Tag Archives: Gulf Coast vacation

Beach community vacation rental witha pool

St Pete Beach Pool House

Gulf Coast Vacation Rental Is a Charmer

3. Pool and Florida room 6-24-13

You know you are near the beach just by the feel of this vacation rental. While you will need to drive out to the shore, it’s not far off. This charming house is a great for a base camp for a Gulf Coast vacation. The interior has charming beach décor and is unarguably in keeping with the Florida lifestyle, with its two screened porches and swimming pool.

 

11. Dining room 6-24-13Vacation House Floor Plan

This home has seen additions, all of which add to its charm. The kitchen area is a great space for kids as well as a place to dine. The kitchen is centrally located for easy access from the rest of the house as well as making the kids easy to watch. A front screen room lets sandy feet enter the house without the mess, while the screened back porch allows you to relax in the shade by the pool.

 

Coffee Nook on the Florida Gulf Coast

24. Front patio room 6-24-13Does this vacation rental have a great place to relax with your coffee? No. It has several.

Let’s start with the screen room on the front of the home. This converted garage space couldn’t have more Florida appeal. Enjoy your joe here while watching the world go by.

The dining room is remarkably relaxed if you enjoy your coffee with breakfast. Roll up the shades and take in the sun.

If not the dining room then go right outside to sit on the patio furniture in the back porch screen room. This setting gives a great feeling of space, aside from being right next to the pool and shady palms.

Last but not least, why not go outside and sit in the shade of one those palms, with your feet in the pool? Really. Why not?

 

2. Swimming poolBeautiful Poolside Rental

The gem of this Gulf Coast vacation rental is the pool. The setting is beautiful, with a waterfall spilling into the pool and tall palms waving overhead. The wood fence gives the setting a sense of privacy.

 

 

Beachy Neighborhood with Nearby Attractions

27. Upham Beach 6-24-13

This neighborhood has a beachy feel as it is near the bottom of the peninsula. Though it is close to shopping areas, the immediate streets are calm and pleasant for walks. The beach is not too far off and a neighborhood pool with fun water fountains for the kids is close by. Fort De Soto Park is within easy driving distance and is repeatedly voted one of the best beaches in America. Be sure to look into nearby theme parks like Busch Gardens or even Disney World.

 

 

7. Florida RoomEntertain Your Friends or Family

This house is great for weekend bar-b-ques. Why not have a get together around the pool while serving up burgers for your guests? This vacation rental is well equipped for anyone who likes to relax and play before even leaving the house.

 

 Why I Would Stay at The Saint Pete Beach Pool House

This house has everything vacationers needs to enjoy their stay without ever leaving the house. Florida atmosphere permeates this rental, making it a great place to feel like you are on vacation every minute of the day. Despite the comforts, the area has plenty of attractions to draw you out of the house. The community is very much about the beach, and nearby public beaches are fantastic.

23. 2nd bedroom 20. Master bedroom 6-24-13

 

 

 

 

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Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Best View of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Gulf Coast Local Secret #9

Fort DeSoto (3)The Sunshine Skyway Bridge

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is one of the most scenic bridges in America. Add that to the reality that it carries drivers to the vacation paradise of the Central Gulf Coast, and you have a must-see bridge. But where is the best place to view it?

 

Fort De Soto (5)On the Road Photos

Plenty of good pictures can be taken from either side. While the roadway does curve, allowing for moderate side shots, we don’t consider the roadway to be the best location from which to take the ultimate pictures.

 

The Secret to Great Sunshine Skyway Bridge Views

Fort DeSoto (1)

The best location to enjoy the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is Fort De Soto Park. The view is great, capturing the turquoise waters of the bay along with a perfect shot of the bridge from the side. To get to this viewing location, you have to enter Fort De Soto Park. You get far more than a view of the bridge by taking this trip. The beach at Fort De Soto Park is voted best in America repeatedly. In addition, you can tour through what remains of the actual fort, including interior rooms and exterior cannon firing areas –complete with cannons. The experience as a whole is fantastic.

 

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Beach Cottage

Sand Dollar Clearwater Beach Cottage

We had a chance to personally experience what the SanDollar Clearwater Beach Cottage had to offer while on the photo shoot for this rental. The Florida Beach Rental unit is in the heart of the Clearwater Beach community and has some really great features.

