Mountains and hiking not for you? How about beachfront property and fish tacos?
So where do we go from the Pacific Northwest? Of course the Atlantic south east! That’s right we got you covered here whether you like the nice 60 degree weather of a Seattle spring surrounded by the mountains, or if you prefer some beach front lifestyle down in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
First off I feel like I have to explain how all of this travel is even possible. While I would love to say this blog has a huge sponsor that pays for everything, that of course isn’t true…yet. I am lucky enough to be dating someone who travels for work and is amazing at getting deals on flights, parking, and hotels. By deals I mean the Southwest Companion Pass. If you haven’t heard of it and have a significant other who also enjoys travel I highly recommend doing some further digging! Basically, you open a credit card with them and for the rest of the calendar year you get 2 for 1 flights with southwest as long as it is just you and your companion.
On top of the companion pass, we have become great at searching through Airbnb, Booking.com, HomeToGo, and Virbo for the best deals on lodging. Finally, when you are flying from an airport you have to leave your car somewhere right? Well if you fly frequently at all, it is way better to stick with one parking company and sign up for their rewards program. We have gotten several days of free parking just by sticking with the same company and scheduling ahead of time.
Now with all of the deals and salesy stuff out of the way…what the heck is there to do in Clearwater Beach? Well I went down to Clearwater for a conference focusing on marketing, personal/professional development, and clinic development so my time was much more limited than in Seattle. That being said, there are still a few huge takeaways! First, there is a big difference between Clearwater, Florida and Clearwater Beach, Florida. In Clearwater there isn’t direct access to the ocean and if you want to get to the beach you pretty much have to cross a bridge which can take 10-90 minutes depending on traffic. Therefore, if beach time is your goal, stay in Clearwater Beach.
Our first night on the island we pretty much explored the great happy hour deals on the Clearwater Beach strip and checked out stores like Ron Jon and Hogan’s Beach shop. If shopping is your main goal, you are a little limited, but it is still cool to explore the strip. While we walked up and down looking for the best happy hour deals we could there were several places that had $3-5 drinks discounted down from $8 so between 3-7pm is a great time to try a bunch of different bars. We didn’t really have a favorite one but I heard good things about Fusion Cigar Lounge if classy cocktails and hand-rolled cigars are your thing.
In terms of restaurants, I believe our Lyft driver on the way in from the airport said it best, “all of the places are good! You get fresh seafood and if the place sucked they wouldn’t be able to afford the rent”. Some of our favorites though were Crabby’s , Frenchys, and Palm Pavilion Beach-side. The first two have a couple of locations nearby and make some fantastic fish tacos. Apparently the local cuisine is grouper so each one had their own little spin with the fish either being grilled or fried. As a pretty basic whitefish, we both really enjoyed it because they can flavor it a variety of different ways. Now on to Palm Pavilion, about halfway up the beach from the Hyatt Regency is this awesome gem that sits beach-side with a magnificent view of the sunset on the beach. With a covered patio, extensive food and drink menu, on top of live music, we ended up spending almost 2 hours here just watching the sun slowly fall on the horizon. As far as beach side sunsets go, this has got to be right up there.
Finally, in terms of things to do, I spent most of my time at the conference learning how to level up and grow myself so I didn’t get to explore too much. However, on the beach in the morning there was beach sunrise yoga and meditation, after sunrise the paddle-boards, wave runners, and parasailing businesses set up shop, and there are several beach volleyball courts and cabanas scattered across the beach. I personally loved the walk-ability of the whole island as well. Without a rental car, I was walking 5-7 miles a day between our Airbnb and the conference and got to do nearly all of that while staring off into the water.
*Pro-Tip: if you are going to walk barefoot stick close to the water, unless you want to work those foot intrinsics like I did.*
Overall, I would say our travel thus far has been very different. It is hard to compare a Pacific Northwest hiking and chill get away to a beach front conference. That being said, I would recommend both places if you have a desire to travel! There are for sure perks to each but it really comes down to what you enjoy more. I was perfect spending a couple hours before and around sunrise and sunset on the beach and then being inside learning for the majority of the day. However, if you love sunbathing and drinking on the beach Clearwater Beach for sure will not disappoint.
Feel free to reach out with any questions about either location as I would love to talk more about our recent experiences!
Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read this blog and I look forward to writing up part 3 of this travel series after the beginning of July! Where are we headed to next??? You’ll have to wait for the next post to find out ;)
I am a new graduate DPT and am interested in personal growth and becoming a connector within my profession.