Beaches in Florida … Part 1

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Orlando and Central Florida are famous for their attractions and theme parks but sometimes it’s just nice to get away from all the hustle and bustle for the day and have some beach time. Florida’s beaches are constantly rated among the best in the nation and the combination of sandy shorelines and sparkling water makes them an instant attraction.

Florida has many coastal communities and every preference can be easily satisfied. Whether you prefer a long lazy day on the beach with the family, a day alone with your thoughts or a day filled with meeting new friends playing volleyball or engaging in some of the many water sports, Florida’s beaches have something for everyone.

Today, we’re going to explore the West Coast. Tomorrow, we’ll do the East Coast.

Just a short 90 minute drive from Central Florida is the Sun Coast. The area from Naples (a 3 to 4 hour drive from Orlando) in the south to Tarpon Springs, in the north, is known for its miles and miles of prime beaches. It includes the well known coastal cities of Saint Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, Tampa, Brandon, Ruskin, Bradenton, Sarasota, Punta Gorda, Englewood, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Venice and Naples.  It’s here that you’ll find  three of the Suncoast beaches that have been named in the top 10 of the United States: Caladesi Beach, Desoto Beach and Siesta Key Beach.

A visit to the 35 miles of snow white barrier island beaches running from Clearwater to St. Petersburg is one of the most popular days out for those folks staying in one of our  Disney area vacation homes  as the area can easily be reached within a two hour drive. Setting out reasonably early, grabbing some breakfast on the way, enjoying a full day on the beach and taking in a fabulous beach-side restaurant for dinner before heading back  home is many people’s idea of fun and who can blame them?

Clearwater Beach is perhaps the most popular destination, especially for families, as they utilize the clean beach playground at Pier 60 Park. Fishing, volleyball and dolphin watching are popular local pastimes and in the evening the sunsets are a wonderful sight to see.

If you’re looking for a more active day at the beach then head to St. Petersburg as you’ll find an incredible amount of things to do…

The city has a children’s museum (Great Explorations), Museum of Fine Arts,  a History Museum (which has a full-size replica of the Benoist seaplane and is located near the approximate spot by the St. Petersburg Pier where the first flight took place), a Holocaust Museum and the Salvador Dali Museum, which houses the largest collection of Dalis outside of Europe, including a number of famous and large-scale paintings such as The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

The St. Petersburg Pier is a popular tourist attraction. It contains a small aquarium open to the public, retail shopping, adventure activities, and both casual and fine dining restaurants. Various sightseeing boat rides are also offered. Frequently docked at The Pier is the replica of HMS Bounty used in the 1962 MGM movie starring Marlon Brando.

Downtown is the location of the Bay Walk  shopping complex which contains an IMAX 20 screen movie theater, as well as many chain restaurants and retail shops, catering to more of a middle and upper class audience. Baywalk  is also a nightlife destination although it is less well attended than the block surrounding Jannus Landing, just south of BayWalk.

If you fancy driving further south then you’ll find a more relaxing experience as the areas around Naples, Marco Island, and the Islands of Sanibel and Captiva are more laid back. Beachcombers will enjoy scouring the sand for exotic and rare seashells but do be careful of the ‘Sanibel Stoop’ or the ‘Captiva Crouch’ because hours of bending over looking for the perfect shell in the shelling capitals of the world can cause sore muscles and backache!

Naples and Marco Island has perhaps the deepest blue water you’ll find in the area and the sand is ‘pearl’ colored. It’s a great place to rent a boat and explore the inlets and waterways for dolphins, manatees and other wildlife.

Fort Myers Beach is also worthy of mention and if you’re the type of beach bum who can’t sit still then you’ll enjoy the many activities that are on offer here; para-sailing, jet ski, water ski, volleyball, and bike rides are just some of the activities to enjoy in the warm Florida sunshine.

The West Coast is a great day out and if you fancy spending more time there you can find plenty of accommodation available for an overnight trip.  You’ll be sure to have a lot of fun and r&r before heading home to do it all again at your Florida Leisure vacation home. Enjoy.

One Response to Beaches in Florida … Part 1

  1. Nice site! Very professional and full of information.

    May 4, 2010 at 12:50 am

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