Clearwater Beach Florida Vacation

Clearwater Beach Vacation Guide

Located on the Gulf of Mexico about 25 miles from downtown Tampa, Clearwater Beach has accommodations and amenities to please just about anyone.

Clearwater Beach is the most heavily visited of the northern Tampa Bay barrier island beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. Accommodations range from luxury resorts to private cottages and everything in between. Shops, restaurants, and activities are plentiful on Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Florida Travel

Clearwater Beach Island is separated from the mainland portion of the city of Clearwater by Clearwater Harbor. The white-sand beach runs for three miles along the Gulf of Mexico. Dogs are not allowed anywhere on the beach.

The Clearwater Beach most tourists speak of is at the south end of the island near Pier 60. Here lifeguards are on duty year-round and public restrooms and showers are available. Free WiFi internet hotspots are provided on the beach by the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Random Girls at Clearwater Beach FL
Random Girls at Clearwater Beach FL by Darryl Kenyon

Many large hotels, mom-and-pop motels, and rental condominiums are located in south Clearwater Beach. This is also the entertainment district, with an abundance of restaurants and nightclubs, a few directly on the sand, and more overlooking Clearwater Harbor. A large number of shops are within walking distance of the beach and lodging. Public parking lots have meters that accept credit cards as well as cash. The Clearwater Jolley Trolley serves all of Clearwater Beach Island as well as the northern tip of Sand Key.

The north end of Clearwater Beach is mostly residential. Some of the cottages and condos are available for rental. The beach here is quieter although it is still a public beach with access available every few blocks. The adventurous can walk north along the beach at low tide all the way to Caladesi Island.

Pier 60 Clearwater Beach

The center of the action on Clearwater Beach is its substantial fishing pier, Pier 60. No license is required to fish from the pier. There is no charge to walk out to the bait shop located halfway along the pier and sightseers pay only 50 cents to continue all the way to the end.

Pier 60 is more an entertainment complex than just a fishing pier. At the pier’s base are a small snack and gift shop, public restrooms, picnic pavilions, and a large children’s playground. The Sunsets at Pier 60 festival is held every night, beginning two hours before sunset and ending two hours after sunset. Street performers dazzle tourists at the pier’s entrance while artisans sell their wares out along the pier itself.

Pier 60 Sunset at Clearwater Beach
Pier 60 Sunset at Clearwater Beach by Photomatt28

The Clearwater Marina is directly across the street from Pier 60. Fishing charters and sightseeing boats of every variety can be found here. One of the most popular sunset cruises for both families and young singles is Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, where the price of admission includes all the beer and wine you can drink during the two-hour trip, and pirates keep juvenile passengers entertained with stories, games, and music.

Kids will also love the nearby Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where they can visit Winter, a rescued dolphin who now swims with a prosthetic tail. The small aquarium regularly rehabilitates sick and injured animals, returning many to their natural habitat.

Clearwater Beach Vacations

Just south of Clearwater Beach, the island of Sand Key features additional hotels and condominiums for rent. Sand Key Park is located just across Clearwater Pass from Clearwater Beach.

A Clearwater Beach, Florida vacation truly offers something for everyone, from fishing charters to waterfront restaurants, or a stroll along the Beach Walk promenade, completed in 2008. A magnificent Gulf of Mexico sunset was taken in from the soft Clearwater Beach sand or over the water on Pier 60 marking the end of each perfect day.

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