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Old 02-19-2013, 04:46 PM   #1
JustAKid
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Beaches!!!

We live, and will be traveling from the West Coast. Most of us have never flown on an airplane, much less gone East of Nevada. One of our must-dos for this vacation is to put our frolic in the Atlantic Ocean. Can anyone recommend a beach that A, is off the beaten path. We don't want all the touristy stuff, and we don't want it to be uber busy. B, is close to DW. C, has a chance of being able to see a dolphin or 2 from the shore. And D, is child friendly?!

Tall list, I know. TIA, folks. Your wisdom is infinate and ever appreciated.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:00 PM   #2
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Oh! If you have recommendations for the gulf side, they would also be appreciated. We're not set in stone. Our beaches are often gray, rainy, cold, and full of waves - the difference would be a ball!
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:13 PM   #3
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We usually have a beach day during our WDW weeks. The beaches on the gulf side seem to be more crowded. However, a few years ago we went past the St Pete area, south to Fort DeSoto. There were some lesser crowded areas around here. I know you're interested in the gulf, but last fall we went to the Canaveral National Seashore on the Atlantic side and LOVED it. It is very non touristy. Tons of entrances to the beach, most of which were practically deserted. Lots of shells too. Out of all our FL trips, I think this was our fave beach day! No shower facilities though, which would have been nice to rinse off our feet. The water isn't as blue but was a lighter color and beautiful. You can get great pics that don't have people in the background too! It's an easy drive from the WDW area.

I have also heard many good things about the Siesta Key area, which is gulf side. Great for shelling. Bt I don't know how crowds are in that area.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:14 PM   #4
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Oh yeah, and we saw our first FL real life gators while in the Canaveral area! We counted 5-6 throughout the day! Not much traffic in the area so they're right out there on the side f the road!
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #5
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google

indian rocks beach (gulf side 2 hours from disney area)

shepard beach park (atlantic side 1 hour from disney)

those are the 2 beaches we hiave been hitting the last few years. we alternate which one year after year.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:50 AM   #6
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I would suggest the gulf side. Clearwater Beach has great restaurants and shopping (not to mention Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise!), but if you go north or south, you'll find lots of quieter, wonderful beaches!
Caladesi Island is north of Clearwater. A ferry (where we watched dolphins along the way) takes you to a nature preserve that is absolutely amazing! Beach is beautiful, lots of shells, animal sightings, trails, and even a nice gift shop/store & changing area too!
South of Clearwater are many options too. Lots of great day cruises, shopping and eating.
All the gulf coast beaches are so beautiful! Best of luck to you.
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doclegler View Post
I would suggest the gulf side. Clearwater Beach has great restaurants and shopping (not to mention Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise!), but if you go north or south, you'll find lots of quieter, wonderful beaches!
Caladesi Island is north of Clearwater. A ferry (where we watched dolphins along the way) takes you to a nature preserve that is absolutely amazing! Beach is beautiful, lots of shells, animal sightings, trails, and even a nice gift shop/store & changing area too!
South of Clearwater are many options too. Lots of great day cruises, shopping and eating.
All the gulf coast beaches are so beautiful! Best of luck to you.
Wow, here is how much of an idiot I am - now that I see it right here in the black and white...I think my brother used to LIVE in Clearwater. Ha! Sounds like that might be fun, I can get the insider information. Plus, Caladesi Island seems to be right up our alley. Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise? So much to learn, so much to learn...

Thanks for for the input and your time!

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google

indian rocks beach (gulf side 2 hours from disney area)

shepard beach park (atlantic side 1 hour from disney)

those are the 2 beaches we hiave been hitting the last few years. we alternate which one year after year.
Spectacular, thanks! Google, here I come....

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Originally Posted by SarahKate View Post
Oh yeah, and we saw our first FL real life gators while in the Canaveral area! We counted 5-6 throughout the day! Not much traffic in the area so they're right out there on the side f the road!
Gators on the side of the road?! Really?! That both excites and terrifies me. As mentioned, we're from the West Coast...this might just be a deciding factor. My kids would FREAK to see a "real life" gator.

Jeez...thanks for nothing, guys, you just made this all so much harder than it was.
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Old 02-20-2013, 02:15 PM   #8
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The beaches off of Ponce Inlet (near Daytona) on the Atlantic coast are really nice, but I'm not sure the "publicness" of them (have family there, so never been a concern).

Be wary though, New Smyrna beach (south of Ponce Inlet, north of Merritt Island (Kennedy Space Center area) is known as the Shark Attack Capital of the World. I always worry when in the water in that general area of the Atlantic coast...
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:06 PM   #9
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@justakid, seeing the gators "in the wild" was so cool. We just weren't even expecting that. The roads have such little traffic that they're just not scared. They just sit there, basking. We pulled over a few times and got some close up shots. Well we weren't that close but enough to zoom in nicely! Most were younger looking but the last one had to be a good 8 feet! He was off the road a bit, in a marshy area but still just about 6 feet off the road! Really loved the Canaveral area. There was so much we didn't see. They have hiking trails off road as well and I think that'd be cool to do, just because of all the different wildlife. We are usually drawn to more touristy areas but this is one that was not and we loved it so much!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:05 PM   #10
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We went to Honeymoon Island State Park last August and loved it. The beach there is very mild and you can walk out hundreds of yards. Bring water shoes though as there are some rocks right where you walk in to the water but not further out. You pay per carload, $8 per vehicle.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/hon...nd/default.cfm

Honeymoon Island is also where you catch the ferry over to Caladesi Island State Park, which we did not get around to but plan on this year.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/caladesiisland/

Together they would make for a very relaxing and different day from the parks! Personally I have to have a beach day every 4 or 5 days!
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:50 AM   #11
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I love HoneyMoon Island.. There are tons of shells, its quiet, you can rent beach equipment - chairs, umbrellas bikes ect-, nice cafe, nice bathrooms.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:06 AM   #12
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How does the shelling compare between Honeymoon Islande and Caladesi Island . Both look beautiful and trying to decide between them. What makes Caladesi worth the extra time and cost ?? THanks
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvsvacations View Post
How does the shelling compare between Honeymoon Islande and Caladesi Island . Both look beautiful and trying to decide between them. What makes Caladesi worth the extra time and cost ?? THanks
I haven't made it over there yet so don't know about shelling. I thought it was like a nature preserve? We are going in June. Honeymoon Island has specific beaches suggested for shelling, I remember that.
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:48 PM   #14
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My family has been to many beaches from the northeast (the Cape), northwest (Washington/Oregon), a few in California, Myrtle Beach, Floridian ones, and more. We really enjoy New Smyrna beach. Yes, the shark statistic is just something to be aware of, but my family frequents that beach and has never heard of/seen a problem with it.

It's most definitely low key. It's a very relaxing area, and everything on Flagler Avenue is walkable. I'd say it's kid friendly as well - my seven year old brother loves it. Most of the restaurants (Breakers! the Bagel place!) are excellent, and the whole area is very chill.

Though I'm not sure about the dolphins, I don't think you'd be disappointed.
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:35 AM   #15
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You should check out North Redington Beach......halfway between St. Petes and Clearwater. We stayed there two years ago and it was truly wonderful! They have a great breakfast spot called The Frog Pond and we had a great suppertime experience at The Conch Republic.....the first time my DDs had alligator to eat and they loved it! The beach is beautiful and very little in the way of crowds. I can't wait to get back there this year.
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