Best Things To Do in Clearwater Beach
There are plenty of attractions in Clearwater Beach to fill up your days. A vacation here is sure to be appreciated by the whole family, as there... READ MORE
There are plenty of attractions in Clearwater Beach to fill up your days. A vacation here is sure to be appreciated by the whole family, as there are multiple kid-friendly attractions, including Pier 60 and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. There are also many natural attractions in the area worth checking out, such as the unspoiled beaches and trails at Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park – two of Florida's most popular state parks. So, whether you're visiting to make lifelong memories with loved ones or to reconnect with nature, you're bound to enjoy vacationing in this relaxed seaside town.
Updated September 24, 2020
- #1View all Photos#1 in Clearwater BeachBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Clearwater Beach's shoreline boasts white sand, turquoise water and proximity to downtown's hotels, restaurants and attractions, making it one of the area's most popular beaches to visit. It's backed by the pedestrian-friendly Beach Walk and offers both sand volleyball courts and excellent conditions for a variety of water sports, including snorkeling, Jet Skiing and parasailing.
One of the main attractions at this beach is Pier 60, which draws visitors in with the promise of spectacular sunset views and keeps them coming back with its entertaining events and amenities. Located off of Causeway Boulevard about a mile west of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, this pier overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, making it a picture-perfect stop.
- #2View all Photos#2 in Clearwater BeachParks and GardensTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDParks and GardensTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
This picturesque island is named for its role as the honeymoon destination for winners of Life magazine's newlywed contest in the early 1900s. Since then, it has remained a popular vacation destination thanks to its romantic white sand beaches. It's no wonder why the protected part of the island, Honeymoon Island State Park, continues to be one of Florida's most-visited state parks.
A short 11-mile drive north of downtown Clearwater Beach, this natural barrier island's state park features more than 4 miles of beaches and a 3-mile-long nature trail. It offers an educational nature center and access to bike and kayak rentals as well. Plus, the park is home to numerous animal species, including manatees, dolphins and bald eagles, which nest in the surrounding trees from October to May. You may also spot ospreys, great horned owls, herons, egrets and various songbirds while trekking the park's Osprey Trail or the Pelican Trail.
- #3View all Photos#3 in Clearwater BeachZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDZoos and AquariumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
In a town that revolves around marine life and nature preservation, it only makes sense that there's an aquarium dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating ocean animals. The trained personnel and volunteers at this mission-driven organization work to better the lives of injured and endangered animals before releasing them back into their natural habitats. While visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, travelers can observe the facility's rescued animals (think: sharks, dolphins, stingrays, sea turtles, otters and birds) and learn about their behaviors.
Many previous visitors raved about the aquarium, citing its passionate and informative staff as one of its best attributes. Several also praised the facility's small size, saying the intimate setting makes it easy to have more one-on-one time with marine educators and close-up glimpses of the animals. The shark exhibit is a visitor favorite thanks in part to its thoughtful design. Visitors can look down into the pool where the resident shark, Thelma, lives with various fish. The dolphin exhibit is also popular since it houses the aquarium's most famous resident: Winter the Dolphin, who starred in the film "Dolphin Tale."
- #4View all Photos#4 in Clearwater BeachBeaches, Parks and GardensTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Parks and GardensTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Situated north of Clearwater Beach but south of Honeymoon Island State Park, this protected section of Caladesi Island is a great attraction for nature lovers and anyone seeking a little peace and quiet. Recent visitors raved about the state park's untouched natural areas and sparsely populated shoreline, adding that these beaches – which are consistently labeled some of the best in the area – are significantly less crowded than Clearwater Beach's main stretch of sand.
In addition to its picturesque beach, Caladesi Island State Park offers ample fishing, hiking and picnicking opportunities. Visitors can fish in designated areas known for housing thriving trout, redfish and snook populations. As for hiking trails, the best is the Caladesi Island Trail, a 3-mile loop that travels past mangrove swamps and other unspoiled habitats. There's also a large marina for those who wish to dock for the day or even overnight while they explore the park.
- #5View all Photos#5 in Clearwater BeachSportsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDSportsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Sports fans flock to the Clearwater area – specifically, Spectrum Field – to catch a glimpse of their favorite Philadelphia Phillies players competing during MLB's spring training season. But this field doesn't only appeal to Phillies fans. If you'd rather cheer for a local team, consider catching a game from the Clearwater Threshers, a minor league baseball team. The team typically plays 70 home games from April to September.
Previous visitors were thrilled with the field's seating options, noting that you'll find a good view from every seat. They also enjoyed the tasty, inexpensive food and appreciated the convenient parking options. Even reviewers who didn't grow up cheering for the Phillies had fun watching them play during the spring training season.
- #6View all Photos#6 in Clearwater BeachFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
If you're looking for a more urban experience while visiting the beach, head to the Cleveland Street District in downtown Clearwater. This alfresco shopping and dining street sits just east of Clearwater Beach and attracts many visitors every day. The palm tree-framed street is lined with tables and benches to relax on. Plus, Cleveland Street plays host to a wealth of outdoor events, including a popular farmers market, and features a quaint theater that's been a fixture in the district since 1921.
Previous visitors said foodies will love the district's array of restaurants, which serve everything from tacos to fresh seafood to gelato. There are also numerous wine bars and pubs that come highly recommended by reviewers. Some visitor favorites include American-inspired Roxy's Coastal Bistro, globally influenced Clear Sky on Cleveland and health-focused Kara Lynn's Kitchen.
- #7View all PhotosfreeSand Key Park#7 in Clearwater BeachBeaches, Free, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Parks and GardensTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
If you want to venture outside of the main Clearwater Beach area, take Gulf Boulevard south to Sand Key Park. This 95-acre beach park is composed of a white sand beach, as well as a park with plenty of places to set up a picnic and look for wildlife. One popular spot in the park is a salt marsh with benches that visitors can use for relaxing and bird-watching. Bird species you may spot here include herons, roseate spoonbill and great horned owls.
Overall, previous visitors loved spending the day at Sand Key Park, citing its playground and nearby dog park as highlights. Others said that the beach's manageable waves make them ideal for surfers of varying levels. Most agreed that the park's best attribute is its lack of crowds.
- #8View all Photos#8 in Clearwater BeachFree, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and Gardens, RecreationTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
While you may not think about taking a trip to a lake during your beach vacation, Moccasin Lake Nature Park is worth a visit. Situated 8 miles east of Clearwater Beach, this outdoor oasis almost seems otherworldly. The park is composed of 51 acres that house multiple ponds and creeks in addition to the main lake, nature trails, a boardwalk and an interpretive center.
You'll find different wildlife here than you may see near the beach. A stroll around the park may bring you face to face with turtles and an array of birds. The park is even home to injured birds of prey, including bald eagles and hawks, that you can see during a visit to the on-site sanctuary. Several previous visitors highly recommended visiting this facility, as well as the park's butterfly garden and playground. Many also suggested trekking the various trails to soak up the park's beautiful scenery.
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