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Florida Guide > Other Activities

A trip to the beach (Gulf Coast near Bradenton)

Having experienced the wonders and thrill of the theme parks, we decided to take it easy and head off to the warm waters of the Gulf Coast. We packed the maps, bags; surfboards and the all-important cool box and started our journey. Our destination was a place near Bradenton called Holmes Beach. The route we planned took us over two bridges and the choice to drive a little further to take in the views was a good one. The first of the bridges was the Howard Frankland Bridge that takes you from Tampa to St Petersburg. The second bridge was the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and was the longer and more impressive of the two and takes you from St Petersburg across Tampa Bay and back onto Tampa South. The views from both bridges were great and to keep our 3 children amused during the journey is no mean achievement. The journey time over the two bridges is longer than the more direct route we chose on the way back (being the Interstate 75). It was late at night and the day was a long one and made the shorter journey choice easy.

Back to the beach, we arrived early morning and parked the car in a public car park and headed for the beach. The sun was shining, the sky a perfect blue and the sand was almost white as we walked towards it. I know it sounds a bit cheesy but this was just like a picture postcard and what a picture!

We quickly realised that our packing plans were slightly flawed as we had forgotten to put the umbrellas in the car. This is an absolute must for a day on the beach in Florida. As you would expect one of the local shops came to the rescue and we grabbed a couple and set-up camp on the beach.

Within 5 minutes of arriving, the kids were off, like a shot they were into the sea on their surfboards and quickly mastering the waves (well some of them anyway). What a great investment, the polystyrene boards are great for messing about in swimming the pool and even better in the sea. Within 7 minutes, dad was off as well, into the sea and surfing the waves like a big kid. We chose a section of beach that had a coast guard and I would certainly recommend this if you have youngsters.

I am sure there are plenty of beaches along the Gulf Coast but not all with a fantastic seafood restaurant called Shells. We found this restaurant as we searched for an evening meal. The food was excellent, staff were great and even better than this we arrived during happy hour (buy two drinks for the price of one). I would certainly recommend the Margarita cocktails and the kids would tell their recommendation, but I am not going to spoil that for the kids who have not yet been. All I will say is ask for the “Shark Attack” drink for the younger kids. The menu is loaded with seafood dishes but is not all they do. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Shells and would recommend it to others.

Take a trip, you will love it!

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Page added on: 9 September 2005
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