Long before the race began Coachman Park filled with racers in white shirts and their camera-toting companions. Tents dotted the field, selling T-shirts, drinks, and unique photo opportunities. An instructor on the Coachman Park stage led a large number of participants in a Zumba dance warm up. Once at the starting line, an MC standing on top of a tower next to the gates kept the crowd lively by throwing give-away items into the throng of runners. The atmosphere of the Clearwater Color run seemed more like a party than a race before the starting gun ever fired.

 

Clearwater Color Run Is Not Your Ordinary 5K

Clearwater Color RunThe Clearwater Color Run was a lot like other 5K races with one distinct difference; the racers get pelted with colored paint dust along the way. Standing at the first station we saw the racers doused with purple. The cloud plume was so thick we could barely see the people inside. Coming out the other side, the color-stained runners were smiling and laughing. When we moved to the 4.5 kilometer mark, the smiles were fewer, but the spirits of the runners were still high. Many of the participants gave us cheers as they ran by, headed down the last slope toward the finish line. By this time they had gone through all four color tossing stations and were completely covered with bright dust.

 

The Clearwater Color Run After Party

Clearwater Color Run after raceWhile there was no official after party for the Clearwater Color Run, the festivities at the finish line did just as well. The organizers held a contestant dance off on the stage while music blared and bubbles from large machines filled the air. At regular intervals the guys on stage called for a color toss, in which all those gathered nearby threw colored paint dust into the air. It was a great event for all ages, with lots of teens and kids of younger ages participating. The Clearwater Color Run was promoted as the happiest 5K on the planet, which it seemed to do a pretty good job of delivering.

 

 

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Dinosaur World Florida

Dinosaur World

Florida Road Trip Adventures #1

Dinosaur World (1)Dinosaur World Is Fun for the Whole Family

Dinosaur world is great fun for kids but parents will enjoy it too. The dinosaur models are full size and placed amid Florida brush and tall palms, giving the park an authentic setting. Kids get very excited to see the life size dinosaurs. The park takes over an hour to walk around, with enough displays to satisfy even the most avid little dinosaur enthusiasts.

Dinosaur World Is an Interactive Kid Experience

Dinosaur World has great extra activities for kids. Young visitors love the fossil dig, where they get to take home real, fossils from the age of dinosaurs. Some of the dinosaur models can be touched, including the carnivore that where kids can peek out at the mom and dad photographer from inside the mouth. A shelter at mid park lets kids dust off a large replica of stegosaurus dinosaur bones. A few other treats can be found along the way.

Dinosaur WorldDinosaur World Gift shop

The gift shop is a kid paradise, with walls lined with dinosaur toys. Actual fossils are for sale for the grownups. The gift shop greets you on the way in but if you want to catch it on the way out, that’s OK too.

Dinosaur World Is a Great Outing for the Kids

If you want to spend half a day entertaining the family, Dinosaur World is a great diversion. Be sure to take your camera to get shots of your kids alongside these behemoths from the past. Florida’s Dinosaur World is in Plant City which is within an hour of the cities of Tampa and Clearwater.

Moccasin Lake Nature Park

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Sand Key

5 Best Places to Escape at Clearwater Beach

5. Go Fishing at Pier 60:

Fishing pierThose who enjoy fishing from a pier love the fishing experience from Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach. What makes the location so unique is that in order to reach the fishing area of the pier, you have to pay a one dollar entrance fee. While some people pay the dollar to walk to the end of the pier to sightsee, for the most part, it is used exclusively by fishermen. This is a place a fisherman can be understood!

 

4. Sand Key:

Wide beach at Sand KeyMost people do not realize that Sand Key is in fact part of Clearwater. It is across the inlet to the harbor and you must use a bridge to access it. It is a very deep swath of sand with ample parking, picnic tables, shade trees. Aside from the sandy beach, visitors can also walk along the harbor inlet. While popular beach days will find a crowd at Sand Key, it is more often a quieter stretch of beach. Because of that, it is popular for families, picnics, and kite flying.

