Long a popular holiday destination, the seaside city of Clearwater lies alongside the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the Tampa Bay Area, it is separated from Clearwater Beach by the Intracoastal Waterway, with many of its main attractions relating to the sparkling waters that surround it.
Besides simply lounging on white sand beaches, other things to do in Clearwater include visiting its bustling pier or outstanding aquarium, and there are innumerable waterfront restaurants and cafes. From its marina you can take sightseeing cruises up and down the coast or enjoy fun watersports—kayaking, jet skiing, and parasailing are all popular.
With so much spellbinding scenery and so many brilliant beach attractions, Clearwater is a great place to relax and unwind with sun, sea and sand all around you.
In this post, we'll cover:
11. Moccasin Lake Nature Park
Moccasin Lake Nature Park can be found just fifteen minutes’ drive to the east of the city center. As well as ponds and creeks, it encompasses verdant forests and a flood plain with hiking trails and a boardwalk weaving their way amidst them.
A very picturesque place, the park is named for the large lake that lies in its southwest corner. Visitors can stop by interesting exhibits which include a bat house, turtle pond, and butterfly garden. In addition, its nature centre regularly holds educational classes and camps for kids.
10. Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise
A wonderful way to see both Clearwater’s skyline and explore its surrounding waters is to set sail aboard Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise. A fun, family friendly experience, the two hour-long sightseeing cruise has all kinds of activities for adults and children alike to enjoy.
Since 1993, the dashing pirate ship has plied the calm waters of Clearwater Bay and the glittering waves of the Gulf of Mexico. Once aboard, you can enjoy pirate stories, games, treasure hunts, and water gun battles before the boat returns to its berth at Clearwater Beach.
9. Clearwater Beach Marina
Full of sleek yachts, shiny cruise ships, and salt-encrusted fishing boats, Clearwater Beach Marina lies just five minutes’ drive across the bridge and bay from the city center. Besides brilliant boating activities and watersports, it also has some excellent restaurants and shops to check out. Plus Pier 60’s enticing attractions also lie nearby.
Very pleasant to stroll around, the marina was built in 1952 and impressively has berths for over two hundred boats. From here, you can arrange to go on deep sea fishing excursions, sightseeing trips, and dolphin watching tours. Jet skiing and parasailing are also available. In addition, visitors can kayak or paddleboard to nearby islands and beaches from the marina.
8. Westfield Countryside Mall
One of the best places to shop, dine and go out in the city, the massive Westfield Countryside Mall is home to an array of shops and restaurants. Located a twenty minute drive to the northeast of the center, it is very popular with both locals and tourists alike.
Since opening in 1975, the sprawling complex has expanded considerably and now has more than 150 unique boutiques, flagship stores, and fashion outlets spread over two floors. The mall also has some great restaurants and cafes, as well as an ice rink and state-of-the-art movie theater.
7. Sand Key Park
Although it lies just fifteen minutes’ drive from the center, Sand Key Park feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Clearwater. Made up of both a park and beach, its scenery and sun-kissed sands coat the northern end of the barrier island of the same name.
Besides lounging on its white sand beach, visitors can swim and surf in the sea, go kayaking or enjoy phenomenal views over the glimmering Gulf of Mexico. In the salt marsh part of the park there are all kinds of birds to spot with paths, picnic areas and a playground.
6. Caladesi Island State Park
Another place that is sure to delight both nature lovers and outdoor aficionados alike is the scenic and serene Caladesi Island State Park. Unspoiled and untouched, its beaches and mess of mangroves offer swimming and snorkeling, fishing, and kayaking.
As the picturesque park is only accessible by boat or by walking miles from Clearwater Beach to the south, its vast swathes of sparkling white sands are usually almost always deserted. On top of taking in the scenery and views, visitors can sail or canoe and spot little animals and birds living amidst its diverse ecosystems.
5. Spectrum Field
If you’re after an exciting event to attend when in town then you can’t beat going to watch a baseball game at Spectrum Field, ten minutes drive east of downtown. The Clearwater Threshers, a local minor league team, play their games here, and fans flock to the ballpark to watch the spring training sessions of Major League Baseball’s Philadelphia Phillies.
Due to its intimate size, the stadium has an electrifying atmosphere, particularly when the Phillies and all their famous players take to the field. Opened in 2004, the ballpark exhibits attractive architecture with an elegant plaza and striking sculpture of a baseball player on show
4. Honeymoon Island State Park
Fifteen minutes drive to the northwest of the center, Honeymoon Island State Park boasts all kinds of excellent outdoor activities. The most popular state park in Florida, it occupies the whole barrier island of the same name with most of it made up of pristine mangroves, forests, and beaches.
Due to its scenic splendor, and some very effective advertising, the idyllic island became a popular honeymoon destination in the 1940s, hence the name. Guests can enjoy hiking, swimming and fishing with dolphins, and manatees and bald eagles can sometimes be spotted.
3. Pier 60
Jutting out into the glittering waters of the Gulf of Mexico is Pier 60; one of the most popular places to visit in Clearwater Beach. As well as phenomenal fishing and viewpoints, it also has a park and playground, with the whole area taking on a festival atmosphere once the sun starts to set over the sea.
Very pleasant to stroll along, the pier is lined by avid fishermen at almost any time of the day and extends over 300 yards into the gulf from Clearwater Beach. Every evening, musicians and street performers play live music or put on entertaining shows, while artisans sell souvenirs and jewelry.
2. Clearwater Marine Aquarium
A fascinating place to visit, the fantastic Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to an array of animals and exhibits. Renowned for both rescued and rehabilitated ocean animals, and important research and conservation work, the aquarium is just five minutes drive from the center.
Since opening in 1972, it has attracted both locals and tourists alike with its playful dolphins and cute sea otters, sharks, stingrays and sea turtles. In addition to learning all about their natural habits and behaviours, guests can touch starfish, feed pelicans and sharks, and even meet Winter the Dolphin – the aquarium’s most famous resident – by the poolside.
1. Clearwater Beach
Lying alongside the Gulf of Mexico, the picture-perfect Clearwater Beach is a treat to visit with sparkling white sands stretching for as far as the eye can see. Regularly ranked among the best beaches in Florida, it has lots of excellent amenities and activities, the pier and aquarium also lie nearby.
Stretching over two miles, its sun-kissed sands are perfect for sunbathing or playing volleyball while its calm, shallow waters make for great swimming. In addition, you can rent kayaks or go jet skiing and parasailing, with innumerable excursions departing nearby. With brilliant beachside restaurants, cafes, and shops on offer, Clearwater Beach is definitely not to be missed when in town.