Florida Guide > Travelling
Gulf Coast Beaches close to Orlando
Florida is renowned for having some of the best beaches in the USA. Many are beautiful, with soft white sand, easily accessible and with good facilities. With the year round sunshine everyone can enjoy the smooth, silky sand and the gentle warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico…. and of course if you’re there in the evening a wonderful place to watch the warm, glowing sun set on the glimmering sea.
Caladesi Island is a state park just north of Clearwater. Very popular - one of the nicest beaches in America, with four miles of the most beautiful sand. Helping to keep it unspoilt is the fact that it can only be reached by the Caladesi Connection ferry or private boat. The ferry costs $9 for adults and $5. 50 for children. Trips depart hourly beginning at 10am. When you book the ferry guests are given a four hour stay. If you don’t have beach chairs or umbrellas (and these can be cumberson to carry on the ferry) these can be rented – an umbrella and two chairs costs $20 for the day whilst additional beach chairs cost $5. Gulf kayaks can also be rented - $10 per hour for a single and $20 per hour for a double. Between the two boardwalks protecting the dunes are shower and restroom facilities as well as a picnic area and a playground for children.
Dunedin is a great place to sail. You can drive onto the beach and enjoy the peaceful sound of the waves – quieter than some o f the more popular beaches with less facilities but umbrellas and kayaks can be rented. Along the causeway fishermen enjoy casting their lines.
Further south is Honeymoon Island with pavilions and a wealth of wildlife. The beach is kept fantastically clean and to help with this a small fee to enter the park beside the beach is charged. Refreshments can be purchased from a small kiosk and restrooms are provided.
Clearwater Beach is a popular wide beach of white sand, a mile long beach accessible to the public. The car park can get busy at popular times such as weekends. Close to the pier are many amenities - picnic shelters, a shaded playground, open air restrooms whilst lifeguards are on duty all year. If you walk along the beach you will see that much has been commercialised with hotels along the beach boundaries. However, where there are hotels there are many places to eat and shops if your interested.
South of Clearwater is Bradenton set on an island, with more miles of white sandy beaches. Cortez Beach is in the northern section of the city with several access points to it. Coquin Beach lies to the south with a large parking area next to the beach from 5th Street South. Another very large parking area is at Coquina Park at the southern end of the island. Coquina has lifeguard supervision, with washroom facilities, a picnic area and snack bar, whilst on the bay side of Coquina is a small beach popular with personal watercraft riders.
Travelling yet further south is the area of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Lido Key and St Armands Key. This area boasts an average temperature of 73 degrees all year round. Wildlife such as dolphins, manatees and fish love these waters. And where there are fish there are pelicans, storks …. Great white sandy beaches to relax and walk along …. Pick up a few shells along the way.
If you are travelling from the Orlando area take the I4 out towards Tampa. Caladesi Island, Dunedin and Honeymoon Island are to the north of Tampa. Clearwater links to Tampa through a series of causeway bridges whilst Bradenton, Sarasota and Longboat Key are to the south of Tampa.
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