The city of Clearwater is over 100 years old, and is known for being a holiday destination that is perfect for a visit at any time of the year. Blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, you will find gorgeous views here of pristine sands and crystal clear waters, and this part of the world also boasts some of the best marine life around.
If you take to the waters, expect to find stingrays, sharks, dolphins, and turtles, to name but a few species found here. As well as some amazing beach life, Clearwater is also home to vibrant shopping, dining, and sporting venues, so whatever you choose to do, you doubtless won’t be bored. Clearwater lies close to the Gulf of Mexico, so you can also expect warm breezes that make many visitors feel like they don’t want to leave.
Lets explore the best things to do in Clearwater:
1. Clearwater Marine Aquarium
This famous aquarium in Clearwater has a strong dedication to rehabilitation of aquatic life, and there is a clear message of environmental education here. The aquarium is most well known for its resident dolphin Winter who inspired the story Dolphin Tale which featured Morgan Freeman. At the aquarium you can expect to see such marine life as dolphins, turtles, otters, sharks, and can even get up close with stingrays. The emphasis here is also on an interactive experience and you can even feed the stingrays or pelicans that live at the aquarium. There are also tours of the marine hospital and all the profits go to the rehabilitation and ultimate release of the aquatic life here.
2. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is the main beach in the Clearwater area and many locals flock here as the sun goes down to catch one of the gorgeous sunsets here. The beach has even been voted one of the best beaches in Florida and you can expect a stretch of warm sand and picturesque waters. Families, couples, residents, and visitors will all find something to entertain them at the beach, and you can indulge in some beachside activities such as fishing or simply strolling along the sand. Clearwater Beach is also popular for being close to Pier 60 and the neighboring Beach Walk.
3. Pier 60
As the name suggests, Pier 60 is a fishing pier and something of a Clearwater powerhouse. The pier measures an impressive 1,080 feet and comes with a park, bait hours, telescopes, and picturesque viewing pavilions. At the bait house you can stock up on everything you need for a successful day’s fishing and then fish off the end of the pier for local species like Spanish mackerel, spotted trout, snook, snapper, and jacks. The pier is also open and lit at night, so you can even enjoy some night fishing. Sunset is a great time to visit, not least because of the views, but also because of the entertainment options that set up along the pier such as musicians and jugglers.
4. Sand Key Park
If you want the best features of a sandy beach and a park then look no further than Sand Key Park where you will find a whole host of fun beachside activities as well as park amenities. Sand Key Park is covered in cute beach cabanas as well as bathhouses and there is a dog park and a playground in the same area. If you are very lucky, you may also find endangered sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach, and there are also several species of endangered birds that inhabit the salt marsh next to the park.
5. Beach Walk
You can’t miss Beach Walk in Clearwater, as it is basically a line of palm trees leading to a pedestrian area. This beachside thoroughfare twists and turns through the Clearwater Beach area and you will pass a whole host of quaint local businesses on the way. These include venues such as old-fashioned ice cream parlors as well as boutique arts and crafts shops, so this is the perfect place to stop and browse for some souvenirs. It also offers you an ideal way to stroll around Clearwater and take in the best of the local action and atmosphere.
6. Clearwater Beach Marina
Come to the Clearwater Beach Marina if you are looking to see the Clearwater area from another perspective. There are 126 boat slips here and you can rent a vessel and take to the water yourself, or elect to go on a guided boat tour where you will see the marina in all its glory. Clearwater is known for its pride of place on the Gulf of Mexico, and a trip out on the water is the ideal way to take in some of the warm breeze that the gulf is famous for, as well as gaining glowing vistas over the city.
7. Ruth Eckerd Hall
The Ruth Eckerd Hall is known for being one of the premium performing arts venues in Clearwater. If you want to take in a show while you are in town, then this is the place to do it, and you can choose from a variety of genres that includes orchestral pieces, Broadway plays, dance recitals, children’s performances and theatrical pieces. The center has a capacity of over 2,000 spectators, and as such is often said to be one of the top performance venues in the entire country.
