Tag Archives: vacation

Florida Gulf Coast beach

Ever Changing Sands of the Florida Gulf Coast

Beaches on the move

Clearwater Beach dunes and beachThe beaches along the Florida Gulf Coast are among the best loved beaches in America. The soft white sand is soothing to the feet and glows brightly in the sunshine. The pleasant nature of the sand makes the beaches famous, and the area has become a favorite vacation destination. What visitors to the area might not realize, however, is how much Mother Nature can move around that soft white sands.

 

Effects of Wind and Sea on the Beach

Kiteboarding Clearwater BeachA visit to the beaches of the Central Gulf Coast of Florida will introduce you to the powdery white sands of which we speak. While pushing  your toes through the sands, your feet will tell you how soft the tiny grains are. Some call it “sugar sand” while others compare it to powder. On a day with higher winds, you might feel the sand gently blowing across your ankles. Over time, this can create a considerable effect. In addition to the wind, the weather patterns create different currents offshore. Over time, the effects of wind and water can significantly change the beach landscape.

 

Mangroves and Sand Dunes on the Florida Gulf Coast

Mangrove shores of the Florida Nature CoastWhile you visit the beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast, you will notice two things; mangrove trees and sand dunes. Mangrove trees are easy to identify from their sturdy root systems that lift the trees up over the sand or water. These trees help to clean the water while protecting the shoreline from erosion. While a shore of mangrove trees may not be as appealing to some as a wide-open, sandy beach, the trees are an essential part of the Florida coastline. Mangroves can even withstand the powerful forces of hurricanes, protecting inland areas from many of the storms’ effects. Clearwater Beach sand dunesSand dunes may sometimes block the view of the open sand and sea, but they form an irreplaceable function for the beaches. They store sand for times of greater erosion and help to block the flood waters during storm surges. A beach without dunes is far more vulnerable to erosion than one with a healthy dune system. On your Florida vacation, be sure to treat the mangrove forests and the grasses on the sand dunes with the respect they deserve.

 

History of Shifting Sands on the Florida Gulf Coast

Johns Pass

Johns PassThe most famous story of our changing shoreline comes from a location known as John’s Pass, currently a fun tourist day trip destination. However, the popular boating route and tourist stop of John’s Pass did not always exist. The barrier islands along the coast of what is now Pinellas County continued uninterrupted past the present day channel. According to local history, a storm in 1848 washed away the sands and left an opening in the barrier islands, connecting the Gulf of Mexico and the intra-coastal waterway. The passage is now an essential route for boaters that includes a large drawbridge. Waterfront dining and shops have capitalized on the location, which is a plus for tourists to the Central Gulf Coast.

Dunedin Pass

Clearwater Beach to Caladesi IslandThe second, well-known change in the shoreline was started in 1921 by a hurricane. The water channel known as Dunedin Pass was altered by the storm, and in combination with other forces, caused the sand bar at the north end of Clearwater Beach to migrate northward until the pass closed. It is now possible to walk from Clearwater Beach to Caladesi Island, although locals have not allowed Caladesi’s status as an independent island to fade.

Three Rooker Bar

sand barAnother unique feature of the local coastal landscape shaped by tidal forces is Three Rooker Bar. This land feature began as a sand bar but now is a tiny island supporting both plant and animal life. Thanks to the quickly changing landscape of Three Rooker Bar, you will find it listed online as both an island and a sand bar, depending on where you look. If the forces that made the sand bar continue, not only will the title of island remain, but the island will continue to grow in size.

 

Florida Gulf Coast has a Tradition of Change

Hurricane Pass Dunedin FloridaThe beaches of the Florida Gulf Coast have a tradition of change. While mankind can and does have an effect on preserving beaches, the landscape will continue to shift. You can experience this process for yourself by visiting the channel that runs between Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island. This passage owes its existence to the hurricane of 1921, thus giving it the name Hurricane Pass. You will find long spits of soft, white sand reaching out toward the passage from both islands. You will also see large, areas of sand just beneath the surface, many of which you can walk on during low tides. If you are lucky enough to return to the beaches year after year, you will notice a marked change at Hurricane Pass. The sands on either side of the boating channel are in constant flux. The shape of the beaches changes visibly, while the sand bars move from one location to another.

