Clearwater, FL

Clearwater, Florida

If you ever wanted to escape to a tropical climate, with white sand beaches but didn't have the funds or a passport, I would like to tell you about Clearwater, Flordia. As the name suggests water here is as clear as it gets.

This southern gulf coast town is full of national parks that look like they were ripped from the pages of Condé Nast's Traveler magazine. I actually had the opportunity to stay in Saint Pete's Beach, and drive to Clearwater because I drove my car down from New York City. Overall the trip took about 17 1/2 hours to complete on my own. (Driving across the country is on my bucket list).

Clearwater Florida is a very sleepy town full of retirees and families. It is not the fast-paced lifestyle you'll find in Miami. It is a wonderful place to relax, unwind, and take a deep breath to just be in the awe of the beauty that surrounds you.

To get to Caladesi State Park you have to take a ferry across or drive your own boat. The parking was $4 for a single occupant car and the ferry fee was $16. You are able to pick your departure time but it is important to note although there were beach umbrellas and chair rentals available you are very exposed to the natural elements. 

I brought my own beach umbrella and simply sat on my beach towel, it was totally worth it however, I got severely sunburnt due to the direct sun hitting this beach. This part is one of the few untouched state parks in Florida, note there is a lot of seaweed and ocean debris laying about. Wading out into the crystal waters you find all kinds of sea creatures like this one that I found.

However, can not I stress enough not to remove the sea creatures from their homes. After I found this beautiful snail I tossed him back, but not far enough, as another tourist picked him up because she wanted his shell. Even though I advised her that there was a living organism inside she still said she would rather kill him then lose the shell. I was appalled. 

This beautiful place is one of the many natural wonders of the United States. I just hope that more people will see the immediate need to preserve places like this.

Petersburg has a place called the Sunken Gardens. I found this place from searching on Instagram as this whole trip was unplanned and spontaneous. This lovely garden does have an entry fee, of $12 for adults, but it's totally worth it. It's a 4-acre garden with lush greenery found at every turn and even a flock of flamingos which made me ridiculously excited.

Due to this coastal town sitting on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, the water is very calm and there are no big waves. This is a great trip if you have small children. Sitting by the bay I even got to see dolphins come right up to the edge as they mingled with the speed boats traveling through this area. Everything about these two towns as picturesque and totally recommend it.

By Kandice