Florida Travel Blog - Destinations in Florida

Florida Travel Blog 

Travel destinations, beaches and attractions and things to do in Florida. Documented by RESIDENTS of Florida.

The Best of Things To Do on Clearwater Beach

things to do on Clearwater Beach

    3-miles of pure white sandy beach await visitors to Clearwater Beach.

Ok, we may be a little prejudiced…. we live here! 

On the other hand, we might be able to offer some insight only locals would know about the best things to do on Clearwater Beach. So here goes our best of everything to do on Clearwater Beach.

Let’s start with the attractions on Clearwater Beach for the whole family.

Attractions on Clearwater Beach

There are so many things to do in Clearwater Beach for all ages.

Kids will love some of the water sports and adults will enjoy roaming the hot spots for food and drink. We can’t forget the rooftop pools and bars.

Clearwater Beach is an island surrounded by some of the most beautiful waters in Florida. Partly covered with Florida-style homes on the north half of the island and the south half is one of the top destinations for families around the world.

things to do in Clearwater beach marina
Partial picture of the Clearwater Beach Marina. The Sea Screamer, Topics Boat Tours and Pirate Ship are in the forefront.

Best Attractions in Clearwater Beach Marina 

Smack in the middle of the island is Clearwater Marina. We are fortunate to have one of the biggest fishing fleets on the west coast of Florida along with an assortment of marine activities. 

Here is a list of things you can do in the Clearwater Beach marina:

  • Parasail from two different vendors.
  • Ride the speedboat Sea Screamer for a fun-filled ride around the island.
  • Take a Tiki Hut ride on a boat shaped like a Tiki Hut.
  • Have dinner on the Calypso Queen.
  • Take a tour around the island looking for dolphins on the Little Toot.
  • Go fishing inshore with one of the best teaching captains around, Captain Gary Folden.
  • Take a deep-sea fishing trip on the Double Eagle.

Don’t like watersports? It is still a fun walk to stroll through the marina. We have some colorful characters working the boats, fish coming in from charters and a few restaurants including The Bait House, one of our favorite restaurants on the island.

Marina walking is one of the best things to do on Clearwater Beach.

other things to do in Clearwater beach - marine aquarium
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a must-see while on vacation in Clearwater Beach.

Other Things To Do In Clearwater Beach

One of the must-do things while on the Island is to go to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Known for the former “Winter the Dolphin” movie, the Marine Aquarium will teach the family about dolphins.

The Marine Center is known for the rescue and care for everything from dolphins to sea turtles. It is a fascinating place for young and old.

things you need when flying

Another fun thing to do in Clearwater is to go the the new Baycare Sound, a large entertainment venue across the bridge in Clearwater just minutes away.

Catch great groups like Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band, The Beach Boys, The Dirt Band and many more. Schedule your trip around a great performance.

things to do in Clearwater beach
Each beautiful sunset is a celebration at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach.

Annual Events in Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach and the surrounding area host numerous annual events throughout the year. Here’s a glimpse into some popular recurring events:

  • Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival (March): This annual event held on Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach features incredible sand sculptures created by talented artists from around the world.

  • Clearwater Beach Blast (May): This multi-day event offers a variety of activities, including live music, arts and crafts vendors, a fun run, and a fireworks display.

  • Sunsets at Pier 60 (Year-round): Every evening, Pier 60 comes alive with a vibrant sunset celebration. Street performers, musicians, artists, and food vendors create a festive atmosphere as visitors gather to witness the breathtaking sunsets. 

  • Clearwater Jazz Holiday (October): This event brings together renowned jazz musicians for a weekend of performances and celebrations.

  • Sanding Ovations Sand Sculpting Competition (November): This competition showcases the talents of sand sculpting experts who create impressive works of art on the beach.

  • Clearwater Super Boat Races – the biggest, badest and fastest boats in the world race each year in Clearwater Beach. Generally, the dates are late September to early October.

  • Clearwater Seafood Festival (October): This festival celebrates the region’s fresh seafood with delicious food vendors, live music, and cooking demonstrations.

In addition to these events, Clearwater Beach also hosts various holiday celebrations throughout the year, including special events for Independence Day, Halloween, and Christmas.

Here are some resources to stay updated on Clearwater Beach events:

You can check the resources above to see what is going on during your visit. Remember, events can bring additional people to the beach, so book your stay well in advance.

Best Upscale Clearwater Beach Restaurants

best places to eat in Clearwater beach Carettas
Carettas at the Sandpearl Resort may be the best restaurant in Clearwater Beach.

Oldest of the upscale Clearwater Beach restaurants is Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber restaurant and Bobby’s Bistro located behind the main restaurant. The Beachcomber has a long tradition serving the area, but our favorite place to go with new flip-flops and a clean t-shirt is located a block away. 

Blinkers Beachside menu includes exceptional steaks and seafood. Both places above take reservations and are along the main Mandalay Avenue shopping district about a block apart. Caretta’s at the Sand Pearl Hotel is another excellent choice for dinner – just keep your wallet handy – yet, Caretta’s may be the best restaurant on the island.

best tiki bar in Clearwater Beach Tommy's Tiki
This a view of Tommy’s Tiki on the beach behind the Hilton Hotel – one of the best Tiki Bars in Clearwater Beach.

Best Tiki Bars on Clearwater Beach

Hands down, our favorite Clearwater Beach tiki bar is the Sandbar located behind Opal Sands Hotel. This is a remake of a famous waterfront bar that was once on Clearwater Pass. The hotel and tiki bar is on the site where locals went 30 years ago (Adam’s Mark Hotel). It is almost a perfect re-creation.

