Florida Guide > Other Florida
No visit to the Orlando area is complete without a visit to one of the gorgeous beaches in this lovely part of the world. Our particular favourites are on the Gulf Coast and if you want a quick fix the nearest is at Clearwater Beach. It’s roughly about 2 hours travel time –so it’s not one of the closest beaches. Cocoa Beach on the Atlantic coast is nearer. To get to Clearwater Beach you have to drive to Clearwater and then you cross the causeway to get out to the beach and I think that’s all part of the fun as the views are fantastic, especially when the ocean is lapping at the edges of the road.
Once you are there you can park up and explore. Clearwater Beach used to be such a sleepy place, especially out of season but developers are moving in and residents really hope it does not get spoiled.
When we get there we usually head straight for the big yellow speedboat-The Sea Screamer billed as the biggest speedboat in the world. It seats about 40 –to 50 people. They usually go out 3 times a day, roughly every 2 hours to look and interact with dolphins and they guarantee if they don’t see a dolphin then you can ride again for free. That’s why it’s important to go there first if that is what you want to do and in all fairness we have always found our dolphin-or two! They back up to the dolphins in the boat-ask everyone to stand at the back to increase the boat’s wake –the dolphins love to jump and play through it-and away we go. It’s great fun and the dolphins often stay 5-10 minutes till they are tired probably. Once we had 2 pods which amounted to 9 dolphins. I ask you is there anything better than that? For any wheelchair users, the crew are very helpful and are willing to lift a manual chair user into the boat-wheelchair and all.
After that it’s time to eat and then we head to Britt’s restaurant., another favourite of ours. This time for my favourite grouper sandwich-yum. Another wheelchair accessible restaurant with disabled loo and lift.
Then we hit the beach. It’s a lovely sandy beach with a pier that you can wander along and watch the fisherman-maybe even have a go yourselves. I like to watch the pelicans who hang around the fisherman hoping for a little snack.
You get some fabulous sunsets here-and in the evening the pier comes to life with street theatre, craft stalls and entertainment. I think it’s worth staying overnight on one of the beach hotels and in the past we have stayed at the Ramada Jarvis and the Clearwater Beach hotel (which is now under the developers threat). Both have good wheelchair access and is worth paying extra for an ocean view or beach room.
We like to do this and then make the small hop to Busch Gardens the next day before returning back to Orlando.
If you haven’t tried a trip to the beach yet-make sure you do-especially this one before everything changes.
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Page added on: 21 March 2007
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