Clearwater Beach Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by andi85
  • Things to Do
    by edwis
  • Ethan LOVES to Fish!
    Ethan LOVES to Fish!
    by CoAir13

Clearwater Beach Highlights

  • Pro
    850prc profile photo

    850prc says…

     Nice beach, gentle surf, lots of sunshine, good local eateries, less "scuz" than the Daytona-type venues 

  • Con
    Azonie profile photo

    Azonie says…

     Lots of homeless people wandering about and that stupid roundabout. 

  • In a nutshell
    850prc profile photo

    850prc says…

     If you're on the west Florida coast and you want a beach, it's a good choice 

Clearwater Beach Things to Do

  • Volleyball at the beach

    Clearwater Beach comes awesomely alive (!) in spring and summer! Put on your beachwear and play a game of volleyball on the bustling beach. We love walking on beach walk, grabbing a bite at Al&Stella's or some ice-cream on a lazy sunday.

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  • Tug Boat trip to spot the dolphins

    If you are looking for a smoother ride, choose a slower tugboat. The Little Toot is the most famous one here and although it was enjoyable, you do feel the waves under you. The dolphins love this boat! The tug boat lets out tons of wake - which the dolphins use to proper themselves towards their destination, often playing and jumping in it. Cute,...

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  • Dolphin spotting!

    When you visit Clearwater Beach, make sure to sign up for a dolphin spotting cruise. Yes, you'll almost always spot multiple playing in the wake of the boat so there's almost no need for that money back:) Choosing a boat is important since you want the wake (tug boats or motor boats work best) and avoid lunchtime when they are eating too!:) I loved...

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  • Speed Boat Mania

    If you love the water and speed, check out the speed boats on Clearwater Marina. We took a trip for 2, with a captain and came back soaked and thrilled with the awesome energy and views! Not for the sea sick or faint-hearted.

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  • Parasailing!

    Go parasailing on Clearwater Beach! It's a little pricey but for some really good scarey fun it's worth it!

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  • A daytime Cruise

    Enjoy a daytime cruise aboard the Calypso Queen, taking in the sights of beautiful Clearwater harbor. This afternoon cruise features a live captain’s sightseeing narration including points of interest along the route and the history of the picturesque region. Dolphins are a common sight on the afternoon cruise! For those that choose to have lunch...

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Clearwater Beach Hotels

Clearwater Beach Restaurants

  • Chocolate and coffee!

    I'm so glad that we finally got some exciting dessert around here! Pick up a handmade chocolate or savour a piece of artfully designed dessert. Accompanied by coffee, I could sit at their cafe all day...dreaming, writing and reading:) Oh, and they were part of the feast in Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2) Cappucino chocolate

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  • Tableside Mojitos at Sand Key

    The Columbia at Clearwater Beach is the baby sister of the one in Ybor. This one is a great spot tos it outside, feel the salt air and sip on tableside mojitos and pitchers of sangria. Food here is great - I remember the croquettas, chorizo tapas and paella. Tip: Arrive before darkness coz then there is no view. chorizo

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  • Toes in the sand

    Located at the Wyndham on Clearwater Beach, Sands is an outdoor deck that faces the Gulf. Awesome views make it the perfect spot to stop and stare at the world, drink in hand:) I loved the calamari, veggie ciabatta, chicken nachos and blackened grouper. calamari and the views! I've heard the angus burger is good too.

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Clearwater Beach Nightlife

  • Shephard's Margarita Grill and Tiki Bar

    Outdoor dining for lunch and dinner, with live entertainment daily, including reggae music and bikini contests. Since it is outside - you could see people wearing bikinis to dress clothes.

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  • Low Priced Eats and Drinks

    This is one af the cheaper establishments by the main beach. I don't mean low quality, either. Many bars in this area are a little pricey.There is outside seating, including part of the bar (which is the only part of the bar you can smoke at.....no smoking in Florida bars and restaurants!). It's a great people watching spot, too. Friendly service,...

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  • Pub and Restaurant

    Pretty extensive menu, but I didn't eat here!! I think this might be the only place in Clearwater Beach you can get a Guiness draft. Aviation and airline memorabilia all over the place. Laid back, neighborhood bar.

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Clearwater Beach Transportation

  • Jolley Trolley Routes

    My fave way to sightsee and rediscover this place is on the Jolley Trolley! Running across the beach areas to St. Pete and Tarpon Springs (on certain days) this has got to be one of the most convenient and reasonable ways to get around. Just stand near a stop, hop on and off as needed. Get a day pass/weekly pass depending upon your trip.