 

1. Front elevationBeach Cottage Appeal

This beach community rental home has a great seaside feel starting right from the curb appeal. A collection of shells greets you at the door while on the inside, the furniture and color schemes are all in keeping with what you would expect from a beach cottage. Pinks, blues and greens keep the spaces lively and carry you away to the beach even when you are indoors.

 

11. Family roomCozy Cottage near the Beach

The floor plan makes staying this seaside cottage a breeze. The kitchen forms the central hub from where you can travel easily to the living room, family room and kids’ room. This beach style rental will make an easy to use launch pad for getting out to the nearby beach whenever you want.

 

16. Master bedroomCottage Decor Master Bedroom

The master bedroom is reminiscent of the sea with its blue color scheme and oversize jars of seashells collected from the shores nearby. The en suite bathroom is decorated to never let you forget you are enjoying the sunny shores of Florida.

 

Poolside Coffee in the Shade at this Clearwater Beach Rental

The opportunities available to enjoy the morning coffee at this beach cottage are fantastic. Enjoy your brew in the family room while looking out through the wall of windows or sit on the patio set just outside within the screened porch that enjoys shade all day long. If you’d like some sun, head out to the exterior patio table or get comfortable on a poolside recliner. Even the front porch offers a space to unwind while you watch the world go by.

 

7. KitchenBright Kitchen with Beach Cottage Appeal

The kitchen enjoys the bright beachy feel spread throughout the rest of the rental. Parents can keep an eye on things from this central room with a view of the living room, family room, kids room and the swimming pool! The wide floor also has some space to accommodate that extra cook.

The Amenities You Need

This three bedroom rental is equipped with two bathrooms, a garage, and a screen room. Towels for the pool are on-site and you will find a washer and dryer in the garage.

 

26. Screened patioRelaxing Cottage Patio in Sun or Shade

The backyard has great shade trees for reclining in the breeze as well as open spaces to catch some sun. Plenty of chairs of various styles wait for you around the pool. If a towel is more your style, lay yours out on the spacious, decorator-brick patio.

 

Safe and Upscale Living

This beach community is prime living space in Clearwater. Enjoy a well maintained street where you can take morning and evening walks to take in some air. A bike ride can take you right down to the beach!

 

30. PoolsideBeach Cottage Poolside

This backyard pool at this beach cottage rental has some great extras. Aside the spacious yard, this pool is surrounded by chairs, recliners, a patio dinging set and a hammock. An enclosed, outdoor shower awaits you to rinse off after your swim. The bar-b-que brill is not far off. What more could you ask for?

 

Vacation Cottage for the Kids

This beach rental is great for kids. Aside from ample sleeping arrangements, it has TVs in both the living room and the spacious family room. The pool is a favorite for kids and the low traffic neighborhood is kid friendly.

 

29. PoolsideGreat for Get Togethers

This beachy rental has lots of seating in the family room and outside on the patio furniture. A wicker bar occupies one corner of the screen room while outside seating and the bar-b-que grill are just asking for a get together.

 

Why I Would Stay at the Sandollar Vacation Rental Cottage

This beach house is just plain great. It has lots of room, two TV rooms, and looks like it would be a blast to hang out in. The Florida sun can’t get too hot when you have a pool to jump into. The neighborhood is prime beach community, a fun place to live or vacation. This Gulf Coast vacation rental is close to the hot spots of Clearwater Beach but far enough away to let you completely unwind when that’s what you want.

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Clearwater Beach seagulls

Clearwater Beach Seagulls

Howard Park (6)aThe Florida Gulf Coast Has the Best Looking Gulls

Ever wonder why the gulls flying overhead at Clearwater Beach appear so photogenic? The answer is that they are flying over the brilliant white sands of the Gulf of Mexico. With the sun shining overhead, the white sands light up, casting light back into the air. When the white bellied seagulls fly over the sands, their feathers catch the reflected light from below, giving them a beautiful hue. The effect creates great photo opportunities.

 

How to Get Great Photos of Florida Gulf Coast Seagulls

Clearwater Beach (172)

Seagulls of the Central Gulf Coast of Florida are not rare. You will see them anywhere you go, although they like the beast more than other locations –just like us! Attracting seagulls for your photo is not hard. In fact, it’s a little too easy. Just hold a potato chip or piece of bread up in the air and you will soon be swarmed with sea gulls. Try throwing a few tidbits up in the air. It’s fun to watch.

 

A Word of Caution with Florida Gulf Coast Seagulls

Howard Park (8)aIf you choose to gather Florida Gulf Coast seagulls like described above, there are two drawbacks. One, you might get sea gull droppings on you. Two, you will probably upset fellow beach goers. This tactic is best done when on an empty section of beach. You should also be ready to dive into the Gulf to wash off, just in case.

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Florida Gulf Coast Rainy Day Activities

Florida Weather

Pop Stansell Park, Palm Harbor (6)Although the Florida Gulf Coast receives sunshine nearly every day of the year, some days we have to put up with rain. Most rains here on the Central Gulf Coast come in with a dazzling display of dark clouds, thunder and lightning, but depart soon after. Summer is well known for these storms, and those-in-the-know simply wait them out and go on with their day –even at the beach! On the rainiest days, however, even well-seasoned Floridians huddle inside to make the best of indoor activities. We have prepared a list of activities just in case you are with us.

 

Shop the Day Away

The Florida Gulf Coast has some great places to shop. Two major malls with great décor and lots of interior space are the International Mall in Tampa and the Countryside Mall in Clearwater. These malls will keep you occupied for hours, long enough to outlast most of the coastal inclement weather. For more unique shopping experiences, try the Barnes and Noble bookstore that includes a large children’s section, or the eclectic Christmas Wonderland year-round holiday shop.

 

Play the Day Away

Entertain the kids with the Clearwater Celebration Station or indoor go-karts in Tampa. Both locations are a great way to keep the kids happy. The Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa has fantastic opportunities for the kids to play and learn. Another item of interest for the kids located right on beach is the Clearwater Beach Library, which often has planned activities for both kids and adults. For another at-the-beach activity that’s a pure thrill try indoor surfing!

 

Catch a Movie

Florida storms (4)Our two biggest and best movie theaters are the AMC 20 at Woodland Square including IMAX and Cobb Theaters at the Countryside Mall. For a unique movie experience, try the Tampa Pitcher Show. Yes, it’s spelled correctly, alluding to the drinks and dining available at your seat during the show.

 

Go on an Adventure

Winter the dolphin

Winter the dolphin from Dolphin Tale

Load up the gang and head out to a fun day of sightseeing indoors. The Central Gulf Coast has a long list of museums, some fantastic aquariums, and great dining opportunities abound. If you want more, then try a cruise aboard Clearwater Harbor’s Calypso Queen or gamble at the Seminole Hard Rock casino or right on the Gulf aboard the SunCruz Port Richey Casino

 

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Pop Stansell Park, Palm Harbor (4)Keep in mind that while our storms can pack a punch, they  come and go quickly. Tune into the news or ask a local what type of weather event they expect . To say that the sun will come out tomorrow is an overstatement. Most often, the sun will come back out today.

How to Prepare for Florida Gulf Coast Beaches

Florida Beach Basics

Clearwater Beach (244)

While many people know what the essentials are for a beach vacation, let’s go over it again just to be sure. The beach is sunny and bright, so preparing for warmth and sunshine is a must. Take suntan lotion, a hat, and sunglasses. These basics will get you started at the beach, protecting you so that you can have your day of fun in the sun. Some sort of sandal is also a good idea, making the transition from boardwalk to sand easy.

 

Optional Goodies for Florida Beaches

Clearwater Beach (195)x500What should you bring along when you go to the beach? With your essentials above handled, the rest becomes optional. Lying on the warm sands and playing in the surf will make you thirsty. Be sure to bring something refreshing to drink. Reclining on a beach chair with earphones delivering your favorite music is a popular option. You might also want to bring along a Frisbee or a football to keep the day lively. Chips can refuel your body with energy and might even replace some of the salt you sweat away while you play. Remember to use plastic rather than glass on the beach.

