As we’ve come to know here in Florida, the activity on the beach is directly related to the amount of sun – or lack thereof. We experienced this the past weekend as we made our March stop on the Florida Beaches Royalty Tour – the lovely but outdated Treasure Island Beach.
We kicked off the day by stopping by The Donut Connection, which we passed heading into the Tampa area the night before. As all shellers know, the best part of waking up is a donut. (sorry Folger’s). They boasted the world’s best tasting coffee. Me being a coffee junkie, I had to validate this claim. Yeah, it’s valid.
Good Lord. They serve a red velvet donut with cream cheese that is so good you’d slap your neighbor.
Treasure Island Beach claims they have the largest white sand beach in Florida. That they do. Miles of it. They also embrace the “Old Florida” feel. Real old Florida. So old that the Queen and I were scanning billboards, hoping to find out where Dean and Jerry were performing with Ol’ Blue Eyes that night.
All joking aside, Treasure Island Beach is all it claims to be. The sand was white and sugary, despite the rains the night before. The water is clear, blue and peaceful.
Problem was, it was 9:30am and no one was there. It was no man’s land. Those in the know know that if you arrive at say, Blind Pass or Lighthouse Beach at 9:30am on a Saturday, good luck finding a parking spot. The parking lot at Treasure Island Beach was completely empty. The Queen and I looked at each other, wondering if something was amiss. But it was overcast and hovering around 70 degrees, so that could be an explanation. But again, overcast at Blind Pass, Captiva means nothing. Folks are out on that beach.
We walked the shore for a few minutes, scanning the sand for shells.
Disappointed, we decided to hop in the car and move a little farther South to see if we were just at the wrong spot. We noticed this as we exited the parking lot.
Yep. That’s a dog.
On a roof.
We traveled South and stopped at the famous Florida Shell Shop. Linda, the owner was sweet and kind and explained to us that it wouldn’t start to get busy around there until later in the afternoon due to the overcast skies. The weather was definitely a factor as well, just as we thought.
And what a great shop! Prices were really fair and does it have some great pieces and cool trinkets.
After leaving there, we went further South and ended up at Sunset Beach.
Now that was a beach I’d certainly go back to. My kinda beach. There’s a mini jetty (like Blind Pass) as you cross the sand where deep in the rock crevices lie many a remnant of good shelling.
I can tell you without question – Sunset Beach is a great shelling spot. As I sat crouched like Gollum searching for the Precious, I found many broken shells – Lightning Whelks, Fighting Conchs, Olives, some great colorful Scallops and a large but broken Shark’s Eye.
But it’s a wonderful beach! Add a little sunshine and this could easily double for Blind Pass Captiva.
We certainly liked Sunset Beach the best. Treasure Island, well…We may have to come back in the middle of July or August when it’s 95 degrees in order to really see what it has to offer. The area is very quiet and cozy and exemplifies “Old Florida”. If you’re into that, perhaps Treasure Island is somewhere you should visit.
We left Treasure Island still wanting more, so the Queen suggested the Florida Aquarium in Tampa. She’s so sweet. Who could say no?
Pictures of the Aquarium trip later this week.