In case you were wondering what you would find to do on Clearwater Beach, who you might connect with, how you will get around, what kind of food they have if you’re really not that into seafood, or where to get plenty if you are, never fear, your Tampa Bay SUNSHINE crew has been out on the beach, making sure all is ready for your daily post-Forum enjoyment! Never lacking in enthusiasm, we just couldn’t wait to share some super special places & activities to enhance your anticipation & excitement, not to mention just plain old good planning!
BEACH EATS - We have secured agreement with 8 of the BEST restaurants on the beach to serve fabulous dinners to groups of hungry LNCs! They are all within easy walking distance of the Hilton & all specialize in something a little different, sure to please even the pickiest palate! There will be sign up sheets at the Tampa Bay Chapter exhibit table and at the registration desk so you can sign up for your selected place(s) and time choice(s). Here are links to their websites, but don’t run each other over to sign up!
Of course, there are many, many other places to duck in, grab a burger, grouper sandwich, slice of pizza, and quench your thirst with an amazing frozen concoction. There is really no bad food and certainly no bad drinks on Clearwater Beach, so feel free to explore as you like. Please realize, however, that most smaller and / or beach (on the sand) establishments do not take reservations & sometimes the wait for a table is awfully long when you’re hungry!
BEACH FUN - Everyone on the planet has heard of Spring Break & it is BIG business here on the beach! Most consider the break to end May 1, and then school the end of May, so there is just no shortage of activity! There is 1 really special event happening while you are with us here on Clearwater Beach, the Annual Sugar Sand Festival. If you look into anything before hitting the road, this is one thing to check out! Also, take note that it is happening practically right next door to the Hilton! Purchase tickets online if you intend to go, they’ll be on your phone email.
Another activity very close to the Hilton and extremely popular, not to mention FREE, is Sunset at Pier 60. Every night before, during & after sunset, there are street entertainers, vendors, and of course, our incredible sunsets. Across the street, sailing into the sunset with free champagne, is Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. There are discounts for booking online & for seniors; sometimes age is a good thing! Also sailing out of Clearwater Municipal Marina are 2 different Starlite Dinner Cruises, each with unique menu choices. Both the Pirate & Starlite Cruises are an awesome way to get out on our beautiful clear water; often dolphins are seen swimming along.
Speaking of dolphins, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, is the real thing! Yes, home to Winter & Hope, but sadly not Harry Connick, Jr., visitors see much more of the wonderful work done here than seen in our famous movie, but there are many reminders of the movie throughout. Cost is only $9.99 from 4 – 8 PM and the facility is just a short ride from the Hilton on the Jolley Trolley. Just as it says, these are trolley cars on wheels, like small buses, usually open air, taking visitors up & down the beach & inland to Clearwater, & north to Tarpon Springs. Fares are cash only or passes, best is the 1-day unlimited rides, which can be purchased at a Transit Center; there is one just outside the Hilton.
The other awesome means of transportation from Clearwater Beach to St. Pete Beach, not inland, is FREE Beach Ride. Yes, you read correctly, FREE! Drivers accept TIPS ONLY, and I am certain everyone coming to Forum will be very gratuitous. You will need to download their APP to be able to utilize the service; all info is on their website. One immensely popular shopping & dining area for which you may want to utilize FREE Ride is John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, Madeira Beach. You will pass through approximately 6-7 beach towns to get to John’s Pass, but it is all just one seamless ride & I have friends who do not go home without a shopping trip here! If you are fortunate to have your own or a rental car & choose to do a little exploring, please go “old school” and take a map; don’t count on GPS alone, you just miss entirely too much & without nearby landmarks, the potential to get lost is off the chart! We “locals” think things are pretty well marked, but we know where we’re going! Take a navigator to read the map & signs. Also, you will notice flashing yellow lights on the sides of many streets along the FL Gulf Coast. These are for pedestrians, and no circumstances matter, all vehicles in FL STOP for pedestrians; watch & slow down to be able to stop for those flashing lights!
If none of these activities have offered enough challenge, and you did not intend to spend the entire time laying around on the beach, going home with an amazing tan, there are a couple of really fun things just made for adventurous folks! Surf Style FlowRider, INDOOR Surfing (OMG!), is a reasonable walk down the beach, or a really short trolley ride. In addition to getting your heart racing, they sell beach apparel, souvenirs & FUDGE!!! For those who are more interested in a mental challenge, the Tampa Bay Escape Room, will be just for you! There are 3 rooms / scenarios & 2 to 4 to 6 to 8 people work together to solve clues & escape the room. Located in downtown Clearwater, it is on the inland Trolley route & there are discounts for groups, but we’ll need to sign up quickly as this sells out fast.
I understand the Forum Committee is also planning an early morning yoga class to benefit one of our local charities, Alpha House of Pinellas Country, Inc. The Tampa Bay Chapter asks you to consider making a donation, even if you are unable to participate in the event. We all know we get back many times, everything we are able to give.
There’s a whole lot of info here, probably over the top, but we wanted you to have the opportunity to check out some things prior to arrival, saving time to just soak it all in! For all who need back-up, we have Clearwater Beach Guides & Fun Maps for everyone to have their own. Everything else, your Tampa Bay Host Chapter will be at the SUNSHINE Booth, among other places, and we’ll do our best to answer any & all questions! In case you couldn’t tell, we can’t wait for you to get here!
We’ll leave the SUNSHINE on for ya!