Tampa Bay Area - St. Petersburg Beach, Florida

Discussion in 'Travel Stories' started by giradman, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Well, March has arrived and Susan & I have some monthly trips planned - the first was a delayed birthday gift for her (January - mine is in April and we'll be traveling to the Georgia Coast) - this time we returned to the Tampa Bay Area - brief quote below of the size and population of the region from the link. Our specific destination was a 5-night stay at the Don CeSar Resort on St. Pete's Beach - this was our 5th visit there done over nearly a 40-year period.

    Tampa-Clearwater-St. Petersburg are located along the west central coast of Florida (see first two maps below and notice the closeness to Orlando, i.e. Disney World). We flew into the Tampa Airport, picked up a rental car, and drove just 30 minutes or so to the resort (see additional maps of the route, Tampa Area, and some satellite views of the land and water - beautiful!). The last four images are of the Don CeSar Hotel from the front, back, and views of the two pools and the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike the Florida east coast, the sun sets over the water providing some spectacular views.

    This travelogue will first discuss our present visit, which included a number of day trips to state parks and other cities (on one of the satellite views, I've circled some of the towns, cities, etc. that will be included in upcoming posts); I'll cover some of our previous trips to the area (probably at least a dozen or more) just to give those who may be traveling to the Central Florida some suggestions for activities. Also, I imagine that there are forum members who live in the area; if so, please 'chime in' w/ corrections (not a native Floridian BUT frequent visitor) and add some posts. Hope all viewing this thread will enjoy - Dave :)

    .
    1_StPete_FLMapGeneral.png 2_StPete_FLMapDetail.png 3_StPeteBeach_TouristMap.png 4_StPeteBeach_DrivingMap.png 5_StPeteBeach_DonCesar.png 6_StPete_DonC.png 7_StPete_DonC_Sign.png 8_StPete_DonCFront.jpg 9_StPetes16_Don.JPG 10_StPete_DonCPools.jpg
     
  2. scifan57

    scifan57
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Messages:
    26,322
    Thanks Received:
    7,773
    It's a wonderful pink hotel.
     
  3. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Hi Scifan.. - as expected, you are the first to respond - thanks! :)

    The Don CeSar Hotel has always been a favorite for us - as mentioned probably elsewhere, Susan has always loved Florida pink hotels and this one tops her list. The amenities, service, and food are excellent - nightly entertainment in the bar (three nights w/ an outstanding jazz quartet). Three different restaurants along w/ pool and bar food menus. Plus, the location of the hotel is great for day trips, as will be evident in upcoming posts. Dave :)
     
  4. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Myakka River State Park - Part 1

    Florida has numerous nature parks, so always a pleasure to leave the developed areas & cities to visit the native flora & fauna of the state. For our first all day trip, we drove about an hour to Myakka River State Park. The route crosses the lower end of the huge Tampa Bay over the beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge which is just over a mile long and 430 ft peak height (check short quote below and link - there have been over 200 suicides since its opening); the first pics below show the route on I-275 to I-75 to the park near Sarasota (an upcoming day trip post).

    Myakka River State Park is described below (second quote; link above) - the river and several lakes are on the property (the upper lake can be viewed on an air-boat ride or canoe rentals) - see satellite and diagrammatic maps; there is a gift shop w/ a decent restaurant for a quick lunch or snack - a combination ticket includes a narrated air-boat cruise on the lake and an open tram ride (pics below) w/ excellent commentary by the driver/guide. There are numerous opportunities to see many different kinds of animals; of course, many alligators live in the park (last images below) - note the pics in these posts will be a mixture of my own and ones from the web. Part 2 of this split post will show some of the other animals - this was a throughly enjoyable day and a pleasant break from the 'hotel environment' - Dave :)

    .
    1a_MyakkaRiverSPark.png 1b_Myakka_Bridge2.png 1c_Myakka_Bridge1.png 1d_Myakka_Bridge3.png 1e_Myakka_ParkSign.png 1f_Myakka_SatelliteMap1.png 1g_Myakka_DiagramMap.png 1h_Myakka_AirBoatWeb.png 1i_Myakka_BoatTour2.JPG 1j_Myakka_TramRide.png 1k_Myakka_AlligatorBoatDock.JPG 1l_Myakka_LgAlligator.png 1m_Myakka_AlligatorsLOTS.png 1n_Myakka_AlligatorEating.png
     
  5. scifan57

    scifan57
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Messages:
    26,322
    Thanks Received:
    7,773
    It looks like you're having a wonderful time. That last picture looks like the fish is leaping straight into the alligator's mouth.
     
  6. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Well, I'm assuming that was a meal for the gator! ;) The pic is from the web - I probably would have needed to sit in a canoe for hours if not days to come close to a pic like that! But according to our air-boat guide, turtles are the main diet of alligators at the park (believe he stated 80% of what they eat - now not sure if they 'spit out' the shells or swallow all, suspect the latter - they do have to keep warm by the sun for their digestive enzymes to be actively). Dave :)
     
  7. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Myakka River State Park - Part 2

    The park has numerous other activities beyond the ones mentioned previously - plenty of trails (like the one below w/ overhanging Spanish moss, especially from live oaks), kayaking & canoeing, bicycling, horse riding, camping, overnight cabins, etc. - below just another description of the park (Source). Birding is a MUST here - we saw some bald eagles and many water birds (pics below mostly my own w/ labels) - the vultures are the 'garbage collectors' locally - ;)

    On our way out, we did a trail hike to the Canopy Walkway and Tower - the vegetation in the trees is clearly visible; the tower provides a panoramic view of the treetops (Susan decided not to climb and is seen on her phone sitting on a bench) - there were a number of fires in the distance, which were intentional 'ecological burns' set by the rangers to control and promote floral growth in the park. Again, an extremely enjoyable day and highly recommended if visiting the area - BTW, we did use insect repellent and were not bitten by any insects. Dave :)

    .
    2a_Myakka_Trail.png 2b_Myakka_BaldEagle.png 2c_Myakka_Fawn.png 2d_Myakka_Egret.JPG 2e_Myakka_Limpkin.JPG 2f_Myakka_Vultures.JPG 2g_Myakka_BlHeronMyRP.JPG 2h_Myakka_Spoonbills.JPG 2i_Myakka_RoseateSpoonbills.png 2j_Myakka_CanopyWalkwayWeb.png 2k_Myakka_CanopyWalk1.JPG 2l_Myakka_CanopyWalk2.JPG 2m_Myakka_CanopyWalkWeb.png 2n_Myakka_TowerGroundUp.JPG 2o_Myakka_CanopyWalkTower1.JPG 2p_Myakka_SusanTower.JPG
     
  8. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Well, Scifan..'s asking about the 'fishing gator' piqued my curiosity since I had 'borrowed' that pic from the web - SO, found the link which brought me to the YouTube video below - IT'S REAL! Just a matter of luck for the gator but an easy catch - love it! Dave :)

     
  9. scifan57

    scifan57
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2011
    Messages:
    26,322
    Thanks Received:
    7,773
    Susan didn't climb up to that wonderfull aerial walkway?
     
  10. giradman

    giradman
    Expand Collapse
    iPad Wizard

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,086
    Thanks Received:
    4,579
    Susan did the walkway but did not climb the tower, although decades ago we did walk the stairs of the Washington Monument - but both turning 70 y/o this year - WOW! Tomorrow, I'll post on our second day trip to Sarasota - Dave :)
     

Share This Page



Search tags for this page

map of tampa and surrounding areas