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MADEIRA BEACH & JOHNS PASS
We discovered Madeira Beach in 1988 on our first trip to Florida back in 1988.
We stayed in a cheap motel right on the beach and it was lovely to walk out of our room, around the pool and straight onto the white sandy beach. Madeira Beach is located on the Gulf of Mexico between Clearwater and St Pete Beach. From here we could walk along the beach for about 30 minutes to Johns Pass & Boardwalk. (The next time we visited we had two young children and we walked all the way there to find neither of us had taken any cash to get them a drink or an ice cream).
The boardwalk has changed a lot in the last 20 years. We were there for a day last summer and there are some lovely shops, restaurants and bars there now. We loved the seafood restaurant on the boardwalk and if its cool enough you can sit outside and watch the boats coming and going throught the pass. We went on a dolphin cruise from there and it was excellent, we saw loads of dolphins close to the boat, playing and showing off, great entertainment. We’ve also hired waverunners from there, not really my cup of tea, I wasn’ t at all comfortable on that thing but Dave enjoyed it.
We’ve also done a shell island cruise from there a few years ago, we went out on the boat to one of the islands and went snorkelling and the kids collected shells and sand dollars, then we had a picnic lunch on the boat, it was a really enjoyable day. Theres’s no shade though so you have to be careful to cover up and use loads of sunscreen. There’s lots to choose from.
It’s a great place to go with children and easy to visit St Pete Beach, Clearwater and Busch Gardens and its only a couple of hours drive from Orlando if that. Madeira Beach is still a little less commercialised I think. The Gulf Beaches are clean and white and uncrowded and the sea is lovely and warm but remember to do the ’stingray shuffle’ as you step in. You have to shuffle your feet to disturb any stingrays which may be in the sand so you don’t step on them. We usually get cheap surf shoes from Walmart just to be on the safe side.
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