Coral growing in brightly hued clusters. Translucent jellyfish floating past verdant, undulating seaweed. Schools of black bar soldierfish swimming in unison during their morning roll call. These are just a few of the myriad sights students at Gulfport Dive Center can see during their aquatic expeditions. Owned by a family of avid divers, the center gathers a community of fledgling sub-aquanauts to explore the waterways of the Sunshine State, whether the staff is training them during classroom sessions and open dives or equipping them with gear from Aqualung, Sherwood, and Akona.
Sky Pirate Parasail's U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captains slip through John's Pass between Madeira Beach and Treasure Island while towing parasailers on a 1,200 foot tow rope, who glide under kaleidoscopic chutes tethered up to 500 feet in the air. After fastening their passengers, who range from school-aged kids to grandparents, into a secure harness, they fill the parachute's canopy with air and shuttle the skyward rider over the saltwater waves for an aerial jaunt. As the captain slackens the line and traces the coastline from offshore, the parasailer floats over the beach, the dolphins, and the gelatinous blob monster waving at sunbathers.
Mac's Tavern may be far nicer than Paddy's Pub from It?s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but they do have one thing in common?Mac's is owned by?Rob and Kaitlin McElhenney, who play Mac and Dee Reynolds on the show, along with a small group of their friends.
The building's house-like fa?ade has long been an Old City fixture. In the 1700s, it was the Skinner?s Dry Goods Store and served such famed customers as Benjamin Franklin, even though it refused to accept payment in the form of bills with his face on them. These days, more than 17 draft beers rotate through the taps behind the stained wood bar and a jukebox sets the background score.
Though the tavern itself is historic, Mac's dedicates itself to modernity, as evidenced by a seasonal menu that might list a roasted beet salad in a balsamic-caramel gastrique or buffalo chicken cheesesteak, a twist on the hometown staple. And every Sunday, the brunch burger arrogantly bestrides mealtimes with its topper of smoked bacon, a fried egg, and a seven-cheese sauce.
Located in the shadow of the Marriott hotel, Clearwater Jet Ski and Parasail outfits beachgoers with the equipment to safely speed across or sail above the waves. Its three-seater jet skis kick up massive wakes as they roar over the sapphire surface of the water, and tandem kayaks trundle along. Staff-operated speedboats tow parasails behind them, passengers getting a seagull’s view of the waves and a firm understanding of how silly the dog paddle looks from a distance.
Clearwater Community Sailing Center engages students of all ages and abilities with safe and enriching two-hour standup-paddleboard lessons. Under the guidance of one of the center's enthusiastic teachers, guests enjoy semiprivate instruction in the art of staying afloat and fearlessly trespassing on Poseidon's property. While basking in tranquil surroundings on one of Clearwater Community Sailing Center's professional paddleboards, students will learn how to gain control over paddling techniques, mounting, and dismounting. Guests schedule lessons throughout the week to explore the benefits of nautical commuting and take part in the core-strengthening workout craze hailed by the world's most famous gondoliers.
Anchored at the beach of the pristine Sand Key Park, Sand Key Paddle Sports arms clients with self-propelled seafaring vessels and sets them adrift on the placid waters of Clearwater Harbor. Paddlers can saddle up on a soft top paddleboard, boogie board, or single or tandem kayak, and then direct their drift toward the many sights and sounds nearby. These may include the vast array of wildlife?including heron, roseate spoonbill, and common moorhen?or the barrier island's natural features, such as the salt marsh and the indigenous sand castles.