Exploring Fun Things To Do In Clearwater Beach

 

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

During my travels to Clearwater Beach, Florida, last month, my boyfriend L and I had a chance to explore the area for five glorious days courtesy of The City of Clearwater.* If you haven’t yet read my initial blog post, “So Many Reasons To Fall in Love With Clearwater Beach,” be sure to check it out. Clearwater Beach is ranked #1 Best Beach in the US and #20 Best Beach in the world by TripAdvisor.

 

In addition to the sugar sand beaches, there are many other fun things to do in Clearwater Beach. That’s why it’s an ideal vacation spot whether you’re traveling as a couple or taking a family or multi-generational trip (as many baby boomers do these days). “I would definitely bring my future grandchildren to Clearwater Beach,” I said to L. He smiled and hinted that I might be a grandma before he is a grandpa, although it seems far in the future for both of us.

A Visit To Clearwater Marine Aquarium
“Welcome to Clearwater Marine Aquarium,” said Jen Carlisle, Director of Tourism Programs. A marine life rescue, relief and release center, the aquarium is home to Winter, the famous dolphin from the Dolphin Tale movie. Winter lost her tail at a young age after becoming entangled in a crab trap line. (Note: Read to the end and enter the giveaway below to win a Blu-ray copy of Dolphin Tale!)

Jen told us that Winter was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium where she was treated for extensive injuries. “Most dolphins with these type of injuries do not survive. She taught herself to swim and the team built a prosthetic tail for her. She is an incredible survivor story and an inspiration to millions who have persevered through hardship,” said Jen.
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So Many Reasons To Fall In Love With Clearwater Beach

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50

Glorious sunshine by day and picturesque sunsets at dusk, miles of pearly white sugar sand beaches, clear blue gulf waters, an abundance of restaurants with fresh fish and seafood, and luxurious resorts with gulf coast views — there are so many reasons to fall in love with Clearwater Beach.

It’s easy to see why this Florida spot has won multiple accolades in recent years, including #1 Best Beach in the US and #20 Best Beach in the world by TripAdvisor, plus “Best Beach” recognition from USA Today, Travel Channel, Condé Nast Traveler and Fodor’s Travel Publications.

Clearwater Beach; City of Clearwater; best beach; Florida

I had a chance to soak it all in courtesy of The City Of Clearwater and I’m back to share the details.* My lucky boyfriend L joined me for five fantastic days at the new Wyndham Grand Resort Clearwater Beach, the second biggest hotel on the beach with waterfront vistas and waterside bar and restaurant.

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Hotel; Clearwater Beach; City of Clearwater; best beach; Florida; Florida beaches; gulf coast; boomer travel

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Hotel; Clearwater Beach; City of Clearwater; best beaches; Florida; Florida beaches; boomer travel

It was nice to meet other writers on the FAM trip including Lisa Niver from WeSaidGoTravel.com and Jason Frye from TeaKettle Junction Productions, Inc. (Note: A familiarization trip, known as FAM Trip, is where media are invited to visit a city by the Tourism Board or Visitor Bureau or City Marketing Organization.)

Clearwater Beach; #1 best beach by Tripadvisor; Florida

My new FAM friends and travel mates.

Easy To Travel To
We flew into Tampa International Airport, which is about a 30 – 40 minute ride to Clearwater Beach. (Note there is also a Clearwater/St. Pete airport that services many cities.) There’s free local transportation with FloridaFreeRides.com, so we didn’t need to rent a car. You just call for a ride and tip the driver afterwards. It was very convenient. There is also Jolley Trolley that runs up and down the beach and coastal route 7 days a week. Plus Uber is available if you need a ride.

The Best Beaches
I had heard that there was something special about Clearwater Beach. The minute we stepped on the sand with our bare feet we smiled. “Ooh, aah, ooh, ahh! This is amazing sand,” I said to L. It felt so good to stroll along the soft sand. My Fitbit quickly hit 10,000 steps. We walked along the water’s edge, the water was warm. It was relaxing, shedding our worries and enjoying our time together.

Clearwater Beach; # 1 TripAdvisor Best Beach USA; Florida; boomer travel

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Where Do You Want To Travel During Your Life After 50?

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50From my visit to The New York Times Travel Show held at the Jacob K. Javits Center, N.Y.C. in January, it’s clear that boomers are a prime audience for many destinations. From Costa Rica to California, from Florida to the Philippines, from Morocco to Martinique, and everywhere else you can take a plane, ship, train or drive to visit, the post 50 market is on the move and so are their millennial children.

In fact, The New York Times announced that its annual Travel Show reached a new record of 30,099 participants during the three-day event —the highest attendance in the Show’s history.

The New York Times Travel Show; boomer travel; travel

The New York Times Travel Show reached a new record of more than 30,000 attendees.

So where do you want to travel during your life after 50?

I always like to see what places The New York Times Travel recommends each year. On the list of 52 for 2017, I’ve been to Canada (a variety of eastern and western cities), Detroit, Hamburg (Germany), Minneapolis, Kingston (Jamaica), Napa Valley (California), Sedona (Arizona), Madrid (Spain), Portland (Oregon), and yes, believe it or not South Bronx, N.Y., which is on the list. Since I was born in the Bronx I am curious to know more about this “industrial neighborhood’s revival!” That’s only 10 spots. Looks like I have much more traveling to do in my lifetime.

