Tag Archives: St Pete Beach

Caladesi Island

Florida Barrier Island Breakdown

Barrier Islands of the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

Off the Pinellas County shorelines of the Florida Gulf Coast are a series of barrier islands. It is very likely you know the names of some of them, like Clearwater Beach, or Honeymoon Island. We’ll break them all down for you, so that you too can be an expert on the barrier islands of our area. We’ll start in the north off the shores of Tarpon Springs and head south past Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Belleair, Largo, Seminole, Gulfport, St Petersburg, and beyond. Once you are a barrier island expert, you will be able plan your Gulf Coast vacation trek up and down our shoreline with much keener insight.

 

Anclote Key

Anclote Key barrier island lighthouse

Anclote Key lighthouse

Anclote Key Preserve State Park is directly off shore of the mouth of the Anclote River, the waterway that runs past the tourist destination of the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. You can depart from those docks on a tour boat that will take you to Anclote Key, where you can walk the shores, view the historic light house, or just spend some time on one of Florida’s best natural beaches. You will find lots of driftwood and seashells on this island, since it can only be reached by boat.

 

Three Rooker Island

Gulf Coast ShoresThree Rooker Island is one step up from a very large sand bar. This tiny barrier island is a favorite hangout spot for boaters. You can only get to the bar by boat and anchoring off its shores is a great way to spend the afternoon. The shores of the small key are the soft, powdery white sand for which the Florida Gulf Coast is famous. Swim from your boat or from the shore. On a walk down the beach in ankle deep water you might be able go from one end to the other of the two mile stretch of Three Rooker Island.

 

Honeymoon Island

Honeymoon Island, Florida

Honeymoon Island sunset

Honeymoon Island State Park is one of the most famous of the barrier islands along our coastline. It has long stretches of white sand beaches, a concession stand, lots of parking, a dog beach, nature center, playground, and nature trail. It is also where you catch the ferry to neighboring Caladesi Island to the south. The island is a great place to beachcomb for shells. You can also see nesting ospreys, bald eagles, and great horned owls, or perhaps one of the burrowing gopher tortoises. On a trip to Honeymoon Island you can choose the type of adventure you want to have. In fact, you will have to, because the Honeymoon Island is too large to see all in one day.

 

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island

Caladesi Island is just north of Clearwater Beach. You can even walk to the island from the south, because a storm some decades ago filled in the opening between the two islands. Of course, you can skip the long walk by taking the ferry from Honeymoon Island. Caladesi Island is known for its pristine white sand beaches. You will feel as if you are in the wilds when you walk along its northern shores. You can also view plenty of Florida birds that use the island for nesting. This famous retreat belongs on your must-see list for your Florida Gulf Coast vacation. Caladesi Island is one of our best.

 

Clearwater Beach Island

Clearwater BeachThe most famous of all the barrier islands along our coast is Clearwater Beach Island. It was formerly known as Tate’s Island, named after a family that lived on the island when the area was first settled. Clearwater Beach became the tourist destination we know today after the bridge was built from the city of Clearwater. Clearwater Beach has more tourist attractions than you can shake a stick at, including the famous Pier 60 nightly sunset festival, and the nearby home of Winter the dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movies. With its beautiful white sand beaches and multiple attractions, Clearwater Beach makes a perfect base of operations for a Florida Gulf Coast vacation.

 

Sand Key – Sand Key Beach to Madeira Beach

Madeira Beach, Florida

Madeira Beach, Florida

The long barrier islands of Sand Key starts just south of Clearwater Beach. It extends down through some great beach communities until it ends at John’s Pass, which is one of the best tourist destinations in the region. To the south of Sand Key Beach is Belleair Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington Beach, and Madeira Beach. The beach communities on Sand Key are some of the calmest of our region of the Gulf Coast, perfect for family vacations. You should definitely check into the many diners along the scenic drive down the length of Sand Key.

 

Treasure Island

Treasure Island BeachTreasure Island has one of the widest swaths of sand on the entire chain of barrier islands. This is a good location to look into local festivals. The beach makes a perfect location for large events, which is exactly what they do on Treasure Island. The bridge heading east from Treasure Island leads into Seminole, Gulfport, and St Petersburg, which is why this is a good location to find restaurants, pubs, and gift shops. Treasure Island is one of the barrier islands along our coast you will want to keep your eye on.

 

Long Key – St Pete Beach and Pass A Grille Beach

Long KeyLong Key is the last of the residential barrier islands on the strip. You will find St Pete Beach and Pass A Grille Beach here. St Pete Beach is one of the more developed tourist districts in the area. You will find plenty of dining and entertainment in the area. It is also a great place for family vacations. Pass A Grille Beach has the distinction of being the most southern beach community on our coast, with plenty of Florida charm.

 

Mullet Key and Shell Key Preserve

Fort Desoto ParkMullet Key is home to famous Fort Desoto Park. The interior waters are shallow and calm, thanks to the islands’ horseshoe shape, making a great place for boating. The park is rich with history, and beautiful white beaches. It is a fantastic destination for a family beach day, complete with shaded picnic areas and shallow wading areas. Shell Key Preserve is just north of Fort Desoto. It is a preserve for local wildlife, especially a large number of local birds, who nest and rear their young there. Shell Key is a great place for boaters and birdwatchers.

