Published on Friday, June 22, 2012 18:26
Written by Working TravelingMom
Families visiting the Clearwater Beach/St. Petersburg area of Florida can find many free family activities to enjoy together, including a sunset festivals with movies after dark, cultural tours, hiking, or just a day at the beach. 1. Clearwater Beaches for Family Fun
Spend the day on Clearwater
’s miles of sandy white beaches, which are frequently ranked among America’s most beautiful. Dig your toes into the sugar white sand and relax to the sound of gentle waves hitting the beach. The family-friendly beaches have full-time lifeguards to ensure swimmers' and beachgoers' safety. 2. Sunset Festival at Clearwater Beach
Seven days a week, the sunset is celebrated on the white sandy shores of Pier 60 in Clearwater
, Fla., with a Sunset Festival
. This free family event features an evening of artisans, crafters, street performers and musical entertainment (weather permitting). Enjoy the sights and sounds, but take a moment or two to watch the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico. As part of the Sunset Festival, Pier 60 hosts a free film screening every Friday and Saturday evening after dark. Bring a blanket or low-sitting chair and watch a movie under the stars. 3. Tarpon Springs' Brooker Creek PreserveBrooker Creek Preserve
is a wilderness oasis located just east of the Greek fishing village of Tarpon Springs. The preserve offers 8,500 acres of swamps, pine flatwoods and hardwood hammocks to explore. In addition, an education center provides four miles of hiking trails and is open from 7 a.m. to one hour before sunset. Families can also follow a self-guided, 1.5-mile loop trail, which includes crossing a bridge and a boardwalk. 4. Gulf of Mexico Sponges in Tarpon Springs
The Gulf of Mexico is the world's best location for natural sea sponges; in fact, the wool and yellow sponges harvested from the Gulf are reportedly the most sought after sponges in the world. In Tarpon Springs, Spongeorama's Sponge Factory
offers viewings of a free movie on sponge diving and harvesting, as well as tips on caring for natural sea sponges. 5. Greek History in Tarpon Springs
Tarpon Springs is home to a unique Greek community. The Tarpon Springs Cultural Center
puts together a variety of cultural activities, including art and sculpture exhibits, live performances, and films. The cultural center is located in a building built in 1915 as the first City Hall and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can also walk the streets of Tarpon Springs and visit with shopkeepers, many of whom are transplants from Greece.6. Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary in Indian Shores
South from Clearwater Beach at Indian Shores is the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary
. Founded in 1971 by zoologist Ralph Heath, the sanctuary is the largest non-profit wild bird hospital in the U.S., admitting up to 10,000 injured wild birds each year. The sanctuary is open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to sunset. Teresa J. Shaw is editor of the Free in 50 States section and writes about traveling as a working mom on Working Traveling Mom. Follow her on Twitter at @TeresaShaw.