Tag Archives: Pinellas County

Fort Desoto Park Florida

Fort Desoto Beaches, Boating, and History

Visit Fort Desoto for the History

Fort Desoto cannonThe history of Fort Desoto Park in Florida is still present in its large cannons, and rooms buried under sand dunes that you can tour. Visitors can get up close and personal with the fort, touching the cannons and entering the old store rooms. Fort Desoto was built and named at the turn of the century in 1900 during the Spanish-American war. Henry B Plant, a railroad tycoon who brought the railroad to Tampa Bay, helped to urge the government to build the fort. Real history buffs might also want to visit the Henry B Plant museum in Tampa. The large Fort Desoto cannons were set to shoot ships trying to enter Tampa Bay, with help from a lookout on nearby Egmont Key, which also has ruins. The remains of Fort Desoto are fun to tour and are very close to the beach and the visitor center at the park.

 

Visit Fort Desoto for the Boating

Boating and kayaking at Fort Desoto FloridaOne of the best features of Fort Desoto Park is the waterways that surround the barrier islands there. Fort Desoto is a barrier island with several other small islands nearby. A good number of them are mangrove islands but you will also find locations where you can land your boat on a tiny, sandy beach. The type of boat you choose will determine where you can go. With a power boat you will be able to cover more ground but you will also need to be aware of the vast shallows surrounding Fort Desoto. On a kayak you will be able to navigate in even the shallowest waters but you will be limited by how far you can paddle. Plenty of other boat types are possible but power boats and kayaks are the most readily available. Naturally, your finances and personal preferences will have something to do with the boat you choose. One of the perks of boating in the area is finding a private strip of beach which is virtually your own for an hour or two. You also might find beautiful areas of wildlife, or coves with lots of shells to beachcomb. Boating is a great addition to a beach day at Fort Desoto Park.

 

Visit Fort Desoto for the Beaches

Fort Desoto beachThe best beaches in America are found along the Florida Gulf Coast, and Fort Desoto is definitely one of them. The beaches there, as well as several others along our coastline, win awards for the beast beaches in America repeatedly. Once you visit Fort Desoto, you will see why. The coastline is covered in fine, white sand, and the waters are blue, with a bright turquois color where the sun strikes the sand in the shallows. It is a long beach which can support quite a lot of visitors. This is a good thing, because on busy days like holidays or Spring Break, the beach fills up. Fortunately, the parking lot is built to accommodate very large crowds. The park also has a picnic area under shade trees right next to the beach. Last year the beach won an award for Best Family Beach. With wide swaths of sand, picnic areas, and plenty of sights to see, it is easy to see why Fort Desoto won the award.

 

Other blog entries you might like:

The Best Beaches in America

Best View of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Dog Beaches and Parks

 

Johns Pass

Johns Pass

What is Johns Pass?

John's Pass drawbridgeJohn’s Pass is a fun tourist stop along the waterway known as John’s Pass. According to local history, it was created by a hurricane in the mid 1800’s, when the storm rearranged the shoreline, forming a new opening into the bay. Today the bay is known as Boca Ciega Bay, with John’s Pass serving as a major entrance. On your visit to John’s Pass, you will undoubtedly notice the active drawbridge, allowing taller sailboats into John’s Pass. Fishermen still embark from the shores of the pass and seafood restaurants dot the shoreline. Dolphins swimming in John's PassClose to major barrier island beaches, the undeveloped shores of the pass are lined with mangroves, a plant that is very good at fighting erosion. While you walk along the boardwalks, you will see plenty of seafood shops, mangroves, and passing boats. You might even get to see some of the dolphins that also frequently use John’s Pass to enter and exit Boca Ciega Bay.

 

Where is Johns Pass?

