Girls trip to Clearwater Beach

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Sometimes you just need time away with your bestie.  Uninterrupted, talk until 2 am, no kids, act like middle school girls, time.  It’s just what my husband ordered.  My husband’s motto is “happy wife, happy life”.  He’s pretty awesome like that!  Actually, both of our other halves are and it’s not often that we get to spend time together without our families.

 

Abby & Dawn on the beach
Abby and I live 4 hours apart, which totally stinks.  Luckily, Florida has so many great cities for us to pick from when choosing a quick getaway.  I went back and forth between meeting by a natural spring, the ocean, or the gulf.  We settled on Clearwater Beach, Florida because it’s about half way between our homes.

I had never been before so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect.  As soon as you cross the bridge into Clearwater Beach you can see why its named so.  The water is a magnificent green-blue and it looks as though its crystal clear as far out as you can see.

We had some absolutes when choosing a hotel.  It needed to be beachfront, walking distance to restaurants, updated, and clean.  Not difficult requirements to meet.  It also had to be reasonably priced.  Typically, I don’t ever book directly through the hotel.  I never feel like I get the best deal that way and for this frugal momma, I needed the best deal!  In the past, I have been successful using Hotwire.com.  After comparing Priceline, Expedia, Booking, Trivago, and Hotwire, once again Hotwire came in with the best prices.

We scored The Dreamview Beachfront Hotel and Resort for $125 per night after taxes and hotel fees.  Being an inexpensive beach hotel could definitely attract a more partying crowd, but we shared the ground with quiet international vacationing families.  It was perfect for our laid-back girls weekend.

It was clean, updated, surrounded by other reputable hotels, and had a great view.  Unfortunately, our room didn’t have a view of the gulf, but the city view we had wasn’t too bad either.  It made for some great people-watching from the balcony.  The room was equipped with a refrigerator, which helped keep the total cost of food down.  We were able to bring some snacks & drinks with us.  Out on the beach, the beach loungers were free to use for hotel guests and most of them had umbrellas for when you needed to hide from the hot Florida sun.  The Gulf water was still cool enough be refreshing and the sand was soft and powdery.  We saw several dolphin swim by, and there was enough boat action to keep us entertained.

Photo credit: http://www.dreamviewresort.com/gallery/
Our only complaints were one of the elevators was extremely sloooow and loud, and our room had the hairdryer from hell.  Also, when we asked for a late check-out the staff member we spoke to wasn’t very accommodating.  However, the hotel’s check-out time is noon, which gave us ample time to use the beach one more time and get back to the room to freshen up before we hit the road.

This photo pretty much sums us up!
We ate breakfast one of the mornings at the Sand’s Beach Bar and Grill located on site.  The weather was gorgeous, so we sat outside.  I was pleasantly surprised by the omelette I ordered.  For around $12 each, we had a huge breakfast that filled us until dinnertime!

 

This post would not be complete without mentioning dinner!  A friend recommended Frenchy’s, which has several locations.  We settled on Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill on the beach because it was in walking distance (about 1.5 miles) and they had live music that night.

Photo credit: http://frenchysonline.com
We ordered the Stuffed Cucumber appetizer.  It’s cucumber slices topped with seafood mixture (lump crab, shrimp and scallops mixed with mayonnaise, tomatoes and parsley) drizzled with spicy mayo and creamy avocado sauce.  These were outrageous and my favorite.  We also shared some poppers and Abby ordered some crab fries.  The poppers were delicious and the fries weren’t very noteworthy.  The atmosphere was fun, the sunset view was spectacular, and the band was incredible!

Being seafood lovers, the following night we ate at the buffet at Shepard’s Beach Resort which seemed like a great choice!

Photo credit: www.shepards.com
Unfortunately, we weren’t impressed.  They did have a great selection, but both the shrimp and crab legs were overcooked.  Maybe it was the time we decided to dine at (8:30 pm) but we were bummed.  The prime rib was tasty, and the thai mussels were flavorful but really had our heart set on some fresh seafood, so it was a disappointment when the shrimp and crab were rubbery.

Photo credit: www.shepards.com
However, the following day Shepard’s Tiki Beach Bar totally redeemed the resort.  Abby and I sat outside, listened to live music, and ordered some lunch.  I had a Caesar Salad with blackened mahi-mahi and Abby enjoyed some fish tacos.  Both meals were mouthwatering!  It was the perfect way to end our girls weekend!

I would love to take my family back to Clearwater Beach for a few days.  I think my kids would enjoy walking Pier 60 and seeing the street performers like the guy covered in moss, sitting in a planter that jumps out on unsuspecting visitors to scare the daylights out of them and possibly making them pee their pants a little.  Watch this video!

Abby and I are going to try to meet up here again with both our families before school starts in August.  This time I will take more pictures of the area, the food, and the sunsets!

 

 

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