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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Madeira Beach

If you would like a day at the beach within a reasonable driving distance from Orlando why not go to Madeira Beach. This beach is on Florida’s Gulf Coast which is our families’ favourite coast.

The journey there will take just under two hours. You travel on the I4 towards Tampa then from the 275 just follow the signposts. If you decide you want to stay overnight there are lots of small reasonably priced motels.

There you will find miles of gorgeous white sand beaches and you get that “Old Florida” feel and laid back attitude. If you park in a public beach car park there are restrooms there and often places to hire deck chairs although most visitors tend to take their own fold away chairs. It is not unusual to see weddings taking place on the beach.

Madeira Beach was first settled by the Timucan Indians around 300 A. D. These Indians established their own small communities and traded with other Indian nations. This continued until the Spanish arrived in the 1500s.

After this the area slowly became populated by Europeans who initially lived in beach shacks and fished and caught turtles for their living.

Apparently there was a ' Great Gale' of 1848 and this created John' s Pass on the Island' s south end which is now home to the famous John' s Pass Village. A Marina, Hubbards Marina, was established in 1935 the Village came into being in the 1980s. We have been visiting this area for about twelve years and have seen the Village grow and grow in this short time.

We have often stayed a couple of nights in nearby Treasure Island and was amazed to find that it was less than forty years ago that Treasure Island was connected to Madeira Beach by a bridge.

As well as sun bathing on the beach there is plenty more to do at Madeira. There are several golf courses nearby and some entertaining miniature golf courses alongside the road that runs through the area.

For anyone interested in deep sea fishing this is a great place to be. You can go on a half day or half night trip as well as a five hour shark trip.

If you want good family entertainment try one of the cruises. You can go on the Water Gun Battle Cruise, a Treasure Hunt Cruise or even a Pirates Face Painting or Pirate Stories cruise.

We went on the Trolley Bus Tour which was advertised as three tours in one land, sea and dolphins. This was actually a trolley bus equipped to go on the sea!

It was an hour and a half narrated tour and you could bring your own cooler box with drink and food, even wine and beer were allowed. It cost about $26 for adults and $16 for children. I was fascinated by the fact you could get a yearly pass for $59 and ride as many times as you like. Great for residents or even for some retired people who tend to spend a few months in this area in the winter.

At the end of your day at Madeira you can either eat in one of the area’s many restaurants or enjoy shopping in the Village shops

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Page added on: 16 January 2010
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