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Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

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25 posts
Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

My husband (68 years young, retired), and myself (56, teacher), are looking to explore the Gulf coast area for the first time. We like beaches on the quiet but not too quiet side, not high rises, not real busy traffic areas, but still having easy access, even walking, to good restaurants, beach shops at night, ice cream or a fun beach bar at night, etc. We have booked the Bilmar for 9 nights ( things are getting booked) June 18.- 27. I wanted to be at Clearwater Beach because it was voted #1 US Beach by TripAdvisor, but could not find affordable beachfront condo or hotel availability for our dates. Questions:

1. If we want to explore Clearwater, because it was voted #1 beach, should I pursue finding a place there, splitting our trip into 4 or 5 nights at Treasure Island and 4 or 5 nights in Clearwater, or will be better to just stay the whole time in Treasure Island and drive up to Clearwater for the day? I wanted to explore Pier 60 at Clearwater and the famous beaches at Clearwater , which was voted #1, but why?

2. We are renting a car. I was thinking of doing a day trip to explore St. Petersburg beaches, a day trip exploring beaches up to Clearwater( Madeira, Redington, Indian Rocks, Sand a Key) and a day trip to Clearwater Beach area if we don’t divide our trip into 2 places to stay. The rest of the days will be at Treasure Island and open for anything else within an hour drive. Not interested in Tampa or tourist attractions like Bush Gardens, Disney, etc., just mainly beaches, water, etc. Anything you would add or subtract to this plan?

3. Should we do the Dalí Museum? If so, is that a whole day, a half day?

4. Should we / can we use the trolley for any exploration out of Treasure a Island? Last year, we dvided our vacation into 2 stays, Sanibel for 4 nights( day excursions to Naples, Venice) and then Siesta Key ( day excursion to Anna Maria and Sarasota ) for 5 nights and did exploration from Sanibel, but parking was a hassle at times, worrying about running back to pay the meter, plus we lost time in moving to a second property. We loved Siesta Key. The shelling at Sanibel was really great, too. Exploring all the beaches in between was fun.

5. What are some restaurants we should definitely hit? We like good food, where we can see the ocean, but not fancy. Something where shorts and tee shirts are welcome. Bar b q, Mexican, Thai are some of our favorites.

6. Our last day we need to be at Tampa Iarport around 6:30 pm. Any suggestions of what we could do that day after check out ?

6. Any other advice, tips much appreciated. Thank you so much, trip advisors! Your input is so valued.

20 replies to this topic
Bedford, Indiana
Level Contributor
6,345 posts
342 reviews
1. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

I think you’ll like the Bilmar a lot. We enjoyed the cheap daiquiris at Bazzies there too.

We didn’t care for the beach though, it was crushed coarse shells when we were there.

I didn’t care much for Clearwater when we visited there, the beach was okay, I just didn’t care for the gulf water.

I’m shocked it was voted the best.

There’s a nice restaurant just up the street from the Bilmar, I think it’s Midfle ground or similar, we loved the grouper there.

The souvenir shop can’t corner across the intersection has great, inexpensive gifts and beach stuff.

John’s Pass is another must visit spot that is a couple months les north.

Level Contributor
25 posts
2. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Thank you so much for the reply and information. I am adding these to our itinerary right now! Thanks, too, for the advice on Clearwater and the beaches. Much appreciated!!!

Level Contributor
17 posts
11 reviews
3. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Love treasure island beach! We were there last year and going this week. We stayed a couple blocks south of bilmar and sand was gorgeous....very similiar to siesta key...enjoy!

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25 posts
4. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Wonderful! Have a fabulous trip!!

New Jersey
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323 posts
20 reviews
5. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Clearwater has very white, powdery sand, soft on your feet. It has lots of dining and shopping options. There's a nice walking path along the beach. They have a bunch of high rises along the water also. I enjoy Clearwater, but it's definitely not a sleepy, old Florida town.

You do not need to split your trip. You can easily drive to Clearwater for the day. I like to eat at Palm Pavilion or Frenchie's, both mostly for the views and locations.

