48 hours in Clearwater Beach, Florida – hand luggage only
We arrived on one of the sunniest afternoons in Florida (like one of those hot afternoons – also for Floridians), which instantly made me smile.
It had just been gray in London and the weather had one of those transitional times that were not cold enough for coats, but not warm enough to go without the one in that short time when winter is slowly changing to spring) and I had enough of it. 😀 I was ready for Florida's sunshine.
We actually flew directly from London to Tampa, but our goal was to find one of the best beaches in the US (for many years) – St. Pete and Clearwater.
The plan was to start at Clearwater Beach – especially as Clearwater has been leading the list for the best beach in the US for some time.
The place we would call "home" in Clearwater in the next few days was a nice little place called Hotel Cabana Clearwater Beach. Well, I have to admit, it's a bit different than we were used to (especially in Florida), but at the same time, it was somehow perfect for the situation.
The Hotel Cabana is a unique mix of boutique hotel and retro motel and it's really cool. Not to mention it's all just a minute's walk from the beach!
As the sun was about to set, we wereted no time clearing our stuff and just walking to the beach in time to see the daily show before heading out for drinks and dinner. (I only wanted tacos and margaritas at this point).
Incidentally, this sunset was simply amazing!
It was just the nicest "welcome" in Clearwater …
… so much that it took me a moment to stop and notice how fine the white sand is on the beach!
It is the longest stretch of fine sandy beach and the perfect place to see the sky through a series of pretty colors as the sun dips below the horizon.
The sunsets may have been beautiful, but after a while my stomach had nothing left to cry for these tacos and margaritas. That's why we decided to force her and find something to eat.
The lady in the hotel advised us to drive to Frenchys, but when we arrived at the prime time of happy hour / sunset, the wait was quite long and so we decided, with the indication that we should return to Frenchys the next day to cope with our hunger in the Palm Pavillion (which has a "slightly shorter" queue).
I also do not joke about these margaritas and tacos!
We also decided to throw cheesy french fries, coconut prawns and buffalo wings into the mix (I have something for buffalo wings) – had them for the first time after a night in Vegas and now we have to have them every time we go & # 39; ; in the USA).
Suffice to say, when we finished dinner, bellies full of delicious food, it was almost a challenge to go back to the hotel (I was clearly overeating and did not regret it).
In the morning, when the jetlag opened us bright and early (and long sleeps that made me quite rested), we decided to go to the Clear Sky Café (I vaguely remember anyone suggesting, but only opting to go as we found it right next to it on the way out of town).
I went to breakfast Quesadillas …
… While Lloyd chose the Huevos Rancheros – both were perfect!
We left Clearwater behind and headed to a place known for being one of the wilder, more natural, but also the most beautiful places in Florida – Caladesi Island.
To get to the island of Caladesi, you actually drive to the island of Honeymoon (which is worth exploring for yourself) and take a boat to the island of Caladesi.
This part of Florida is also known for its pelicans – they are everywhere and I just find it funny to watch them.
For starters, they look almost pre-historic (almost as if they were related to pterodactyls). Then they are awkward when they land on the water. It looks more like a drunken dive than a calculated attempt to get into the water.
When we got on the boat, the captain told us that with luck we might see dolphins, and I thought about it only after a few minutes, dolphins!
It is safe to say that we took a little longer than necessary to get to Caladesi Island, as it should have been, as dolphin appeared on dolphins on different sides of the boat, almost like a welcome procession on the Caladesi Island. Island.
Sidebar: I did not expect any, so I had to fumble to get my camera and exchange lenses to get even those photos as we left.
Finally, we arrived on the island of Caladesi and did not waste time exploring the area. We only had a limited time here, but in retrospect I would recommend spending a few hours here.
There is a hike in nature (we took part in), there is a beautiful beach and it is just a great opportunity to get lost in nature. (The island is just so big that you can not really get lost here, but you know what I mean.)
We had not planned to spend more than a few hours here, so we decided to take the nature walk first, before heading to the beach. (It's easier to get back from the beach to the dock to catch the boat).
The beautiful fine sand that you find here on the beaches is everywhere on the island and it is absolutely beautiful! It just reminded me of the afternoons I spent in the Maldives by bike, surrounded by nothing but beautiful green plants.
Finally we made our way to the beach. We barely had enough time to pick it up (we ended up with more time for the hike than originally planned) before we got back on the boat.
Back in the dock on Honeymoon Island, these pelicans were still there, except this time, an Osprey was joined them (which is probably the first time I've seen an Osprey at close range).
Can you still see what I mean by how prehistoric these pelicans look?
Enough about pelicans! We were really excited at the time and had nothing else in mind except lunch!
For lunch we went to the Olde Bay Café in Dunedin (quite close to Honeymoon Island – in fact it is somehow on the way out of the island).
The food here is nice, light and warmly welcome. Lloyd went for the wraps and made the classic mistake of ordering chips instead of fries.
Chips in the UK are not the same as they are in the US, and although you know that for ages, years of ordering chips in the UK are hard to forget, as you unconsciously order the same thing in the US to remember what you actually ordered , we call chips.
I chose the grilled grouper (a local favorite) and coleslaw.
By the way, did you see how huge Grouper can become? Google now! (Just search for "big grouper")
Given my relatively healthy lunch choice, I decided that I had earned a dessert (I always find a way to convince myself that I earned a dessert) and went to Key Lime Pie to quench my craving for sugar. * licking her lips *
We decided to check out Dunedin after lunch on a leisurely walk around town, partly for lunch, but mostly to visit Dunedin.
Dunedin is actually pretty cool and a fun place to spend the afternoon (although one of the locals we happened to have a conversation with said we had to come back at night as the main road really comes alive).
Our walk through the city soon led to a craft beer brewery – the Dunedin Brewery. It turns out to be the oldest brewery in Florida and a historic piece worth seeing.
I'd like to tell you that I've tried to dedicate myself to the story, but I'd be lying, I was trying out the Craft beers. Lloyd could not drink while he drove, so I was a chief beer tester (a role to which I had a good deal of sparkle).
From left to right we have ourselves – the flashlight, the red head, the apricot peach and the American classic.
I was so convinced that the apricot peach would be my favorite (all I love), but no, the Flash Light and the American Classic are the true heroes of this group!
After a while here, when we tasted beer, we decided on the way back to Clearwater Beach – just in time for the sunset!
This time it was a bit cloudier, but no less pretty, because the beach at sunset is just a fantastic place!
It's just as hot as the day before, so it's awesome.
However, we were well prepared that evening and set off for the Frenchys before the onslaught.
Although the queue was much shorter, we still had to wait until we had a table (which I do not mistrust – you do not really want to eat in a place no one else wants, there's usually a reason for that).
Luckily, as I said, the wait was much shorter – I can not quite remember how long it took (maybe 10 minutes?) The live band had just started playing some hits, and I was up to that point too much in these songs to care too much about it).
The dinner had a similar theme as the day before – frozen margaritas for starters, followed quickly by coconut shrimp and chicken bites (#noregrets – I like what I like 😄).
We decided then for the grilled grouper, coleslaw and chips (no chips! Lesson learned).
Finally, we bought a peanut butter, chocolate cake. (Not the official name, but if you look at the menu, you know exactly what I mean.)
The visit to the Frenchys was the perfect way to end the evening and our last night in Clearwater.