8. Starlite Cruises
One of the best things to do if you are in Clearwater is indulge in an elegant cruise to take in the best of the local scenery from the water. Starlite Cruises are based in Clearwater and you can board the resident StarLite Majesty and enjoy this twin decked floating entertainment venue. You can have dinner on the cruise as you take in the sights of Clearwater from the comfort of the spacious picture windows all over the ship. There will also be the chance to take in some of the most beautiful sunsets and enjoy the clear Florida night skies and twinkling stars. Trips usually last around two to three hours and are a great way to take in the area in an afternoon or evening.
9. Pinellas Trail
The Pinellas Trail, or the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail as it is also known, is named after a former County Administrator Fred Marquis and a famous rail trail in the Florida area. The trail stretches across Pinellas County and goes from the city of Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg, and on the way it passes through Clearwater. There are various access points in Clearwater to the trail, and common activities here include walking, jogging, cycling, and even skating. You don’t need to cover the entire length of the trail, as it currently measures in at 38.2 miles, but it is certainly worth taking the time to trek from one city to another to take in the Florida countryside on foot if you are feeling adventurous.
10. Sky Surfing Aviation
If you have ever wanted to board a flying motorcycle then Sky Surfing Aviation is the place to do it. Also known as trike flying, you will have an opportunity to surf the sky in a kind of hang glider. You will fly with an experienced instructor who will teach you all you need to know about how to operate the aircraft, and most sessions last for one hour and will take you past local landmarks such as the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater Marina, Pier 60, and out into the Gulf of Mexico. As you fly you may even be able to see dolphins, sharks, and turtles in the crystal clear waters, and if you want to stay up in the air for longer then you can book customized tours. Flights depart from the Clearwater Airpark and if you are something of an adrenalin junkie then this is one attraction not to be missed.
11. Bright House Field
Bright House Field is the place to come if you want to take in a game of all-American baseball and watch a Major League team in action. Some of these teams include the Philadelphia Phillies as well as the Toronto Blue Jays, who use this area as a practice ground. With over 8,000 seats, the Bright House Field also has an open concourse which means that spectators will have a 360 view of the field. You can also try some typical baseball snacks here and there is a food court located right behind the home plate.
12. Clearwater Farmers Market
Clearwater Farmers Market harnesses the best of the delicious Florida produce and brings it to market for locals and visitors alike to enjoy. There is a farm to table philosophy here and you can enjoy local baked goods and food here as well as buy the ingredients in their original form, with crisp fruits and vegetables featuring heavily. There are also local products like honey, and handicrafts from the area as well as tasty treats like salsa and smoothies.
13. Capitol Theater
If you want a bit of history and culture at the same time then head on over to the Capitol Theater which dates back to 1921. This means that this is one of the oldest theaters still in operation in the Florida area. It may not be the largest venue in the state, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in period charm. There are a variety of performances here that include genres such as music nights, standup comedy evenings, dance recitals, and even movie showings. With that in mind, make sure to check out the local listings and see what is on when you are in town.
14. Cleveland Street District
Cleveland Street District sits at the top of a 30 foot bluff that in turn offers stunning vistas over Clearwater Harbor. The Cleveland Street District is a known for being a great place to take in the Clearwater views in the evening, as well as offers some fantastic dining and shopping opportunities. To that end, many locals come here in the evening to stroll around and enjoy the atmosphere. There is also a public art program here that features installations and this is also an access point for the Pinellas Trail.
15. Cliff Stephens Park
Cliff Stephens Park is one of the most picturesque parks in Pinellas County and measures 44 acres in total. Visitors come to the park for the range of facilities that are on offer in this leafy setting. These include biking and hiking trails, and you can even try inline skating here. Fishing and boating are also popular at the park or you can try your hand at Frisbee golf thanks to the disc golf green here. For any visitors who want a work out, there is an exercise course throughout the park that has 19 stations or a picnic area if you prefer to just relax and take in the views.