Off to Clearwater Beach Florida!

by | Mar 8, 2015 | Excursions | 0 comments

My wife ran down the hall of our small Ligonier, PA office and into Christine’s office and said, “I need a vacation!”  On Christine’s wall was a postcard of a beautiful blue beach.  Laurie pointed to it and said, “Send us there!”

The postcard was of Clearwater Beach, Florida.  Our vacation spot in the first week of March during a horrible Pittsburgh winter.

We went from something like this:

Off to Clearwater Beach Florida!

To something like this:

Off to Clearwater Beach Florida!

Where is Clearwater Beach?

Just west of Tampa (like 40 minutes from the airport), Clearwater is perfectly located from the airport. Once you land, in about an hour, you can be laying on the beach.

We had such a great time in Clearwater.  Everything was pretty much within walking distance (there is an inexpensive trolley as well), and the area is extremely bicycle friendly.

The people were friendly and the food was great.

Things to do Clearwater Beach Florida

We were in Clearwater Beach for a week and we were never lacking in things to do.  Here is a list of some of the places we went to and things we did:

Florida Entertainment near Clearwater Beach:

  • Clearwater Beach Aquarium – Ever see Dolphin Tale?  This is the place.
  • Gatorland – Surprisingly fun. If you are into zip lines, they have one that is rated as the top 10 in the world!
  • Pier 60 – Like fishing?  We didn’t catch a thing… but it was beautiful!
  • Charter Boat – We took an 8 hour charter to go Dolphin watching, tubing and island exploring!
  • Egmont Key – Totally awesome island.  Gopher turtles, WWII Ruins, Lighthouse… what more could you ask for?
  • Sponge Factory – Need a sponge?  They have the world’s largest selection!

Food in and near Clearwater Beach:

  • Clear Sky Beach Cafe – Best breakfast place we visited.
  • Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill – We stopped in here the first night.  We loved it! Very casual.
  • Island Way Grill – Great beer selection, amazing staff, a bit pricey but worth it.
  • Cooter’s Restaurant & Bar – Our waitress was amazing.  Took an order for six of us, half of which were decisive and got everything right.  Never had an empty beer.  Our oysters…  were tiny.  Like… REALLY small.
  • Columbia – This place was our last stop.  Amazing food.  A must stop.

 How did we Travel?

My wife, our nine year old, twelve year old and I made due with a carry on each and one checked bag.  I packed us each four pair of shorts, shirts, under-ware, one pair of socks for each carry on.  My wife saved the day with more necessities in the checked bag that I would not thought of.

Four of us traveled super light.  We actually out did our two travel buddies who checked two bags and had a bigger carry on than two of ours combines ;).

Modes of transportation:

  • Spirit Airlines – Four people to Florida, dirt cheap and only fifteen minutes from our house.  It doesn’t get better than that.
  • Shuttle Bus – Tours by Christine arranged a Mercedes shuttle bus to take us into Clearwater.
  • Uber – Totally got us out of a first day. It was pouring and the guy took us what turned out to be thee miles to our house.  The poor guy had to drive onto the island to get us.
  • Party Cab – This was… interesting. Good group of guys though and very reliable.  You pay them what you want to.
  • Mustang Convertible – On day three my lovely wife decided we needed a car.  At Avis, she managed to get us $20.00 upgrade to a candy apple red Mustang Convertible. I was so flippin’ happy.

Special thanks to my lovely wife Laurie for planning this trip!