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Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: My husband and I are seniors with a small dog. We'd like to vacation in Florida for one month this winter. Please provide any information on where to stay in Clearwater, preferably a small cottage but not necessarily.

A: Originally named after its pine trees and known as Pinellas County, this part of the gulf coast has been familiar territory to the Tocobaga Indian tribes, Spanish explorers and even a surgeon for French Emperor Napolean.

Today, St. Petersburg & Clearwater is commonly referred to as "Florida's Beach," and includes 26 communities offering what many travel magazines describe as a "vacationer's paradise."

The white sandy beaches, turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico make this area home to two of the top 10 beaches in the world, 44 golf courses and miles of hiking trails.

After a quick scan on the Internet, I was able to find some rental companies or web sites that specialize in vacation rentals around Clearwater. "If you are looking for a seasonal or short term vacation rental home, you've come to the right place," states rental home company clearwatervacationhomes.com. The web site has a search engine with location listings submitted by a variety of rental agents.

One agent I spoke to recommends that your best bet is to keep the dog at home and consider renting a condominium. "Most rentals don't allow pets and you'll find you'll be paying more for a small cottage or home along the beach," says agent Barbara Mills.

Prices were last pegged around $1,300 (US) for a one-month stay at a condo located on Clearwater Beach. Contact: 1.800.775.9961 for more details.

But, if you're really set on having Fifi accompany you, Sea Horse Cottages, a vacation rental company allows canines no bigger than 25 pounds. Choose from six cottages set along the beach. In January, prices can run from $85 US per day or $560 US week. Need more info? Contact Sea Horse Cottages at 1.800.741.2291.

If you're considering anytime after January, be prepared for a big price hike as this is peak season. The Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce can be reached at 1.813.447.7600. Or alternatively, contact the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau's Canadian office at 905.339.0278 or visit the Clearwater Tourism's official web site and request a free copy of their visitor's guide.

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