Does your idea of an ideal vacation consist of loads of sun, ocean, and huge sandy beaches? In that case, heading to the city of Clearwater, Florida could very well be the best decision you’ve made in a long while. Even if you can only spend one day here, it’s still worth it because that day is guaranteed to be a fantastic one. The reason why we say that is that the city offers so many things that can help you come up with an incredibly interesting itinerary. That’s what we’ve done for you here, so keep reading and see which things are a must if you find yourself in Clearwater.
What’s the best time to visit Clearwater, Florida?
Well, you certainly don’t have to worry about being cold here – this is Florida, after all. Even the coldest months have their average highs above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). However, summer, while pretty hot, is the hurricane season around here, so you can expect storms. This is much less the case in October and November, which are an excellent time to visit, but the best time to visit Clearwater would be late spring.
As for the events, you will find plenty of things you can enjoy around here throughout the year. Clearwater Jazz Holiday is held in October, every night there is something to enjoy at Pier 60 (more on that a bit later), and occasions such as Mardi Gras, Fourth of July, or any other important US holiday will always be celebrated properly. In short, you won’t get bored here, that’s for sure.
A few facts about Clearwater
- Clearwater is one of the three cities that form the so-called Tampa Bay Area, with Tampa and St. Petersburg being the other two. However, with just over 100,000 people, Clearwater is by far the smallest of the three.
- Clearwater was declared a town in 1891 and a city in 1915. In the latter year, it also became the seat of Pinellas County, and it holds this status to this very day. From its very beginnings, though, Clearwater was focused on tourism, and a huge resort was built here as early as 1897.
- Almost seven million tourists visit the city every year, so make sure you book your hotel in advance (we have some great candidates for that in this article, just scroll down a bit) if you want to make sure your bed will be waiting for you.
- Interestingly, Clearwater is also where the Church of Scientology has its seat.
- Clearwater Beach features regularly on pretty much every list of the best beaches in the US, but this place is also recognized around the world as one of the best of its kind.
- The town has also made the Guinness Book of Records for the town with the most consecutive sunny days. The number reached is a whopping 768, a streak that ran from 1967 to 1969. Amazing, isn’t it?
One day in Clearwater Itinerary
One day in Clearwater is a day that will invigorate you and show you the very best of the US Atlantic coast. But to truly make the most of your time here, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and come up with an itinerary that takes you to all the best places in the city. An itinerary just like the one we have in store for you!
Sit down for a delicious breakfast
You’re here to take it easy and relax, so treat yourself to a great breakfast to start the day right. How does enjoying the meal on the beach sound? Another Broken Egg Cafe is an excellent choice for that, but so is Ryan’s Island Cafe, or Tory’s Cafe (this last one is for those willing to explore the city a bit and not go to the beach right away.
In any case, there are plenty of great eateries for you to enjoy. And since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you’d do well to sit in one of them at the start of your day in Clearwater.
Head to the beach
Clearwater Beach is simply amazing. A huge stretch of fine white sand and the water around it are so inviting that it’s almost impossible to resist them. So, hurry up and find your place under the sun and prepare to truly enjoy yourself. Beach chairs, umbrellas, and even cabanas are all available for rent, so you don’t have to carry a lot with you.
Do pick up after yourself, though. The locals are quite sensitive to littering here. And who could blame them when they have such a magical beach.
Go and visit the aquarium
Now, at this point, you may find it hard to get up and just leave the beach, but for this Clearwater attraction you really don’t have to go very far – Clearwater Marine Aquarium is right there and is one of the places visitors visit the most when in town.
Stingrays, dolphins, and manatees are just some of the fascinating animals you can visit here, and there are plenty of great photo opportunities for everyone. Furthermore, the aquarium is home to Winter, the star of the “Dolphin Tale”. So, getting up from your spot on the beach might be worth it after all.
Sit down for a great lunch
It would be absolutely no wonder if you were to get hungry at this point. Fortunately, Clearwater Beach is full of great (seafood) restaurants. Places like Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Bait House, or Sea-guini all come highly recommended and can be reached after a short walk. However, foodies among you shouldn’t ignore Rumba Island Bar & Grill, a Jamaican restaurant near Crest Lake Park.
Breathe in some fresh air
Moccasin Lake Nature Park is a different way to relax in Clearwater. A huge patch of greenery with loads of wildlife such as turtles, peacocks, and even bald eagles in combination with numerous hiking trails equals to a fantastic place for the whole family. Whether you’re just looking for a place where you can go for a walk or maybe want to ride a bike a bit, this is an excellent place to explore, especially if you have kids along with you.
Watch an incredible sunset
Pier 60 is the place to be around here when the sun starts to set on clearwater. The view you can get from this place is both spectacular and very romantic.
