We're staying in the northern end of Sand Key, a barrier island that stretches roughly 15 miles (24 km) through several fabulous beach towns, including Madiera Beach, Redington Beach, Indian Shores, Indian Rocks, and Bellair Shore into Clearwater. The hotel is a mile from Clearwater Beach, connected by Sand Key Bridge which replaced the original drawbridge with a 65 foot (20 meter) high span. Crossing the bridge from our hotel, we enjoy the views and the climate and soon reach the white sand beaches of Clearwater Beach.
Crossing the bridge from Sand Key
In the morning, heavy machinery is at work making the beach pristine again and ready for visitors.
Making and keeping the beach pristine
And, on the way, the town of Clearwater brags (quite rightly) about the recognition the beach has received.
Pearly's Beach Eats
After lunch, we walk back over the bridge to Sand Key and stop in at Sand Key Park, a beautiful stretch of beach and reef nurseries and home of the Pinellas Park Artificial Reef Program.
Sand Key Bridge
Entering Sand Key Park
Finding the beach
Along the beach, are sand sculpture displays and entrepreneurs offering food and dring
Sand sculpture display near the Beach Grill trailer
And, continuing along the beach, we find diversity in the life guard stands, perhaps for senior and junior life guards?
Full-service, more-sun-loving life guard stands
And, of course, the warnings to watch our for alligators, snakes, and other wildlife, alongside instructions of what to do if our fishing hook snags a seabird.
Warning and helpful tips
For dinner, it's back over the bridge to Frenchy's Rockaway Grill, right on the beach, to enjoy the fabulous octopus appetizer (Rocktopus), grouper tacos, and a grouper sandwich, followed by a slice of key lime pie while listening to the band. What a great way to end the day.
Frenchy's Rockaway Grill
View of sunset from Frenchy's
Rocktapus, grouper sandwich and grouper tacos
Key Lime pie and the band
Walking back to Sand Key, the view from the bridge after sunset offers a whole different perspective of Clearwater Beach.
View from the bridge walking back
This has been a great introduction to the beach and to several types of grouper tacos near Sand Key, Now it's time to explore more of the area.