Chill Out in Clearwater
One of the most popular locations on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater and the community of Clearwater Beach offer everything you’re looking for in a relaxing vacation, from the beach to the bay. Summer heat will not hinder you from having a good time here, as Gulf breezes cause a pleasant climate and you can always chill out in the water if you’re feeling warm. While the beach is the main attraction, you shouldn’t miss out on Clearwater’s many other attractions, from aquariums and museums to pirate cruises and sunset celebrations.
Bum Out on the Beach
Beach bunnies unite in Clearwater! Thanks to miles upon miles of sugar-white sand, gentle Gulf of Mexico waves perfect for wading in, and an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, there is perhaps no better place to spend a day at the beach. These beaches have won numerous awards throughout the years, from “Best City Beach on the Gulf of Mexico,” to ranking on the “Beach Lovers Hot List.”
Because you can enjoy literally all day on the beach, you can also enjoy Sunsets at Pier 60. This is a daily festival that you can enjoy at the local fishing and sightseeing pier on Clearwater Beach. It operates 364 days a year, from two hours before until two hours after sunset, and features artisans, crafters, street performers, and “world famous” Pier 60 sunsets.
Not quite ready for the beach? No worries, there are plenty of beach retail shops right on the beach that can equip you with beach apparel, accessories, and toys. Surf Style is a popular chain store found throughout Florida, and could be your one-stop shop. You can also check out Pelican Walk Plaza on Mandalay Avenue, a small shopping center with plenty of beachwear, accessories, gifts, and souvenirs.
Unsurprisingly, there are numerous beach hotels and resorts for you to choose from. Standing between popular Mandalay Avenue and the white sands of the beach, Sandpearl Resort offers 253 guest rooms and suites that invite brilliant sunlight and whispers of encompassing Gulf waves. Expansive balconies frame captivating views of alabaster sands, scenic shoreline and spectacular sunsets. From every well-appointed room, you will enjoy the uncompromising luxury and serenity of a setting that will enrich your experience at Sandpearl. Relax on the beach, or sit by the pool while you sip a cocktail. Indulge in personalized pampering at the Spa at Sandpearl. Not only is Sandpearl Resort a Green Resort that strives to improve energy efficiency and other environmental protections, it also offers a variety of enrichment programs that include dolphin encounters, organic food and wine tastings, and tours of the resort’s impressive art collection.
Get Out on the Water
Raise your heart rate and get your adrenaline pumping - or even just relax - when you take on a watersport in Clearwater, or engage in a tour or cruise. Boaters can take advantage of the Clearwater Bay and its marinas and harbor.
Paddleboarding is an increasingly popular sport, letting the paddler go at their own pace and offering both an all-body workout and also the chance to sit on the board and relax - or even do some yoga! Clearwater Beach PaddleBoard & Rental has everything you need to have a paddleboard adventure. In addition to bikes, beach umbrellas and beach chairs, among numerous other necessities, they can outfit you with quality paddleboards for sale or rent. You can choose to rent a half or full day, or even a whole week!
Become king of the waves with a boat rental, whether you want to go out fishing, sightseeing, or just spending some time in the sun. Clearwater Boat Rentals have a wide range of boat options, and have a courteous staff that will help you get set up for the day. Your boat will be equipped with standard anchors and safety equipment, as well as ice and coolers.
Power up and zoom around on a Jet Ski to add a little extra excitement to your vacation! Clearwater Beach Jet Ski offers both Jet Skin rentals and unique Jet Ski tours that can accommodate the whole family. Go on a dolphin watching tour, visit nearby Caladesi Island, and make lots of memories!
Clearwater offers many unique tours on the water, but perhaps one of the most delightful is Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. The boat’s colorful characters are brought to life by costumed interpreters, and once aboard you will be swept away on a pirate adventure and tour of Clearwater Bay. Children become engaged though song, dance, games, face painting, and thrilling stories.
The Sea Screamer is the world’s largest speed boat, offering you the thrill ride of your life. Hear the roar of the dual twin-turbocharged diesel engines, and the crash of the waves across the bow. That other sound you hear is probably you, screaming with delight, as you watch for dolphins and speed across the water. seascreamer.com
Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel offers not only spacious accommodations and superior amenities, but also easy access to the nearby marina for boaters. Just across the street from the beachfront, the hotel is located on Clearwater Bay. Spacious, comfortable rooms offer views of the beach or bay, some with a private balcony to enjoy. Amenities include a complimentary breakfast to fuel your day, an outdoor pool, and a rooftop bar. The hotel offers great packages and deals, whether you’re on a romantic getaway or a family vacation. The hotel is named for, and just steps from, the fabulous Pier 60.
Branch Out with some Culture
The beach may be the main attraction, but there’s so much more to see and do in Clearwater! Experience Gulf Coast culture through Clearwater’s variety of onshore attractions, including a marine rescue center and historic theater.
Get a new perspective on marine life at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a marine life rescue center that goes beyond the typical aquarium experience to immerse you in experiences with the animals and impart to you the importance of marine rescue. The aquarium is home to Winter the Dolphin of movie fame, star of the popular Dolphin Tale movies that were filmed on location here. You can meet her other friends including Hope, learn their rehabilitation stories, and even visit the animal hospital to see other newly rescued and rehabilitated animals like sea turtles. You can also visit with pelicans, otters, sharks, stingrays, and more.
Learn the story of Clearwater through the efforts of the Clearwater Historical Society, which offer a museum and cultural center as well as the Plumb House Museum. Plumb House was built around 1896 and coincided with the beginning of the settlement of Belleair which was built by railroad magnate and Florida history character Robert Plant. For tours, call 727-399-1412.
Downtown Clearwater has plenty of cultural offerings, including he historic Capitol Theatre. Its intimate, 750-seat setting makes for a memorable experience, whether you’re watching a live concert or a classic film. Dating back to 1921, the beautifully restored former movie house and Vaudeville venue virtually transports you back to the heyday of Hollywood glitz and glam. Don't miss Grammy-award winning performers like Diana Krall and Los Lonely Boys. The Capitol Theatre is part of the Ruth Eckerd Hall Experience, which encompasses four performing arts venues throughout St. Petersburg and Clearwater.
Sitting atop a 30-foot bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor, the Cleveland Street District combines beautiful living space with a walkable urban setting. An important part of Downtown Clearwater, Cleveland Street District offers unique dining and shopping experiences and includes a public art program and access to the county’s Pinellas Trail.
Art lovers should check out the Dalí Museum’s Dreams of Dalí Virtual Reality (VR) Experience at Second Century Studios in the Cleveland District. This award-winning experience offers new pathways for engaging in the arts by using virtual reality. This experience is hosted by The City of Clearwater’s Community Redevelopment Agency, which offers unique pop-up programming for the community throughout the year. The studios are located at 331 Cleveland St.
A unique hotel with a thrilling story, Belleview Inn is a beautiful Queen Anne-style Victorian hotel first premiered in 1897. One of the first Gulf resort hotels that would help develop tourism in the area and make Clearwater what it is today, Belleview has been recently updated to bring you sleek, modern, elegant hotel rooms and suites that give a subtle nod to Victorian Heritage. Enjoy a dip in the pool or a treat at Maisie’s marketplace. The hotel’s beauty and elegance make it a popular wedding venue.