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The Delights of Clearwater Beach - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Other Florida

We had spent a couple of hours strolling along the pristine white sand of Clearwater Beach a couple of years back but, on that occasion, we were pressed for time giving us little opportunity for further exploration.

On this visit we had put a full day aside and had some preconceived ideas of what we were going to do, thanks to my son’s internet surfing skills and his insistence that we take a speedboat trip.

The beach is located on a spit of land separated from the mainland by a two-mile bridge called the Memorial Causeway (US60). Although there are ample parking lots, they do fill quickly, so I would advise arriving as early as possible and if you can, try to visit on a weekday rather than on a Saturday and Sunday.

We were soon sampling the delights of the marina, which is home to a plethora of fishing charters and sightseeing boats offering sunset dinner cruises and dolphin tours. For the more adventurous parasailing is also available. The marina area is very much the hub of the beach area with lots of shops and restaurants and it was from here, after a light lunch, that we embarked on our boat trip. The choice really is overwhelming but after lots of temptation from the likes of the Pirate Galleon and the Little Toot tug we opted for our first choice the Seascreamer speedboat.

Billed as the world’s largest speedboat we were treated to a gentle cruise through the harbour before heading out into the Gulf of Mexico for a spot of dolphin watching. Everyone was soon reaching for their cameras as several of these wonderful creatures swam close by, just off the bow. Then it was time to open up the engines for an exhilarating ride at speed through the intercostal waterway…. take a towel along because you will get very wet! !

We had planned to leave around late afternoon but instead thought we would eat first with the intention of letting the traffic thin out before making our way back to Orlando.

This proved to be an inspired decision. As we left the restaurant there seemed to be a lot of activity in the area of Pier 60, which juts out across the white sand into the Gulf of Mexico, so we decided to investigate. The place was alive with people, the band was playing and local traders were setting up their stalls in an impromptu flea market.

Then we realised just what a wonderful location this was to watch the sun go down. As it disappeared below the horizon a bell sounded, the crowds clapped and cheered, and a magnificent red sky was there for all to behold.

The pier lights were soon on adding a special ambience to the bustling market and it was well after dark before we finally made our way back to the car for our journey home.

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Page added on: 30 July 2008
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