 

Egmont Key

Snorkeling FloridaEgmont Key State Park sits at the entrance to Tampa Bay. The lighthouse has been used in times of peace and war since 1858. Ruins of Fort Dade, from the same era as Fort Desoto, can be found on the island. Be aware, however, that access to the southern end of the key is limited because of the shore bird refuge there. The island is reachable only by boat. Once there, you can fish, picnic, swim, hike, or tour the ruins. It one of the most difficult to reach islands listed here, but Egmont Key is definitely worth visiting.

 

Other blog posts you might like:

Wildest Islands on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

Treasure Island Kite Festival 2014

Aerial of Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island

 

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?

 

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

 

 

 

 

Related Posts:

Florida Beach Rental Review of Sand Dollar Clearwater Beach

How to Prepare for Florida Gulf Coast Beaches

Central Gulf Coast Cities

Florida Beach Rentals Review of Coastal Cabanas

After the updates at this beach-community cottage, we took new photos so that we could give online visitors a look at the changes. Below is a review created based on that visit.

 

3. Livingroom & kitchenGulf Coast Cabana for the Family

This studio style vacation rental is brightly colored to remind you each day that you are on a Florida Gulf Coast getaway. With room for a family all in one studio, you will be set to launch your vacation at the Gulf Coast beaches of St. Petersburg and beyond.

 

10. Trundle bedGreat Family Setup to Cabana

This cabana vacation rental unit has more room for sleeping than it appears at first glance. A queen size Murphy bed folds down from one wall while the day bed has a slide out trundle mattress.

 

17. PatioCoffee Deck

The best place to have your cup of joe is on the open air patio out front. Wake up to the cooler morning air while you sit on the beachy deck furniture. The decking style is reminiscent of a seaside dock.

 

2. Front elevationBeach Neighborhood

This vacation rental is only two blocks from the beach and an even short walk will take you to a view of the intercostal waterway. It is easy to pick up the beach feel from the neighborhood anywhere you turn.

 

Fort De Soto (6)What Is Nearby?

The beach and the intercostal are close by but you can also take a short drive to the community pool with great poolside play fountain, a very popular feature at Gulf Coast parks and pools. Be sure to check into the nearby Fort De Soto park.

 

3. Livingroom & KitchenA Vacation Rental for Extended Family or Friends

This small unit fits a standard family but more room is next door if your group is larger. The two Costal Cabana vacation rentals are side by side and can be rented together, pending availability. Be sure to book early to grab both units for your party. Enjoy the units in the evening and then meet on the front porch for a family breakfast.

 

Why I Would Stay at the Coastal Cabana

This vacation rental appears set for a group to have fun. Return from your great day of sightseeing, wash off the sand, then hit the streets of this beach community for a fun filled night. This location brings back fond memories of family vacations spent on the beach.

 

Related Posts:

Gulf Coast Beach Restaurants

St Pete Beach Restaurants

Beach Vacation Cottages

 

 

Dog Beaches and Parks

Dogs at the Beach

What could be more fun that taking your pooch for a run off the leash or down to the Gulf to splash in the water. The Central Gulf Coast has a good number of areas to run your pet. Some require leashes while other are fenced areas that let your best friend run off the leash among his peers.

dog on beach

dog on beach

Dogs on beaches

dog on beach

 

 

 

(Dogs on the beach pictures are from our Pinterest boards)

Inland Dog Parks

These parks have fenced enclosures where your dog can run unleashed. Most of them are divided into areas for small dogs and large dogs to provide your pet with the best experience possible.

Anderson Park

Anderson Park is a nice large park located on the shores of Lake Tarpon with lots of shade and picnic opportunities. It’s a great place to hang out.

39699 U.S. HWY. 19 N.

Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

More info

 

Boca Ciega Millennium Park

This park is known for its many civic events and runs along the shores of the inland waterway across from the Redington beaches.

12410 74th Ave N

Seminole, FL 33772

More info

 

Chesnut Park

Chesnut Park is one of the most scenic woodland parks in the county, running along the southern shores of Lake Tarpon. Lots of picnic areas and two playgrounds.

2200 East Lake Road

Palm Harbor, FL 34685

More info

 

 

Eagle Lake Park

This park is a few miles inland from Clearwater Beach on Hwy 60, which starts as the causeway to the beach. A pleasant walking trail circles the lake as well as a few picnic tables and a playground.

1800 Keene Road

Largo, FL 33771

More info

 

North Shore Park

This pleasant waterfront park offers great views of Tampa Bay and downtown Tampa.

901 North Shore Drive Northeast

St. Petersburg, FL

More info

 

Sand Key Park

Sand Key park is directly south of Clearwater beach, just across the bridge across Clearwater Harbor Inlet. It is a spacious park with a wide swath of beach.

