St. Petersburg/Clearwater is for Runners

Dedicated athletes takes their routine with them wherever they go. This holds true for runners. Most days I get up early, throw on my gear and start pounding the pavement, logging my requisite miles before the sun comes up.

I prefer to run alone. It’s my church – my chance to breathe, think and start my day. There’s something magical that tugs at a runner when you’re staying at the beach. Running at the water’s edge is not as easy at it appears in movies though

After a short jog from where I’m staying, I reach the sand beach and realize, you simply can’t run on this fluid white powdery surface. It takes a careful walk using a completely different motion to keep the sand out of my shoes and to make my way to the packed sand.

Image of Indian Rocks Running Club

Indian Rocks Running Club

In the dark hours before the dawn, I feel the humid salt breeze blow through my hair and hear the waves washing against the gulf shore. I make sure to stay above the wet sand, so I can keep the rhythm of my stride even though I sense the slightest sinking feeling with each step. Every day distractions are soon swept away by the relaxing sound of the sea, the comedic sandpipers running in and out, as they try to catch breakfast among the tide’s foamy aftermath. As I start to perspire, I’m glad I’m out early….it won’t be long before the temperatures start to rise.

I’ve made some mental notes as to where to get on and off the sand and turn around. Fishing piers, be it Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach,

Pier 60, at Clearwater Beach

Pier 60, at Clearwater Beach

or Long Pier in Redington Beach,

Pier at North Redington Beach

Pier at North Redington Beach

or wooden ramps over protected sea oats, serve as my markers to measure time and distance.

While yesterday was a difficult run, less miles were covered. Today I don my gear and elect to run street-side. I’m amazed how much farther I can run with asphalt under my feet. This morning is met with the mundane side of beach life and it’s not as easy to free my mind – newspapers being delivered, equipment headed to the sand to begin beautifying the beach (who knew her looks didn’t come naturally!), the aroma of food wafting from restaurants make me think of breakfast, employees bicycling to work and fishermen readying to head out to sea.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll get back on the beach as it’s much more peaceful run. For those who like to run in a pack, dawn and dusk options are available around the county…see below.

Vacation Without a Car?

Can You Vacation in our St. Petersburg Clearwater Area Without a Car?

You Want to Vacation Here without a Car?

Have you asked yourself is you can vacation in this area without a car?

Well, the answer is, yes.  It’s absolutely do-able – if you don’t mind a mix of transportation and a bit of walking too! But, speaking for myself, my favorite vacations are “walking locations”, where I can see things as I go! And you might find it is easier than you thought!

Here’s How You Can Vacation without a Car!

Below are some suggestions for those who want to forego a rental car or want to use their rental car minimally.

Getting To and From the Airport

Shuttle van services are often the lowest price option for individuals. Keep in mind that they do stop at a number of locations to drop off others sharing the shuttle with you at local hotels, etc.

Taxis, which are door-to-door, have a set rate and may accommodate 3 or 4 persons and are waiting outside the terminal. No advance reservation is required. You can call a local area taxi service in the community you are visiting and they should be able to give you an estimate of the cost. (They cannot pick you up at the airport, but can deliver you to the airport when it is time to go home.)

Private cars, also door-to-door, charge a flat rate, and may accommodate 3 or 4 persons. These services normally hold a sign and meet you in the baggage area, making you feel like a celebrity! These are a good option for families and small groups.

By the way, private car services are not shown on the Tampa International Airport Ground Transportation page.   But, you can ask the Superior Small Lodging® owner/manager where you will stay.   Or, you can do an online search for a private car services.

The St. Petersburg Central Avenue Trolley connect St. Pete Beach to the historic waterfront area of downtown St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg Central Avenue Trolley connect St. Pete Beach to the historic waterfront area of downtown St. Petersburg.

To and From the Grocery or Drugstore?

In most towns, the grocery and drug stores may be a ways from the beach or downtown.

++ If you are buying lot of items, a taxi might be the option for you. It’s door to door and usually has a large trunk.

