CLEARWATER BEACH, FLORIDA
It was a long cold winter here in East Tennessee, so we headed off on an adventure in March, looking for some sunshine and hot weather. We found the sun, but the weather was a bit on the chilly side around sixty degrees most of the week. Sorry, peeps, no bikini shots from this trip (or ever).
The cheap flight to Clearwater from Knoxville was fine, although we left during a heavy rain just after a storm had passed. Our Mustang GT convertible rental car was waiting for us when we arrived. I had reserved a convertible with visions of driving down the freeway with my hair blowing in the wind and the hot sun beaming down upon us. This wasn't exactly the way it worked out, but he was a good sport as usual and pulled over to put the top down for those last few cloudy miles. That was the only time it was down all week.
In hind sight, we didnt even need a car, but since we had it we did venture away from our immediate area a couple of times.
Apparently the Mustang GT Convertible is the official car of southern Florida. The parking lots were full of these.
We stayed at the Wyndham Garden Resort at the southern end of "the strip." If you see the small bridge in the bottom of the photo above, we were just to the left of it where you see the small patch of white sand. That was the hotel's private beach. It was an older hotel (with new hotel prices) that has been redone and we were impressed with how nice they have been able to make the rooms. It was bay-front but not exactly ocean front. If you look to the right in some of our photos from the balcony you will see where the ocean joins the bay.
Don't get too excited about the Starbucks located inside this hotel. A small cup of coffee was five bucks. Of course they had the mini coffee pots in the room that always make me wonder what bodily fluid has been poured in the top of them. Yes, I've watched too many 20/20's and 60 Minutes episodes.
This was our view. Not half bad, and a little more interesting that straight on ocean front. But I missed the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. That little strip of land you see across the way is a public beach which looks really nice.
This was the first night when we walked to the pier area to eat and watch the sunset. As you can see, the streets and sidewalks are super clean, lined with lights and felt pretty safe. The ocean is just behind the cute guy in the photo.
Again, nice sidewalks, and the turtle on the pole is actually a shower to wash the sand off as you leave. Kids were loving this of course. And again, that hot dude keeps showing up in the pics.
Thank goodness for hats at the beach!
Suggestions for future travel:
Stay at the Sandpearl or the Hilton, or any of the hotels at the central beach area. This puts you at easy walking distance to all the shopping and restaurants.
Use YELP to pick restaurants. We didn't have a bad meal all week (and we had a lot of meals)!
If you near the middle of the beach/strip, you won't need a car.
Flights from Knoxville are cheap!