Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Strange — sometimes wonderful — things are for sale on Clearwater Beach

CLEARWATER BEACH

For many Floridians, the beachfront tchotchke shop is a strange and dreadful place.

The lame gag gifts. The tacky bumper stickers. The hemp jewelry and henna tattoos. Who would buy this stuff?

The answer: a lot of people.

On Mandalay Avenue, Clearwater Beach's souvenir central, bauble shops like Wings and Surf Style are often awash in visitors from out of town. Their business is selling Florida in a bag. And business is good. On a recent sunny spring break afternoon, we ventured out to see what they had to offer. We just barely made it out alive.

Here are a few highlights from the heart of tourist town.

Strangest inscribed souvenir: Dead baby shark in glass jar, with the inscriptions, "Clearwater Beach Florida" and "SHARK" — $14.99 (Surf Style).

Most interesting: Real severed alligator head, wild or farm-bred, 2.5 inches to a foot long, $14.99 to $45 (multiple stores).

Worst toy / Least likely to survive the trip home: Porcupinefish, expanded — $12.99 (Wings).

Strangest attempt at "beachwear": "Tiger skin" men's robe, with tiger designs (not real tiger skin) — $49 (Swim & Play).

Most likely to be regifted: Shell-encrusted tissue box — $14.99 (Beach Bazaar).

Highest concentration of "Florida" symbols: Flex visor, with flamingos, oranges or flip-flops — $3.99 (Surf Style).

Most creative use of native wildlife: "Gator" back scratcher, with gator claw on a stick — $3.99 (Beach Bazaar).

Least creative use of Florida wildlife: Shot glass with "Genuine Shark's Tooth" — $8.97 (Freaky Tiki Surf Shack).

Least likely to be bought for son: Neon "beer bong" funnel, with sticker, "I Got Bonged" — $5.99 (Wings).

Least likely to be bought for daughter: Neon yellow shot glass, "Drink Till He's Cute" — $4.99 (Wings).

Best understanding of state geography: Map of Florida T-shirt, in pink, "Not Everything is Flat in Florida" — $8.50 (Surf Style).

Worst understanding of state geography: Map of Florida T-shirt, in white or gray, with dolphin jumping over city of "St. Petersburgh" — $9.99 (Wings).

Least likely to be bought by a Floridian: Bag of assorted shells, 9 pounds — $14.99 (Wings).

Most unnecessary combo pack: "Pong on the Go," a pack of 22 red plastic cups and three pingpong balls used for the "Beer Pong" drinking game, with instruction manual — $5.99 (Surf Style).

Least likely to be seen in an office setting: "Little Sipper" novelty coffee mug, with nude breast — $6.99 (Eagle Wings).

Most high-tech: Computer mouse with liquid compartment and plastic clownfish, with "Clearwater Beach" monogram, in blue, green or yellow — $22.99 (Celebrity of Clearwater).

Most dignified beach art: Horseshoe crab glass sculpture — $27.99 (Beach Bazaar).

Least dignified beach art: Sea turtle ashtray — $7.99 (Surf Style).

Contact Drew Harwell at dharwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Strange — sometimes wonderful — things are for sale on Clearwater Beach 03/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 25, 2011 7:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Prosecutors tried to delay a trial because of the eclipse. Florida judge cited 'Star Trek' in ruling

    Criminal

    The wheels of justice may grind slowly, but they cannot be stopped by Monday's total eclipse, a judge has ruled.

    Schweta Kulkarni, from left, Rhea Kulkarni and Saanvi Kulkarni, from Seattle, try out their eclipse glasses on the sun at a gathering of eclipse viewers in Salem, Ore., early Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) ORDR102
  2. Top 5 at Noon: Mayoral race affects ballpark decision; stream the eclipse live

    News

    Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

    Looking east at Tropicana Field and downtown St. Petersburg.  SCOTT KEELER    |    Times

  3. Full disclosure: My AP Top 25 ballot

    Blogs

    Now that you've seen the preseason AP Top 25, here's what I submitted in my first year as a voter. The AP doesn't give us many guidelines in the preseason. I didn't try to predict how …

  4. AP Top 25: Alabama first, FSU, UF, Miami and USF all in top 20

    Blogs

    As expected, Alabama will start the season at No. 1 in the AP Top 25.

  5. Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis

    Movies

    The day the clown died, Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis.

    Jerry Lewis in 2005. Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91 (New York Times)