 

Gulf Coast Beaches

Palm shadows on the beachYour beach holiday on the shores of Florida’s West Coast will surely be amazing. The beaches are renowned for their soft white sands and wonderful weather. You can choose between a manicured public beach or the wild shores of the less-visited barrier islands. In fact, you can visit both during the same day! Keep in mind that the beaches you walk upon might appear the way they do just for you, right at that moment. The next time you visit, you can then see if you recognize the subtle changes in our beaches. Finding the differences can be entertaining so be sure to bring your camera. It might be fun to add the changing sands of the Central Gulf Coast to the list of beautiful sights you will see on your Florida vacation.

 

 

Clearwater Beach dolphin sculpture

Explore the Gulf Coast Dolphin Trail

Dolphin Sculptures at Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

Dolphins sculpture Clearwater BeachOn your Clearwater Beach vacation you will surely notice a host of painted dolphin sculptures prominently displayed along roadways, on sidewalks, and in storefronts. The dolphins are a project created by Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Clearwater, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. The display was kicked off in the fall of 2012 with a display of 50 dolphins lining the sidewalk in front of Pier 60. According to VisitClearwaterFlorida.com, the region now boasts over a hundred of the sculptures.

 

Decorated Dolphins at the Beach

Clearwater Beach Marina dolphins sculptureEach dolphin sculpture is painted and decorated in its own unique way. Before displaying the dolphns, the participating businesses most often paint their dolphins to match the business, or to say something about what they do. You will find the dolphins placed at local shop fronts, usually right outside the entrance. If you peek at the bottoms you might see wheels used to roll the dolphins inside at night. The designs are endless and are almost always bright and colorful.

 

Gulf Coast Dolphin Sculpture Tour

Pier 60 Clearwater Beach sculptureYou can join in the fun of the dolphin sculptures right here on our part of the Florida Gulf Coast by following what is known as the Dolphin Trail. While there doesn’t seem to be any official pathway to follow, the starting point is at Pier 60 where you will find a metal wire sculpture of three dolphins, right in front of Pier 60. From there it is up to you whether you head north, east or south. Whichever direction you chose, you will quickly find dolphin sculptures along the way. According to the dolphin sculpture maps, the island of Clearwater Beach has 22 of the dolphin sculptures. To the north, the shops along Mandalay Avenue have quite a few, while to the south you can find many more of the dolphins on a leisurely stroll along Beach Walk. You can also cross the bridge that takes you off of Clearwater Beach to find a good number of sculptures along Cleveland Avenue in the City of Clearwater. Dolphin sculpture Clearwater FloridaFor the adventurous, there are many more dolphin sculptures across the entire peninsula of Pinellas County. It’s up to you how far you want to go.  Whether you follow the dolphin trail or you simply discover the dolphins on your adventures at the beach, take a moment or two to admire the designs on these unique, regional works of art. Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, and the surrounding Florida Gulf Coast communities are quite proud of their dolphins.

Dolphin sculptures unveiled YouTube video

Dolphin sculpture artists YouTube video

 

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Dinosaur World

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Perfect vacation rental

9 Need to Know Differences between Hotels and Vacation Rentals

Towels and Linens at a Vacation Rental VS a Hotel

Vacation rental king size bedHotels and vacation rentals handle linens and towels very differently. In a hotel, you can get new towels and linens either every day or on the schedule you request. At a vacation rental, your towels and linens are there for the duration of your stay. The perk you will usually get at a vacation rental is an in-unit washer and dryer for your laundry. That is great for week long stays where you are visiting the beach often. It also means, however, that you will be washing the sheets and towels on your own. While an on-call towel service is nice, so is having your own washer and dryer for your one week to one month vacation accommodations.

 

Daily Cleaning at a Hotel Vs a Vacation Rental

Clearwater Beach hotelsHotels will clean your room each day if you let them, while vacation rentals leave that task up to you. The pros and cons are pretty easy to imagine. With a hotel, you get the cleaning done for you. In a vacation rental, you do the cleanup, but, in exchange, the space is yours without interruptions. That means leaving your personal belongings lying around in a vacation rental might feel more comfortable.

 

Staffing at a Hotel VS a Vacation Rental

vacation hotelYour vacation rental staff is always willing to help you out but they are not onsite like a hotel. Help in a hotel is usually right downstairs in the lobby. For a vacation rental, the staff is in an office somewhere in town. While vacation rental offices (like ours) will respond to your call 24hrs a day, it might require a longer period of time to arrive than a hotel, based simply on distance. You might want to choose your vacation rental office based on office location, by the way. A remote office will be less capable of helping you than one closer by.

