Visiting a beach allows you to take in so much – people watching, animal viewing, the natural landscape and seascape. Basically, you can just sit back and take in the sights and sounds around you.
Neither Lisa nor I are the type of person who just parks ourselves on the beach and sit or lay for hours. We prefer vacations that have us taking in as many sites and attractions that we can work into a day. However, if you add a beach front view to the list of attractions, we will gladly partake.
Clearwater Beach on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida was one beautiful area to check out. Our only goal in visiting Clearwater was to spend time at the beach and take in its views. We had a great time!
Walking along the sugar sands of the beach – name referred to the white sands by tourists – you can just enjoy taking in the fresh air, blue skies and all the people watching you want.
People of all ages and sorts were enjoying themselves. People swam, built sandcastles, took pictures, and just lay on the beach soaking in the rays. Families, couples, friends, solos. All having a nice time.
The beach was beautiful.
People weren’t the only ones enjoying the beach. Seagulls – both white- and black-headed – hung out on the beach. I’m pretty sure their motives were to garner food from the tourists. I’ve yet to see a gull who just wants to be friends.
We’d never seen a black-headed gull before, so we were quite impressed. They were abundant on the beach. They and the white-headed gulls made quick work of scaring off smaller birds, so they could have whatever they wanted.
We wanted to take in the sunset at the pier – hence the name “Sunsets at Pier 60” – so we eventually headed that way.
The area is definitely targeted toward tourists. The area had side attractions, such as an inflatable slide. People of all ages did try their luck going down it.
The pier had a lot of vendors hawking wares – anything from your name in a small piece of rice to lights made from seashells.
Painted dolphin sculptures are located throughout the area as part of a public art campaign. The pier had one.
You have to pay $1 to go beyond the small shop at the pier. If you want to check out the sunset from the best spot on the beach, it’s worth the small fee.
We arrived on the pier with about an hour or to go before official sunset, so we just relaxed and took in the sights.
A brown pelican was perched on the pier, minding his own business. He didn’t seem rattled by the people coming near him. He just kept gazing out toward the water.
People were fishing from the pier. One guy must have had something big on his line. His fishing rod keep bending and looked like it would snap at one point. He did his thing in trying to work the catch in. Unfortunately, whatever it was snapped his line and returned under water.
An egret seemed to feel at home walking among the couple dozen of people on the pier. He was looking for food from people. He eventually got his wish, as he took his beak and flipped open a bait bucket near the guy we watched fish. He took a small shrimp or something and flew away.
Had he stayed a few minutes longer, he may have enjoyed crab for dinner, as someone hooked a small one. It was tossed back into the water.
I loved taking in the views of the different birds hovering about. The gulls would land and spend a few minutes around us before taking flight again.
One bird was hanging out on a post in the water. He would just look out toward the water’s horizon. Adjust himself and watch some more.
As sunset approached, people on the pier and in the water would start working themselves into the best position available for viewing.
We saw quite a few boats in the water – ranging from the touristy “pirate” ship (which I will ride on one day) to a sail boat – jockeying for a good spot to watch the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.
Couples sat watching the sun set.
Even our pelican friend took in the sunset before moving on.
The sunset was beautiful to watch. I can see why Pier 60 is marketed as THE place to watch the sun set.
As darkness grew nigh, we decided it would be a great time to check out the Sugar Sands Festival near the pier. The festival is a 10-day event featuring professionally crafted sand sculptures. This year’s theme involved fairy tales. It was amazing.
The activities don’t stop after dark. Street entertainers performed. We checked out a zorbing attraction. Two kids kept falling as they attempted to move large clear plastic balls across a pool of water. They appeared to have a great time.
We parked at a parking garage near a store called Surf Style. I mention this because if you’re ever in Clearwater and can’t park in the public lot, this garage has super cheap prices for parking. It was a great find.
The store sells a lot of souvenirs. Keychains, sunglasses, miniature “gator” heads can be yours for a small price.
It also has indoor surfing. A group of us watched a couple of young guys give it their all as they tried to stand on surf boards while going against a strong stream of waves. We saw this type of surfing on an episode of “The Amazing Race.” Strong athletes struggled to stay atop their boards during the show. It’s far from easy…at least it looked that way in watching the guys try it.
We had a great time at Clearwater Beach, Pier 60 and the Sugar Sand Festival. We recommend checking out Clearwater.
For more information on Clearwater and Sunsets at Pier 60, please check out these websites: