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Places to stay near St Pete
Old 08-26-2009, 08:05 AM   #1
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Places to stay near St Pete

DW and I are interested in places to stay on the Florida gulf coast for a couple of weeks next January of February. I'm hoping Rich or others may know about the area we are looking at and be able to advise. First, our requirements: 1) either on or across from a nice beach or,if not beach accessible, with a nice pool with a good view of water; lots of nice restaurants near by; excellent biking from our front door (e.g 30-40 mile rides); ready access to urban settings a plus but not essential.

This year we are interested in the Dunedin/Clearwater Beach area. I understand there is a very popular rail trail (Pinellas Trail) running right through the area. We both like trails since you can ride for hours and not have to constantly focus on traffic hazards. It looks like Dunedin would be closs to the trail, could have nice views (across a sound) but no beach. Clearwater Beach would have a beach but might be a bit of a hassle riding to the trail. (Note: several miles thru city traffic is no problem as long it is not on high speed highways with no shoulders -- any place you regularly see people on bikes is fine for us).

Any of you familiar with these areas or with other beach areas near by? If you are on the beaches is the riding OK and can you get back across to the Pinellas Trail without riding on a freeway? Restaurants good?
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:18 AM   #2
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I think Dunedin is a charming town . A more beachy place that I would recommend is Anna Marie Island . You can bike the whole island in fact you can bike from there to Sarasota via Longboat Key .This will take you to St. Armands circle an upscale shopping district with some great restaurants . Sarasota is a very artsy ,yuppie town . That is loaded with great restaurants and small clubs . Anna Marie Island has beautiful beaches and it lacks the resort look of Clearwater . The atmosphere is more like Key West . Everybody bikes to everything . There are lots of rentals on or across from the beach . If you are looking for lay back atmosphere this is the place .
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:46 AM   #3
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I think Dunedin is a charming town . A more beachy place that I would recommend is Anna Marie Island . You can bike the whole island in fact you can bike from there to Sarasota via Longboat Key .This will take you to St. Armands circle an upscale shopping district with some great restaurants . Sarasota is a very artsy ,yuppie town . That is loaded with great restaurants and small clubs . Anna Marie Island has beautiful beaches and it lacks the resort look of Clearwater . The atmosphere is more like Key West . Everybody bikes to everything . There are lots of rentals on or across from the beach . If you are looking for lay back atmosphere this is the place .
We were there last year and enjoyed it. We will also spend a couple of days down there this year with some friends who bought a place. We want to try another spot this year. But a primary requirement is being able to take 30-40 mile rides on trails or good riding roads. We are also looking at Lakefront in Inverness FL along another bike trail and rural roads for another week.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:12 AM   #4
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Dunedin is quite nice and the Pinellas Trail is extensive and popular, well regarded though we have not ridden it ourselves. You can also venture up to the Tarpon Springs area from there, or down by car to St Pete beach including Pass-a Grille beach and Fort Desoto beach which has miles of bike trails and a spectacular beach. Restaurants are excellent in the Dunedin and Clearwater Beach areas. Tarpon as a great little county park beach (Howard Park, I think?). Inverness and environs are a bit isolated but offer lots of parks. Day trips about including good biking and birding at Myakka River near Sarasota and canoeing and kayaking all over the place.

Can't help too much with the bike trail issues but have friends who can, so I'll keep my ears open. This site is helpful.

Moemg mentions some good ideas. Clearwater Beach is fun though the area is pretty congested. If it works out, I'd be happy to get together while you are here.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:20 AM   #5
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On your research dont confuse St Pete with St Pete Beach as they are 2 seperate towns.also that Pinellas Trail although very picturesque follows the west side of the Intra Coastal Waterway and goes no where near the beach,if you want a long ride on the beach Indian Rocks to Passa Grille would probably be a 15 mile bike ride on the beach but i've never seen bikes south of Johns Pass area,not sure why.I'd say the east coast has the longer beaches eg= Flagler Beach to New Smyrna would be 40+ miles.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:38 AM   #6
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Thanks Rich and Jambo. For biking we weren't actually planning to ride along beaches. That would be fantastic if there was a good area for a long, steady ride at a good clip but most beach areas are better fit for a slow ramble - also fun but not what we are primarily interested in. The Pinellas trail sounds like it passes thru city areas which is fine for us. The best would be a mix of access to leisurely beach rambles with easy riding access to a trail that permits longer, faster rides. We want it all

Forgot to add: if we toss in Inverness for a week or so maybe we could find a diving outfitter to rent gear/transportation from and dive the springs. I haven't done that in 25 years but remember it fondly. A bike and dive vacation - nice mix.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
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Forgot to add: if we toss in Inverness for a week or so maybe we could find a diving outfitter to rent gear/transportation from and dive the springs. I haven't done that in 25 years but remember it fondly. A bike and dive vacation - nice mix.
Might want to check out the Rainbow Springs area near Dunellon and Crystal River for clear water diving and floating. It's not far from Lake Rousseau where we recently camped (bass fishing).
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Old 08-26-2009, 03:39 PM   #8
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Suncoast Trail

Forgot about the Suncoast Trail,it parallels the Suncoast Parkway from northern Tampa all the way to Crystal River,New pavement all the way,definitely gets you out in the country and very few people use it,probably because its somewhat boring by most peoples standards,just endless miles of fields,farms and bushes with the expressway close by...
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