 

3. Clearwater Causeway Bridge:

Clearwater Beach causewayThe bridge to Clearwater Beach, properly known as the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge, is a great place to get away from it all. The walk from the nearby parking lot to the apex of the bridge is a steep enough incline to get your heart pounding. It is a popular trek for those on foot and on bicycles. However, at any given time of the day, it is relatively uncrowded, if not empty. This s a good place to get away from it all while enjoying the elevated view of Clearwater Harbor and all its going-ons.

 

2. Walking the North End of Clearwater Beach:

Clearwater BeachA less known but rather obvious place to escape at Clearwater Beach is to walk northward along the shore. The further you go, the few people you will encounter. You will also find more shells! This peaceful walk is a favorite among locals and vacation treasure when discovered by visitors.

 

 

1. Your Own Private Island:

You can reach your own private island from Clearwater Beach. It’s true. Dotting the length of Clearwater Harbor you will find a series of tiny islands. The islands are not off limits and anyone can land on them and tour their shores and interiors. Jet Skis, kayaks, power boats visit the islands regularly. You can find these islands on the map, or you can view them from the causeway listed in number three above. Chances are, that when you land, you will have the island to yourself. Related Posts: The Best Beaches in America Gulf Coast Sand Bar Hangouts Caladesi Island Kayak Trail  Islands at Clearwater harbor

 

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Sailboat

Regatta

What Is a Regatta?

Dunedin, Hurricane Pass (13)A regatta is a series of boat racers but the word also refers to the activities that accompany the races. Perhaps it could be seen as a boat race surrounded by race excitement and activities. This conjures up a pleasant picture when one considers going to see a regatta or perhaps to join one. While the term may conjure images of sailboats, the word originally comes from Italian, referring to gondola races.

Regatta Beach Club

1. Regatta Beach Club Front ElivationDo sailboat or gondola races launch from the Regatta Beach Club? Well, no. While nearby Tampa Bay and Saint Joseph Sound host many sailboat races a year, the Regatta Beach Club is named for its beach access and shorefront theme. It is the most northern high rise condominium complex on Clearwater Beach with breathtaking views of America’s number one beach. The sands are white and very soft on bare feet. Sunsets are spectacular from Regatta Beach Club balconies.

Looking Out for Regattas

18. View of the pool areaWhile you may not see a regatta launch from the Regatta Beach Club, you just might catch glimpses of races that pass by your section of shoreline. You could always check the racing schedules in the area. In the meantime, why not imagine boats pushing off from the Regatta Beach Club dock or racing flags flying on the rooftop.

 

For more info on the Regatta Beach Club, click here.

16. Balcony with table and chairs 6. Master Bedroom with King  size bed

 

 

 

 

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Dolphin Jam

 

Gaper Jam

What is a Gaper Jam? A Gaper Jam occurs after a vehicle accident happens on a busy road. Even when the authorities have arrived to handle the cleanup, passing motorist will slow down to stare at the wreckage. The word is surely created by the people one hundred cars back who are failing to get to work on time.

 

Dolphin Jam

Dolphin fins breaking the surfaceOnly along the Florida Gulf Coast will you find this other kind of gaper jam. This morning on the way into the Florida Beach Rental office, I was caught in a miniature gaper jam along the scenic Dunedin coastal road. This tiny traffic snarl was not created by a collision, but rather by a pod of dolphins swimming within twenty feet of the shoreline. Their presence was noted by the drivers because it was a windless morning, giving the waters of Saint Joseph Sound a smooth, glassy surface; ideal for dolphin sighting.

 

Dunedin Dolphin Sighting

The pod was not only breaking the surface with their many dorsal fins but was also creating a very noticeable disturbance as their bodies displaced a surprising amount of water. The displacement pushed the water upward and out to the sides, giving the appearance of mound of water moving northward through the harbor. The pod was keeping close together and I counted at least three fins, though the moving water suggested even more beneath the surface.

 

Dolphin Watching

While the Florida Gulf Coast has multiple dolphin sighting boat tours, seeing them at unexpected times is always a treat. The coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a favorite playgrounds for bottle nose dolphins. If you are planning a Central Gulf Coast vacation, be sure to bring your camera. While you are strolling along coastal waterways, keep a look out for dolphin fins. They make appearances much more often than you might think.