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keysmama Clearwater - A travel report by MaxiStarr
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Clearwater,  United States - flag United States -  Florida
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keysmama's travel reports

Clearwater Beach

  15 votes
I was looking to take the kids to a quaint and quiet area of Florida, with no theme parks or hordes of tourists. We chose Clearwater Beach. Our last trip during red tide, the smell of dead fish ook away from the great views of the Gulf. But we went back!


Red tide is taking the toll on the beaches of the Tampa Bay area. Clearwater beach, while sprawling and full of fun, is littered with dead fish, and litter. The beach needs a serious clean up, and the city would be wise to have beach cleaners! Not enjoyable to play among the dead fish in the sand with children. The town itself is old, with little food to choose from aside from typical American fare. Clearwater and Clearwater beach have potential though, and I hope to visit again and see improvements.

We went back, and red tide was over. How wonderful the beach was to enjoy! The water is pretty calm and very clear in the winter months, yet the sun very warm on the cool sand. Not too crowded yet in February either, which made it lovely.

Favourite spots:
The city pier is fun for sunset, but not exactly kid friendly. Lots of drunk tourists ( not me mind you), and cigarette smoking. The street performers like kids, except for the fire-throwing guy, he is down right sadistic towards children.

Interantional Mall was upscale and has world class shopping. Robb and Stuckey's , Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co., and great specialty shops.

At the beaches there are jet ski rentals, boats, parasailing and just plain staring at the peaceful sea, which is what I did most of the time.

What's really great:
There is a GREAT vegan mexican restaurant just about 10 minutes north of the beach in Dunedin, called Casa Tina. Besides the very cool foods, you can also stroll in the little shopping and historic district of Dunedin. So I guess the best part of Clearwater beach was Dunedin!

The downtown Clearwater Beach area is also great to park and stroll. Lots of shops, cafes and sights. Construction too, but still pretty clean. The gianormous Scientology Center is in the Clearwater Beach business and waterfront district too, and it is quite impressive.

Sights:
the public beach near the pier
the public beach near the pier
The Pier for sunset and tourist shopping. Fun for night time adults are better suited for the night activities here though.

During the day, the city park and pier is a great playground (although pretty trashed from the night time fun with broken beer bottles, and cigarette butts...) keep the kids shoes on!

Also during the day, there are some inflated rock climbing walls, super slides and bounce houses that kids can buy an arm band and ride all they want. The guy who runs it was great and very helpful. When my youngest decided that climbing many feet into the air and then sliding down a large shoot was just too much, he offered me a refund without me asking. Very friendly locals- don't seem to mind the tourists at all.

Channelside, although a tourist trap for the cruise ships that come into the port, is just really fun when no boats are there. Very quiet, movie theater, shops, great ice cream stop and right on the water.

We shopped at Gulf Coast Jean company there. Funky!

Accommodations:
The Hilton Clearwater Beach- very kid friendly and great views.

Restaurants:
Casa Tina mexican and ecclectic vegetarian/mexican. Awesome!

Island Way on the Clearwater Beach is very cool Asian/American fusion, but little to choose from for picky kids or vegetarians.

Thai Thani on US Hwy 19 is superb. A huge menu with options galore. This picky vegetarian and her omnivore date had no problem picking plenty to eat. The veggie tofu spicy stir fry was fab. The Thai Summer rolls were the freshest I have ever tasted. 5 stars!

We also checked out the tourist area at Bay Walk. It is connected to the Interantional Mall. Outdoor shops and great eateries. We ate at the Bamboo Club. Great food, really upscale atmosphere, but down to earth food and prices. Helpful staff and great veggie food, but mostly meats. Asian/Hawaiian/Japanese and Thai fusion foods. Awesome.

And for quick casual health food, please check out The Bunny Hop Cafe located inside the Nature's Market on Cleveland Street. The cafe had the most awesome baked goods, hummus wraps and organic meats.

Published on Thursday August 11th, 2005


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Wed, Aug 24 2005 - 09:23 PM rating by italian-link

Hi,
It's a shame you visited the beach during red tide. It does take away from the enjoyment. However, it is a natural phenomenon that the city really can't do much about.

I hope you decide to come back, and have better luck with the red tide. Us locals do not like it as well.

Take care
Larry

http://www.Italian-Link.com

Fri, Aug 12 2005 - 07:53 AM rating by davidx

Your negative comments are important for potential visitors as much as the more favourable ones,

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