A Weekend in Tampa, and a visit to the #1 Beach in the USA

Fort DeSoto Park BeachI spent this weekend in Tampa, Florida, traveling with my best friend Clio from Montreal. She flew out to San Francisco first, and after a few days touring around Berkeley Campus, visiting the Green Strings farm in Petaluma and winetasting the Sonoma Valley, we flew to Tampa to visit Kyle, my ex-next-door-neighbour from the MV Explorer (the cruise ship that was home to our Semester at Sea fall 2006 voyage).

When we arrived early Friday morning, we went straight to Clearwaters beach from the airport, and after some seafood, famous Skyline Chili and beer for breakfast, we transferred to lounging poolside at his downtown apartment. We spent the day going between the pool, hottub, and case of locally brewed Yuengling beer (self proclaimed as the oldest brewery in America). This was pretty typical of our everyday activities, plus we managed to sample a bit of the nightlife in Channelside and at ‘gussy’ Jackson’s (Kyle’s descriptive word for dressing up more than usual for the venue).

The beach we went to on Sunday is part of the Fort DeSoto State Park, and has been (2005 was the last time) rated the number one beach in all of the USA. It was certainly beautiful, under-commercialised, clean and peaceful, a rare sight to find anywhere near Miami or Orlando beaches where the multidues of people quickly infringe upon the serenity and natural feeling that this remote beach offered.

Driving around Tampa Bay was certainly a though-provoking sight; the entire state is basically at sea-level (except for the towering bridges over mile-long bodies of water), and with the growing concern of rising sea levels, more storms (hurricanes particularily) and the natural disasters recently hitting New Orleans and the Philippines fresh in our mind, I couldn’t help but worry about the city of Tampa and its surrounding natural paradises that could one day easily be completely under water.

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