You can easily explore the beach towns leading up to Clearwater in a day. Guppy's on the Beach (although it's across the street from the beach) in Indian Rocks has a great lunch. If you enjoy Thai food, you can try Thai-Am 2 in John's Pass. I have never personally eaten there, but it's gotten good reviews from family members. Caddy's on the Beach in Treasure Island is a fun hang out. Have some cocktails on the beach. Visit the top bar for a beautiful sunset view. Candy Kitchen (I think Madeira Beach has the original?) is a cute spot to stop for ice cream and retro candy.

If the Dali Museum would interest you, give it a shot. It's located in a great area of downtown St. Pete with lots of dining choices (many outside) and shopping, especially beautiful galleries. An area definitely worth exploring.

Absolutely you can use the trolley, but if you plan on doing more exploring further out, I suggest a rental car also. Just make sure to know it's schedule.

I would say most dining options are not too fancy, shorts and t-shirts acceptable. I think the "fanciest" I ever got was a sundress with nice sandals. My husband would wear shorts with a collared shirt.

Heading back to the Tampa airport, you may want to stop in Ybor City, a National Historic Landmark District in Tampa.

Have fun exploring!

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
3,693 posts
17 reviews
6. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Suggestions in no particular order.

Visit Fort de Soto Park. This Pinellas County Park has beaches, fishing piers and a Spanish American War era, if you plan to go here for an extended visit of several hours, you might want to pack a picnic lunch.

At the south end of St. Pete Beach, is Pass-a-Grille. There is beach access here and also a some shops on 8th Ave. Many people go to the Hurricane Restaurant to watch the sunset from the roof deck.

Stop at the Don Cesar hotel on St. Pete Beach and take a walk around the historic hotel with various restaurants.

Crabby Bill's, St. Pete Beach, is directly on the beach.

The Grand Plaza Hotel has a revolving restaurant on the top level of the hotel, Spinners.

Caddy's on the Beach, Treasure Island, is a beach café serving alcohol. Take a look at the web site to see if this is your style - http://caddysotb.com/.

Sand Key (Clearwater Beach) has the Columbia Restaurant which has an open deck on the intracoastal waterway and the inside dining area also looks out over the intracoastal. Backwaters on Sand Key also has a deck on the intracoastal, but the indoor dining area does not have water views.

Most places along the beach are casual as long as you have shirt and shoes (and something to cover your lower extremity like shorts) you're ok.

On your last day while waiting o fly out, you will want to be near the airport as rush hour traffic includes the 4 pm to 7 pm time period. So if you want to spend some time at International Plaza you could shop and eat at any of the on-site restaurants. Maybe have lunch at the Hula Bay Club (http://hulabayclub.com/) off of Gandy Blvd. or have lunch at any of the places off the Courtney Campbell Causeway (Hwy 60) at Rocky Point, there is a Bahama Breeze and other restaurants here.

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2,756 posts
26 reviews
7. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

If you have a nice place to stay at a good rate, day trips may be the way to go.

Get a beach kit together and explore.

My regular trio would be Clearwater Beach, cadelesi island, and honey moon island state park.

Clearwater Beach for built up beach are, cadelesi island as a nature preserve, and honeymoon island is a diy beach day, like if you were back home.

Honeymoon island does have a nice area nearby, Dunedin, if you want to do dinner before heading back to base. Short but sweet.

Good luck.

Level Contributor
25 posts
8. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Such a detailed and helpful response chocked full of suggestions!! I am glad you think we don’t need to break up our trip. Packing up, checking out, checking back in, and unpacking are not fun parts of any trip and are time consuming. Taking your valuable advice. Thank you so much for your response!!!!!

Edited: 12 June 2018, 23:46
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25 posts
9. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Thank you a much for your advice and response. Much appreciated!! Taking notes as I read it.

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Edited: 12 June 2018, 23:48
Level Contributor
25 posts
10. Re: Treasure Island to Clearwater beach exploration

Awesome suggestions. Thank you for the rush hour tip, too. I have these on our itinerary. Crabby Bills looks like just what we are looking for!

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