When I was in my early twenties, my mom and I took a road trip together. Leaving from our home north of Toronto, Ontario, it was a long journey of over 1,300 miles and a day’s worth of driving time. Tired and ready to escape the confines of the car, we finally arrived at our destination: Clearwater, Florida.
What initially drew us here was Winter the dolphin, whom we’d seen in the movie Dolphin Tale and both fallen in love with. But after spending a few days here, we quickly realized that Clearwater had much more to offer.
While it is a beautiful coastal city with many beaches to walk and laze around at, marine life to learn about and experience, and endless possibilities for fun in the sun, we also did something a little different on one of our evenings there.
While walking through the marina one night, I spotted a booth with a sign that read: “Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise.” Although it wasn’t on our radar initially, I immediately knew this was something we had to do. Mom and I both love being out on the water, and I figured a ride aboard a sailboat/pirate ship was something we’d both enjoy. Who doesn’t love pretending to be a pirate for a couple of hours?
It wasn’t long before we were buying our tickets and boarding the “Pirate’s Ransom.” (It didn’t take much to convince her!) It was a memorable experience from beginning to end. You set sail from Clearwater Beach Marina, cruising out through Clearwater Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The cruise is perfectly scheduled, reaching the Gulf just in time to watch the big yellow-orange sun fall beneath the horizon, lighting up the sky in a magnificent display of oranges, pinks, and reds.
With a history spanning over 40 years, Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise remains a favorite attraction in Clearwater Beach for adults and children alike. As their website says, “We’ve brought joy to countless children’s faces and coaxed out the inner pirate in many adult landlubbers as well.” Within the last five years, they’ve even won numerous small business awards in their region, including “Best Water Excursion.”
The ship itself is an eye-catching bright red with black highlights, making it hard to miss out at sea, and especially while walking around the marina. Black and white striped sails hang overhead, and a big pirate flag waves proudly in the wind at the stern. The cruise lasts about two hours in total, and if you get tired of looking out over the edge at the turquoise-blue water and beautiful scenery, or the sea of mega-hotels and resorts, boat slips, and yachts, there is plenty of other things to do while aboard!
The crew manages to keep the guests entertained, with pirate face-painting, games, treasure hunts, and water gun fights for the kids, complimentary beer and wine for the adults, and pirate hats, dance parties, and pirate stories and legends for everyone.
Serving as the cornerstone of Clearwater Beach’s family friendly atmosphere, the bright red pirate ship remains a source of wonder for tourists and one of pride for locals. — Captain Memo’s
If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity in Clearwater Beach that combines imagination, fun, and adventure, you’ve found it in Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise.
You might even strike it rich with a dolphin sighting while aboard, so keep your eyes peeled!