Clearwater Beach Blog

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We, the team at B&W Management, are happy to present this Clearwater Beach Blog for our Beachfront Vacation Condo guests and website visitors.

Worth The Drive – Tarpon Springs, Florida

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Tarpon Springs, Florida

Looking for a great day trip to take from Clearwater Beach, Florida? Head to the beautiful Greek village of Tarpon Springs! Tarpon Springs has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the United States. Enjoy a short trip to Tarpon Springs and experience delicious Greek food, quaint local shops and walks down the sponge docks.

The History of Tarpon Springs, Florida

Tarpon Springs, Florida is a small area surrounding bayous flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. The small area was settled in 1876, and by the 1880s the first sponge business was already founded and the industry quickly began growing. Greek Immigrants began arriving in Tarpon Springs in the 1890s to work in the growing sponge industry.

In 1905 sponge diving was introduced and many of the Greek immigrants became sponge divers. The sponge industry soon became one of the leading maritime industries of Florida, and the most important industry for Tarpon Springs, generating millions of dollars a year.

In 1947 a large bloom of Red Tide algae nearly wiped out the sponge fields of the Gulf of Mexico. The sponge diving industry took a massive hit, and many of the locals forced to switch industries – often switching to the shrimping industry. The Gulf of Mexico sponge fields slowly recovered from the damage caused by the red tide algae and the sponge fishing industry began growing again. In the 1980’s, the Mediterranean sponges were almost completely killed off by a sponge disease, leading to a boom in the Tarpon Springs Sponge Industry.

Things to do in Tarpon Springs, Florida

I absolutely love visiting Tarpon Springs. It’s very difficult for me to not to take a quick drive up to Tarpon Springs when on vacation in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The atmosphere of the small Greek city is fantastic, especially when walking down the Historic Sponge Docks.

The entire area has delicious Greek restaurants on every block. My personal favorite is Hellas Restaurant and Bakery. Hellas sits right in the historic sponge dock area. Sitting right near the sponge docks and filled with local history and Greek influence, the atmosphere of the restaurant is incredible. And more importantly, the food is incredibly delicious! My favorite things on the menu are Hella’s Original Greek Salad, Saganaki (Opa!), Hellas Gyro and their Mediterranean Stuffed Shrimp. For dessert, I usually grab some baklava to go because I’ve already eaten way too much!

After an amazing (and very large) meal, I love walking for a walk along the historic sponge docks. There are so many really fun and unique shops in that area selling. If you have time, be sure to check out: GETAGURU homemade soap, The Sponge Exchange, Tarpon Sponge Company, and Lori’s Soaps & Sponges!

Tarpon Springs isn’t just local shops and delicious Greek food, it also has great activities for the whole family! You can go for a Sponge Diving Tour! Learn the history of Tarpon Springs and even watch a sponge diver put on traditional inflatable sponge diving suit and provide a hands-on display of the different types of sponges. There’s also a fantastic Aquarium in Tarpon Springs!

Visit Tarpon Springs, Florida

The great location and fun activities make Tarpon Springs a fantastic place for a short day trip or even just a quick trip for a delicious lunch or dinner. On the way to and from Tarpon Springs, you’ll drive past the entrance of Honeymoon Island State Park – a beautiful sunset location.  You’ll also be able to catch a ferry from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island if you’re not up for the walk to Caladesi Island State Park from Clearwater Beach.

You can also connect a day of Kayaking at Crystal River, Florida with a delicious Greek dinner in Tarpon Springs for an incredible day trip from Clearwater Beach that’s totally worth the drive!

Clearwater Beach Red Tide

Clearwater Beach Red Tide

Phone calls, email questions, chat conversations, everybody is concerned about Clearwater Beach red tide! This summer from a few miles south of us all the way to the Florida Keys. The news about the incredibly horrible red tide on the Florida Gulf Coast has everyone’s attention. And we are talking worldwide, not just visitors from the United States. Travelers from around the planet Earth want to know what is happening on a day to day basis. They NEED to know if they are on their way to visit. And we who live and work here, especially when we provide week-long paradise vacation rentals, we all need to know exactly what is going on at every moment.

Good news is that as of 9:00 pm on August 22nd, 2018, the red tide has remained south of us all year. (See current beach conditions here.) In fact, Clearwater Beach has always been on the very north end of the possibilities and to this point has had zero impact from the red tide. The only impact Clearwater Beach has seen is a very quiet late summer tourist season with a fraction of the people on the beach we’d normally see. That makes it nice to be on the beach as a visitor, however, local businesses are cutting hours and making adjustments to survive.

