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It appears you are from the beaches in North Carolina, but you must convey this message to all those UK visitors.
SUNSCREEN IS YOUR FRIEND. Start you visit with a sun burn (only takes 2 hours) and the indelible memory of Clearwater will not be pleasant.
If at all possible, you and your friends MUST visit the Salvador Dali Museum in St Petersburg. (35 minutes away) While there take in the energy of metropolitan center alive with downtown residences. You will find the others things you should see while downtown. This is your only trip away from Clearwater.
Next, take the Segway tour that departs from the Clearwater Beach Westin. This provides a good overview of the area including some great views from the top of the bridges.
Next you must find FRENCHY's Rockaway Grill (there are 4 Frenchy's so get the right one) on the north end of Clearwater Beach. Order the genuine grilled Grouper sandwich. Then head across to the marina, an easy walk, and take any of dolphin watch tours. The smaller the boat the closer you will get those dolphins.
And if you have seen the movie 'Dolphin Tails' you have come to the right place. The movie was centered in Clearwater and the star 'Winter' calls the Clearwater aquarium, home.
For those who want to exhaust their need for beaching and claim some real bragging rights, be aware that Clearwater Beach extends uninterrupted 5 miles to the north beyond Frenchy's Rockaway (one, way) and is a true feat to make it to Caladisie Island State Park, which is not an island at all.
Things to avoid but are unavoidable. You'll see them, all over downtown Clearwater with their uniforms and great big key rings. I will let you attach the appropriate label.
Have a great time.
NOTE: The St Pete Pier has been closed for several years. The Columbia is a Spanish restaurant, of which one is located down the street from your hotel on Sand Key. The sangria is great but be sure to ask about the floor show and try to catch the Flamenco show if you can. The original Columbia is in nearby Ybor City, a destination which is a worthy trip all by itself.
Ormond Beach, FL
Follow the blogs of Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional and she will be happy to provide local tips.
Mari Armstrong One thing I can suggest is, meet some 'Rainers! And if it is around the time you have meet ups, please do attend.
I am, as such, not so familiar with the area.
Clearwater is a great place. Many people vacation there. I'm sure your neice has some great ideas. Evelyn mentioned Ted Peters, Excellent. I think the Columbia on the Pier has another location in Tampa if the one on the pier is gone. It is excellent.
If you like fish, you have to visit Ted Peter's Smoked Fish in St Pete. Columbia is a nice Italian Restaurant too, they were out on the St Pete Pier, not sure if they still are or not.
Sea World, Beaches, etc.
I am sure you enjoyed it.