++ If buying only a few items, you may be able to use the Trolley system in your area, such as:

The Suncoast Beach Trolley, which runs up and down the beaches area from St. Pete Beach in the south to downtown Clearwater in the north. Several grocery stores and drugstores are near the route.

The Jolly Trolley will transport you around Clearwater Beach and downtown Clearwater. And, by the way, the Jolly Trolley and Suncoast Beach Trolley routes meet in Clearwater should you need this connection when shopping. (They do not have a scheduled ‘connection’, so you may have to wait a few minutes.)

The St. Petersburg Central Avenue Trolley carries you from St. Pete Beach, which is west of downtown St. Petersburg. It also goes to the Pier area and other locations downtown St. Petersburg.

The St. Petersburg Downtown Looper will get you to great dining in downtown St. Petersburg, and the new Locale Market downtown also.

The Clearwater Jolley Trolley in this photo goes throughout Clearwater Beach, and connects to the Suncoast Beach Trolley.

The Clearwater Jolley Trolley in this photo goes throughout Clearwater Beach, and connects to the Suncoast Beach Trolley.

Shopping?

++ Trolley systems take you to a number of shopping areas in the beach communities. So, for example, if you want to go to Johns Pass Village, the Suncoast Beach Trolley stops there.

++If you want to shop downtown St. Petersburg or Clearwater, see the information above about grocery and drugstore shopping.

++Should you want to find a shopping center, such as the Countryside Mall in the North and the Tyrone Mall in the South, the area bus system can get you there. The system is called the PSTA and routes and schedules are available online.

Seeing Some Sights?

Clearwater Beach

++The Jolley Trolley can get you to the Clearwater Aquarium and to Pier 60 with ease, if you are not close enough to walk.

++And, the Jolly Trolley goes north to Tarpon Springs and through charming Dunedin, making these very easy trips to these charming and delightful communities.

St. Petersburg

++If you want to go to St. Petersburg from St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, or a Beach community on the Suncoast Beach Trolley, you can take the Central Avenue Trolley to St. Pete Beach.

++The St. Petersburg Downtown Looper stops at the Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Holocaust Museum and many more places of interest.

Gulfport

++Should you want to visit Gulfport, a charming community on the peninsula, the Suncoast Beach Trolley meets the Central Avenue Trolley at Williams Park in downtown St. Petersburg by the bay. From there, you can use Route #15 to go to the Gulfport Casino, which is smack downtown Gulfport!

++Look at the maps to make sure you understand where to get off in St. Pete Beach!

Gulfport, a colorful and charming small town shown in this photo, has a free trolley that runs through the downtown areas.

Gulfport, a colorful and charming small town shown in this photo, has a free trolley that runs through the downtown areas.

The Beaches

The Suncoast Beach Trolley stops:

++Near the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, Johns Pass Village, and the Long Pier at Redington Shores for fishing enthusiasts

++Along each of the beach communities on the barrier islands on the Gulf of Mexico in our area from Clearwater Beach (North) to St. Pete Beach (South).

Active Sports?

You can go on vacation without a car and expand your kayaking, biking, or other active outdoor skills without a car.

++Many rental facilities that rent bikes, kayaks and other equipment will deliver it to you.

++Check out the blog at: www.bestgetawayever.com for information about options, resources and equipment.  his site is in progress, and there are already a few blogs articles about active sports that area available, including some local resources to rent or use.

Dining Out

++Of course, there will likely be several restaurants you can walk to from where you will be staying.

++If you want to go a bit further, all the various trolleys may make this easy! And, we know your trips to a number of our locally owned restaurants will offer some very great experiences and memories!

So check out your options and take a break from driving if you are of a mind to experience our area close up, assisted by local professional drivers!

Article by J. Mohns, Island Paradise Cottages of Madeira Beach

Sun coast Beach Trolleys run from St. Pete Beach in the South, north through Madeira Beach and other towns to Clearwater Beach.

Sun coast Beach Trolleys run from St. Pete Beach in the South, north through Madeira Beach and other towns to Clearwater Beach.