John's Pass mapJohn’s Pass divides the barrier islands that host the cities of Madeira Beach and Treasure Island, Florida, USA. Barrier islands line the coast of Pinellas County, home to Clearwater Beach, St Petersburg, and St Pete Beach, as well as the popular beaches of Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, Sand Key, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, Redington Beach, and Fort Desoto Park. John’s Pass sits among these famous beaches as a unique feature, being a well-visited attraction despite having no white-sand shoreline. You will find John’s Pass 16 miles south of Clearwater Beach and just 5 miles north of St Pete Beach. It is a fun place to visit and definitely worth the short trip from any of the local beaches. John’s Pass is an entertaining addition to a Gulf Coast beach vacation.

 

What to Do at Johns Pass

John's Pass restaurantJohn’s Pass is a quintessential tourist stop. You will find every type of nautical gift shop you can imagine, loaded with shells, starfish, toys, souvenirs, specialty soaps, t-shirts, dresses, hats, and even pirate costumes.  After you’ve cruised the gift shops, you will definitely want to dine at John’s Pass. The restaurants are one of the main reasons for visiting! Cruise the streets and the boardwalks to find your perfect dining experience. You can dine inside or out, on a pier over the water or down below the boardwalk in a fun and rustic setting. Some of the restaurants are tall enough to provide sweeping views of the area. Keep your eye out for the restaurants south of the drawbridge too! Jet Ski and parasail rentalAfter you have dined, it’s time for some taffy, coffee, or ice cream in one of the many sweets shops. You’re on vacation after all, right? Lastly, you will want to take advantage of the rentals and cruises at the docks. You can take a dolphin sighting tour or a cruise on a fun pirate ship. If that’s too slow for you, then rent one of the powerboats or jet skis. Fishing charters also cast off from the docks, so you might want to try them too. Whatever you like on a fun filled vacation, you will find some fun memories at the docks of John’s Pass.

Souvenir shop John's Pass

John’s Pass souvenir shops

Shops at John's Pass

John’s Pass restaurants

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other blogs you might like:

Treasure Island Kite Festival 2014

Hurricane Pass Tidal Currents

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

 

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 Gulf Coast of Pinellas County

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

Pinellas County Is the Florida Central Gulf Coast

Clearwater BeachPinellas County is home to some of the best tourist destinations in the United States. We are pointing out Pinellas County in this blog for that very good reason. According to HomeAway.com, a general understanding a location is one of a traveler’s top concerns. Vacationers want to know where they are going!

A term has recently appeared labeling our coastline the Florida Central Gulf Coast. The area has become famous for its white sand beaches and growing number of tourist attractions. Within this region you will find Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Treasure Island, St Pete Beach, Fort Desoto State Park, Honeymoon Island, Caladesi Island, Tarpon Springs, Lake Tarpon,  and St Petersburg.

The area boasts such attractions as Pier 60 Sunset Festivals, Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies, the Dali Museum, and John’s Pass. The on-the-water attractions in the area are truly endless. They include dolphin sighting tours, dinner cruises, sunset cruises, pirate ship cruises, deep sea fishing, and more.

 

Where is Pinellas County?

We could write a thousand words explaining the location of Pinellas County, Florida but why not just show you some maps?

Pinellas County Florida

Pinellas County Florida Map

 

Pinellas County is for Everyone

WClearwater Beach, Oct 1, 2013 (5)hy is Pinellas County a premier vacation destination? The answer is that Pinellas County has beaches that fit every taste.

If you like a beachfront resort hotel with fine dining, beachfront bar and grill, a swimming pool, sun deck, and umbrellas on the beach, you will find them here in Pinellas County, Florida.

If you want a vacation home or vacation cottage on or near the beach, you will find them for rent throughout our beach communities. If you like natural beaches with miles of untouched coastline that you can walk at your leisure, we have those too.

IMG_4918The turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico are ready to explore regardless of your tastes. You can take a dinner cruise across Clearwater Harbor, or take in the sunset on a fun-loving pirate ship. Booze cruises and dolphin sighting excursions are available as well. If you want a less structured way to get out on the water, you can rent jet skis, stand up paddle boards, power boats, or a kayaks.

You will find developed beaches or areas where Ma and Pa rentals are king. State and county parks deliver wildlife experiences as well as looks into Florida’s History.