What’s Trending In Travel?
There were a few trends that I noticed from the panels at the Show. I also attended a media event sponsored by Trav Media, where I met with Convention and Visitor’s Bureau representatives to learn about their destinations and chat with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) members to hear about their itineraries. Continue reading

So Much To Explore and Do In St. Pete’s Vibrant Downtown

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50As a former New Yorker, I love exploring new cities whenever I travel. That’s why I so enjoyed my first visit to St. Petersburg, Florida. St. Pete has the best of both worlds – the beautiful beaches on the Gulf Coast and St. Pete’s vibrant downtown that’s filled with great restaurants, shops and cultural destinations. If I ever decide to spend my life after 50 winters in a warmer climate, I could definitely see myself residing in St. Pete, or a Florida city nearby.

downtown St. Pete, Florida; Bodega Cuban Sandwiches; Local Market; Dali Museum; Florida

A sampling of downtown St. Pete.

The downtown area is very close to Pass-a-Grille, where my boyfriend L and I stayed at the Inn on the Beach. (Did you read my first post about all the things to do in Pass-a-Grille? If not click here.) By car, it’s only about a 20 minute ride. We found parking to be inexpensive —  it cost only $5 to park in the garage on Saturday. You can also grab a trolley from Pass-a-Grille to downtown which takes about 45 minutes.

Inn on the Beach Pass-A-Grille; Pass-A-Grille; St. Pete Beaches; life after 50; Florida; St Pete, Florida; Pass-A-Grille, St. Pete

The Inn on the Beach in Pass-A-Grille, St Pete, Florida.

A Best-ever Cuban Sandwich
One of our first stops for dinner was Bodega on Central Avenue, suggested by a member of the @VSPC Tourism team. The corridor is filled with a diverse selection of hip and cool small businesses run by entrepreneurs. Bodega was voted “Best of the Bay” for their Cuban sandwich, which is exactly what I ordered.

 

Bodega SignsIt was OMG, OMG, OMG, the best Cuban sandwich I’ve ever eaten. L ordered a roasted pork platter with plaintains, which was so, so good too. Bodega is known for their freshly made juices, a trend that I found all over Venice Beach, California last November as well. We sampled two different varieties with ingredients like ginger, turmeric, carrots and apples. I would recommend sharing a sandwich and juice if you go – it was way too much food for L and me to consume for dinner.

Bodega Cuban Sandwich; St. Pete's Vibrant Downtown; Florida

Best-ever Cuban Sandwich.

 

Bodega Pork and Plaintain platter; Bodega; St. Pete's vibrant downtown

Delicious pork and plantains.

 

To Market, To Market
On Saturday we headed back downtown to experience St. Pete’s Saturday Morning Market, held every Saturday, October – May from 9 am – 2 pm. It is the largest fresh market in the Southeast US. There’s food, crafts, and music. It’s so much fun. Continue reading

A Pleasant Winter Retreat In Pass-a-Grille, St. Pete

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“I really like your blog, and wondered if you would care to come and visit us at Inn on the Beach for a two-night stay. To tell you a little about ourselves, we’re a complex of recently refurbished self-catering cottages and rooms situated on St Pete Beach, many of them offering beautiful views out over the gulf,” said the invitation from D.*

Having never explored the west coast of Florida, I was excited to visit. My boyfriend L was also glad to get away. So when the cold winds roared last week, we packed our bags and headed for a long weekend in sunny St. Pete. We added a few extra nights to lengthen our stay giving us time for a pleasant winter retreat at the Inn on the Beach in Pass-a-Grille.

Inn on the Beach Pass-a-Grille; Pass-a-Grille; St. Pete Beaches; life after 50; Florida; St Pete, Florida; Pass-A-Grille, St. Pete

The Inn on the Beach in Pass-a-Grille, St Pete, Florida.

The Inn on the Beach Is A Little Bit Of Paradise
We arrived after a short flight from Philadelphia to Tampa International Airport, rented a car, and were at the Inn on the Beach in about 30 minutes. The Inn is located on 14th Street and Gulf Way in the historic Pass-a-Grille area,

Inn on the Beach in Pass-A-Grille; Pass-A-Grille; Pass-A-Grille, St. Pete; Florida; St. Petersburg; life after 50

My boyfriend L and I were excited to arrive at the Inn on the Beach.

We rented the Blue Heron room on the second floor with a terrace overlooking the beach. The room had a king size bed, open closet to hang our clothes, renovated bathroom and little efficiency kitchen. There is onsite parking, daily maid service, daily coffee, and continental breakfast is served in the courtyard on the weekend.

Inn on the Beach; Pass-A-Grille; Pass-A-Grille, St. Pete; Florida; life after 50

Our room had a kitchenette and king size bed.

Inn on the Beach in Pass-A-Grille; Pass-A-Grille, St. Pete; Florida; St. Petersburg; life after 50

A beach view from our balcony.

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