The Sandbar is a great place to watch boat traffic from the Gulf of Mexico and other sights entering the south end of Clearwater Beach. Just watching the serene waters of the Gulf can be relaxing. This is our choice for one of the best things to do on Clearwater Beach.

Another exceptional option is Tommy’s Tiki right on the sand behind the Hilton Hotel. You can fill your toes with sand and feel like you have your own oasis right in the middle of Clearwater Beach.

Best Clearwater Beach Casual Restaurants

best casula restaurant on Clearwater Beach Palm pavilion

The Palm Pavilion is one of the best casual restaurants on the beach with entertainment.

There are dozens of restaurants on Clearwater Beach. You can hardly walk a few steps before tripping over another sign announcing their presence. 

Of course, you can go to tourist-laden places like Frenchy’s or Crabby Bill’s of which both have multiple locations, but you won’t run into many locals. Other chains like McDonald’s, Hooters and Subway can be found along the beach.

Residents tend to look for other options rather than fanny pack-bearing, sunburnt travelers choices. 

Try places like The Palm Pavilion, Coco’s Crush Bar, The Bait House or even some Italian food at Cesare’s on the south end of the beach. 

Want some great pizza? Try the local’s go-to place called King’s Pizza on Coronado Drive. Or Pan Filo’s on South Beach for a  2 AM must-have pizza.

Crabbys Hideaway has some of the best tacos you can find – if you can find them off the beaten path (behind the Beachcomber restaurant)! 

For breakfast try Ryan’s Island Café or venture over to Sand Key for award-winning Maggie Mae’s Waterfront. Maggie Mae’s is an award-winning waterfront lunch and breakfast location. This is also one of our best things to do on Clearwater Beach.

best things to do on Clearwater beach
We mention Sand Key several times. This is the bridge to Sand Key from the view of the new JW Marriott Resort.

Best Shopping on Clearwater Beach

Who can pass up a Ron Jon’s Surf Shop? Located on Mandalay Ave., Ron Jon’s will have all your beach wear.

Down the street, you will find The Friki Tiki Surf Shop. They have all the major brands and it is our local version of a Ron Jon’s.

You will also find several Surf Style shops sprinkled throughout the beach including the one next to the Hyatt Hotel that includes a “flowrider” for surfboard riding indoors.

Along Mandalay Ave., you will find two drug stores, quaint shops, clothing stores, and entertainment venues like the arcade above The Salt House next door to Hogans. Frenchy has a shop for trinkets and logo shirts on Baymont Street called Off the Hook.

The Palm Pavilion, one of the top north beach bars, has its own gift shop attached to the restaurant.

best things to do in Clearwater Beach rooftop bars
This is the beach view from the new Hiatus Hotel in Clearwater Beach.

Best Rooftop Bars on Your Things To Do on Clearwater Beach

In the last ten years, Clearwater Beach has seen explosive growth in hotel rooms. Marriott alone has built four hotels and has two more planned. Fortunately, several hotels have included rooftop bars offering panoramic views of Clearwater Beach and the Gulf.

One of the first rooftop bars on Clearwater Beach was on top of the Pierhouse 60 Hotel. On the 10th floor of the hotel, Jimmy’s Crows Nest offers unparalleled views of the sunset and beach.

The Hampton Inn and Suites has a bar that is the best view of Clearwater Pass and points south.

The Edge Hotel has a little higher elevation with views of Clearwater Pass and points east and north.

The newest rooftop bar on Clearwater Beach is the Courtyard by Marriott. They have a great view of the bay and the main part of the shopping district. These rooftop bars are some of the best fun things to do on Clearwater Beach. Great photo ops too!

One of the newest Clearwater Beach rooftop bars (and hotel) is The Hiatus by Hilton near the Hyatt Regency. Just a few months before, the JW Marriott opened on Clearwater Beach to rave reviews of the view from their rooftop bar.

places to stay in Clearwater Beach - The Sandpearl Resort
One of the best places to Stay in Clearwater Beach is the fabulous Sandpearl Resort.

Places To Stay in Clearwater Beach

As you would imagine, Clearwater Beach is loaded with hotels from end to end. The hotels we recommend below are ones you can be assured we, as residents, are better than average.

Budget-Friendly Hotels
Resorts on Clearwater Beach

Resorts, hotels and VRBO’s vary in location, pricing and amenities. Use your judgment on what your family prefers.

attractions on Clearwater Beach annual events
One annual event is the tug of war between two college cheerleading teams the day before the annual bowl game in Tampa. Always something going on on the beach!
Final Notes on Things to To in Clearwater Beach

Clearwater Beach boasts stunning white sandy beaches and clear turquoise waters, making it an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports like snorkeling, parasailing, and jet skiing.

The beach has a family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of things to do in Clearwater Beach for all ages, including playgrounds, volleyball courts, and nightly sunset celebrations at Pier 60, featuring street performers and local artisans.

Clearwater Beach offers a wide range of accommodation options, including beachfront resorts, hotels, vacation rentals, and condos, catering to different budgets and preferences.

Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach is easily accessible from major cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg, with Tampa International Airport just a short drive away, making it convenient for travelers.

Overall, Clearwater Beach offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, family-friendly attractions, and amenities, making it an ideal destination for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. Start your planning for your next great adventure to Clearwater Beach.

Map of Clearwater Beach

More from Florida Travel Blog

Cruise Critic See the world for less Start saving your ideas
Florida Travel Blog
Join our Mailing list!

Get all our latest posts and our monthly Florida Travel Newsletter with the latest posts and Florida Travel News.