Therefore, after a day of enjoying the sea and the sand, let the sky above Clearwater Beach show you what it can do, too. You are bound to be blown away, and the best part is that this is just the beginning of a wonderful evening.
Spend an evening at Pier 60
You see, Pier 60 comes quite alive in the evening. Performers abound, the vibe is very positive, and you just feel really connected to this place. It just gives you the perfect vacation vibes somehow. So, enjoy all the sights and sounds around here, explore with your loved ones (or alone, if that’s what you prefer), and let the night sweep you away.
Naturally, if you become hungry, there will always be some good restaurant you can sit down nearby. In short, you will have everything you need for a perfect end to your one day in Clearwater.
Where to stay in Clearwater?
Edge Hotel Clearwater Beach
505 South Gulfview Boulevard, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
Great location, comfortable and well-equipped rooms, and a splash of luxury, that’s what you get if you book a room at Edge Hotel Clearwater Beach. You can reach the beach in just a couple of minutes’ walk, plus you get to enjoy two restaurants (one is on the roof) and two pools the hotel has to offer. Nice, huh? There’s also a fitness center here, plus the service is simply superb. No doubt, this hotel should at least be considered if you’re looking for accommodation in Clearwater.
Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel
101 Coronado Drive, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
The location of this hotel couldn’t be any better because Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel is right next to the famous Pier 60! Apart from that, the hotel is located in a fairly tall building, so you can enjoy amazing views from your room and from the rooftop bar. You will also find a pool here, a fitness center, and the rooms are very well equipped, with a microwave, a coffee machine, a fridge, and many other useful things. A great place to stay in Clearwater!
Residence Inn by Marriot Clearwater Downtown
940 Court Street, Clearwater, FL 33756
You don’t have to stick to the beach to find good accommodation. Clearwater city center has a lot to offer too, and Residence Inn by Marriot Clearwater Downtown is a great place to stay if you want to explore it all. Naturally, you can easily get to the beach from here, too. The hotel allows pets, has a swimming pool and a fitness center, and the prices are actually quite reasonable. Oh, and the rooms are fairly big and very comfortable. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Palm Pavilion Inn
18 Bay Esplanade, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
An excellent value for your money, Palm Pavilion Inn puts you right next to the beach. You literally just have to get out of the hotel, and you’re there! But there’s also a pool you can enjoy while here, plus you can rent out beach chairs and umbrellas if you so desire. There’s a nice on-site restaurant too, and you can choose between comfortable rooms and very well-equipped apartments. No wonder guests love it here.
Day trips from Clearwater
Clearwater is definitely a place you will want to spend more than one day in. If you get the opportunity to do so, you may be looking to go on a day trip from this lovely town, just to get to know the rest of this part of Florida. Here are your best options in that case.
Like we said, Clearwater is a part of the so-called Tampa Bay Area, so why not go ahead and spend one day in Tampa? It’s just a half hour’s ride by car, and you’ll get to explore a wonderful city. Its Riverwalk, great restaurants, and big cat rescue are all very much worth visiting, plus there’s even a Hindu temple here!
If you’re on a trip with your whole family, spending one day in Orlando is guaranteed to create many incredible memories. There’s so much to do with kids here, from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Walt Disney World and many other theme parks, but adults can enjoy the city too, with its amazing parks and great museums.
Weeki Wachee Springs
For a more active day trip from Clearwater, head to Weeki Wachee Springs. It’s an ideal place for kayaking and spotting manatees, but there are many more interesting animals around, too. So, if you’re a nature lover, this is the place you will definitely want to visit, and it only takes a bit more than an hour to reach it.
If Clearwater’s sun and beaches are not enough, head to Sarasota. Not only does this lovely city have many amazing beaches and plenty of sunshine to offer, but you can also enjoy some amazing museums here. Furthermore, the restaurants are amazing and there’s a lot of greenery, so you’re in for a wonderful day if you pick this destination.
Extra tips for visiting Clearwater
- Traffic can get quite challenging here, especially during peak season or when there is some big event or celebration on Clearwater Beach. To avoid wasting time looking for parking and sitting in traffic jams, hop on a trolley and enjoy the ride.
- It is possible to get to Clearwater Beach from downtown Clearwater by hopping on a ferry. The trip is just 15 minutes long and helps you avoid any traffic jams, plus you get to enjoy another nice ride.
- Those who are looking for a more active vacation here will be happy to know that bikes can be rented out very easily. Not only can they be very useful, but the Memorial Causeway Bike Trail is a lovely place for this kind of activity.
- Be responsible when on the beach! Don’t leave any trash behind you – everything you bring to the beach you should also take back with you.
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.