Saturday, January 17, 2015

Come and find the sun in the Tampa Bay area

Happy New Year! 
Sunset at Madeira Beach, St Pete
We spent three relaxing weeks in sunny St Pete over the holidays, returning to Chattanooga last week. To wicked freezing temperatures. What the heck are we doing back here in the cold? For now (and the last several years), home is where the boat is, so here we are.

However, I'm very excited for several friends who are (and will be) visiting the Tampa Bay area. In my humble opinion, this area has some of the best cruising grounds in Florida. With crude oil prices tumbling down a hefty 57 percent from the high of $115 a barrel in July last year to around $49 yesterday, cruising is so much more affordable. Both on the water and on the road. Yesterday, I filled up my car at $1.78/gallon and saw diesel price at $2.59/gallon, prices we haven seen since 2008. Now is the perfect time to cruise on a power boat!
Mai Thai, last seen in Florida waters in 2006 (Santa Rosa Island, near Pensacola)
The Tampa Bay (Tampa, St Pete, Clearwater) area also boasts a number of beautiful beaches (from Caladesi and Clearwater to Fort DeSoto, many of whom had been named top 10 beaches in America).
Treasure Island, St Pete
And lots of fabulous restaurants ( we love The Columbia's restaurant in Ybor City, Ceviche Tapas Bar in St Pete downtown, and Cafe Alma, now renamed Alma in its new location at Madeira Beach). And yes, sunny days! Very much needed this time of year.

Arts and glass buffs might enjoy a visit to the Dali Museum and The Chihuly Collection, both located in downtown St Pete. And if you're in the Tampa Bay area end of January, you're in luck for some Mardi Gras fun - the Gasparilla Pirate Festival (Jan 31).

Jose Gasparilla invades Tampa

Where do you go to find some sun and fun?

Updated: Dec 12, 2016.
Fixed several broken links. Alma closed in the summer of 2015. The Chihuly Collection moved from downtown proper to its new location at 720 Central Ave.

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A day in the life of a liveaboard, part 4 Best Beach in America: Caladesi Island State Park Gasparilla Pirate Festival in Tampa, Florida