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Travel to Tampa area- few questions

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Pittsburgh
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Travel to Tampa area- few questions

My husband and I (mid 20's) will be traveling to FL 4/28-5/1. We'll be staying at family's house in Zephyrills, but plan to spend most of our time at the beaches (we'll have a car). It looks like there are tons of beaches within 1 1/2 hour. Which would be best to go to? We plan on doing some watersports (parasail, waverunners) and I've read that St. Pete, Madeira Beach and Clearwater are good for watersports. We'll also want to do some relaxing on the beach (hopefully one that's not too crowded). Also, how hard is it to jet ski? We've never done that. I have a brother that lives in Bradenton. Are there any great beaches in that area? I think that's all...thanks in advance for any info!

Midwest
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1. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

Clearwater Beach is much closer to Zephyrhills than St. Pete and Madeira Beach, and it has all the things you're looking for. There are beautiful beaches just west of Bradenton: Anna Maria Island, Holmes Beach, and Longboat Key.

Brandon, Florida
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2. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

The better beaches (for whiter sand) ARE in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. I know you can get to parasail in the Anna Maria Island area (off Bradenton) - I've seen them. And I think you can rent waverunners on the bridge going over to Lido Key from Sarasota.

But I'm sure you will also find them in the St.Pete/Clearwater area.

Tampa
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3. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

Siesta Key is just south of Longboat Key in Sarasota and has the prettiest sand around. In fact, they were rated #1 in a worldwide comparison a year or two ago.

sarasota, FL
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for Sarasota, Venice, Siesta Key
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4. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

I have to agree, because I live here..Siesta Key, Anna Maria Island etc. have the BEST beaches, nice restaurants and St. Armands Circle.

You might get "after season" rates at some places.

OO
San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

But if they are staying in Zephyrhills, there is no way they want to drive all the way down to Anna Maria to the beach!

We lived at the eastern end of the Courtney Campbell, flyvacation. That's the Tampa side of the bridge to Clearwater. Even as close as we were, it was a good 40 minutes to Clearwater Beach. It'd take us just about the same amount of time to get to St Pete Beach. It is further than CWB, but all interstate getting there so a quicker drive than 60...with its tons of red lights. Both those beaches are gorgeous, with CWB probably being the whitest and widest, but the drive is a bear.

Also close to St Pete Beach you'll find Ft Desoto State Park...voted, I believe, #1 beach in the US by Dr Beach this year. Other than bathrooms and showers, there's little in the way of facilities at this beach but you'll be so close I would definitely stop and see it. The beach goes forever with no development at all, just beach and dunes and some pretty neat shells. Bring a picnic. Certainly worth a look see for one day, with your more active days on jet skis etc reserved for CWB or SPB.

Brandon, Florida
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6. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

Well after all the info here, I'm sure they will stay at the relative in Bradenton instead. :-)

Seminole, FL
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7. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

Clearwater may be the closest but Indian shores or Redington will be the fastest to get there beach. It's quiet and clean with a few pubs/resteraunts in the area. It's in between Madiera and Clearwater. Just go west on Park Blvd from 275 and you'll dead end right into it basically.

Fort DeSoto is also a must see.

Tampa, Florida
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8. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

Well, you can go to more than one beach.

I think Ft. DeSoto Park is neat - it has a Spanish American War Era fort, beaches, picnic sites, fishing pier. This is south of St. Petersburg Beach.

Another personal favorite is Indian Rocks Beach - south of Clearwater.

There is Clearwater beach and also just south across the bridge is Sand Key with a nice county park/beach.

In the Bradenton area, Anna Maria Island is also very nice.

After all you will be on vacation - go to a different beach each day and enjoy the sites along the way.

HAVE FUN and take plenty of sunscreen, re-apply often and remember the sun is most intense between 11 am and 3 pm. Its no fun getting a terrible sunburn at the beginning of your trip and ruining all your fun.

Atlanta
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9. Re: Travel to Tampa area- few questions

I have been to all the places that everyone above has talked about. Uncle lives in Clearwater, I have a home near there, have a old Marine buddy who lives at Redington Beach, Inlaws who live in Bradenton, and a work buddy who lives in Siesta Key. Without a doubt the Anna Maria, Holmes Beachs are the best out of those. I used to live in Pensacola on the beach and really loved that area but I like the year round weather in the Anna Maria area much better.