Florida Beach Experience

Clearwater Beach (155)What can you expect on for a day on the beach along the Florida Gulf Coast? It is usually sunny and the weather is nice and warm. Gulf waters are warmer than most, making for a chill-free dip in the water. Plenty of beach-goers flock to the beach all year round, making it a dynamic place to be. Amenities for visitors abound. Fantastic tourist shops line the beachside avenues and casual diners nestle in right alongside finer dining. Restrooms and beach showers are often just a short walk away.

 

Create Your Own Florida Beach Style

Clearwater Beach off Cabria Cottage rental (14)What will your style at the beach be? Will you lie on a towel or will you recline on a beach chair? Will you bask in the sun or retreat beneath an umbrella or nearby palm tree? Will you bring the whole family or just your spouse or close friends? The beaches are vast, providing you with a choice between a vibrant, active beach scene or a secluded location on the far reaches of the coast.

Will your favorite beach style include walking, throwing a ball, swimming, or simply relaxing the day away with a book? The choices are many, and they are all up to you.

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.

7 best days in Clearwater Beach for Couples

Looking for a great way to spend a fun and romantic week at Clearwater Beach? Here are some suggestions from Florida Beach Rentals.

 

Day 1 Arrive at Clearwater Beach

Arrive in town. Enjoy the scenery while you drive across the causeway toward the coast.

Check in

Locate the beach and take a stroll to unwind from your travels

Enjoy a casual dinner at Jimmy’s Fish House. Be sure to try the Bang Bang Shrimp.

Enjoy a nightcap while watching the sun set over the beach.

 

Day 2 Sightseeing at Clearwater Beach

Grab breakfast and coffee at local favorite Beach Shanty Café. Great breakfast specials.

Shop Mandalay Avenue for a beach dress for her and a lightweight beach shirt for him. Sunglasses are a good idea too.

Optional day trip to a beautiful Gulf Coast park like the Lowry Zoo or Homosassa Springs.

Dinner at the Island Way Grill. Enjoy fine dining while overlooking Clearwater Harbor.

Sunset stroll along the powder-soft sands of Clearwater Beach. Be sure to take off your shoes.

 

Day 3 Dolphin Sightings

Grab breakfast at the original Frenchy’s Café. A great beach experience.

Tour Clearwater Harbor aboard Little Toot, The Tropics, or Sea Screamer. Catch a glimpse of dolphins at play.

Bask on the beach under an umbrellas. Grab lunch at your leisure along Mandalay Avenue.

Enjoy fine dining at the Columbia restaurant. Romantic harbor views.

Head down the strip to the Pier 60 nightly sunset festival. Live shows, artists, vendors and more.

 

Day 4 on Mandalay Avenue

Coffee and Danishes for breakfast from Starbucks in the beautiful Sand Pearl Hotel.

Stroll Mandalay Ave again for souvenirs amid the fantastic gift shops.

Check out lunch at the unique Bait House restaurant. A unique dining experience.

Afternoon under a beach umbrella

Dinner at Crabby Bill’s seafood restaurant. Another great beach experience.

Catch the sunset while sitting or strolling on the beach

 

Day 5 Day Trip

Breakfast at the Clear Sky Beachside Café

Day trip to Tarpon Springs sponge docks. Great tourist shops and multiple boat cruises on the Anclote River.

Grab a famous Tarpon Springs Greek lunch. Be sure to check out the locally famous desserts!

Head back to Clearwater Beach for live music and dinner at Clearwater Beach Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill and Bar.

Stroll onto the sand from the Palm Pavilion to watch the sunset. A nightcap on the shore?

 

Day 6 Vacation Paradise

Breakfast at a Florida Beach Rentals favorite, Lenny’s. Don’t miss the Danish plate.

Head north for a stroll along the remarkable beaches of Honeymoon Island.

Enjoy a fantastic lunch at Shor American Seafood Grill. We recommend the lobster sandwich.

Rent jet skis or a boat to cruise the harbor on your own.

One last sunset at Pier 60 where you can buy that souvenir you’ve had your eye on

Dinner at Bobby’s Bistro and Wine Bar. A great way to cap off the week.

 

Day 7 Farewell

Farewell sunrise walk

Check out