Day Trip: Clearwater Beach

The water really is crystal clear in Clearwater – it’s so beautiful! Clearwater is located about 2 hours west of Orlando, FL so it is certainly doable to do it as a day trip, although there is a strip along the beach of amazing hotels and motels you can stay the night in if you wanted to stay a little longer. For us, we thought one day in Clearwater was enough but I am sure there is much more to see!

Getting There

Again, the trip is about two hours west of Orlando. The traffic gets really congested between Tampa and Clearwater and you need to take a fairly long bridge to get into Clearwater. Also, FUN FACT: Hooters Restaurant was founded right in Clearwater, FL in 1983. There is also limited parking close to the beach, so you’ll want to arrive early to ensure you can get a spot. Otherwise, you’ll need to park far or pay for parking at one of the hotels in the area (if there are some free spots available).

The Beach

The beach is very long and there are lots of good spots, but ideally, you’ll want to be relatively close to the pier (Pier 60) or at least be up for the trek to get there. It is super cool and definitely a highlight of a trip to Clearwater Beach. You can pay a fee to get access to sun huts/umbrellas, or you can just lay in the sand and soak up the sun! The sand is also super white, fine and soft. The photos don’t do it justice, but in person, it is absolutely beautiful. The water is also super clear! (They don’t call it Clearwater for no reason!) Clearwater is also situated on the Gulf of Mexico (day trip to Cancun, anyone?).

The Pier

Pier 60 is probably the main attraction to this beach, other than the beautiful sand and lovely waters. You can walk along the pier and even fish from it! There were these boards along the railings where people could cut their fish (yuck!) and there are a BUNCH of pelicans!!! By the way, pelicans are way larger in person than I had ever thought, they also look pretty mean. We didn’t have any bad luck with the pelicans, luckily. Aside from walking ON the pier, walking UNDER the pier is even cooler. You can get some pretty sweet shots under the bridge, some people even set up their picnic spots here for some shade!

The Wildlife

Honestly, there is MUCH wildlife at the beach aside from birds and fish. We’ve never seen pelicans before and the fish in the Gulf of Mexico are very different from those in Lake Ontario – so we found them pretty interesting. Along the pier, you can also use binoculars to check out sights in the distance like boats and such. We also saw two dolphins swimming around the end of the pier for a brief moment! Seeing a wild dolphin, even for a moment, was a really cool experience.

 

 

 

7 Weekend Plans To Wrap-Up Your Summer

As we are fast approaching the end of our precious summer, we have compiled 7 ideas for you to do on your last weekend of the summer holidays. Whether you’re going back to school or work you’ll want to use this long-weekend to your advantage. So back up your bags and let’s go!

Camping
You may have never gone camping before or you’ve been thousands of times, but take advantage of the warm weather while it’s here and go sleep in the forest! All you need is a tent, a sleeping bag, and some good friends to go enjoy a weekend away melting marshmallows and cracking cold ones!

Road Trip
If you have access to a vehicle take it out for the weekend and road-trip somewhere you’ve never been before! You don’t need to go far from home to find a place to explore. Gather up some friends, your partner or your family and hit the road!

Romantic Getaway
Need a holiday for just the two of you? Book a hotel room in your city or even elsewhere so it feels like you are on a romantic getaway. Go out for a fancy dinner date, get dressed up and have fun! You can even splurge and get one of those rooms with a jacuzzi (ooh la la!).

Show/Event
Chances are there is some sort of concert, show, or event going on in or around your city. Check out the local papers or website for upcoming things to do, book a ticket and go! Local events usually are pretty affordable and you don’t have to go too far. Experience something new in your town.

Bike Ride
If you don’t have a bike – rent one! Weather permitting, going on a bike ride is a great way to exercise and have fun. Get outside, have some fun and get active in the process!

The Beach
You may not have a beach nearby depending on where you live, but if you do take advantage of the last weekend of summer and enjoy! Pack up a cooler with snacks and drinks, get your bikini on and take a trip down to the water. The water will get cool fast so take your last few dips in the water without freezing your butt off!

Dog Park
If you have a dog, that is. If not, adopt one – they are super cute. Take your pooch to the local dog park, get some exercise walking and some fresh air and let your little buddy enjoy the great outdoors while the weather is still warm. Going to the dog park is also a great way to meet new friends – both your dog and you!

Will you be taking advantage of the long-weekend? Comment below what your plans are – we would love to hear from you!

 

Central Experimental Farm: Ornamental Gardens

As a child I had been to the Experimental Farm Agricultural Museum, however I had never been to the gorgeous Ornamental Gardens directly beside it. We decided to take a quick stop here on the drive home and ended up staying for a few hours just exploring around and taking some awesome photos. It is so nice and quiet here and is perfect for dates, picnics and even weddings (we saw one when we were there today!).

Super Cool Plants
I am by no means a plant expert, but there are some neat trees, flowers and other plants here to check out. There are currently 100 types of irises, 125 different types of lilacs (who knew there were that many?), and 65 different plants. The gardens are so well kept and so photographically beautiful anyone can go in there and snap some stunning shots. Above is a photo of Marco and I with our heads beside these leaves for size comparison. I have no clue what plant this is but the leaves are absolutely huge compared to the regular leaf sizes we see here. Hopefully you aren’t allergic to pollen, and if you are make sure to bring some anti-histamines! There are so many different types of plants so you never know if you will have a reaction to one if you are usually sensitive.

Photo 2017-07-29, 22 14 24

Over a Century Old
The Ornamental Gardens has been around since the 1880’s! To some this may not mean much, but I personally find it fascinating that some of the plants in this garden date back over 100 years. The land is extremely well kept and clean and you can tell that everyone really respects the property. We did not see any litter, garbage or anything else of the sort and there are quite a few people who go in and out of this park on a daily basis. If you want to check out a little part of History make this a stop on your Ottawa Itinerary.

It’s Free
Exploring these gardens is absolutely free of charge. You will need to pay for parking if you are driving but it is so worth it. You will only need an hour or so to walk through the gardens and take some photos, but you can always pack a lunch and a blanket and make an afternoon out of it. If you’ve seen all there is to see in the gardens go check out the museum right beside it or the Arboretum down the road. Unfortunately we were unable to check out the Arboretum today, but we don’t live far so I am sure we will get to see it another time. If you are visiting on a short-term holiday I would highly suggest trying to see them both within the same day or afternoon. For one, you never know when Ottawa is going to have a solid stint of good weather, so take advantage of it while it is here, and two, it is right down the road – so might as well!

Plenty of Spots to Relax
Whether you want to plant your butt on a bench or on the ground there is so much space and so much seating. They have benches in the sun or in shaded areas and under trees as well as plenty of field space to throw down a blanket and picnic away. If you want to catch some some rays you can do that too – with all that wide open space you could probably get a wicked tan.

Have you been to the Ornamental Gardens or Experimental Farm? Do you plan on it? Drop us a comment below – we would love to hear from you!