As its very name suggests, Clearwater is a place where the beaches are white sand and the water is crystal clear. Located on the west coast of Florida near St. Petersburg
, Clearwater is a city where people come to enjoy the sun, the water sport opportunities and have fun. They are also a city that's very aware of their environment and they do what they can not only to protect it but also to celebrate it. They have many wonderful parks; most are along the waterways with nature trails, bird sanctuaries or picnic areas where you can simply sit and enjoy your surroundings. There are also several beautiful bridges spanning the city, connecting it to its beaches. And, as always, when you come to visit any city on our west coast, you simply must make time in your busy fun-filled stay to stop one evening and watch the sunset - it's a truly spectacular sight.
Things to do in Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beaches are world famous for its beautiful white sand, and as the name would imply, crystal clear water. In almost every survey, Clearwater Beach is one of Best Florida Beaches
. Tanning here is a favorite pastime, if you take a look around you'll see people lying in the sun, reading a book or just enjoying the sights of other people, getting their tan on.
Much like the festivities at Mallory Square in Key West
, the Sunset at Pier 60 is a nightly celebration that takes place on Clearwater Beach and is simply a time when the city pauses to watch the spectacular display as the sun goes down. This events is free and family friendly featuring artists, craft makers, street performers and live musical entertainment, weather permitting, there are also many places to treasure hunt in the shops at the pier. The party starts 2 hours before sunset and usually lasts until 2 hours after the sun disappears.
The best way to experience Clearwater Beach is by boat, as there is every type of boat adventure imaginable at the marina. Cigarette boats, fishing boats, nature tours, snorkeling boats, paddleboats, and even a pirate ship are tied up at the docks. You can parasail, fish, watch nature, dolphin hunt, snorkel or go shelling. You can rent jets ski's, hire a catamaran for the day, rent beach chairs to lounge in or go on a pirate adventure. These are fun for the whole family. Kids get pirate hats, engaging in treasure hunts, water pistol fights, and line dancing with the crew, while mom and dad get to enjoy cocktails!!
In nearby Tampa
, you can visit Busch Gardens
and enjoy their newest attraction Jungala. Set in the Congo area, this attraction invites you to discover exotic creatures, explore a village hidden deep in the jungle and to connect with the inhabitants of the landscape through up-close animal interactions, rides and live entertainment.
There are several transportation options. You can park and walk around, or for a dollar you can take the Clearwater Jolly Trolley which has 2 routes. The first that takes you through downtown and the other takes you to Sand Key. The ride lasts about 30 minutes end to end and there are short stops along the way.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is one of only eight facilities in the United States authorized to rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals. They give you "hands on" personal encounters with bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, river otters, sting rays, local fish and coral reefs. Sick and injured marine mammals get shelter here until they recover and can be returned to their natural homes. One of its most famous residents is Sunset Sam, a dolphin, known around the world for his painting abilities.
Places to Eat in Clearwater
Clearwater Beach offers a variety of restaurants to suit any taste. While you're on vacation take a break from the ever-present chains and try our tasty foods, many with that unique Florida
style and flavor.
- For finer dining, the Beachomer has been the choice in Clearwater Beach since 1948. They have a menu of steaks and seafood, and their wine list is second to none, while the breads and desserts are baked fresh daily. White linen table clothes and professional wait staff will make this a dinning experience to savor. Visit Website »
Cooter's Raw Bar & Restaurant
- Since 1993, Cooters Restaurant has been a premier location on Clearwater Beach for a large selection of seafood, delivered fresh daily, with mouth watering steaks, sandwiches, refreshing tropical drinks and FUN; just ask the locals! Cooter's offers the real side of beach life with food served in a relaxed, casual atmosphere. Visit Website »
Joe's Crab Shack
- Joe's Crab Shack was originally founded in Houston and is one of the largest seafood restaurant chains in America. Its 'draw' and appeal is its beach-side shack appearance, complete with picnic tables. This is a place where you can kick back, strap on a bib and enjoy awesome crabs, in every way you can think of to eat them. Visit Website »
- Frenchy's Restaurants made the unheard of decision to BUY their own production fishing dock and fishing boats. Their fish is caught in the gulf and Frenchy's is known locally for the best grouper sandwich in the area. Treat yourself to a trip to Frenchy's Original Cafe, and their affiliates, Salt Water Cafe, Rockaway Grill, South Beach Cafe, Off the Hook Gift Shop, and Frenchy's Seafood Company; the seafood is great and the prices are low. Visit Website »
- Kelly's is known all over town as the place for good breakfast. Lunch consist of delicious burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads. Dinner selections include Ahi Tuna, Calamari, Smoked Salmon and shrimp, all at reasonable prices. They have happy hours everyday and drink specials on certain nights. For entertainment, they offer all sorts of shows, a trivia night and Karaoke. Visit Website »
Places to Stay in Clearwater
There are many beautiful places to stay in Clearwater and Clearwater Beach many of them are near or even overlooking the water. If you fly in and need a place to stay by the airport try the Homestead St. Petersburg, which is only 2 miles from the airport. For some names you know and trust they have La Quinta, Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Courtyard by Marriott and Best Western Yacht Harbor Inn are also some familiar names to choose from. The Residence Inn is right on Clearwater Harbor and if you're looking for the spa treatment visit the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa or the Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa. If you're looking to stay beachside there is a Hilton beachside, the Best Western Sea Wake Beach Resort, and the Sandpearl Resort to name a few. No matter what your budget or needs you can be sure you'll find what you're looking for here.
View Clearwater Hotels »
Clearwater Overview and History
The city's name comes from the native Indian word "Pocotopaug", which literally translated means "Clear Water". They gave it this name because of the many fresh springs along the shore.
It was settled by colonists in the mid-1830s, and as early as the 1890s, Clearwater had gained a reputation as a resort community. Clearwater's population is estimated to be around 108,000, according to a 2005 census, not including the annual 1.5 million visitors who come from the North annually. Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and is located on the highest coastal bluff in Florida.
Two major airports are conveniently nearby: Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport; Clearwater is also only 90 minutes away from the attractions of Orlando.
The Harborview Center, on the western end of downtown, overlooks Clearwater Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico and is a major, convention, conferences, and expo center. The downtown area is considered the gateway to the beautiful beaches of Clearwater.
Clearwater Beach is a barrier island and is part of Clearwater, which became a city in 1915. The beaches and outdoor activities are among the main attractions to the area. Clearwater Beach is nationally known as one of Florida's best beaches in 2004.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com