Clearwater, Florida is a favorite vacation destination for families, couples, and even solo travelers. It's also frequently ranked in the top five beaches in Florida and is one of the best beaches in the world. Located on a picturesque barrier island across the Intracoastal Waterway from downtown Clearwater, the city certainly won't disappoint with it's famous nearly 3-mile white sand beach and crystal-clear water. Whether you choose to fly into St Pete-Clearwater International Airport or the Tampa International Airport, drive, or perhaps arrive via boat, Clearwater has much to offer visitors.
There are many attractions including deep sea fishing, boat charters featuring sunset cruises and dolphin watching, Spectrum Field, a variety of water sports, Pier 60, beach bars and sophisticated dining, and of course, spectacular sunsets.
If traveling with children, don't miss the opportunity for Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise. The eye-catching pirate ship provides an entertaining adventure for both young and old and sails from the Intracoastal waterway out into the Gulf of Mexico,
Adults will enjoy an arrrr-right time quenching their thirst with complementary beverages (soda, beer, and wine) on the ‘adult-only’ deck while kids are entertained with face painting, dance contests, water-pistol fights, and treasure hunts. Reservations are recommended; this is a popular cruise, and watching dolphins and whales are sought after on this memorable boat tour.
One of the finest attractions here is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Not a typical aquarium, this rescue and rehabilitation center is home to Winter the Dolphin, star of the Dolphin Tale movies filmed on location. Visit Shipwreck Alley to enjoy underwater viewing of several movie star dolphins and learn more about sea turtles and otters. Take time to view the pelicans, sharks, sting rays and possibly catch a glimpse of surgery through the operating room window.
With more than 90 hotels in Clearwater ranging from old Florida-style motels, to condo living and upscale beach resorts, every visitor regardless of taste and budget will find their perfect Clearwater hotel.
Consider one of the quaint Florida-style hotels in Clearwater
Barefoot Bay Resort and Marina
Ranked highly by travelers on TripAdvisor, the Barefoot Bay Resort and Marina at 401 East Shore Drive exceeds many guest's expectations. This family owned and operated small facility offers free parking, WiFi and is only a three-minute walk to the beach, Rooms overlooking the waterfront offer scenic views and have 2 queen beds, kitchenettes with a full refrigerator, sink, microwave, round dining table, coffee maker and a sofa. There are a variety of brightly painted yellow rooms to choose from and most have mini-kitchenettes.
Conveniently located on the Intracoastal, the Barefoot Bay Resort and Marina is close to Encounters with Dolphins, Clearwater Marine Aquarium , and of course Pier 60. Plus the Beachwalk promenade is close by for conveience to dining and shopping.
Enjoy the cozy deck, sparkling pool, fish directly from the marina and cook your catch on the facility's grill, or rent a jet ski nearby. There is also a coin laundry on-site and the property is adjacent to restaurants and bars.
Though the location is prime, it also sits close to the causeway ramp and may be susceptible to traffic in peak season, Spring Break and holidays.
The Palm Pavilion Inn
Another small and charming property is the Palm Pavilion Inn located at 18 Bay Esplanade. Known as a boutique hotel, the property is located beachfront and offers an array of amenities. Traveling with an infant? Cribs are available at no charge. Business traveler? There is FAX service, WiFi and luggage hold should you require it. Service via interior corridors, the facility also has a bar and full service restaurant. The Palm Beach Pavilion and Bar offers live music, has amazing sunset views, and open since 1926, is the oldest operating beach pavilion in Florida.
The East Shore Resort
Located at 473 East Shore Drive, is another small facility operating 11 unique units. Each 1 and 2 room studio offers a complete kitchen, stove, microwave, toaster and coffee maker. Some rooms offer screened porches, while others do not. Guests have access to free laundry facilities, Weber grills to cook your fresh catch, picnic areas, and a pristine pool surrounded by a tropical garden. Boat slips up to 65 feet are available, if you'll be arriving via water.
Amber Tides Motel
Looking for condo-style living at an affordable price?
Prestige Collection - Harbourside at Marker 33
If you don't mind staying just outside of Clearwater, you'll find the charming town of Indian Rocks Beach seven miles to the south via Gulf Boulevard. The brand new Harbourside at Marker 33 property offers well-appointed one and two bedroom condo units with a fully equipped kitchen, large banquette-style dining area, living room, spacious balcony and separate sleeping areas. This is perfect for a family with children, extended families or couples vacationing together and has an in-room washer and dryer.
