The shore in St. Pete Beach, with sugar-white sands and gentle clear waves, brings bliss to our Alden Suites guests every day. But if you only stay on land, you’re missing much of the fun that Florida’s Gulf Coast has to offer. We love to get out on the water, and there are so many cool ways to take a boating excursion here in the St. Pete Beach area.
Luckily, here at the Alden, you just have to step out of your suite to begin your adventure on the water. Suncoast Watersports has a kiosk on our beach, where you can sign up to go paddle boarding, parasailing, and jet-skiing. They even have a Two Island Snorkel and Explore Dolphin tour. This 3.5 hour tour stops at two amazingly unique islands where you can either snorkel or explore. The first island is beautiful Egmont Key Preserve where you can explore the ruins of Fort Dade which was built into the sand dunes during the Spanish American war. Gopher tortoises and other wildlife are the only inhabitants left but at one time the fort housed 200 US soldiers and 300 Seminole Indian prisoners.
Prior to being a fort the island was a strategic ambush point for pirates looking to surprise ships with precious cargo entering Tampa Bay to trade goods with the local population. The second island stop is at “Sand Dollar Island” located just off the coast of famous Fort Desoto and Shell Key preserve. Sand Dollar Island has an abundance of sand dollars and other great shells including horse conchs, shark eye shells and tulip shells to name just a few. You will come back with a bag full of awesome shells you can’t find on any of our vacation beaches.
For little ones with a love for all things pirate, the Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise in Clearwater Beach can’t be beat. Take a short drive up the coast to the Clearwater Beach Marina, and you can’t miss the red pirate ship. The Captain Memo crew goes all out to give families the full pirate experience, with eye patches, pirate hats and fun seafaring music. The boat sails out into the Gulf, and at one point they pretend the ship is under attack. All the kids get a toy cannon water gun and they fight off the bad pirates and save the day. It’s a classic Florida experience that your kids will always remember.
Who doesn’t love dolphins? Luckily here on the Gulf Coast we have plenty of opportunities to experience the joy of watching dolphins frolic in the surf. Any boat ride you take is likely to encounter some dolphins in the Gulf, and sometimes they’ll even jump and play in your boat’s wake. But for the best dolphin encounter, we recommend a trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. This dolphin rescue center is home to Winter the Dolphin, star of her own movie series. When you visit, you can see Winter up close and tour the expansive aquarium. They also offer a sea safari boat tour which takes you out into the gulf to see dolphins in the wild.
If you want to wander the Gulf more freely, why not captain your own ship? Day-long and half-day boat rentals are available just across the street in the Publix plaza at Dolphin Landings Charter Boat Center. You can even rent some fishing gear and try your luck at catching your own dinner! We hope you’ll get a chance to get out on the water while you’re here vacationing at the Alden Suites, it’s a wonderful way to see St. Pete Beach at its finest!