 

Hotel Check in VS Vacation Rental Deposit

Check in for vacation rentalVacation rentals and hotels operate differently regarding check in. Hotels will take your credit card number to secure your reservation and you pay for your room when you arrive. Vacation rentals most often take a deposit at the time of booking and the remainder upon arrival. This is where researching your vacation rental company becomes a good idea. Are they members of BBB? Are there reviews of at least some of their properties? See our blog on vacation rental scams for more information on how you might protect yourself.

 

Hotel Common Spaces VS Vacation Rental Properties

vacation rental with poolHotel and vacation rental grounds differ considerably. A hotel will always have common areas such as the lobby, rec rooms, restaurants, pools, and so on. A vacation home or vacation cottage, on the other hand, will often have yards that are yours to use. Rather than a balcony, many vacation homes will have patios. If you enjoy luxury accommodations and settings, a hotel is probably your style. If you are looking for spaces to call your own, a vacation home or vacation cottage might be the way to go.

 

Noise and Privacy in a Hotel VS a Vacation Rental

vacation rental spacesIt is easy to guess who comes out on top when comparing noise and privacy between hotels and vacation rentals. Despite the numerous pleasures of a hotel, they are meeting places for larger numbers of people than you will encounter at private residences. This is true even with beach vacation condos. The choice here is between a more dynamic hotel atmosphere and the quieter spaces of a vacation rental.

 

Hotel and Vacation Rental Age Requirements

Clearwater BeachThe difference in age requirements between vacation rentals and hotels is slight, but very important. While most hotels will allow 21 and up to book, the age is higher in most vacation rentals. Our requirement is 25 and up. Anyone who has gone to Florida during Spring Break will understand why that rule is in place. We do apologize to our college friends.

 

Hotel Dining VS Vacation Rental Dining

vacation diningMealtime at a vacation rental is a very different affair than at a hotel. Hotels rooms without kitchenettes offer very few options outside of ordering a pizza or going out on the town. At a vacation rental, how you eat your meals is completely up to you. Vacation rental properties will always have some sort of kitchen, even if it is a kitchenette. Vacation homes and vacation condos will usually have full kitchens, just like at home. Leave the pots and pans at home as these kitchens are stocked with at least the standard complement of kitchenware. If you want a kitchen, look for hotels with condo-style suites, or book your vacation in a vacation home, cottage, or condo.

 

Length of Stay at a Hotel VS a Vacation Rental

Clearwater Beach sunsetHotels will accept accommodations for one night while vacation rentals are intended for longer stays. Ordinarily, a vacation rental will limit the minimum stay to seven days, while some condominium associations will hold vacation rentals to one month minimums only. The plus side to this, of course, is that longer-term vacation rentals will often prove to be the better value for per night costs.

 

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Regatta

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Movie star hippopotamus

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

What is Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park?

Florida manateeHomosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is home to a variety of animals native to the state of Florida. The park is home to a many rescued animals, along with its other exhibits. The animals are displayed in open areas which make viewing easy. The park walkways wind among tall trees, providing plenty of shade for Gulf Coast’s warmer days. A bayou extends into the park which is frequented by manatees, one of the park’s main attractions. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park emphasizes natural Florida Manatee at Homosassa Springsand the preservation of native species. It is a worthy stopover on a Gulf Coast vacation, especially for those who want to see manatees, alligators, or other native Florida species. The Homosassa Springs is a great place to spend the afternoon and makes great entertainment for kids.

Where is Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park?

Homosassa Springs boat rideHomosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is located seventy miles north of Clearwater Beach. It is south of Crystal River Preserve State Park and north of Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. Crystal River, Homosassa Springs, and Chassahowitzka are all located on the coastline known as the Nature Coast of Florida. The park is situated on a bayou branching off from the Halls River. You will find the park in the community of Homosassa Springs off of Hwy 19 (Suncoast Blvd), or by taking the alternate route on Fishbowl Drive, which is a very scenic back road. An old sugar mill is nearby on the Fishbowl Drive route, for those interested in history. Homosassa Springs FloridaBoth parking areas leads to the same entrance but the large parking area off of Hwy 19 includes an informative and beautiful boat ride over to the parking area on Fishbowl Dr. We recommend the boat ride, because it starts at an interesting info center and gift shop. Plus, on your ferry to the park entrance, you can see the natural Florida environment and a good number of native animals living in the wild. The address of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is 4150 South Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34446.

What to See at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

Homosassa Springs hippoOur first recommendation for things to do at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the boat ride to the park entrance. If you miss this ride, you’ve cut out a vital part of the complete experience. You will hear plenty of interesting tidbits from the boat captain as you wind down the slow moving water channel. You might also learn some history, such as the names of famous movies filmed in the area, and about the only non-native animal in the park, Lu the hippopotamus, granted official state citizenship so that he could stay in the park after the end of his Hollywood movie career. You will find gift shops at either end of the boat tour.

Homosassa Springs manateeOnce you enter the park, where you go is up to you. The walkways wind in different directions throughout the park, displaying both native plants and animals. Any walk along the waterway should be done with your eyes alert. You will undoubtedly see manatees swimming in the bayou. Even better is the underwater viewing room where you can see schools of fish and any nearby manatees. Your chances of seeing the large marine mammals is very good, because park rangers feed them at regular intervals from above. You might also find a number of manatees inside of pens on the others side of the waterway, recovering from illness or injury suffered in the wild.

Florida pantherThe park is essentially a zoo, displaying Florida’s native species. You will see just about any bird you can imagine, plus some others. A few of the larger species are egrets, bald eagles, owls, and even turkeys. You can also view of deer, black bears, wolves, cougars, bobcats, alligators, and otters.

While the park has a concession stand, it is also a great place for a picnic. You also won’t want to miss the ice cream stand just past Lu the hippo’s pool. Alligator at Homosassa SpringsThe park makes for a great afternoon on a Florida Gulf Coast vacation and is just over an hour from Clearwater Beach, making it a great outing for the day. If you are going to strike out from the beautiful beaches of the Central Gulf Coast, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is one of the best attractions out there.

Other blog posts you might like:

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Clearwater Marina

Fishing Charter Hotspots on the Florida Gulf Coast

Fishing the Gulf of Mexico

Gulf shores fishing

Dunedin Causeway, Florida

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

 

Find Fishing Charters on the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

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

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

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

 

Best Fish of the Central Gulf Coast of Florida

Clearwater Marina fishing charter

Clearwater Beach Marina

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

Fishing the Gulf of Mexico

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Understanding Florida Gulf Coast Weather

 

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!

 

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Clearwater Beach shoreline

How to Successfully Use Vacation to Relieve Stress

Using Vacation to Relieve Stress

Clearwater BeachVacations are well known to relieve the tension of everyday life. The job and rigors of home life are left behind, replaced by something else. But what is that something else for you? Is it a dynamic location that keeps you active or is it a mellow retreat that allows you to indulge in relaxation? For most people, it is a little bit of both. Here at the beach we are familiar with plenty of ways to do play hard or kick back. But why does it work? How do vacations take you away from it all? Why doesn’t it always work? What can you do to improve your chances of casting aside your day-to-day stress?

 

How to Enhance Stress Relief on Vacation

Honeymoon Island, FloridaThe secret to relieving stress on vacation might be easier than you think.  Two main methods exist;

  • Dynamic action
  • Nothing at all

Of course, we may be over-simplifying. What do these two options really mean?

 

A Dynamic Vacation Relieves Stress

Parasailing Clearwater BeachAn active vacation is a great way to relieve stress. Here at the beach that can mean swimming, volleyball, jet skis, power boat rentals, scooter rentals, or even parasailing. Actions such as those can have the effect of yanking you away from the world you left behind. It is difficult to remain focused on daily troubles while jetting across the waves or while dangling a hundred feet above the Gulf of Mexico. Dynamic activities absorb your attention. They work very well for putting you in the present, where you can enjoy your vacation destination with a new perspective.

 

A Relaxing Vacation Relieves Stress

Beach umbrellas on Clearwater BeachIt might go without saying that relaxation relieves stress. What could be better than sitting on a recliner beneath a beach umbrella for a few hours? How about a stroll on the beach? Other activities are mild enough to find places on the relaxation side of the equation. Try riding bikes down the beach sidewalks, walking the shoreline, searching for seashells, dining out, or taking a harbor cruise to see dolphins or watch the sunset. After a number of relaxing activities you might find you feel much better.

 

Planning a Stress Free Vacation

Clearwater BeachPlanning a stress free vacation might involve very little actual planning. Once you choose your destination (we suggest the beach), the next part of your plan should involve activities. Our recommendation is to consider a combination both dynamic and relatively idle activities. Start with something at the top of your excitement level. Give your vacation kick-start. You might find that an activity that gets your heart beating will make the rest of your vacation much more enjoyable. In other words, start with a bang to reorient yourself to your new environment. Afterward, it’s time to relax the days away with an ice cold drink on a sandy beach. You might achieve that stress free vacation you’ve always wanted.

