Tag Archives: Gulf of Mexico

North Sandbar Anclote Key

Sandbar Island Paradise

Island in the Sun

North Sandbar IslandNorth Sandbar is a place that lives in all of our imaginations. Dream of a tiny island, one where few people go, but which is a safe place to be. Cover it with soft white sand and paint clear turquoise waters around its shores. When you are done, you might have come close to North Sandbar. It is a tiny island located off of the coast of Tarpon Springs, Florida, a fun little tourist town on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida. It is to the north of such famous places as St Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island State Park, and Honeymoon Island State Park. When you go through that list of names, you will realize that the island called North Sandbar is located in the midst of a popular vacation destination. However, if you make your way to this remote sandbar, you will find that you are nearly alone. With absolutely perfect beaches of soft, white sand, it is a destination you might want to include in your travel plans.

 

Remote Destination of North Sandbar

island boating FloridaThe only access to the uninhabited islands of our area is by boat. While Caladesi Island is a popular boat destination, you can walk there from Clearwater Beach. Honeymoon Island is connected by a bridge. Go farther north, however, and you will not reach the islands without crossing the water. Three Rooker Bar, Anclote Key, and North Sandbar are the three most northern points of land. All three enjoy a low visitation rate, due to the difficulty of getting there. If you do not own a boat, you have to rent or charter one. While you can kayak there, the trip is not recommended for beginners because of the open water between, which is exposed to wind and waves. The photos in this blog were taken on a trip with Private Island Charters. The coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a boaters’ paradise, with endless locations to visit. On holidays, the little island can fill up, but on most other days of the year, it is a gentle, soothing place to soak in the sun and sea. The northern barrier islands are a perfect destination for a day of boating.

 

The Evolution of an Island

North Sandbar of Anclote KeyNorth Sandbar appears as though it might be an extension of Anclote Key to its south. The sand extends in a long bar, easily a mile in length. At its northern tip, North Sandbar rises out of the water to become a tiny island, complete with mangrove bushes and grass. Google Earth has this sandbar listed at Rapp Island, although we found no other source on the whole of the Internet that confirmed the assignment of that name, casting doubt on the title. While it seems as though the sandbar might become part of Anclote Key, the matter is debated by locals. The conflicting forces are the accumulation of sand rising to the surface and a strong current that runs between the sandbar and Anclote Key. A study of the history of Honeymoon Island formation suggests that the sandbar might become a northern extension of Anclote Key, as a nearly identical formation was in place at Honeymoon Island a mere thirty years ago. In that case, the sandbar did become part of the island, despite the channel that flowed between. Time will tell if the joining occurs, and if North Sand Bar will eventually come under the title of Anclote Key, enjoyed by future boaters who might never know the two keys were ever separated.

 

Enjoying the Shores of North Sandbar

North Sandbar of AncloteThe shores of North Sandbar are some of the most beautiful you will find. The beaches are formed by the lightest sands, those most susceptible to movement in the currents, deposited onto a sandbar that has risen from the waves. That makes the grains among the softest you will find. The white color is remarkable, dazzling to the eye and cool to the feet. When the sand is submerged in shallows, it illuminates the water to a sparkling turquoise color. The island is perfect for sitting on the sand or strolling the shores. However, a walk around the island will only take a few minutes, so plan for a large dose of relaxation. The shallows are expansive, making wading and swimming conditions perfect. If you head south toward Anclote Key, you can stroll with your ankles in the water for nearly a mile. So, if you share the inclination to restore your soul on the shores of a remote island, you should give this tiny gem a try.

This trip to the islands was provided by Private Island Charters (727-534-8818) (Facebook link)

North Sandbar trip

North Sandbar

North Sandbar Anclote

North Sandbar

Boating to Anclote Key sandbar

North Sandbar

Island Paradise Central Gulf Coast of Florida

North Sandbar

 

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Gulf Coast Sand Bar Hangouts

Finding the Lost Dunedin Pass

Florida Barrier Island Breakdown

 

Caladesi ferry port

No Roads Found to Caladesi Island

Reaching Caladesi Island

Caladesi from the airCaladesi Island State Park is a favorite destination for tourism, but how do visitors arrive to a location devoid of bridges and roads? Because of the remote location, arriving at the state park is an event even for locals. Caladesi Island was named when the barrier island stood alone, detached from other land masses. Thanks to a large storm, Clearwater Beach and Caladesi Island are now connected. Despite the land bridge, the northern reaches of the island are still a long way off. Only serious hikers succeed at the 1.5 to 2 hour walk from Clearwater Beach, especially in the warmer summer months. The solution for an easier journey is to enjoy a relaxing ride aboard the Caladesi Island Ferry.

