Gulf Side Beach Hopping

Ever wonder how much shoreline can a person see in a day?  Well we started out early, headed down Gulf Boulevard from Clearwater Beach around 7:30 am. So the Gulf of Mexico beach adventure begins…

One has to be quite resourceful to find places to park at these beaches without loosing your entire net worth in parking meters.  It’s tough to find free parking, and requires some walking to make up for it.  I like to walk.

First stop, Bellaire Shore, 8:00 – 8:40.  Uneventful,  and not any other people are out.   Ok, it’s early, so I walk along the beach, look for some interesting shells, and snap a few shots.  Onto Indian Rocks Beach , then Indian Shores, Redington Shores, North Redington and Redington Beaches, Maderia Beach bringing me to 12:30 and then…..ding!   Johns Pass Village and Boardwalk.  Looks like there are lots of unique shops, and what’s this?  A winery?  Yes, The Florida Winery at Johns Pass.  There’s no need to ponder this…

After driving around and around due to the intense foot traffic and limited parking, I find a place to park in this highly populated tourist haven.  Shop after shop, after shop, I am literally in a trance as I wander along the boardwalk, I finally end up back at the truck at 3:00, let the dogs out for a few minutes, then start my attempt to drive away.  Once I finally got back to Gulf Boulevard, it hits me; “OH GEEZE!  I forgot to stop at the Winery!”   Almost unforgiveable, but I was not willing to mess with all that congestion twice in one day.  I decide I will make another trip here before I leave the area.

A container of fruit and cheese, and another public access along Maderia, perfect snack stop before arriving to Treasure Island, where I make another two stops.  Hey, it’s the Gulf of Mexico–again.  I’m starting to see a pattern—it’s all the same set up with tiny slots of beachfront access and public parking for a fee, and me parking blocks away and walking up. The bad news, not one of these beaches allows animals, so we end up wandering along the narrow residential streets for occasional dog duty, so to speak.  I’m beginning to feel a little beached out.

There are signs for St. Pete’s Beach as I hit the bottom of my planned route. My last three stop of the day—beautiful.  If I was going to rank the beaches, I’d give Clearwater top billing, followed by St. Pete’s for having the most to do and being most interesting for people watching, then Indian Shores for the remoteness.  

As I try to make my way to highway 19, Oh to my surprise, another Winery—of course I have to stop.  The Florida Orange Groves Winery, a family owned maker of award winning Tropical Fruit wines.  The Shook family knows what they’re doing, with 244 metals won (and counting) since they started the winery in 1997.  They are the only winery given permission by the Florida Citrus Commission to use the “Florida Sunshine Tree” logo on all of their citrus wines.  I am given the royal treatment with a full tour, and tasting session.  Wow, who knew that Key Lime would make a good wine?  Or Coconut, Guava, Pineapple, or Banana?  To die for Orange Chocolate wine!  And Blueberry wine!  Carrot wine—simply amazing. Yes, I spent some time here, and left with “some wine”.

Fifteen public beach stops, a handful of trying to get on some not so public beachfronts, a crowded shopping experience, and a fan-TAS-tic wine experience to wrap up the day.  Well, that is, after a nice long walk with the dogs at our favorite Largo City Park.

 

 

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Comments

  1. mo hagar says:

    Hi,
    Get me some Guava when u come back lol
    Keep going and be happy. we need some pics.

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