Searching for the Worst Beach in Florida

Bob and I celebrated our 45th anniversary last weekend. This was not without its challenges due to the pandemic and a tropical storm/hurricane threatening Florida’s east coast. Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs) turned out to be a dud storm for Florida, thank God, but it caused damage up the I-95 corridor. It’s gone now – only clean-up remains. Other than the obvious reason to breathe a sigh of relief, we are grateful that we will not have to listen to people trying to say Isaias properly. One local radio announcer dubbed it “the storm with the name we can’t pronounce.”

And speaking of storm names – who are the ad wizards that came up with these? Later in the year we will have a storm named Nana. Seriously? Nana is threatening the coast. Nana is knocking out power. We hope Nana doesn’t come on shore. But I digress.

A day trip seemed a good plan. Being inside with all the masked people and pandemic reminders dampening our mood was not what we wanted for our anniversary. We love a good day trip and love to explore places we have not seen, so we headed for North Central Florida’s West Coast.

We threw our swimsuits, beach chairs, and a cooler in the car and were off for adventure. Who knew what we would find? Who knew what perfect little beaches we would discover? Who knew if we would find a place where we could use the bathroom?

First stop was Crystal River. It is famous around the state for its scenic nuclear power plant. Seeing the majestic steam billowing up to the sky, well, that’s nature at its finest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we have it. In Florida having power is what it’s all about. We get cranky when our AC is out.

We rambled down the road and found a crowded little beach right on the Gulf. I guess you have to get up pretty early in the morning to get a parking space, so we opted for a picnic by the river, which turned out to be the highlight of our trip.

Next stop was Lil’ Shark Park at Cedar Key. We had heard great things about Cedar Key, but in retrospect all those things were from people who had boats. We had a Styrofoam pool noodle.

You know those cute little couples who even though they have been married for 45 years still hold hands? We were one of them. Of course, we were motivated by the need to steady each other as we walked into the water. I was surprised by the slippery slime under my feet. To add to the ambiance, the smell of dead fish wafted around us like mosquitoes on a summer night. We stayed ten minutes.

It was 4 o’clock and we were riding around in our wet swimsuits still in search of a place to swim. Surely Pine Island would provide that. By 5:30 we were in the Gulf again. This was a step up from Cedar Key. We could walk in the water without fear of falling, but it felt like we were walking on fishing nets. I walked about a quarter mile before getting to waist deep water. It didn’t stink and although it felt yucky on my feet, it wasn’t completely gross. We got wet. We saw a small pod of dolphins. We left.

When we changed from our swimsuits in a beach house that was about 85 degrees inside and smelled like wet dog, I got homesick for our backyard (which is where we spent the next day). We were on the road again by 6:15. Little did we know that our real adventure was finding Florida’s worst beach.

Our day in summary:

Wildlife seen: 6 dolphins, 2 otters, 1 deer

Nuclear Power plants spotted: 1

Things I’ve never seen in Central or Eastern Florida: quarries, sawmills

Places to which I would return: 0

Worst beach to swim in Florida: Lil’ Shark Park at Cedar Key

Time spent with Bob: 13 hours of talking and laughing and enjoying being together. We can’t wait to go to Clearwater!




Leave a comment


  1. Kim Sutter

     /  August 6, 2020

    Wow! You two know how to do it up right and adventure together and that’s all that matters. Sometimes it’s really the journey and not the destination. Happy anniversary and love to you both!

  2. Leslie Richardson

     /  August 6, 2020

    Venice is beautiful!! Happy Anniversary! ❤️🥂

  3. Vanessa Marks

     /  August 6, 2020

    You guys are a cute couple. Love it

  4. Patty Van Cleave

     /  August 7, 2020

    What a wonderful adventure… It’s only going to get better from here – Just imagine what next year will be like! Happy Anniversary!

    • Thank you! If next year doesn’t involve a pandemic, that will make it pretty special!

      • Meg

         /  August 21, 2020

        What a wonderful adventure! That is what we renamed our vacations when the kids were little and we camped a lot. 🤣 happy anniversary! I missed admit you did a little better than we did for our 27th. We had plans for a lovely dinner and a moonlit stroll on Park Avenue. My lovely dreams crashed very quickly when Christian My lovely dreams crashed very quickly when Christian came out of the bathroom and told me that there was brown water bubbling up out of his shower. He hadn’t inhaled yet. I immediately asked Siri to pull up all the septic companies. The ones that called that immediately involved a payment plan. The reasonable ones involved creativity in terms of showering on the porch. One kid understood about not using too much water for the toilet or showering, but it didn’t sink in that you couldn’t wash clothes in the garage. 😢 Rescheduling our anniversary!

        • I hope you get a redo on that anniversary soon. We’ve had septic problems before and it’s no way to celebrate an anniversary. You need an adventure that doesn’t involve brown water.


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