Clearwater Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida, and a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the sun, sand, and sea. Located on the west coast of Florida, Clearwater Beach is known for its soft white sand, crystal clear waters, and stunning sunsets. Whether you’re looking to relax and soak up the sun, or enjoy some of the many activities and attractions in the area, Clearwater Beach has something for everyone.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll take a closer look at everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip to Clearwater Beach, including where to stay, what to do, and where to eat.
History of Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is a barrier island located on the west coast of Florida. The area was first inhabited by the Tocobaga tribe, who fished and hunted in the area for thousands of years. The Spanish explorers arrived in the area in the 16th century and established a mission in the area. In the 1800s, the area became a popular destination for wealthy vacationers. The town of Clearwater was incorporated in 1891, and the first bridge to Clearwater Beach was built in 1917.
Getting to Clearwater Beach
By car: Clearwater Beach is located just west of Tampa and can be easily reached by car. From Tampa, take the Courtney Campbell Causeway west, which will bring you directly to Clearwater Beach. The beach is also accessible via I-275, which connects Tampa to St. Petersburg.
By plane: The closest airport to Clearwater Beach is Tampa International Airport, which is about a 30-minute drive away. From the airport, you can rent a car or take a taxi or shuttle to Clearwater Beach. Another option is St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, which is located just a few miles from the beach and offers flights from several major cities.
By bus: Greyhound and other bus companies provide service to Clearwater, which is just a short drive or taxi ride from the beach.
By train: Amtrak offers service to Tampa, which is just a short drive from Clearwater Beach. From the Tampa train station, you can rent a car or take a taxi or shuttle to the beach.
Why is Clearwater Beach famous?
Clearwater Beach is famous for its beautiful white sand beaches, crystal-clear water, and warm tropical climate. It’s consistently ranked as one of the top beaches in the United States and attracts millions of visitors each year.
In addition to its stunning natural beauty, Clearwater Beach is also known for its vibrant beach town atmosphere, with a wide range of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options. Visitors can enjoy water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding, go on dolphin-watching tours, or take a sunset sailing trip.
Overall, Clearwater Beach is famous for offering a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities, and entertainment options, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.
Activity and Things to Do
Clearwater Beach offers a wide range of activities and things to do, whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the beach or an adventurous water sports experience. Here are some of the best activities and things to do in Clearwater Beach:
- Relax on the beach: Clearwater Beach is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, crystal-clear water, and stunning sunsets. Take a stroll along the beach, relax in the sun, or enjoy a picnic on the sand.
- Dolphin watching: Take a dolphin-watching tour and see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. Several tour companies offer dolphin-watching tours, and some even guarantee sightings.
- Water sports: Clearwater Beach is a water sports paradise, offering activities like jet skiing, parasailing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Rent equipment from one of the many rental companies on the beach, or take a guided tour for a more adventurous experience.
- Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium: This marine aquarium is home to Winter the Dolphin, who inspired the movie “Dolphin Tale.” The aquarium also features several other marine animals, including sea turtles, otters, and stingrays.
- Sunset sailing: Take a sunset sailing tour and watch the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Several tour companies offer sunset sailing tours, some of which include dinner and drinks.
- Fishing: Clearwater Beach is a great place for fishing, with opportunities to catch a variety of fish, including grouper, snapper, and tarpon. There are several fishing charters available for half-day or full-day trips.
- Pier 60: Visit Pier 60, a popular spot for fishing, sightseeing, and shopping. The pier also features several restaurants and hosts nightly sunset celebrations with street performers and live music.
These are just a few of the many activities and things to do in Clearwater Beach. Whatever your interests, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful beach town.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Known for its famous resident dolphins, Winter and Hope, Clearwater Marine Aquarium offers a unique experience for visitors of all ages. Explore the underwater world of sea turtles, otters, sharks, and other marine animals.
Pier 60: A popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike, Pier 60 offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is the perfect spot for fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. It also hosts a nightly sunset celebration featuring street performers and live entertainment.
Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. Board the Pirate’s Ransom and set sail on a swashbuckling adventure with Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. This family-friendly excursion includes a treasure hunt, face painting, and water gun battles as you sail along the coast
Frenchy’s. A Clearwater Beach institution, Frenchy’s is known for its fresh seafood and laid-back atmosphere. Don’t miss their famous grouper sandwiches and Key Lime Pie.
Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar. Enjoy panoramic views of the beach while dining on local seafood and refreshing cocktails at Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar.
Crabby’s Dockside. This waterfront restaurant serves up delicious seafood with a Caribbean twist. Don’t forget to try their signature drink, the Rum Runner.
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Hotels in clearwater beach
Clearwater Beach offers a wide range of hotels and accommodations to suit every budget and preference. Here are some of the best hotels in Clearwater Beach:
- Sandpearl Resort: This luxurious beachfront resort features a private white sand beach, outdoor pool, spa, and several on-site dining options. The rooms are spacious and elegant, with private balconies offering stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach: This stylish hotel features modern rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies overlooking the beach. The property also offers several dining options, a rooftop bar, and a full-service spa.
- Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa: This beachfront resort offers spacious rooms with private balconies and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. The property also features several dining options, a spa, and a rooftop pool and bar.
- Opal Sands Resort: This modern beachfront resort offers stylish rooms with private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. The property also features several dining options, a spa, and a beachside pool with cabanas.
- Sheraton Sand Key Resort: This family-friendly resort offers spacious rooms with private balconies and views of Clearwater Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. The property also features several dining options, a pool with a waterslide, and a private beach.
These are just a few of the many hotels and resorts in Clearwater Beach. It’s best to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and get the best rates.
Clearwater Beach offers several shopping options, from souvenir shops to high-end boutiques. Some popular shopping areas include Beach Walk, Mandalay Avenue, and the Clearwater Beach Marina.
Safety and Health
Clearwater Beach is a safe destination, with a low crime rate and plenty of police presence. Visitors should be aware of the dangers of sun exposure and take precautions to protect themselves from the sun, including wearing sunscreen and staying hydrated.
Tips for Visiting Clearwater Beach
Here are some additional tips for visitors to Clearwater Beach:
- Book accommodations early, especially during peak season (March through August).
- Bring a beach umbrella and chairs, or consider renting them on the beach.
- Be prepared for crowds, especially on weekends and holidays.
- Take a dolphin-watching tour to see these amazing creatures up close.
- Check out the Clearwater Beach Farmers Market, held every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm.
Clearwater Beach is a beautiful and relaxing destination for any beach lover. With its soft white sand, crystal clear waters, and endless sunshine, it’s easy to see why this beach is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re looking to relax and soak up the sun, or to explore the area’s many attractions and activities, Clearwater Beach has something for everyone.
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Clearwater beach FAQs
Yes, Clearwater Beach is a great destination for families, with plenty of family-friendly attractions and activities.
The best time to visit Clearwater Beach is from March through August when the weather is warm and sunny.
Yes, the ocean at Clearwater Beach is safe for swimming, with clear waters and gentle waves.
Yes, there are several free activities on Clearwater Beach, including watching the sunset at Pier 60, walking along the beach, and visiting the Clearwater Beach Farmers Market.
The closest airport to Clearwater Beach is Tampa International Airport, which is about a 30-minute drive from the beach.