Tired of following your shadow around the house during this pesky pandemic? Me too. I found a pleasurable way to pass the time that doesn’t require face masks or social distancing. Just grab the keys to the car and leisurely take in the beauty that envelopes our colorful city.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite vistas:
Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge – Speaking of this bridge, when you reach the apex of it by car, carefully slow down if possible to take in the Intracoastal Waterway views north and south. Better yet, walk or bike the bridge and have more time to stop to relish the salt air caressing your face as watercraft bob along the waves.
Pier 60 – Not only is there pleasure in eyeballing the pier in the foreground of a sunset, this is a vivid venue for people watching: those fishing, swimming, beachcombing, sunbathing, parasailing and romantics walking the shoreline hand-in-hand.
Edgewater Drive – What a splendid drive along the east edge of the Intracoastal Waterway from Dunedin to Clearwater. The mangrove trees serve as beautiful canvas frames as sunlight dances through the branches and greenery. You can park near the intersection with Sunset Point Road and pace the sidewalk that parallels the shore and rest a spell on one of the benches to listen to the lapping waves, say hello to passersby or watch anglers trying their luck.
Rooftops of Beach Hotels – Get up high on beach hotels that welcome visitors. Here you’ll gain wondrous views far into the Gulf of Mexico or the boat-busy Intracoastal Waterway or the hip humans in beach attire wandering north and south on Gulf Boulevard.
Jimmy’s on the Edge has not just one fantastic panoramic view – it has two: south toward the Sand Key Park waterway and north for a vista of the whole of Clearwater Beach.
Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest offers an aerial view of Pier 60 and the Clearwater marina from this unique vantage point – all while munch delicious wings and imbibing your favorite beverage.
Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill – One of my favorite places to savor a grouper sandwich or a plate of stone crabs when in season is the outdoor dining patio here. Wait for a table with the best viewing to take in nearby volleyballers, squawking seagulls and boisterous beachgoers.
Sand Key Bridge – Originally a drawbridge and still a continuance of Gulf Boulevard, it’s built high so even tall boats can float through. If driving from Clearwater Beach, as you come off the bridge gaze west before you hit the high-rise condos and hotels to behold a nice strip of beach and a lovely panoramic of Clearwater Pass.
Any number of beach boat tours – including Captain Nemo’s Pirate Cruise, the SeaScreamer, the Yacht StarShip and The Tropics Boat Tours – provide opportunities to catch views not seen from the land, to spot marine wildlife such as dolphins, manatees or manta rays.
Bayside Bridge – If you’re beginning to suspect I have a thing with bridges, you’re right. After all, anything that connects land masses means it’s traversing water and that usually makes for lovely vistas. This six-lane, twin-span girder bridge unites eastern Clearwater with the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport portions of the city on that side of the bay. It’s a low bridge, but you can still behold views to the north showing Tampa’s skyline in the distance.
Ocean Hai – A fantastic dining locale to catch a colorful sunset. Kel and I celebrated the last two Valentine’s Days at this four-star restaurant – it’s quite the romantic spot.
Rooftop of the Main Library – It’s pretty darn cool just before sunset to take the elevator to the roof and set your gaze west-southwest. Behold the glowing sun as it caresses the Clearwater Memorial Causeway Bridge. Bring a tripod or use the barrier wall to steady your camera to get all the lovely light angles. Footnote: This bridge will take on added grace in the near future when the city affixes lights to the bridge for some lovely night scenes. (Note: Sunsets on the Clearwater Library Roof are temporarily suspended for the time being.)
So, when looking at the four walls of your domicile gets stale, hit the road, relax and enjoy the beauty that is Clearwater until our lives get back to normal.