 

Honeymoon Island Ferry Dock

Caladesi Island FerryThe secret to reaching Caladesi Island State Park lies within a second park, Honeymoon Island State Park. Honeymoon Island is a fantastic destination in its own right, with hiking trails, beaches, a dog beach, and a nature center. What Honeymoon Island also has is a set of boat docks where the Caladesi Island Ferry departs. In order to get to the docks, visitors must enter the state park, paying a low entry fee per car. The ferry ride is $14 for adults, $7 for kids, and free for kids under five. Ferry service begins at 10AM. To ensure everyone gets back to the mainland, the ticket office stamps the tickets with a return time, which is about four and a half hours later. A shaded pavilion offers ferry ticket holders a place to rest while they wait for the next ride to Caladesi Island.

 

Caladesi Island Ferry Ride

Caladesi Island FerryThe whole purpose of visiting Caladesi Island is to relax. The ferry is a perfect way to begin. The ride is smooth, traveling across an enclosed waterway which is protected from the Gulf of Mexico waters by the barrier island of Caladesi itself. The ferry passes between the mangrove shores of Caladesi Island and the palm-tree-lined Dunedin Causeway, which leads to Honeymoon Island. The scenery is always fantastic, which includes a chance to see local dolphins and manatees. The waterway is well-used by motorboats, kayaks, and jet skis, creating a lively summer-like playground 365 days a year. The ferry ride travels its last leg down a mangrove-lined channel. After a short, twenty minute shuttle, the ferry arrives at the docks on Caladesi Island.

 

The Docks at Caladesi Island

Caladesi IslandThe docks at Caladesi Island are the first impression many people have of the famous Gulf Coast destination. Awaiting disembarking guests is the Caladesi Island concession stand. The food stand offers a variety of snacks, along with some much-needed refreshments on hot days. Beyond the building, visitors will find trails that lead to restrooms, outdoor beach showers, picnic tables, a playground, and hiking trails through the undeveloped lands of the island. Naturally, the beach is the number one attraction. Behind the restrooms and beach showers are long, raised walkways, transporting beach-goers through the coastal mangroves and dunes. The reward for this easy stroll is a beautiful, white sand beach of the Florida Gulf Coast. CCaladesi Island aladesi Island Beach is a fantastic stretch of bright sand traveling north and south. The length of the beach is so long that walkers and hikers are sure to be pleased. With beach chairs and umbrellas available for rent, and the turquoise waters of the Gulf to play in, the destination is one to remember. The Caladesi Island Ferry makes reaching the island paradise so easy it would be shame for area visitors to pass it up.

 

Caladesi Island Ferry Video

 

Other posts you might enjoy

Finding the Lost Dunedin Pass

Caladesi Island Kayak Trail

Southern Pleasures of Honeymoon Island State Park

 

Clearwater Color Run

Clearwater Color Run Strikes Again

Clearwater Color Run

Clearwater Color RunThe Color Run arrived in Clearwater, Florida again this December, turning the runners and the pavement a variety of bright shades. The 5k race, touted as the Happiest 5k on the Planet is a variation of the standard foot race in that the course has color stations. Each station holds a different vibrant hue of chalky dust, thrown at the racers when they pass. Set up like a gauntlet, race volunteers hurl or squirt day-glow powders onto the happy racers. This December’s race had four checkpoints, making the runners a living pallet of shades.

 

Color Run Racers

Clearwater Color RunThe Color Run painted the streets of Clearwater last year in January, making the gap eleven months rather than twelve. The turnout was just as good as last year, if not better. The streets were filled to the horizon on several Clearwater streets. Police helped with traffic at the corners, some, apparently, winding up with colors on their uniforms before the race was over. The Color Run was as good a time as always, with the racers smiling and waving as they went by. The volunteers also appeared to have fun pitching the powder onto to the runners.

 

Coachman Park Party

Clearwater Color RunThe race started and ended in Coachman Park, at the foot of the bridge to famous Clearwater Beach. The park is below the Clearwater Public Library, and next door to one of the trolley stop that takes tourist to see Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies.  The park is on the waterfront, with a dock and marina, making Coachman Park a great place for any event. An after-party happens each year on the park grounds, where anyone missing some colors on their clothing or hair is finished off. Plenty of race day souvenirs are available on-site. The park provides a perfect party-like atmosphere to end off the lively Color Run race.

 

Clearwater Florida

Coachman ParkClearwater is a great destination for a Florida vacation, with some of the most famous beaches in the USA on its doorstep. Nearby, visitors can find Fort De Soto Park, St Pete Beach, Clearwater Beach, Honeymoon Island State Park, and Caladesi Island State Park. The City of Clearwater is one of the big three of Tampa Bay, the other two being Tampa and St Petersburg. It is a lively metropolitan area that has great fishing opportunities, nearby wilderness, and fantastic resort beaches. It is easy for visitors to find the attractions that make them happy in Clearwater.

