It was time for a little vacation from our vacation. After all, running around Florida in the hot 95 degree weather with family can be exhausting. Yes, we were all in needed of some relaxing beach time fun. Hello Gulf Coast! Beautiful soft sand beaches, warm ocean water, and amazing wildlife. This was our first trip to Clearwater Beach and we quickly learned upon arrival that it has been voted ” Best Florida Beach” by USA today.
Finally found a good use for all those hotel travel points GB earns hopping around the world. The beautifully tropical feeling Marriott Suite at Sand Key! We just knew it was going to be a great weekend when we unlocked the room door and found this view waiting for us. Of course the first thing we did was drop the bags and head down to that pool for live music, a little lunch, and some ice cold Pinna Coladas. What more could we want? A couple of jet skis to run around the bay on? Well of course they had that too. And if we got tired of hanging out at the pool we could always jump on the tram that takes guests across the street to Sand Key Beach.
After lunch it was Jet Ski time. This was a first time experience for both GB and I, and we were both very excited as we rented two jet skis to run around the bay on. Unfortunately, due to the Florida afternoon downpour, our first time experience started out a bit rocky. Just after we left the dock the sky above decided to let go making it hard to see as we raced around the bay. Plus racing through the rain with no arm or face coverings kid of hurts. So back to the dock we went to wait for the storm to pass. Finally the sun came out and back on the water we went. Amazing fun and something we both hope to do again soon.
I got to tell you that this place was made for kids. SB woke up Saturday morning and discovered that weekend brunch includes face painting, balloon animals, and a talking parrot. Plus Marriott has all the pool toys a kid could want. And a second set of toys just for taking to the beach. Sounds real close to perfect to me. They even have onsite droop-in child care, but we were having so much fun as a family that we did not find a need to use it.
Sand Key Beach was just amazing with its soft sand and warm water that reminded us all of our trip to Hawaii a few years back. It was so nice to wake up and just go to the beach. One surprise we discovered was the amount of wildlife on the beach. Swimming 30 feet from us was a group of pelicans who did not seem to care at all about us being nearby. We also spotted a group of dolphin out past the swimming zone, and an occasional flying fish. One even jumped right over GB’s shoulder.
Just before sundown the bellhop suggested we head up towards Clearwater’s main beach to check the boardwalk. It was just a quick 5 minute drive over the bridge. We were promised to find a mix of local crafts and street performers to entertain us for the night, but I have to tell you I felt a bit disappointed by what we found. The boardwalk was small and the crafts only average. Plus too many sports bars and everything looked the same in every direction we looked. Is this really Florida’s #1 beach?
The disappointment of Clearwater’s main beach left me wanting something more. Lucky for me I found a map sitting in the Starbucks in the hotel lobby. It was time to explore. So in the car we jumped, and down Gulf Blvd we drove towards Treasure Island. Along the way we passed a mix of new million dollar mega houses, beachfront hotels, and the small old little houses of the past. All painted in soft pastels against the beautiful blue Gulf Coast backdrop. At the bottom of Gulf Blvd. just before Treasure Island we found the real treasure of the area, John’s Pass. This little jewel of a mall looks like an old fishing village with cute little local shops scattered around. My family found Johns Pass to be relaxing and fun place to spend a few hours and well worth the 30-minute drive down the coast. According to our map this is also a great place to dolphin watch too.