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.
Today, Winter is 12 years old and is a big draw for aquarium visitors. In addition to dolphins, the aquarium rescues and rehabilitates distressed sea turtles. It even tracks the sea turtles after they are released back into the water.
Jen gave us a quick tour of the facilities and then we took a 90 minute ride on the Sea Life Safari. The boat tour included several dolphin sightings, a net pull with an explanation of sea creatures, and a stop on shell island.
“Don’t forget to get your pictures taken with the dolphins when you get off the boat,” said Jen. We appreciated the reminder and had some laughs with the camera. Take a look:
Beach and Bay Activities
There are several companies along the marina pier that offer water sports, fishing and more activities:
♥ Fishing: You can rent or join a charter boat and go fishing for Florida grouper. There are restaurants along the marina where you can bring your fresh caught fish and they will debone and cook it for you.
♥ Bird Watching: There are boat rides where you can go out on the bay to watch the different species of sea coast birds. I enjoyed walking along the pier and watching the pelicans try to snatch the fish from the fishermen.
♥ Dolphin Watching: We saw a few dolphins during our Safari boat ride. There are quite a few charters that go out on the bay for sightseeing.
♥ Sailing: You can go parasailing, sail on a catamaran, rent a jet-sky, or even go diving. There are many rental stands on the beach and along the marina.
♥ Go For A Walk On The Beach: If you like to be on land rather than at sea, then I highly recommend you take a long walk on the beach and simply soak in the goodness of the sugar soft sand. It’s amazing sand!
♥ Bungie Trampoline: This activity is more for kids, yet I found myself wanting to try it. Maybe next time! Instead L and I went next door to eat ice cream at the Barefoot Beach House.
Pier 60 Sunsets and Entertainment
Pier 60 which jets out along the gulf is the place to be day or night. There’s always something going on – street performers like the mermaid below, crafters and artists selling their handicrafts, and musicians singing for their supper.
At around 7:45 pm the pier is packed with people ready with their cameras for the perfect sunset. Guaranteed to be beautiful every night.
There you have it. Are you ready to book your next vacation to sunny Clearwater Beach? I can’t wait to go back.
Enter Giveaway for a Blu-ray of Dolphin Tale
In honor of Winter, the courageous dolphin, this week I’m doing a giveaway for a Blu-ray copy of the Dolphin Tale movie, which made Winter a star. Leave a comment about your favorite beach vacation spot and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: The City of Clearwater sponsored my trip to Clearwater Beach. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.