Pinellas County residents have lots of choices when it comes to summertime fun, but top of the list has got to be the beach.
The county boasts 35 miles of white sandy beaches and almost 588 miles of coastline. Many of its beaches have won national awards, including Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, Fort DeSoto Park and Caladesi Island State Park.
Not all beaches have lifeguards, so if swimming is your main interest, the best bets include Clearwater Beach, Sand Key Beach, Fort De Soto Park’s north beach and Fred Howard Beach, which all have lifeguards on duty during the day during the summer months.
If crowded beaches aren’t your thing, but you still don’t want to spend the summer indoors, take time to explore our own Florida paradise by experiencing the verdant and serene beauty of Pinellas parklands.
Hitting the trails at one of the county’s many parks and preserves provides a welcome opportunity to, for a little while, escape the urban backdrop and reconnect with nature. Fresh air, incredible scenery, glimpses at wildlife - these are all benefits hikers experience as they tap into that adventurous spirit.
Although Florida’s boating season never really ends, the traditional start is marked by National Safe Boating Week, May 21-27. The week is a time for boaters to focus on simple and effective steps that make boating safer.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants all boaters to remember to boat safely. As the boating capital of the world, Florida leads the nation with nearly 1 million registered vessels across the state and is known as a prime boating spot for residents and visitors. Each year, FWC officers respond to many tragic and preventable boating accidents.
Anglers looking to hook into some fish this weekend are going to have plenty of competition.
Watch the winds and game plan accordingly. Have all your rods rigged and ready and go through your checklist for the boat. Launch early and come in early, and you’ll avoid most of the boat ramp hullabaloo.
Beach tarpon fishing has improved dramatically since the winds have switched out of the east. Pod after pod can be seen moving down the beach often within 100 yards from shore. Always position yourself a long cast away from the pod and let them come to you. Chasing them changes their behavior and you probably won’t get bit. Best baits have been threadfins and pumpkinseeds, which can both be caught on Sabiki rigs while you await the next pod of fish.
Three or four times a week a group of senior citizens play a game with a funny name at the Countryside Recreation Center, laughing, yelling and moving thousands of steps on the courts.
They are members of the Countryside Pickleball Club, and they can’t seem to get enough of their sport.
“We play inside with air conditioning, which is extremely appealing. It’s very addictive. I just can’t explain it. But once you get on there and start playing - you got to up your game,” said Pat Ehlers, president of the club.
Nearshore fishing has just been phenomenal with this perfect weather. Flounder, cobia, trout, Spanish mackerel, sharks and tarpon are all cruising the many miles of beautiful beaches we have here in Pinellas County.
Beach tarpon fishing has improved dramatically since we’re now on full moon tides. Pod after pod can be seen moving down the beach often within a 100 yards from shore. Always position yourself a long cast away from the pod and let them come to you. Chasing them changes their behavior, and you probably won’t get a bite. Best baits have been threadfins and pumpkinseeds, which can both be caught on Sabiki rigs while you await the next pod of fish.
ST. PETE BEACH - U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 7-8 offers a 12-week repeating cycle of Safe Boating Program meetings on Tuesdays, 7 p.m., at 1500 Pass-A-Grille Way.
Participants may start at any point in the cycle. Those new to the program should arrive at 6:30 p.m. for their first session to register.
Included in this program are detailed and illustrated materials that cover a variety of program topics. The program package is based on the new USCG Auxiliary Boating Skills & Seamanship 14th Edition 400-page manual. All materials will be included in the cost of the program. Cost is $45 a person for 12 weeks or $60 for couples sharing the materials.
TREASURE ISLAND - The Treasure Island Recreation Department is offering two summer camps for children beginning in June.
An 8-week camp for children ages 5 to 13 will be held June 13 through Aug. 5, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Activities will include games, sports, arts and crafts, parties, movies and field trips.
Before and after care is available for an additional fee. Family discounts are available.