1060 Gulf Blvd.

Clearwater, FL 33767

More info

 

Walsingham Park

Walsingham Park covers an enormous number acres and is a pleasant lakeside location for a Sunday drive, walks, bike rides, picnics and other activities for large, spacious parks.

12615 102nd Ave. N

Largo FL 33778

More info

 

 

Dog Parks at the Beach

Honeymoon IslandWhile fences might exist at these shoreline dog parks, many of them are open areas without restraints. What that means is that, often, they require you to keep your pet on a leash.

 

Fort Desoto

Undoubtedly one of the finest beaches in America. Take your pooch here and enjoy Dogs are allowed off the leash at the designated dog beach! There is an entrance fee to the park.

3500 Pinellas Bayway S.

Tierra Verde, FL 33715

More info

 

Honeymoon Island

Also one of the finest beaches in America. A short hike through a wilderness area brings you to the shore. There is an entrance fee to the park and dogs must remain on the leash as it is close to other beach-goers and fishermen.

1 Causeway Blvd

Dunedin, FL 34698

More info

Beach Vacation Cottages

What Is a Cottage?

beach cottage signIf you ask a number of individuals what a cottage is, you will get fairly consistent answers. People have the idea of a quaint, cozy spot, perhaps a getaway from their ordinary life. The idea of vacations and cottages tend to go together in the minds of plenty of folks. Cottages are generally smaller than a standard home and, according to common conceptions, they occur in locations like mountainsides, along rivers, and on the shores of lakes and seas. Cottages are commonly thought of as places to go on vacation. In other words, cottages are fun!

 

Florida Beach Rental Cottages

Clearwater Beach off Cabria Cottage rental (21)Florida Beach Rentals is proud to have a pair of cottages on our line up of great vacation rentals. Are they really cottages? Well, all Florida Beach Rental units have the advantage of being either on the beach or close to it, which complies with the expectation of your cottage being close to the sea or in a beautiful vacation destination. But this pair of cottages has cozy-and-quaint down to an art. You will find beach decor and sunny colors throughout, as well as bead board and wicker accents. Our two vacation rental cottages are both in the Clearwater Beach community, putting renters within easy reach of America’s best beach and some of the most entertaining beach attractions in the region.

 

Sand Dollar Clearwater Beach Cottage

Sandollar Cottage

Sandollar Cottage

The Sand Dollar cottage, quaintly spelled Sandollar, sits at the heart of the Clearwater Beach residential area. Is it in just another neighborhood? Hardly. Clearwater Beach residences are as beachy as they get.  This cottage residence has the Florida palm trees you would expect as well as the traditional collection of seashells on the front porch.

Inside you will find beach décor from wall to wall. It has a pool in the back yard with plenty of lounge furniture and a hammock. Cabana? Why yes, there is an enclosed outdoor cabana shower poolside to rise off after the pool or to make sure that extra beach sand doesn’t make it inside the cottage.

While it is a cozy setting, you might find this cottage has quite a lot of interior space. Its three bedrooms offer a family plenty of room for their Clearwater Beach vacation. With a separate living room and family room, you will find plenty of cottage lounging opportunities for everyone. This location is a great place to plant your stakes for a fantastic beach vacation.

 

Cambria Cottage

Cambria cottage pic

Cambria Cottage

Cambria Cottage fits the above definition of cottage without a hitch. The cozy, three bedroom rental includes a fireplace, bead board wall paneling, wood floors, and fun little niches for you to relax. Sure, it has a flat screen TV, ceiling fans and a modern kitchen, just don’t tell anyone.

The location is a stone’s throw from the beach with a rich cottage atmosphere even on the front porch, where you can enjoy the Florida sun and rustling palm trees.

But will you spend time enjoying the comfortable interior of this cottage or experience most of your vacation on the soft, white sands of the nearby beach? We’ll leave that for you to decide.

Cabana Vacation Rental

What is a Cabana?

A cabana is a structure associated with beaches and pools. It can be a tent, a small shack, a bathhouse, or even a cabin or cottage. The word cabana conjures days in the sun, poolside bliss or lazy days at the beach. When it is time to eat or sleep, the beach goer strolls off the sand, hangs the straw hat on a hook and pushes aside the shutter style doors, stepping into the cool, shaded interior.

 

Coastal Cabanas of Saint Pete Beach

Coastal Cabana picThe Florida community of Saint Pete Beach is very beach oriented. Even when you cannot see the water, you sense that you are in a seaside neighborhood. The Coastal Cabanas offered by Florida Beach Rentals are not on the sand, but they are very much part of the beach life. The theme is nautical and the bright interiors remind you that you are on vacation in a beach town. You will see why these side by side, family friendly rentals have earned the cabana label.

 

Very Coastal Cabana

Coastal Cabana picOne of the local beaches is within walking distance and a similar short stroll will take you to the intracoastal waterway, where you can watch the harbor life passing by. You might even spot some of the local bottlenose dolphins.

 

Coastal Cabana Vacation Rental

These side by side Florida vacation rentals make great Central Gulf Coast vacation spots. You can check out the Coastal Cabanas here and here.