Florida Governor Crist wants British Petroleum to pay $35 million for an advertising campaign to assure tourists that Florida’s beaches are still a perfect place for a vacation. Having just returned from a week’s stay at a Florida west coast beach, I will do it for free. My husband and I stayed at a condo in Indian Rocks Beach which is between Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach. The beaches are still tar-ball free and good times beckon to all. Here are some reasons to enjoy a Florida vacation now.
Reason One: The Price Is Right
From May through December rooms rates for condos, hotels and resorts steadily decline. During high season, which is February through April, the rate for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath condo where we stayed is $165 a day. From May through August the same condo rents for $137 a day. The lowest rates are from Sept. through Dec. 15 when the rent is $105 a day. Restaurants are less crowded during the off season as the snowbirds have left or have not yet returned. There aren’t the long waits for a table that there are during high season.
There are two activities that my husband and I like to do on vacation, golf and the beach. Once the snowbirds leave their Florida nests the rates at golf courses drop. If you don’t mind playing in the heat of the day, you will find you practically have the course to yourselves. We played at two courses that were within a 20 minute drive of our condo. At Clearwater Country Club, the friendly staff welcomed us each with a sleeve of golf balls plus a discount card for our next 5 visits. We took advantage of one of the discounts. The greens fees for our first visit were $25 each, including cart. We only had to pay for a cart the second round we played at $16 each. Our third round of golf was at the Belleview Biltmore resort in Belleair, Florida. We booked our tee time online and paid $29 each for our round of golf. During high season we would have paid at least $39 each for the same tee time.
Reason Two: Life Is A Beach
You may think that it would be too hot to do much beaching at this time of year. Au contraire, it is actually a perfect time. Yes, it is hot but there is a constant breeze that blows off the water or at times off shore. Our condo was a few steps from the gulf. We planted our chairs and beach umbrellas a couple of yards from the water’s edge, grabbed our towels, books and sunscreen and were set for the day. Hungry? Full bladder? A quick trip to the condo and those needs were satisfied. When our legs needed stretching, we strolled along the shore. The water temperature of the gulf is perfect this time of year and the surf is gentle. Cooling off in the gulf was both fun and refreshing.
Reason Three: So Much To Do and So Little Time
If golf isn’t your thing and the beach gets boring, there are many activities available for the whole family. In Clearwater you can take Captain Nemo’s Pirate Cruise. The cruise includes fun activities for kids and dolphin watching for all ages. Also in Clearwater is the Clearwater Marine Science Center and Aquarium. The Lowry Park Zoo is a short distance away in Tampa; as is the Salvador Dali Museum. For baseball fans, the Tampa Bay Rays play their home games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, also a short drive from the beach. Tropicana Field is under an air conditioned dome for your viewing comfort. Right down the road from our condo in Indian Rocks Beach is the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary. The Sanctuary is a wild bird hospital focusing on rescue, repair, recuperation and potential release of injured shore birds. There are more activities than you will have time for during your visit.
Still have concerns about a Florida vacation? View my photos that are included with this article. You will see that Florida’s west coast is as inviting as ever.
Sources: St. Petersburg Times