Residents, travelers excited to spend Christmas Day on Clearwater Beach

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CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (WFLA) – Though Tuesday was chilly and windy on one of the nation’s best beaches, residents and travelers alike are excited to spend the Christmas holiday on Clearwater Beach.

Despite the chill in the air, many folks bundled up on Christmas Eve to walk on the beach, eat at the various restaurants on Mandalay Avenue and do some shopping.

Ashley Hardcastle is visiting the beach from Tennessee.

Though it was “Florida cold,” she said at least it was warmer than where she was coming from.

“We love it. This is probably our third time here. We like the people and the environment and it’s nice during the holiday spirit,” Hardcastle said.

She said they plan on lying out on the beach and going fishing on Christmas.

Norma Brenton spent Christmas Eve on the beach with her family who are visiting from Delaware.

“Enjoying this mother nature! Cold weather! [It’s] breezy,” Brenton laughed.

If you’re planning on visiting Clearwater Beach on Christmas Day, a few restaurants along the beach’s main stretch will be open for visitors, including Clear Sky Café and Toucans Bar & Grill.

Toucans bar manager Stefan Malatista didn’t seem too bothered by having to work the big holiday.

“We’re open on Christmas because you know, it’s the beach, it’s the tourist season. There [are] a lot of hotels, a lot of people that need a place to eat. But also because a lot of Clearwater residents, they need a place to go. A lot of places are closed inland. So we try to provide a service,” Malatista explained.

He said the restaurant will be open for big and small meals, including a lobster special and Christmas drink specials.

“It will be festive. Everybody’s happy and hopefully the people are happy and our staff is happy. Hopefully they make some money so everybody’s going to be happy. And it’s really good. It’s just busy. We open the doors at 11 a.m. and people start rushing in,” Malatista said.

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