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Aerial of Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island

 

Pet vacation

3 Essential Rules for Taking Your Pet on Vacation

Control Your Pet while on Vacation

Dogs on beachIt is not always easy to find a vacation rental that will accept pets. Once you do, it is definitely in your best interest to have your pet under control. You don’t want your little pal to chew up something you have to pay for, and you certainly don’t want him or her to piddle in the vacation rental. Two obvious ways to prevent problems with pet control are pet crates and leashes. Yes, even cats can be put on leashes. If your cat reacts poorly to a collar then a crate is definitely something you should consider. An animal on the loose and one in a crate make two very different impressions on property owners. Good control of your pet should extend through the time of your stay. If you are in a vacation condo, you will encounter your neighbors while walking your pet. If your pet is loose while outside, this could cause a number of problems. Dogs can frighten people, especially if the animal is large. Your very friendly pooch might just want to say hello, but if the incident scares your neighbor, you might wind up with a complaint. A leash that can be kept at six feet is advisable while leaving the building. Only let your pet greet people who show interest in meeting him or her. Only allow your pet off the leash in approved areas. Check the Internet for local dog parks near your vacation rental.

 

Clean Up After Your Pet while on Vacation

Tarpon Springs catThe last thing you want to do while on vacation with your pet is to leave a mess behind. The terrain surrounding your vacation rental will be new to you. You will not know by looking whether someone will mind if you leave pet droppings behind. Even in the middle of a forest you should clean up your pet’s droppings to protect the local wildlife. Of course, at a beach rental, you are dealing with some of the most valued real estate in the region. Picking up after your pet is essential. Never leave droppings on the beach, and don’t bury it under the sand! The other key feature of cleaning up after your pet has to do with odor. You must keep in mind that someone will be staying in the same unit when you leave. While you might be able to make a pet “accident” disappear to the eye, the cleaning crew should know about it so they can sanitize the floor at that location. The other big no-no is to allow your pet’s odor to wind up in the fabric of sofas or beds. If your pet is of the opinion that he or she is too good for the floor, then use a blanket or towel to protect the permanent fabrics of the unit. And, be absolutely sure to wash the cloths your pet slept on. Nothing is more off-putting than to pull a blanket to your chin and smell the last tenant’s pet. You can prevent your pet deposit from being used for clean up by protecting your vacation rental from pet odors

 

Never Try to Hide Your Pet at a Vacation Rental

Big dogHiding your pet at a vacation rental might seem like a good idea, but really, it’s not. When you consider that some vacation rentals might actually evict you, it’s just not worth the risk. The other penalty you might face is added fees. A vacation rental office has every right to charge a pet deposit fee once they have found out you have an animal in your unit. You could also face additional cleaning fees. But money is not the only thing you might lose. You also damage your reputation with the vacation rental office. You have committed deception and now the rental office won’t trust you. Will they be as willing to rent to you next time? You never know. If you bring your four-footed family member into a location that does not allow pets, especially a condominium complex, you might upset the neighbors. That’s not a situation a vacation rental company wants. Ordinarily, pet deposits are not very much money compared to the trouble you could get into by sneaking in your pet. In the long run, it pays to be up front about your furry friends. When you stay at a pet friendly vacation rental, you will have nothing to worry about but planning your next day of fun.

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vacation rental scams

How to Avoid Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation Rental Scams Are Out There

Vacation rental scams are terrible to hear about. People look at beautiful pictures online of a perfect vacation rental; it’s on the beach, it has enough rooms for the family, it has a pool, and all the amenities they wanted. When they email the owner, the price is perfect, comparable but just a little lower than the others. They hand over their credit card information and the charge for the deposit goes through. Or perhaps it is worse. Maybe the person puts down the whole amount in advance. Vacation rentals can cost thousands of dollars. When you try to contact the person again just before it’s time to go on vacation, they are not there to answer. Another, more gruesome situation, is when the prospective tenants arrive for their vacation to find the unit does not exist or is occupied by permanent residents who know nothing about the rental. Both legitimate vacation rental companies and scammers take money upfront at the time of booking, either a deposit or the full amount. The length of time between booking and the actual vacation can span from a few weeks to over a year ahead of time. It is horrifying to discover that the money you paid so long ago has been stolen. The trail is cold and the vacation rental scammer is long gone.

