Clearwater Beach and Pier 60#1 in Best Things To Do in Clearwater Beach
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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.
During the day, the 1,080-foot pier is ideal for anyone interested in trying their hand at fishing. There's a bait and tackle shop that sells loaner fishing equipment, as well as souvenirs and snacks. If you come with kids, be sure to check out the well-appointed playground and the large inflatable slides that sit directly on the sand. There are also several shaded pavilions should you need some respite from the sun, plus telescopes that you can use any time of the day. As the sun starts to set, you'll find a variety of artisans selling their wares and street performers juggling, walking on stilts or even breathing fire. Free movie screenings are also available on select summer nights.
Recent visitors loved the beach's fun atmosphere and gorgeous sunsets. Many also praised the pier's acts and activities, though some cautioned that it can get crowded during special events, such as the New Year's Eve fireworks show.
Clearwater Beach and its pier are free to visit 24 hours a day. However, the pier's vendors and performers are only on-site from 6 to 9 p.m. daily. You'll find some metered parking on the streets near the pier, as well as multiple fee-based lots within walking distance. If you don't have a car, take the Jolley Trolley, which offers a Pier 60 stop on its South Beach route. To find out more about the events happening on the pier, visit the Sunsets at Pier 60 website.
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#2 Honeymoon Island State Park
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.
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