View Full Version : Recommendations pls, West Coast Florida

Cyber Bob
26th Jul 2016, 11:34
Apologies in advance for being cheeky. Looking to venture over to the west coast FL in October for about 10 days. Can anyone recommend any hidden gems (Places to stay) anywhere from Clearwater down to Marco Island?. Thinking of spending a few days in different places driving up and down the coast. More than likely using TPA as my entry point so want to start north then venture south returning to TPA

Accommodation must have all the creature comforts as I'm taking someone with me - open to all suggestions, but looking for that little hidden gem based on personal experiences

Any help would be most welcome. Many thanks in advance y'all

All the best

26th Jul 2016, 11:44
If it were me, I would head straight to the Florida Keys. And stay there. Go fishing, snorkeling and swimming and generally relax. KMIA is the ideal gateway. Happy Travels C Bob.

Cyber Bob
26th Jul 2016, 12:13
Thx vap, did just that a year or so ago. Stayed at a great boutique hotel a stones throw from Duvall (Silver Palms Inn on Truman Ave- Totally recommend it.

www.silverpalmsinn.com (http://www.silverpalmsinn.com)

The drive down and back up to KMIA on route 1 was pretty cool too

This time around, wanted to venture to the gulf coast but many thanks again for the post

26th Jul 2016, 12:36
I'm a big fan of Long Boat Key. Great location, close to Sarasotta, very relaxed. Loved it, we rented a villa beside Sharapova's house. What more can you ask for? :E


26th Jul 2016, 13:22
Seem to recall my sister who was resident in Florida recommending Sanibel Island, haven't been there myself. Last time I was out there I stayed several nights in Naples which I rather liked - accommodation was a cheap motel though!

26th Jul 2016, 13:37
Florida! Been there. Sweaty, fetid version of Norfolk, with alligators. And malls. And twenty-stone loud-voiced Americans wearing baggy shorts and trainers. Nothing to eat that's not drowning in artificial cheese or mayonnaise gloop. Not going back.

26th Jul 2016, 13:37
We spent a week on Sanibel Island a few years ago, in a rented place. Loved it. Right on the beach, down near the lighthouse at the tip of the island Peaceful, nice places to eat nearby, hardly got in the car all week as we could walk or cycle wherever we needed to go.

Totally different to Florida around Orlando - with really nice folk around and a nice, friendly atmosphere.

26th Jul 2016, 13:47
Another vote for Longboat key.

It's easily driveable from TPA.

Clearwater and St Pete beaches are about as far south as I'm willing to drive but I'm starting much farther north than TPA.

Also give a thought to Tarpon Springs if you want to start north of TPA

26th Jul 2016, 14:02
Florida! Been there. Sweaty, fetid version of Norfolk, with alligators. And malls. And twenty-stone loud-voiced Americans wearing baggy shorts and trainers. Nothing to eat that's not drowning in artificial cheese or mayonnaise gloop. Not going back.

Well, there's a good, constructive reply. I'm sure the OP is really impressed.

Prat :ugh:

26th Jul 2016, 15:20
So go to Brighton, roll your trouser legs up but leave yet socks on while wearing Sandals...eat your Cucumber Sammies and whine about the rain and cost of everything instead!

Florida! Been there. Sweaty, fetid version of Norfolk, with alligators. And malls. And twenty-stone loud-voiced Americans wearing baggy shorts and trainers. Nothing to eat that's not drowning in artificial cheese or mayonnaise gloop. Not going back.

26th Jul 2016, 16:21
I have a Winter bolt-hole down there and just love the place. Probably because I avoid the most touristy areas.

If you're after peace & quiet, head north from TPA to Cedar Key for a night / day or two. It is LOVELY!

Longboat Key is nice, but way too snobbish for me. The areas and beaches immediately north of it (Coquina Beach, Bradenton Beach and especially Anna Maria Island are great.)

Further south, spend some time in Naples. Then take the old US Hwy 41 across the Everglades (not I75) to the start of the Keys. Personally I like to drive straight down to Key West, either in the early morning or late evening, with the drop-top down. Traffic is much lighter and it's magical at dawn / sunset.

Key West is eye-wateringly expensive at times, but by far the most interesting spot, so my recommendation would be 'don't be cheap'.

And for the icing on the cake, go take a float plane flight at Browns SPB in Winter Haven (I4 - on US 92) and pop across to Bok Tower at Lake Wales, just off I27.

Damn!!! It's just made me want to book my next trip! I avoid going from mid-May-late Oct, but from Nov-early May it is pretty perfect.

26th Jul 2016, 16:29
As previously mentioned Sanibel Island and Captiva are great for adult or family chilling holidays.

There are numerous options for accom, Owners Abroad for direct owner lets, plus condos and houses right on the beach though various agents.

If you are into fishing in any way you can rent boats from the Sanibel Marina, though some house rentals include a boat!!:ok:

The beach fishing is also really good too, I caught a Snook hen fish this........................................................ ......................Big!! right off the beach with my old Woolies rod. My boy caught a baby lemon shark and ran up the beach when he saw it!! :eek:

Special times with our kids when they were small. Great memories.

Cyber Bob
26th Jul 2016, 19:32
Thanks All, your posts are so helpful. Looking to go early Oct but could push it back to Nov and yes, want to avoid all the touristy bits.
All the best

26th Jul 2016, 19:58
Prices can rise quite a bit from November as all of the frozen northerners move south for a bit of sun and fun. Nice places around Venice and also has the GA airport if that floats yer boat.

Una Due Tfc
26th Jul 2016, 22:11
Last time I was on the west coast of Florida (about 10 years ago now) I went swimming one evening on a beach maybe 20 minutes north of Hudson, looked over and there was a pod of Dolphins about 20 feet from me. There had been a news story earlier that day about a swimmer who got the sh1t knocked out of them by a dolphin the day before so I left them well alone. It was still pretty cool though. The gulf is like a bath.

It's a very relaxing place, have fun.

Cheers up radarman for God's sake.

Local Variation
26th Jul 2016, 22:45
Cedar Keys brings back memories.

Cracking airfield to go into and the unforgettable lady manning the radio asking us if we wanted a taxi, as we turned in on close final. Yes was our reply. And she drove us in her car to a wonderful seafood restaurant 10 or so mins down the road.

Beautiful part of the world down and around Tampa. Looking forward to going back one day. Norfolk it certainly isn't, unless Alan Partridge holiday's their.

26th Jul 2016, 22:52
Can't give too much advice re accommodation, but a great place to go to for a relaxing walk along a 4km boardwalk over cypress swamps, is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary a few miles East of Naples. Fascinating wildlife to see easily, including the elusive Florida Panther if you are lucky.

27th Jul 2016, 00:30
Sanibel is nice. Although I can't compare it to other options, since it's the only place I've stayed on the Gulf Coast.

If you end up anywhere near Sanibel, however, I do recommend visiting the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, which makes up about 1/3rd of the island. Roseate Spoonbills, cormorants, gators, the works.

27th Jul 2016, 01:02
My folks retired to Dunedin and I soon found there was fun music and nightlife in nearby Clearwater. Tarpon Springs to the north has sponge divers and boat tours, nice restaurants and a laid back ambiance (well, off season anyhow!)

There are plenty of state parks between Tampa and Naples as well. Without knowing more about your companion, hard to make specific recommendations. The area did become, and remains, one of my favorite parts of the state.

Loose rivets
27th Jul 2016, 08:58
The Rivetess calls the natives for a gathering.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/Rob%20and%20Sue/DashboardFlorida2157.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/walnaze/media/Rob%20and%20Sue/DashboardFlorida2157.jpg.html)