 

Avoiding Vacation Rental Scams

Vacation rental scammers take advantage of your trust. To fight back against them, unfortunately, you need to be a little suspicious. Or, taking a higher road, let’s say you need to be vigilant. Every time you book a vacation rental, you should check into the person or company before you pay. Consider it a matter of routine. With the Internet, this is easier than ever. Do you know the name of the company? The name of the person? Enter the name in a search and see what you get. Known scammers will light up the screen with alerts and warnings. Once you have gotten over that hurdle, it’s time to see who they really are. Do they have a website? Are they listed on Yelp, Urban Spoon, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, or other similar web directories? Are they members of the Better Business Bureau? It is difficult for scammers to be listed for any length of time on websites like those. Betrayed consumers will readily report abusive businesses to those websites –and so should you! The reports of fraud will cause their ratings to drop or, more likely, get them banned, or create a scam alert, depending on the site.

 

Vacation Rental Scam Checklist

  • Do they have a website?
  • Do they have a blog, Facebook page, or other social media outreach?
  • Do their online vacation rental listings appear realistic?
  • Does the rental address check out as a real address on Google Maps or Map Quest?
  • Are they listed with online business directories?
  • Are they members of the BBB?
  • Do they have a phone number where they can be reached?
  • Do they answer their phone or return your calls?
  • Do their email responses include company info such as name and address?
  • Do they have online reviews from previous vacation rental customers?
  • Do they send receipts?
  • Do the receipts include company name and address?

 

Leave Vacation Rental Scams Behind

Remember that most of the vacation rental companies out there are not scammers. While some companies are better versed in good service than others, for the most part, they are all operating legitimate businesses. Don’t let the scammers spoil all the fun. It is wise to do your research first, then call the company afterward. Why would you want to do it the other way around anyway! Doing research first lends to two good results. One, you will not waste time talking to a company you have not checked out yet. Two, you will have a greater chance of securing the exact rental you want. When you call up already knowing you can trust the vacation rental office, your only concern is which rental you will choose. You can make your decision faster than someone who has doubts. You might also avoid losing that perfect vacation rental to the person on the other line who made their decision first.

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Secrets of the Fall at Clearwater Beach

Gorgeous Autumn Weather at Clearwater Beach

Clearwater BeachClearwater Beach has seasonal weather just like anywhere else. While you will never find snow here, it can dip down to perhaps the 40’s in the winter time. However, we are fortunate enough to not see those extremes very often. The fall in Clearwater Beach is never so cold. The weather is warm and the sun is most often shining. The subtropical rainstorms of summer afternoons are fading away and all that is left to replace them is warm air and sandy beaches. While autumn might not seem like prime time to take a beach vacation, you might be surprised how much fun you can have here at Clearwater Beach from September to November.

 

Fantastic Fall Festivals at Clearwater Beach

Stone Crab Fest Clearwater BeachOne of the best parts about autumn at Clearwater Beach is the festivals. You will find some of the best events hidden in the last third of the year. Among the best known festivities are the various stone crab festivals, the Chalk Walk festival, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, the Super Boat Races, the TriRock Triathlon, and the Dunedin Celtic Music festival. Coming to Clearwater beach after summer has Clearwater Beach Chalk Walk 3013ended can definitely have its advantages. All the above events draw great, upbeat crowds, all those attending enjoying the setting of the Florida Gulf Coast. Clearwater Beach comes alive during many of these events, adding an exciting buzz to the air in addition to the natural beauty of the beach.

 

Find Cheaper Vacation Rentals at Clearwater Beach

Vacation rental with beach viewOne of the most popular things about coming to Clearwater Beach in the autumn months is the price. While the cheapest time to come is still November and December, you will find that the rates you search for online for autumn are going to be less expensive than spring and summer.

 

Cleawater Beach in Autumn

Clearwater harbor lightsIf the tourism high season of spring or the traditional beach days of summer aren’t for you, then consider a trip to Clearwater Beach in the fall. You will find warm days with good weather, an abundance of festivals to attend, and rates that might put a smile on your face. Clearwater Beach in the fall is a great vacation idea.

 

Dunedin Celtic Music and Craft Beer Festival

Clearwater Beach TriRock Triathlon 2013

Clearwater Beach Stone Crab Festival 2013