Summer has arrived and vacation time is near. It’s time to plan that perfect family vacation activity. Going to an amusement park can be fun, but it can also be enormously expensive. Why not plan a fun vacation for the whole family that includes fishing, swimming, snorkeling, wandering nature trails and enjoying the natural beauty of sunny Florida? Read on for a great list of options.
Pine Island Beach
Pine Island Road
Weeki Wachee, FL
Pine Island is the only public beach in Hernando County. At low tide, small children can walk a long ways out into the Gulf waters as the depth at low tide is only about two to three feet. Beachgoers can frequently see manta rays, crabs and schools of fish swimming in the shallow water at Pine Island. When the children get tired of playing in the water, they can have fun at the playground situated in the middle of the parking area. Adults can even have a quick game of volleyball while the kids play on the playground. There are several cabanas located on Pine Island. Each one has a BBQ pit next to it and picnic table so visitors can get out of the sun. While it is a lengthy ride down nearly deserted roads, the uncrowded beach at Pine Island makes for a relaxing day at the beach for the whole family.
All along Alternate 19 and along Grand Blvd.
Clearwater beaches extend along miles and miles of Alternate 19 and Grand Boulevard (west of Memorial Causeway). Fishing and swimming abound at all the beaches in Clearwater. Some sections of the beachfront have rocks jutting out from shore which, while not good for swimming, makes a perfect spot to fish. The rocks offer the fishermen a chance to walk out on the rocks and fish farther from shore. If swimming in the ocean is on the vacation agenda, just pull off the main road onto many of the open areas and take a dip in the cool ocean waters. Keep your eyes open for one of the many dolphins that like to swim near the beaches in Clearwater.
St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center
7701 Boca Ciega Drive
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
St. Pete Beach Aquatic Center is a heated facility with a six-lane junior Olympic swimming pool. The pool is either heated or cooled so that it remains at a modest 82 degrees all the time. There is also a children’s play area that has several features that spray water, squirt water and drop water for the little ones’ enjoyment. It also has a “mushroom shaped waterfall” and dumping cones. The Aquatic Center also has two “large, tubular slides” for the older children to enjoy.
City of Tampa Creative Arts Theatre
306 E. Jackson St.
Tampa, FL 33602
The Creative Arts Theatre is the resident professional children’s company for the City of Tampa. Six professional actors perform puppet shows and masks to entertain children and their families at libraries throughout the Tampa area. The performers have created 125 shows based on children’s fairytales and perform a different show each year. Performance dates and times vary so contact Jodi Wren or check the website for the current schedule.
Honeymoon Island State Park
#1 Causeway Blvd.
Dunedin, FL 34698
Honeymoon Island, formerly known as Hog Island, is located just across the Dunedin Causeway in Dunedin. Visitors can walk along the pristine beach and collect seashells or swim. There are also mangrove swamps, tidal flats and nature trails that visitors can explore. There is even a section of beach for dogs located on the south end of the island. However, pets must be on a leash at all times. Honeymoon Island is one of Florida’s most popular beaches.
Katherine Bostick is a freelance writer covering all things Tampa Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.