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  • National Rental Car

    On this particular business trip, I picked up a rental car from National at (actually near) the Tampa International Airport. The National rental station is not located on the airport, so if you are arriving, do not follow the signs to the rental car facility, as it will not be there. Instead, go to the signs that indicate ground transportation and...

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  • Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority...

    If you are looking for public transportation in or around Clearwater Beach, your best bet is to check out the bus route and schedule from PSTA.net. PSTA is the transit authority for the area, and when I was driving around, there were plenty of these buses running. It seemed that every major thoroughfare had one visible at most times, so this is...

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Clearwater Beach Shopping

  • Azonie's Profile Photo
    View from atop the bridge coming from Sand Key 4 more images

    by Azonie Updated May 12, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The best thing about this little place is the fact that it carries a LOT of D and DD bathing suits AND you can mix and match the bottoms in case you only have a big top. :-)

    When we went there they were having terrific sale so we bought about 6 bathing suits, a few T shirts and other misc items and it seemed like it should have cost WAY more then it did for everything that we got.

    What to buy: Bathing Suits! They have a HUGE selection of beautiful colors and styles. You will NOT be disapointed in this little place, it holds a LOT. The sunglasses are really inexpensive also, I got a really good pair for 10.00 but they also had a bunch that were only 2.00 and 6.00 etc. Just not in styles that *I* liked. :-) You will also find a good selection of beach cover ups and tank tops etc.

    If you want to see what it looks like then type in the address to google and go to street view keep going until it shows up that address on the street.

    What to pay: As much or as little as you want.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Water Sports
    • Family Travel

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Clearwater Beach Local Customs

  • by Dolphin2004 Updated Feb 15, 2007

    Drink, and drink more. Get beer/wine at the CVS on Mandalay for best deal. Just watch your car for the towtrucks in this parking lot. Will tow in a BLINK.

    They stalk this parking lot even when CVS is closed throughout the wee hours, so don't park there for any longer than a couple of minutes even when you're shopping! People get towed while waiting in long CVS lines to pay! Oh, which reminds me: If you see a taller man with glasses cashiering, hop in another line or go to the Picture Developing cashier. If no other cashiers, save time by walking down to Southbeach to WalGreens.

    Drinking is THE local custom on Cl. Beach, aside from tattoos (running second). Get them in the little strip beside Suntrust bank a block south -- this goes for you men, too.
    Then hit the two bars on Mandalay for most local flavor. The restaurants are more touristy and expensive.

    Perhaps the biggest tip is to WALK everywhere you possibly can or take Jolley Trolleys or the bus which runs later than 10 p.m. The traffic is not even traffic, just cars sitting still. Especially extremely brutal on Sunday nights. I can't emphasize this enough. Wait until very late, or bail early Sunday if you even want to attempt crossing the Causeway bridge. Please CARPOOL!!!!!!
    Enjoy.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting
    • Budget Travel
    • Singles

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Clearwater Beach Warnings and Dangers

  • No change to be had at any of the shops

    In Clearwater Beach every place has a parking meter. I think it's .25 for 15 minutes of parking so you have to make sure that you have PLENTY of quarters when you go walking around. The shops don't like to give out change so it's best to either go to the bank downtown or the laundromat on the North end of town. The laundromat has a dollar bill...

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  • Beware when doing laundry

    When in this area we had dirty laundry to tend to so we went to a place called Coin Laundry. This laundromat is filthy. I tried to wash there once and the staff were rude. The woman working was no help with the broken dryer that stained and scorched my clothing. There were used syringes on the floor in the bathroom and it was so dirty I couldn't...

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  • Stingrays!

    Clearwater Beach (and many beaches on the Gulf Coast) is a haven for stingrays! While entering the water, it's best to do the "Stingray Shuffle"......shuffle your feet rather than take steps. This warns any idle stingrays that you are there and you will remain sting-free!!

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Clearwater Beach Tourist Traps

  • Clarification, Scoop on Cruises at the...

    Per previous review:If you're going to label something as such, know what you're talking about: The Pirate cruise sails along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and Intercoastal Waterway, not Tampa Bay. The Safari stays inshore. Intercoastal is where you see Hogan's Tudor mansion and (I'm guessing the blue roof of the Biltmore) Hotel. Hulk's since...

