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need advice for first time trip

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webster, ny
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need advice for first time trip

we are a couple in our early 50s and we are heading down to the tampa area in march...and think we'll stay in the clearwater area, rent a car and try to see as much of the surrounding area as we can in a week or so...

we are thinking of perhaps retiring to this area one day...and want to see what it's like.

can anyone give us some advice on hotels/motels to stay at...on the moderate side (no more than $125/night if possible). we don't plan to spend much time at a hotel...but would like something on or very near the water...a dock for fishing might be nice too...we like to fish and might take a charter. any advice on that?

basically...a nice quiet, small, clean place with a good breakfast restaurant close by and a view of the water would be perfect.

i'm going to ask about things to see/do, as well...but this is my first post and i will search the forum for as much info as i can get first...

thanks for any help in advance.

mikell

CLEARWATER , FLORIDA
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1. Re: need advice for first time trip

If you want to stay at Clearwater Beach I would recomend a Sta'n Pla Motel on Hamden Dr.

I have stayed there a couple of times , its clean, has two fishing docks, close to the beach and the personel is friendly, also there rates were always good.I hope this info will help you.

Tampa, Florida
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2. Re: need advice for first time trip

Your coming down during a VERY busy time, so check this site for availability www.floridasbeach.com.

I personnaly enjoy Pass-a-Grille as it is not as congested with high rises, easily accesible, lots of small restaurants, and quaint small inns(the inn on the beach). There is one with fishing docks. You can drive up to Clearwater along the coast(about 30 minutes), and see all the different beach towns - St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island, Madeira Beach, Reddington Beach/Shores, Indian Shores/Beach, Bellair, Sand Key and Clearwater Beach. Fort DeSoto Park is a few miles and has some of the nicest beaches in the area, all natural, no hotels.

I hope this helps!

Southwest Florida
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206 posts
66 reviews
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3. Re: need advice for first time trip

A good option might be Dunedin. It's not on the beach, but on the bay. The Best Western(?) marina inn has a dock for fishing (it's a city dock) and many day trip sport fishing places go out at the marina. Plus it's a cute town with shopping/restaurants and close to areas in which you might want to retire. There is also a new Holiday Inn express near downtown as well.

Happy Fishing

Clearwater,Florida
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4. Re: need advice for first time trip

I second Dunedin. The down town is very quaint and it is a good midpoint place to stay. Another town that is nice is Tarpon Springs. I highly recommend a day trip to the down town area. It is a Greek fishing village type place. There are tours too. You can go on a boat and see a guy go sponge diving with old fashioned dive gear. There are MANY restaurants so bring your appetite. We have eaten at many places there and haven't had a bad meal yet. There are lots of shops to walk through also. It is also world famous for its sponges. Another must see would be honeymoon island. It is a state park in Dunedin. They have nature trails, a beach and a ferry that takes you to a local island. On the way to the island there is a place on the left where you can rent kayaks and stuff. As for living there it is a wonderful place but can be expensive. I would recommend looking into the county just north (Pasco). There are some waterfront (canal front) developments that are still somewhat reasonable. Of course expensive to someone may be cheap to someone else!

We just sold our house in Safety Harbor just a few days ago. My husband got a job offer in WI we just couldn’t refuse. If he had not gotten this offer we would have never left. We loved it there.

Good luck and post again if you have anymore questions. I would be happy to help!

webster, ny
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5. Re: need advice for first time trip

thanks to all for the help/advice so far...we are still trying to find a place to stay...some of our first choices are already booked solid for march...not unexpected...

so we will check out areas a little further away from clearwater beach area...

dunedin looks great...and tarpon...will keep searching for lodging that suits us...

we prefer bayside to beachfront...small not large resort/hotel...

just getting to know the area...google earth is fabulous...zooming in on roads with hotel/restaurant overlays is amazing...it's almost like driving along the coast!

tjmac66...what a change of environment you are in for...moving to WI!! :)

all information truly appreciated...

:) mikell

webster, ny
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25 posts
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6. Re: need advice for first time trip

well...we can't seem to find anything available in the clearwater area ...at least not what we're looking for...in our range and to our taste...we've obviously waited too long to plan this.

we have found a couple of places that have rooms...

has anyone stayed at the sand vista motel in redington shores/beach area?

how about the malyn condo motel in treasure island?

either one looks like it might work...but can't find much about either...

and which location would be preferable? any thoughts?

mikell

Indian Rocks Beach
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11 posts
13 reviews
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7. Re: need advice for first time trip

try indian rocks beach. you will need to up your budget some but you can still get a nice place at a small property with a great central location and the least crowded area in March. IRB will give you great access for your travels and good restaurants. Good luck!

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183 posts
5 reviews
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8. Re: need advice for first time trip

Hi Mikell, Not sure if you checked Sea Captain resort, we stayed there in October and it was great, exactly what you seem to be looking for, small, clean great area, right on the marina, with dock, and around the corner from everything!!! We loved it, but it does book fast. I posted pictures under Sea Captain Resort by the bay reviews section. We booked again already for next October because we loved it there. Hope this helps.

webster, ny
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25 posts
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9. Re: need advice for first time trip

well...the sea capt. is booked...and so are a lot of other places...

but we can still get a nice efficiency at either the malyn (treasure island) or the sand vista (redington).

we booked our flight for feb 25 to march 4...(got the very best deal for that week)

so...we will just take one of the above rooms...

any ideas on which would be the best location?

is there a difference? any reviews of those motels?

thanks...

mikell

Southwest Florida
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206 posts
66 reviews
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10. Re: need advice for first time trip

try marina inn (it's a best western) in dunedin, Sailwinds or Inn on the bay. Small, family run places. Nothing fancy, though.

Have you thought of a guesthouse/B&B? Not on the radar screen for most spring breakers...

There are a number of cute ones in Dunedin and Tarpon Springs.

Merenova in Dunedin, Bavarvia in Tarpon Springs, Ibis in safety harbor are some I know about/heard good things - though haven't stayed there. (We're too busy on AMI!)

just some ideas.

With spring training and spring break - I know it can be a challenge... If you find a place that's booked, and your heart is set on it. Get on the waiting list. Things happen. We were booked for february month for one of our nicest units and just got a cancellation today...