 Clearwater Color Run video


Other posts you might enjoy:

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

9 Need to Know Differences between Hotels and Vacation Rentals

5 Most Exciting Beach Activity Rentals at Clearwater Beach

 

 

Clearwater Beach TriRock triathlon

Clearwater Beach TriRock Triathlon 2014

Clearwater Beach Hosts TriRock 2014

TriRock triathlon swimmingThe TriRock Triathlon returned to Clearwater Beach on Nov 9th this year, adding another great event to a beach community whose fame is on the rise. With awards such as best sunset and best beach town, just to name a few, Clearwater Beach is entering a larger spotlight both in the U.S. and abroad. The TriRock Triathlon occurred at the heart of the island, with Pier 60 as its central hub. Vendors and the race finish line were gathered together at Clearwater Beach Park, which is at the foot of the Pier. The roads were partially blocked off to allow bicyclists to pass, with motorist entrance to the beach from the south closed. Spectators turned out to watch the race in good numbers. After set up in the dark hours of the morning, the race started under an early morning overcast on the famous white sands of Clearwater Beach.

 

The TriRock Triathlon Event

Trirock cyclistThe Gulf of Mexico served for the swimming course, with water temperatures at approximately 70 degrees. The course was marked by bright, inflatable pyramids, with a long line of racers lined up for their turn to start. Spectators were able to get very good views of the swimming portion of the event from Pier 60, which offered over-the-water, elevated views.

Bikes were stationed at the main beach parking lot, right next to the pier, and the main road onto the beach became the bike course. With Clearwater, Florida having very little change in elevation, it might be expected that the bicyclist would have a flat course to ride, but not so, the bridge across Clearwater Harbor providing a man-made challenge. Running sign trirock triathlonAfter circling through the City of Clearwater and Belleair Beach, the cyclist headed back onto Clearwater Beach from the south, returning to the bicycle staging area at the beach parking lot.

The running portion of the event followed a similar course, utilizing the biking and hiking path that runs along the causeway. Runners circled back from the City of Clearwater, returning over the bridge a second time to head for the finish line at Clearwater Beach Park.

 

Another Great Clearwater Beach TriRock

Trirock finish lineThe sands of the beach, the Clearwater Beach Park, and the community businesses had plenty of activity. Clearwater Beach Park was the center of attention, including a live band playing next to the finish line. T shirts and other promotional items were on sale at the park, adding to the reasons to hover near the finish line. Two popular community restaurants near the finish line were the Starbucks inside the Hilton and the Duncan Donuts across the street, helping spectators warm up on a cool November morning (upper 60’s) at the beach. Racers were announced at the finish line with an event held shortly afterward for the winners. Follow this link to find information on race results. With the race adding a lively atmosphere to the beach, it is sure to return again for many more years. Be sure to mark your calendars for November at Clearwater Beach so that you can catch this great event next year.

 

Other posts you might enjoy

Walking the Streets of Clearwater Beach

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

 

 

Clearwater to Caladesi shoreline (3)

Finding the Lost Dunedin Pass

Barrier Islands of the Florida Gulf Coast

Caladesi IslandClearwater and the City of Dunedin have some of the best barrier islands in the United States. They are the three best known islands in the area, consisting of Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island, and Honeymoon Island. Other great islands are also along our coast, just to be clear, with Anclote Key and Three Rooker Island to the north and Sand Key, Treasure Island, St Pete Beach, and Mullet Key to the south. The sands of the Florida Gulf Coast on the move, however, creating a changing history for the barrier islands.

 

Clearwater Beach and Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon IslandWhen the area was first settled, the islands of Clearwater Beach and Honeymoon Island were in a very different condition than they are today. Clearwater Beach was called Hog Island and later on, Tate’s Island. It had no access other than by boat. Later, a causeway was built and it was named Clearwater Beach. Honeymoon Island was much smaller. Development plans came and went for the island, the land eventually becoming a state park. Shifting sands over the last century have connected the nearby sand bars to the island, more than doubling its length. The northern extension of the island created a fantastic stretch of soft white sand beach and the enclosed waters of Pelican Cove.

