The last couple of months have been somewhat of a whirlwind. Just as soon as we got to Florida (ok, what feels like it anyways) we left again for a week-long trip to Barcelona. We just got back, and I feel ready to conquer life in Florida. I am working on a Florida “Bucket List” and today’s Five on Friday is going to consist of the things we’ve already explored since moving here two months ago.
The Tampa Bay Riverwalk! We woke up one morning not really sure what to do; it was a little chilly for the beach, but still a beautiful day outside that we didn’t want to waste. So what better way to spend it than going to the Riverwalk! It truly was beautiful, and I’m glad we did it back in February before it gets too hot to want to leave the house. If you’re not familiar with the Riverwalk, it is exactly what it sounds like – a walking (or running, I suppose) path along the river. Of course, there are parks (including a dog park!), restaurants, hotels, and so much more along the way; you can even hop on the water taxi if you’d like!
The day we explored the Riverwalk, we ate lunch right on the river, where we had a couple of day drinks. I was enjoying myself so much that I wanted to continue, so I suggested to Mitchell that we go check out some breweries in the area. We spent the rest of the day brewery-hopping and it was so much fun. I swear that the days you have no plans end up being the most fun, and that certainly was our experience on this day. One of our favorites, 3 Daughters Brewing, had a live band and a lot of indoor and outdoor games. I also thought it was cool that you could watch the beer being packaged right in front of you.
Clearwater Beach was the first beach day we had. It was fun, but it was packed! We haven’t spent much time exploring the area around Clearwater yet; the day we went to the beach there was shortly after we’d moved so we were tired and it was a quick trip. I am excited to get back to explore more of the town, and go to the Pierce Street Market one Saturday. Plus, it will be nice to return when the water is a little warmer – it was pretty cold in February, but we were rewarded with some dolphins playing not too far from where we were swimming!
We got season passes to Busch Gardens because they were having a special making them almost the same price as a one-day pass. Turns out, I don’t like roller coasters anymore (seriously – I hated every single second on the one ride I took) which is surprising, and pretty disappointing, since they were my favorite thing ever in high school. Luckily, Busch Gardens had me covered – there was a lot to do besides rides as they have animals, festivals, shows, and concerts; most importantly, they have $30 wristbands that will get you BOGO drinks which I really enjoyed. I can’t wait to go back this summer when they open the water park; I think we’ll get our money out of our passes more there.
We drove about an hour away to explore Siesta Key Beach. At one time, it was rated best beach in America; I’m not sure if it still is, or who even gets to decide what the best beach in America is (I feel like I’d be really good at that job), but you can’t miss the signs reminding you. I was a little hesitant about this beach; I thought it would be overrated, as most “best” things are. My concerns were initially validated as it took over an hour to find a parking spot. I’m not exaggerating, over an hour after already driving an hour to get there. To clarify, they have a lot of parking (and bonus: it’s free unlike many other beaches), but there’s just that many people there! I was really irritated and I wanted to give up and go back home, I genuinely thought we’d never find a spot. Obviously, since you’re reading this, we eventually did find parking, and I’m excited to say that it was so worth it; Siesta Key is genuinely one of my favorite beaches in the world. The water was beautiful, there was a little sand bar in middle of the water, we found sand dollars (only took the dead ones), the sand was so soft, and the sun was so bright. I swear I could have stayed forever (until I looked at the real estate prices). I feel it is also worth mentioning that when we left the beach (probably around 6:00 pm), the parking lot was still completely full with people still circling all around trying to find parking.