“The beach…the only place where salt lowers your blood pressure”.
The new year has renewed my sense of adventure again. Nothing too wild but decided to make a trek west over to Clearwater Beach. I have friends who have been telling me how great Clearwater Beach is, but I never made the drive to see for myself.
That all changed this past weekend. Decided to take a weekend flyer and just book a hotel and then drive over. Seemed simple enough and it was! 😊
My day started with an impromptu 5k in Fort Pierce. A colleague from work casually mentioned he belongs to the local Kiwanis organization and they were hosting a 5k the next day (Saturday). I normally do my long runs on Saturdays but told him to send me the registration instructions so I can research the race. He sent me everything I needed to research and register for the race. Turns out the 5k course covers most of my normal Tuesday and Thursday training route so I was already familiar with the course. Decided to register Friday afternoon for the race on Saturday morning—did not figure I needed to do much mental or physical preparation since I was running the area anyway.
Happy to report I was able to run a respectable (for me) 28:04 official time for the 5k. I am especially happy with this time since we had to cross (over and back) the Seaway Drive bridge which has steep inclines. First mile was 8:38, second mile 9:18 and third mile 9:20. The second and third miles had bridge inclines so happy I was able to hold it together on both. NOTE: I felt good throughout and see faster times with a flatter course in my future.
I found out online I placed second in my age group. I did not stick around for the awards presentation since I had to get on the road to drive over to Clearwater beach.
Left Fort Pierce heading for my destination soon after I completed the 5k. Wanted to maximize much of the day to explore and walk on the famed beach. I had already booked my hotel and completed early check-in using the Marriott Bonvoy application.
The drive over to the west coast of Florida was simple. Just needed to follow directions provided by Google maps and I did not have issues with traffic. Made good time without having to speed—enjoyed the route and seeing new scenery on the trip.
Arrived in Clearwater Beach early afternoon and made my way to my hotel. Check-in was a breeze considering I did early check-in before arrival. Got myself settled in my room and added another layer of clothing on because it turns out I picked the coldest day of 2021 to go to the beach—oh well, it was still a great experience. 😊
My hotel was one block away from the beach so made the short walk over and made my way onto the famed Clearwater Beach. My plan was to walk the beach and take in the scenery while getting some pictures. Mission accomplished.
Explored a few shops on the main drag, Mandalay Avenue. Most of the shops catered to the tourists who pour onto Clearwater Beach daily. There are plenty of restaurants, hotels, bars, and shopping options within walking distance to the beach.
Made my way to the Salt Cracker Fish Camp for a late lunch. Nice little spot located in the marina district. I was able to eat and watch the charter boats come in and out of the harbor. The Salt Cracker Fish Camp has a great menu to select from, but I decided to go with the Jumbo Fried Shrimp dinner. Will try the Shrimp and Grits on my next visit. Recommend visiting this spot for the views and food.
The only Clearwater beach spot I found live music was the Salty Crab North Beach. Small little place the locals prefer but the food options are unlimited. There were only 10 people there when I visited so decided to grab a beer and check out the food menu. They have a huge selection, but I decided to build my own pizza. It was a great decision—the pizza was outstanding! Visited the Salty Crab the following morning for breakfast. Again, had a fantastic meal there and the coffee was amazing. Will try a crab dish on my next visit to the Salty Crab North Beach.
Did a little more beach walking after breakfast prior to driving back to Fort Pierce. This was a short weekend trip, but I was able to maximize my time on Clearwater beach. I will make a point to get back over there so I can get more time to explore—may even take a dolphin sightseeing tour for a new adventure.
Great weekend trip! 😊
Where have you wanted to visit? When will you make the trip? Thanks!
“Bucket list: #1 beach, #2 more beach”.