I think it would be hard to visit Florida and not walk at least one beach. We got lucky and visited four.
After Bok Gardens we made a beeline for Honeymoon Island State Park in hopes of seeing the sunset. Traffic through Tampa was brutal.
We barely made it, paying our $4.00 entry fee and rushing to find a parking place as the sun was beginning it’s rapid decline into the Gulf of Mexico.
Lots of people had obviously spent the day at the beach and were packing up for the evening. We didn’t look like beach goers in our shorts and running shoes, but I didn’t care.
It just felt good to be near the water.
We had to head north for a bit to find a hotel, but the next morning we went in search of more beaches and a chance for me to put my feet in the water.
We started at Fred Howard County Park in Tarpon Springs. We thought maybe it wouldn’t have a fee. Silly us. I think it was $5.00 to park in their lot all day.
It was a Sunday and the beach was already crowded when we arrived. Luckily we found a parking space, then wandered down to the water, weaving between umbrellas and blankets. I was a bit disappointed, the shore was filled with old weeds and the beach was overwhelmed with people.
Still, some found their own bit of peace with their toes in the water.
On the other side of the small island there were a whole lot of toys to be rented. I’d never seen the big bicycles before. They were sort of like paddle boats.
The island was at the end of a long causeway which we walked a bit to see what the fisherpeople out there were catching. Along the way we saw more than one group of people sunning on blankets in parking spaces.
Not my idea of a great way to enjoy the beach! By the time we walked back to the car the parking lot on the island was teaming with vehicles circling, looking for a space. We gave our space and ticket to a grateful family and left, looking for longer beaches, softer sand, more space.
We found all that at my favorite beach of the day, Clearwater’s Sand Key Beach.
It was crowded too, but there was a long white beach with a clean sandy shore just begging to be walked.
And the further you walked the less crowded the beach was. Down a ways was a place where people were flying kites. We had to walk at least that far!
We walked a long way, me in the water as much as I could be.
Eventually we went to find lunch, and then on to our last beach of the day, on our last evening of our trip, to see what the sunset might bring at Madeira Beach a bit further south.
We had a longer wait for the sunset than the night before, and it was windier and getting chilly. I looked for things to photograph to keep myself busy. There’s always something.
The sun was hiding most of that last hour behind clouds. But once in awhile it would break free and light up the buildings further south of us.
A few other people waited on the beach for the sun to set too. And the balconies of the condos and hotels behind us began to fill up with people, some with cameras, some just watching.
Everyone waiting for the evening ritual.
And finally it happened. The sun dropped below the band of clouds and lit the sky and beach and water with a golden glow.
It wasn’t as pretty as the night before up on Honeymoon Beach, but it was worth the wait.
And when the sun had sunk beneath the waves we turned and slowly made our way back to the car. The trip was over, nothing left to do but prepare for our flight home.
It was a good trip, this time in Florida, but we were ready, almost ready, to face the snow and cold in Michigan, knowing that flowers were blooming somewhere, and spring couldn’t hold out forever even up there.
Besides, Katie-girl was waiting. Time to go home.