A couple of hours drive from the bright lights of Orlando is Florida’s North Gulf Coast, a truly spectacular destination with miles and miles of golden sand and clear, blue waters kept clement by the almost constant sunshine. Indeed, some of the world’s finest beaches can be found here, including those at Clearwater and St Petersburg – or St Pete’s as the latter is now officially known. A natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts, there are water sports in abundance, beachcombing on quiet offshore islands, volleyball, horse riding, cycling and golfing. Don’t miss the Sunset Festival held every night at Clearwater’s Pier 90, it’s lots of fun for all the family. A few miles further down the coast is Indian Shores, a small, friendly beach community with a traditional Floridian atmosphere. As well as more of those lovely beaches, attractions include the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary – the USA’s largest wildlife hospital and a great place to acquaint yourself with the abundant birdlife that populates this area. There’s also a championship golf course and plenty of quiet spots where you can just soak up the sun. If you’re on a budget but don’t want to compromise on quality, Bradenton is ideal. Bordering the north tip of Sarasota, it has easy access to offshore Anna Maria Island, where acres of barely touched coastline awaits your discovery. Sarasota is much more lively with great shopping and fabulous restaurants. Kids fare pretty well here too with the Mote Marine Aquarium, the Sarasota Jungle Gardens and the Children’s Garden to tempt them.
Flight Details - You fly direct non-stop to Orlando International Airport from Gatwick, Manchester or Glasgow with award-winning Virgin Atlantic.
Flight Time - Approx 9 hours
Days of departure - Daily
Time Difference - GMT -5 hours
Distance - Clearwater - 106 miles southwest of Orlando International Airport. 23 miles east of Tampa.
Driving Times - Clearwater is a 2-hour drive from Orlando and only a short drive to Busch Gardens.
Distance - Sarasota and Bradenton is approx 132 miles from Orlando international airport. 240 miles from Miami international airport.
Driving Times -Sarasota and Bradenton is a 2 hour 30-min drive from Orlando. 3 hours 30 min from Miami. 1 hour from Busch Gardens and St Pete Beach.
Distance - St Pete - 115 miles from Orlando International Airport. 20 miles south of Clearwater.
Driving Times - St Pete is a 90-min drive from Orlando and only a 50-min drive to Busch Gardens.
- Home to some of the best beaches in the United States
- Perfect family destination
- Water sports galore
- St Pete's Pier
- Great nightlife