 

Dunedin Pass

Caladesi Clearwater land bridgeThe shape of Caladesi Island has changed less than the other islands, probably due to the abundance of mangrove trees there. The most striking change is the sand bar that grew northward from Clearwater Beach, connecting the two islands. The waterway that used to run between the two islands was called Dunedin Pass. It was a popular passageway for boaters entering and leaving the intra-coastal waterway. Over time, the sands on the south side of the pass began to move northward. Dredging was discussed, and the city even voted, successfully, to purchase a dredging machine in 1977. The plan to keep Dunedin Pass open was not to be, however. In 1985, Hurricane Elena struck the area and filled the waterway with enough sand to make in impossible to navigate by boat. With the sand already moving northward from Clearwater Beach, the pass soon filled in completely. Today, beachgoers can walk across the sand bridge between the two islands. It has filled in with enough sand to create a complete beach. Only memories and written  history allows newcomers to know that Dunedin Pass was ever there.

 

Exploring Dunedin Pass

Clearwater Caladesi land bridge 2Several methods exist for exploring Dunedin Pass. Walking northward from Clearwater Beach is the most common. It takes a little time and effort, especially on hot summer days, but beachgoers can walk the sands northward, arriving at the old pass in less than an hour. Another method would be to take the Caladesi Island Ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park. Once on the beach, visitors can walk south to find the narrow area of sand. If you are lucky enough to have a boat on hand, you can arrive via the coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Boaters can cruise up the coast from Clearwater Pass or down the coast from Hurricane Pass. While in a boat on the coast, it is not easy to spot the old pass. The sand appears the same up and down the beach, rising too high for boaters to see over to the harbor. One clue is the park sign, set on the beach, telling beachgoers that they have arrived at Caladesi Island State Park. Clearwater to Caladesi shoreline (8)The remains of the pass are just south of the sign. The last route to pass is by boat on the intra-coastal waters. This route, however, is not for larger boats. To actually land on the eastern side of the beach, you will need a watercraft such as a kayak or a paddleboard. The water shallows to just a few inches for quite a long stretch before you can land. When you do, a very short walk takes you to the crest of the beach where you overlook the white sand beaches and the Gulf of Mexico.

The pass is a beautiful stretch of sand, some of the softest and whitest you will find in the area. It is also a part of the beach much less traveled, leaving the beauty of the area almost to you alone. Dunedin Pass is well worth visiting.

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Remarkable Origin of Clearwater Beach Sand

Native American Indian Mounds of the Florida Gulf Coast

Curious History of Philippe Park

 

 

Superboat Races Clearwater Beach

Super Boat Race Success at Clearwater Beach

Fun Super Boat Race Weekend at Clearwater Beach

Superboat racing Clearwater BeachSuper Boat Races at Clearwater Beach created a fun weekend for large numbers of spectators on September 28, 2014. Crowds lined the beach from Clearwater Pass northward, the sands of Clearwater Beach serving as the natural arena for the spectators. For those who wanted a closer look, Pier 60 offered access for either $5 or $20 depending on how far down the pier onlookers wanted to go. Speakers on the beach and on the pier informed attendees what was happening out on the water. One of the tidbits the announcers mentioned is that he Super Boat National Championship at Clearwater was chosen for this part of September because it was one of the slowest weekends of the year. Thanks to the boat races that is no longer true. According to some of the hotel staff we talked to the boat races bring in plenty of extra guests. Reports from last year estimated attendance at close to 180,000 with this year rumored to have attracted close to that number again.

Fun Times at Clearwater Beach

Superboat spectators Clearwater BeachClearwater Beach took on a very festive air, with many of the spectators watching the race from inflatables or while wading.  The most enviable race-side seats were on the flotilla of boats out on the water surrounding the racetrack. With the sun shining, the race went off well, with both visitors and locals touting the Clearwater Beach Super Boat National Championship as one of the more lively weekends of the year.

 

 

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Fishing Charter Hotspots on the Florida Gulf Coast

Secrets of the Fall at Clearwater Beach

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Super Boat National Championship Clearwater Beach

Super Boat Races 2014 at Clearwater Beach

Super Boat National Championship Coming to Clearwater Beach

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

 

Super Boat Racing next to Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

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

 

Viewing Super Boat Races from a Boat

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

 

Booking Ahead for the Super Boat Races at Clearwater Beach

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

 

Enjoying Clearwater Beach during the Super Boat National Championship

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

 

Other posts you might enjoy;

5 Favorite Party Spots at Clearwater Beach

Walking the Streets of Clearwater Beach

Ultimate Tourist Attraction at Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

 

Clearwater Beach Marina

Clearwater Beach Marina

Clearwater Beach Marina

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

 

Things to Do at Clearwater Beach Marina

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

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

 

 

Clearwater Beach Marina Experience

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Other posts you might enjoy

Dolphin Sighting Tours at Clearwater Beach

Pinellas Trail Bicycle and Walking Path

Fishing Charter Hotspots on the Florida Gulf Coast