The property features the fun-for-everyone Splash Harbour Water Park, Jimmy Guana's indoor/outdoor restaurant with live entertainment, a poolside bar, mini golf course, gift shop, bike rentals, as well as boat rentals and deep sea fishing directly from the on-site marina. There are public boat slips available too if you opt to arrive by boat.
Plus, Harbourside at Marker 33 offers exciting activities including wine tastings, yoga, family board games and books for children, painting classes and many engaging things to do. The quiet secluded beach is every bit as spectacular as Clearwater's beach and often much less crowded. The facility operates on-site gear rentals too.
One of the great perks about this location is that it offers the best of both worlds on the Gulf of Mexico - Clearwater and St Pete which is 10 miles down the road. And—for a small fee, buy an affordable 1, 3 or 7 day pass to hop on SunCoast Beach Trolley and ride back and forth to these prime beach destinations and all the quaint coastal towns in between!
And if you prefer larger Clearwater hotels . . .
Opal Sands Resort
One of the newest hotels in Clearwater is Opal Sands Resort, promising opulent stays as an oasis and a destination itself.
The 230 rooms have private balconies with gulf views. Onsite, you'll find a full service spa, concierge services, a 24-hour business center, state-of-the-art fitness center, and a fabulous temperature-controlled zero entry pool and hot tub,
Dine while overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at the beachfront tiki bar, pool bar, Sea-Guini Restaurant and lounge. The Opal Sands Resort also offers complimentary bike rentals and on-site rentals of kayaks, jet-skis and paddleboards.
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
The Hyatt Regency offers 250 guest rooms ranging from 400 feet to a Presidential Suite. Enjoy turndown serverice on request, a lap-top size room safe, deluxe bath amenities, including robes, makeup mirror and hairdryer, walkout balconies and kitchens with a full refrigerator, microwave and stove top.
Onsite, enjoy a 24-hour gym, full spa service, a relaxing spa pool, meeting an event space, washer and dryer on each guestroom floor. Eat at Skimmers in the morning for pastries and coffee, enjoy the Swim Bar and Grill while relaxing poolside, and dine with family, friends and business associates at SHOR American Seafood and Grill for a delectable meal.
While this facility has luxurious amenities, is beachfront and very close to Pier 60, consider one drawback — daily parking. Self park is $21 per day and valet is $25 daily.
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott
What's the best way to get around this bustling beach town?
The Jolley Trolley operates throughout Clearwater Beach and the downtown area. Purchase a pass good for unlimited rides or pay for a single day. Hop on and off this whimsical trolley as you go to the beach, Clearwater attractions, dining and shopping. This service spans northward serving the towns of DunedIn, Tarpon Springs, and Palm Harbor.
If visiting Clearwater to attend Spring Training Phillies baseball games, this service operates round-trip transportation service for just $14. Contact them in advance at 727-445-1200, as reservations are required.
If you are staying in Clearwater or anywhere to the south on the barrier Island, consider hopping on the SunCoast Beach Trolley. Riding is inexpensive, fun, and convenient, and offers reasonable pricing by the day, 3-days or a week. This trolley stops at specially marked "Trolley Stop" locations along the entire route between Park Street Terminal (Downtown Clearwater), Island Estates, North Clearwater Beach and South Clearwater Beach. This trolley system transporters riders via Gulf Boulevard from Clearwater, through Indian Rocks Beach, Treasure Island and on to St Pete.
The Clearwater Ferry is also helpful if you are staying in the downtown area and are heading over to Clearwater Beach Marina for a fishing trip or boat charter, or going on to North Beach. There are several public parking lots dowtown and several are free, but arrive early to claim your parking spot. Taxis and Uber are aplenty too.
Try these top-rated Clearwater restaurants!
- Cafe Ponte - American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Cristino's Coal Oven Pizza - Italian, Pizza, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Rumba Island Bar & Grill - Caribbean, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Marina Cantina - Steakhouse, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Lenny's Restaurant - American, Diner, Kosher, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Salt Cracker Fish Camp - Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Pearly's Beach Eats - Seafood, Mexican, American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Sea-Guini - Italian, American, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Clear Sky Cafe - American, Seafood, Grill, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
- Bait House - American, Bar, Seafood, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free options
- Beach Shante Cafe - American, Cafe , Diner, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free options
- Columbia - Cuban, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan, Gluten Free options
Ready to discover Clearwater and all the amazing things this spectacular beach destination has to offer? Nearby Dunedin, Gulfport, and Oldsmar also have exciting and family-friendly attractions so check them out! Book now. Save Now. TravNow!