Florida is known for its radiant sunshine and glorious beaches, but not all beaches are created equal.
Each beach has a unique vibe. Some areas are perfect for high-adrenaline water sports, tourist shops, and eateries while others are secluded, accessible only by boat, and full of wildlife.
There are beaches for fishing and beach towns for shopping and dining.
Here’s a list of some of the best beaches in Clearwater.
Consistently rated among America’s top beaches and best beach towns, and ranked as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Clearwater Beach is the sparkling jewel of the area.
Clearwater Beach has received accolades from TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards, Travel + Leisure, and USA Today.
This family-friendly beach offers something for everyone. Walk barefoot on the soft powdery sands of the shore, collect seashells, build sandcastles, swim, float on a raft on the tranquil seas, relax under an umbrella in the sun, or get extreme with water sports.
Clearwater Beach offers deep-sea fishing, dolphin-watching cruises, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, water-skiing, wave-running, and more.
When you’re ready to shake off the sand and water, check out the Beach Walk Promenade, a shopper’s paradise. But there’s more to the Promenade than shopping.
Here, you’ll find cyclists and rollerbladers gliding along the beachfront amidst an eclectic combination of casual restaurants and cafes.
And when the sun sets over Clearwater, the nightlife kicks in, including a nightly bonfire, open to the public, at the Sand Pearl Resort.
At Pier 60, there’s a nightly festival with live music, craft vendors, and street performers.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is also home to Winter the dolphin, the beloved star of the Dolphin Tale movies.
St. Pete Beach
Equally as beautiful as Clearwater Beach with soft sugar sands and smooth seas, the resort city of St. Pete Beach emanates a luxurious vibe in a relaxed atmosphere.
St. Pete Beach, a magnet for savvy travelers and celebrities, is home to the prestigious Pink Palace, the historic Don CeSar Hotel whose grand architecture overlooks the shores.
Other resorts include Tradewinds Island Resort and Hotel Zamora. The area is also peppered with old Florida motels for a throwback to the past coupled with modern-day amenities.
It’s easy to grab a snack at one of the many beach shacks or rent water sports equipment along the beaches.
For shopping, food, and dry-land fun, check out the Corey Avenue District with a delightful array of specialty shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and more.
Trip Advisor named St. Pete Beach the #4 beach in the United States in 2019.
Pass-a-Grille Beach is rich in history, preserving the appeal of Old Florida. Here is a picturesque fishing community free of highrises, malls, or big crowds.
There are four miles of undeveloped public Gulf Coast beaches in Pass-a-Grille Beach, situated on St.Pete’s southern end, enveloping 22 blocks.
Pass-a-Grille Beach is one of the largest historic districts on the Gulf Coast. Take a stroll down 8th Avenue for a stroll along the historic district hosting small galleries, boutiques, and restaurants.
Caladesi Island State Park
For a genuine “away from it all” feeling, set your sights on the enchanting Caladesi Island State Park. Boats are the only way you can reach the island.
It’s one of the last raw, untouched areas of Clearwater, providing a home for a myriad of wildlife, including the sea turtle and gopher tortoise. Three miles of silky sands caress the beach with a view of the Gulf of Mexico.
While you can positively engage in the normal water activities like boating and swimming, Caladesi Island State Park also offers a unique trail for walking, hiking, or biking, and spectacular kayaking through the mangrove forest.
Follow the nature walk trail to the historic Scharrer Homestead through old-growth slash pines and expansive oaks.
Caladesi Island is equipped with a restaurant and restrooms, as well as a place to rent canoes and kayaks.
Pets are allowed in the park, but not on the beach.
Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park blends beach with forest.
Along its four miles of glistening sands, Honeymoon Island offers the standard beach recreation like fishing, swimming, and snorkeling. It’s also a favorite hot spot for beachcombers scouting new seashells to treasure.
Plus, there’s a dedicated dog beach, so you can bring the dog along as long as he or she is leashed.
But travel inward, through the mangroves, for an entirely different woodland experience by kayak.
The island also presents a portion of the Pinellas Trail leading to the scenic park for water recreation.
There are two cafes for grabbing a bit of casual grub, and where you can also rent equipment and souvenirs.
Honeymoon Island, as the name might suggest, is a popular venue for weddings and special events.
Fort De Soto State Park
Fort De Soto State Park envelops 1,100 acres in one of the area’s southernmost beaches.
Here, you’ll find fishing piers, boat docks and launches, a historic fort, a leash-free dog beach, and miles of hiking and kayaking trails.
Thanks to the area’s tidal pools, families with small children can enjoy safe play.
There’s plenty of activity at Fort De Soto, including bikes, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards, all of which can be rented.
The fort pays homage to the past with old firing galleys, artillery holds, and stunning views of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
You can dip your toes into more history at the Quartermaster Museum to see photographs, military documents, and Spanish-American War artifacts.
There’s also a gift shop
Sand Key Park
Differentiating itself from the more popular beach town experiences, or the forests, Sand Key Park opens itself to wide open spaces and far fewer people.
Sand Key Park is divided into two well-defined areas: a beach and a park.
On the park side, you’ll find picnic areas, grills, a playground, restrooms, and a dedicated dog park.
On the beachside, there are beach cabanas, season lifeguards, and large bathhouses.
And, as an added bit of excitement and adventure, you may discover the endangered sea turtles laying their eggs.
Florida is chock full of some of the most stunning beaches around the globe. And Clearwater lays claim to many of them.
In clearwater, you can find a beach with a personality that matches your own. You may be looking for a beach where the whole family can play or a tranquil place to fish.
A secluded beach might suit you just fine, or you might choose to hit the waters hard for activities like swimming, jet-skiing, boating, paddle boarding, parasailing, and more. Then again, you might be enthralled by a kayak trip in the forest.
The beaches are fully equipped with an array of amenities like rental equipment, gift shops, and restaurants, but are nearby a variety of beach towns and cities where you can indulge in an endless array of activities, entertainment, restaurants, shops, golf courses, and more.
When you’re trying to decide what beaches in Florida match your personality, the clues will likely lead you straight to the sugar sand beaches, blue waters, and main attractions of Clearwater.
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