In all honesty, red tide has been detected off our coast at concentrations that are way below any harmful effects to fish or humans, but even though it is there, it is struggling to thrive being this late in the summer. NOTE to locals: Please do not wash your cars in your driveways, do not fertilize your lawns, do not put any phosphates, soap, fertilizer, dead lawn or plant debris into your sewer drains, or do ANYTHING to feed that late summer, hopefully, starving evil bacteria!

Thank you.

Red tide needs food, and we humans tend to feed it. Fortunately here in Pinellas County, we have rules to help prevent pouring red tide nutrients into the waters off our coast during our main sunny season (June 1st to September 1st). It seems to help, but some areas south of us have been careless. Even so, we have been OK here. Every summer there is usually some detectable red tide as it is a natural occurrence. This year there were some out of the ordinary circumstances down south that threw the typical natural balance way off. Last summer we had some red tide drifting a few miles off our coast and it was our biggest worry…until Hurricane Irma. Of course a good hurricane will always blast away a red tide bloom, and we all forgot about red tide after Irma. Our focus was getting our power back on, having the damage cleaned up, and to eventually recover from the huge news media public image disaster. But the red tide was gone and we never gave it a thought.

That said, we did have a little business boom when Siesta Key, Sarasota, and sadly, Sanibel Island were totally impossible to visit and everybody was moving north. However, speaking of news media image disasters, the recent “red tide” hype on every news outlet around the world has impacted us here on Clearwater Beach and we have not even had any effects at all so far. Swimming in the Gulf is totally on, sitting on the soft sands of Clearwater Beach with no bad smells, no dead fish, we are 100% paradise beach!

By the way, as of this post, we only have a handful of open units from now through mid-November. But call us at 727-461-1123 to see what is available. Our refund policy is that we’ll refund any and every day the beach is not healthy or pleasant due to red tide effects.

The main Florida resource for the red tide is the “Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission” (or FWC for short) red tide web page. The FWC website is, for the most part, the primary resource we locals and most news media refer to.

http://myfwc.com/redtidestatus

It typically updates once a week, on Fridays. Lately, it does provide an update during mid-week, but it has not been consistent. This website is considered the State “authority”, but that’s not 100% the case. So we locals have a few more resources we can check several times a day.

Clearwater Beach is located in the “northern” part of Pinellas County. Pinellas County has its own red tide report web page that is the most up-to-date resource for we on the Pinellas County beaches.

http://www.pinellascounty.org/environment/watershed/red-tide.htm

The world famous Mote Aquarium in Sarasota has a great beach condition web page that also provides current reports of red tide, dead fish on beaches, weather conditions, etc.

https://mote.org/research/program/environmental-health/beach-conditions-report-red-tide-information

Clearwater Beach Christmas 2018

Clearwater Beach Christmas 2018

Are you dreaming of a white Christmas? Don’t hope for snow, pack your bags and enjoy a beautiful Clearwater Beach Christmas Vacation! The Villas of Clearwater Beach and Surfside Condominiums still have a few two and three bedroom condos with beach front views available! Book today!

The soft white sands of Clearwater Beach guarantee a white Christmas! Skip the cold and enjoy the warm Clearwater Beach weather with temperatures typically reaching the 70’s each day throughout December!

Clearwater Beach Christmas Events

Holiday Lights in the Gardens
November 23, 2018 – December 30, 2018

Escape into the wonderland of twinkling holiday lights at The Florida Botanical Gardens! Featuring over 1 million lights highlighting the Botanical Gardens’ plants in a nature and holiday-themed light display!

Christmas Town at Busch Gardens
November 17, 2018 – December 31, 2018

The family tradition returns to Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida! Christmas Town features twinkling lights, Yuletide shows, a visit to Santa’s House and characters from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. Christmas Town is open on select dates from November 17th through December 31st!

Winter’s Wonderland at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
November 24, 2018 – January 8, 2018

Experience Winter the Dolphin’s Winter Wonderland featuring holiday lights and decorations all around the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. All habitats are holiday themed to wish happy holidays to all our animal residents and visitors!

Christmas Eve Cruises (Tampa & Clearwater)
December 24, 2018

Experience a Christmas Eve dinner like never before! Enjoy a Christmas Eve cruise featuring a holiday buffet, a DJ playing holiday classics and modern hits and spectacular views of Downtown Tampa and Clearwater Beach holiday lighting for a fun and memorable Christmas Eve with Yacht StarShip Cruises and Events!

Christmas Eve dinner cruises are available in both Clearwater Beach and Tampa! Early cruises are available from 5PM through 7:30 PM and Midnight Mass cruises are available from 8:30 PM through 11 PM.

Christmas Eve Cruises have limited availability, book today!