Free and Cheap Fun on Florida Beaches
By Lauren Tjaden
It doesn’t get much better than reconnecting with family and friends on the beach. But whether you dance under the stars or gaze at them, learn about nature or discover new adventures, it’s all even sweeter when you can do it on the cheap.
Nestled at the southern mouth of Tampa Bay, you’ll find Anna Maria Island, a sweet slice of old-time Florida. Every Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. you can enjoy Yoga on the Beach at the Public Beach at Manatee Avenue and Gulf Drive. These beginner-friendly classes are open to all and are weather dependent. Bring a big towel or sheet instead of a mat. The cost is by donation. Call 941-405-3377 for more information. https://www.facebook.com/starfishyoga
Picture this: The surf laps the shore, rhythmic and hypnotic. Bits of moonlight reflect across the Ocean’s dark waves. A band plays, and you’re swaying to the music under a scattering of stars. On Hollywood Beach, you can build this priceless memory for free. Experience Music and Dancing under the Stars at the outdoor Beach Theatre at Johnson Street and the Broadwalk every evening except Tuesday and Sunday from 7:30-9 p.m. After the show, savor succulent waterfront dining along the oceanfront Broadwalk or Intracoastal Waterway. The Concert Series runs year-round and is weather permitting http://www.visithollywoodfl.org/events.aspx
Wish I May…
The Gulf whispers its peaceful melody, the cool evening breeze wraps around your shoulders, and the sugar-sand is soft on your feet -- all while you wonder at the vast canvas of stars and planets twinkling overhead. The Escambia Amateur Astronomers' Association Evening periodically offers Free Star Gazing at the Gulfside Pavilion on Pensacola Beach (735 Pensacola Beach Blvd, Pensacola Beach, 32561, phone: 850-932-1500).
Volunteers set up nearly 20 telescopes, ranging in strength and size, for views of the Moon, planets, the Milky Way and other galaxies. The events start just before sunset, clear skies permitting. Free parking is available in the Casino Beach parking lot, near the Beach Ball Water Tower http://visitpensacolabeach.com/events/star-gazing.php
Celebrate the Sunset
When you combine a sugar-sand beach, street performers and a sunset over the Gulf, you have the perfect recipe to celebrate the end of the day. Your whole gang will enjoy Sunsets at Pier 60, a nightly Clearwater Beach festival. With Mother Nature providing a magnificent backdrop, you’ll see painters at work, admire jugglers, magicians and street performers, listen to music and discover crafts. You may even see fire eaters and stilt walkers – and your little ones will love the well-equipped playground. These family-friendly celebrations are free http://www.sunsetsatpier60.com/
Sand Master Mark Flynn from Sand Odyssey can turn a pile of sand into the face of a beautiful young woman, so exquisite you long to stretch out a finger and touch her hair. He can turn that same pile into a gaggle of penguins, a castle, or even the Brazilian skyline. And he can show you how to create your own works of art. You can enjoy free sand sculpting lessons on the beach behind Bud and Alley’s restaurant in Seaside from 1-3 p.m. once a week during spring break, usually from mid-March to mid-April, as well as Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from early June through mid-August. For the latest scheduling or more information, contact Mark through www.sandodyssey.com, email him at email@example.com, or check out his Facebook page at Sand Odyssey.
Play to the Bandshell
Everyone wears sandy toes and a smile at the Friends of the Bandshell Summer Concert Series at Daytona Beach Bandshell. The Concerts feature fireworks as well as free tunes every Saturday night, 7:15-10 p.m., from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend. The scenic amphitheater, built of coquina in 1937, is located in Oceanfront Park on the north end of the Boardwalk amusement area and overlooks the ocean. Food, Beer and Beverages are available for purchase. No coolers are allowed. Chairs are available for rent. Visit www.DaytonaBandshell.com , http://www.friendsofthebandshell.org/, or call 386- 671-8250 for more information. The Bandshell offers other concerts and events as well.