Friday, March 16, 2018

Sand Key Beaches and Intercoastal Waterway (Florida)

Sand Key is a barrier island between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal Waterway (a 3,000 mile/7,800 km inland waterway stretching from Boston to the tip of Florida, then up the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville, Texas).  Sand Key is about 15 miles (24 km) long, with fabulous beaches from Madiera Beach up to Clearwater Beach.

At the south end of Sand Key, Madiera Beach starts the progression of white sand beaches making up this island.

 Madiera Beach

Reddington Shores continues the theme.

 Reddington Shores

On the other side of the island, the Intracoastal Waterway offers fewer beaches and more boat traffic.

 Intracoastal Waterway

Along the beaches are signs warning of problems and offering suggestions.

 Beware of Rip Currents and Stingrays

Watch out for Manatees

Indian Rocks and Bellair Shore bring on more great beaches.  There is lots of room on the beaches and one can set up for small or large parties and have a private space or a big event.

 Indian Rocks

 Bellair Shore

At the beaches and on the Intercoastal Waterway, there are comfortable places to just sit and watch the world go by.

Seats at Indian Rocks and on the Intercoastal Waterway

Leaving Sand Key over the bridge to Clearwater Beach and then crossing the Clearwater Memorial Causeway between Clearwater Beach and Clearwater offers great views up and down the Intracoastal Waterway.

 Views up and down the Intracoastal Waterway

The view of Clearwater Beach from the bridge shows the short width of the barrier island, with the Gulf of Mexico on the far side.

Clearwater Beach, Gulf of Mexico on the far side, 
Intracoastal Waterway on the near side

Under the causeway, fishing and boating continues non-stop.  The pelicans, in particular, approve of the fishing and are here for the scraps.

Pelicans waiting for their share

In the Intercoastal Waterway, the dolphins frolic and have fun in their search for fish.

 Dolphins at play

And, as the day comes to an end, everyone stops and watches the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico, a spectacular end to another great day.

 Sun sets at Clearwater Beach

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