Pier 60 Clearwater BeachYou can dive into dynamic beachfront activities or just disappear into a calm beach paradise. The choice of vacation types is endless but all of them include the white sand beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast. You might want to add this vacation destination to your wish list. Pinellas County has it all!

 

Other posts you might enjoy:

Treasure Island Kite Festival 2014

Wildest Islands on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

The Best Beaches in America

 

Monkey at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

Suncoast Primate Sanctuary

Gulf Coast Local Secret #18

Florida Gulf Coast Primate Rescue

ChimpanzeeThe purpose of the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary is to provide a place to live for rescued and donated primates. They have a growing collection of animals, not all of them primates, which is open for public viewing. Inside you will see lots of monkeys and apes, including chimpanzees, orangutans, baboons, spider monkeys and more. Additionally you can see alligators, tortoises, and an assortment of birds. The sanctuary is privately funded, so it does not come off as a major theme park like Busch Gardens, but the animals are well cared for and casual observation shows a lot of happy, furry faces.

 

Florida Gulf Coast Secret Primate Sanctuary

BaboonsWhy is the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary on our local secrets list? While they certainly do advertise, you will not find neon lights flashing on the roadside. The unassuming sign for the sanctuary has pictures of the animals, and the parking lot is a simple strip off the side of the road. The setting does not necessarily leap out at passers-by. You might need a local to help you arrive!  However, for animal lovers and for those who want close by entertainment for the kids (or grownups) the sanctuary is a fun place to visit. The staff give helpful information and you might even get to pet a live alligator -a small one. Give the sanctuary a try!

Safety Harbor Museum

Clearwater Beach Volleyball

Gulf Coast Local Big Bird Secret

 

Hurricane Pass, Dunedin

Gulf Coast Sand Bar Hangouts

Gulf Coast Local Secret #8

Hurricane Pass, DunedinA Different Kind of Bar on the Florida Gulf Coast

Gathering with friends at a bar takes on a whole new twist along the Florida Gulf Coast. You can certainly go to an ordinary bar with tables, stools and a serving counter, but that’s not the kind of bar we’re talking about. These secret local hangouts are favorites of the local populace, and you can’t get there on foot or by car. These bars are made of sand.

 

Kayaks on Honeymoon IslandA Sand Bar Is a Hangout Spot on the Florida Gulf Coast?

Most people think of a sand bar as a submerged strip of sand running parallel to the shore of a beach –but not these sand bars! The hangouts in question do not run along the beach, and at low tide they quite often rise completely out of the water. The locals know they are there, even when they can’t see them. At the right time of day, boaters gather along these expanses of sand to have a good time. You can find large gatherings of people strolling the bars, playing, swimming and even grabbing a picnic aboard their anchored boats.

 

Where Are the Secret Florida Gulf Coast Sand Bar Hangouts?

The two best known sand bars for gathering together with friends and strangers are in Saint Petersburg, Florida and Dunedin, Florida.

Hurricane PassThe first, in Saint Petersburg is on the Bayou Grande which runs just south of Weedon Island Preserve. You may find gatherings of locals here, their boats pitched along the bars that rise from the waters at the center of the waterway. Oddly enough, on this bayou, you will find people gathered in the shallow water even when the sand bars are not in sight.

The second, in Dunedin, Florida is off the northern tip of Caladesi Island, an island known for having some of the best beaches in America. Here, a wide swath of sand rises from the waves to form a wide platform for people to anchor and play. Speed boats, jet skis and kayakers congregate at low tide to scan the sands, wade and just plain have fun.

 

This Gulf Coast Secret is Relative

As you might have guessed from the descriptions, these hangouts are only a secret to area visitors. The locals know all about them. Try to get onto a boat and check them out!