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  • Bay Cruises

    There are several tourist cruise boats that will take you on cruises of the Tampa Bay. There are really tourist traps. This one here is shaped like a pirate ship. The one I took was called a Safari Cruise. They said we might get to see some dophins. They also offered a pizza buffet. It was not real expensive. I paid $17.00 for a short cruise and...

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  • Clearwater Beach Hotels

    43 Hotels in Clearwater Beach

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Clearwater Beach What to Pack

  • October Packing List

    When it comes to the weather in the greater Tampa Bay area, summer is the norm. Make sure you bring clothes for warm weather as you are almost guaranteed several temperate days. Toward the end of October, however, there are a couple days that might actually fool you. On the night before I flew it, it dropped to 62! It was quickly back up to 75...

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  • SPF 45.....PLENTY of it!

    Shoes??? Forget about it! Bring sunblock from home or pay a small fortune here! If you are the type to not care too much, I highly suggest bringing along a lidocaine based gel to soothe your poor burning skin! Store it in a refrigerator for greater relief when applying it! If you are vacationing with children, check with the hotel about a beach...

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Clearwater Beach Sports & Outdoors

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    The address post at 1 Tropicana Way 2 more images

    by 850prc Updated Jul 8, 2010

    If you find yourself in the Tampa-St Pete-Clearwater area during baseball season, you might want to slide over and see the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays play their games - actually - in St. Petersburg, at an indoor domed park called Tropicana Field. It's nickname is "the Trop". From Clearwater, it's really a hop, skip and jump over to St. Pete, and rarely are Ray games complete sellouts, so you can safely go over without tickets and expect to get in. Another nice thing about Rays baseball is that there is a LOT of parking nearby to the Trop. Depending on how close you get, the rate can start at $5 and go AS high as $20 to park. My advice is to find a $10 lot - that's usually close enough in to be convenient, and yet far enough from the park to make leaving less of a hassle.

    If you are looking TO do a baseball weekend, you'll probably want to stay over in St. Petersburg. Please check out my St. Petersburg, FL "Three Days with the Rays" page for more information.

    To buy tickets, go to www.raysbaseball.com.

    If you like to have some suds with your baseball, there are all sorts of choices at the Trop. They have more brands than most bars. Sure, they're way overpriced, but.... the best deal is to spend $11 for one of those big chilled 24 ounce canned Coronas... that way, you're getting two "regular beers". And if you are a more serious alcoholic (just kidding folks - have fun, just don't drive), there are lots of other options. ONLY in a place like Tampa do the guys walking in the stadium yell "marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgaritas, marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgaritas". Also, you can go to the Captain Morgan club, where they make some killer rum drinks.

    Oh, one more thing.... during the summer, there is a "summer concert series". About every three weeks or so, they follow up Saturday night games with a free (to baseball game ticket holders) concert. On our recent visit to the Trop, we enjoyed one of my favorite acts, the Barenaked Ladies. There are a wide variety of choices throughout the summer. Recent visits have included The Beach Boys, the Go-Gos, Daughtry, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Vanilla Ice (really... egad) and others. Among the upcoming shows will be American Idol favorite Adam Lambert. The concerts are not quite as long as what you'd go to see for a "real concert", maybe a little over an hour and 15 minutes. But the sound isn't bad and the venue is relaxing. Enjoy.

    Oh, and if you get caught in one of south Florida's summer rainstorms after the game, duck into nearby Ferg's Sports Bar. They usually have a good deal on domestic bottled beer and its ice cold.

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Clearwater Beach Favorites

  • Clearwater Memorial Causeway

    When you are travelling to and from Clearwater Beach, you will likely be using the Clearwater Memorial Causeway to route yourself to/from the mainland. This causeway creates a bridge between Clearwater and Clearwater Beach and has been in use since 1920. It is now a four lane highway, but used to be two lanes. The bridge was expanded in 2005, and...

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  • Moon light over the water

    Sunset is the most beautiful I have ever seen. Night time on the beach is great with the moon light shining on the water. There is plenty of light from the resorts on the beach. used to live there and I think Clearwater Beach is like paradise. Fireworks are beautiful over the water on the 4th of July.

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  • Shell collecting on the white sand beach

    Clearwater Beach is one of my favorite beaches in Florida. The sand is most white and there are many shells to choose from. Listening to the water crash on the beach.

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