The first time I ever visited Clearwater, Florida & Clearwater Beach it was a happenstance kinda deal. My family was taking our last family-vacation, Florida our destination. My brother and I were old enough we were moving into our adult lives, so one more time we all headed to Walt Disney World.
Flying is tough on my ears, so Cary – my baby-bro – joined me on a road trip, arriving a couple days early and looking for something to do, we “found” Captain Memo’s Pirate Ship - in Clearwater.
Who knew… I fell in love. The water, the beaches, the shops… jeepers, it was all the Florida I’d dreamed of.
That was like two decades ago, Cary has three kids now and I’m back in Florida to live, play and work.
And that work sometimes takes me over to Clearwater… and its just as wonderful to day as it was all those years ago.
The hotels are mostly bigger now, on the beach, owned more by chains than the mom & pops they used to be. The restaurants are still a good chunk mom & pops, but they’re now completing more with chains – not a lot, but changing.
The shopping is there: t-shirts and sunglasses, melted snowmen in snow globes and shells used for all sorts of things… I love the blasted things! The stores… the places to look at souvenirs and maybe bring something home…
There’s also a dolphin named Winter who has turned the world on its tail flukes with her charming smile, inspirational story, and well, now that she’s a movie star… her bigger than life personality. You can meet her at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
We sadly don’t get to go over as much as we’d like. It’s only about an hour, hour and a half drive from Orlando, easy to do and easy to find your way around (do bring a good map & use it).
But Clearwater is always dear to my heart, and when we can, we’ll even do a quick drive-thru on the way somewhere else, just to see…
Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Marina, Captain Memo (he’s still there!), dolphin trips, beaches, dining, shopping, the Pier 60… so much to do, so much to enjoy, so many beautiful sunsets… Clearwater…