Related Posts:

Central Gulf Coast Fishing Secret

Secret Caladesi Island Shell Tree

Understanding Florida Gulf Coast Weather

 

Safety Harbor Museum

Gulf Coast Local Secret #5

Is the Safety Harbor Museum Really a Local Secret?

safety-harbor-museum-of-regional-history1The Safety Harbor Museum is not really a secret. They want you to visit and they do their best to let you know they are there. The reason this spot is listed here as a secret is because it is often overlooked due to its size. The museum is small and slightly off the main strip. Look for the museum at the end of a long driveway, across the street from the harbor. It is south of the parking lots used for the main shops.

 

What does the Safety Harbor Museum Have Inside?

arrow heads picThe museum is divided into three areas. The first shows local accomplishments from local groups and citizens. The second area displays natural history and local Indian history. Kids love this area and some of the displays are interactive. You and the little ones can actually handle some of the historical displays. The third section is in the back room. It has antiques from the area and model replicas of early European settlement. You might be surprised to discover what role Safety Harbor played in the development of the telephone.

What Is Great about the Safety Harbor Museum?

This museum has a cozy feel and the staff is friendly. Great books of local history are for sale and you can also buy little knick-knacks that kids love. The other great feature is that tours start quickly, meaning you can get a tour with little or no waiting, due to the museum’s small size. Unlike many other museums, you can see all the displays in a relatively short time, making it a great addition to dinner or shopping at Safety Harbor. Go ahead and give this spot a try. You will be glad you stopped by.

 

Related Posts:

Central Gulf Coast Museums

Central Gulf Coast Cities

Central Gulf Coast Theme Parks and Aquariums

 

First Day of Summer

Welcome to Summer                                 21 June 2013

Florida Beach Rentals welcomes the first day of summer to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Sun and sand are always in abundance on our powder white beaches that draw in visitors worldwide. From the famous sponge docks of Tarpon Springs to the far reaches of Saint Petersburg beaches and the Island Keys of Fort De Soto Park, visitors and locals alike flock to the shores to enjoy Gulf breezes and to wade and play in the pleasant waters.

A Trip to the Beach on the First Day of Summer

The choice of where to spend the first day of summer might not be as easy as it seems. The coastline of the Gulf of Mexico offers a dizzying number of choices. For beach-goers, soft white sands meet with sparkling turquoise waters, a paradise that stretches for miles. Sun lovers need only choose their favorite beach atmosphere to make their decision. Among the choices are:

  • · Howard Park
  • · Honeymoon Island
  • · Caladesi Island
  • · Clearwater Beach
  • · Belleair Beach
  • · Indian Rocks Beach
  • · Indian Shores
  • · Redington Beach
  • · Madeira Beach
  • · Treasure Island
  • · St. Pete Beach
  • · Pass A Grille
  • · Fort De Soto Park

Centers of Activity for the First Day of Summer

The cities of the Tampa Bay area are ideal for summer entertainment so why not get started right away? Stroll down avenues among both neighbors and travelers from afar while you choose which of the many shops to visit. Tourist shops abound on the gulf coast from Tarpon Springs, to Clearwater and St. Petersburg. You will find many avenues filled with gift shops, perfect for browsing and window shopping. Some of the best in the area can be found at:

  • · Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks
  • · Dunedin Main Street
  • · Safety Harbor
  • · Downtown St. Petersburg and St. Petersburg Pier
  • · John’s Pass

Into the Wild on the First Day of Summer

Taking a trip into the natural beauty of Florida is a perfect way to celebrate the arrival of the season. The region is dotted with parks that display Florida wilderness, and wildlife in its original habitat. Opportunities to hike along waterway paths or amid tall palms and pines abound. Some of the better known parks are:

  • · Starkey Wilderness Park
  • · Brooker Creek Preserve
  • · Key Vista Nature Park
  • · Wall Springs
  • · Anderson Park
  • · Chestnut Park
  • · Honeymoon Island
  • · Florida Botanical Gardens
  • · Sunken Gardens
  • · Lake Seminole Park
  • · Weedon Island State Preserve

Summer is Yours

Whatever you choose to do, the Tampa Bay area is sure to keep you entertained. Contact us at Florida Beach Rentals to find out more about the countless opportunities in our region of the Gulf Coast. Summer is yours. Make the most of it!

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