Centrally located on Florida’s west coast, the city of Clearwater is a popular vacation destination filled with natural and cultural attractions. Clearwater is famous for its beaches as well as its downtown area. The city features a picturesque harbor that provides a dazzling backdrop for the many festivals and outdoor events. If you’re heading to Florida to spend time in this sunshine-filled city, here are some of the best things to do in Clearwater!
With its dazzling turquoise waters, Clearwater Beach is a highlight of any visit to the city. Sugar-white sands and shallow water make it a prime choice for families, not to mention couples and groups of friends looking to spend time in the sunshine. Enjoy sunbathing and fun watersports. Nearby, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants, and snack shops. There are also vendors who rent beach amenities like umbrellas and lounge chairs.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is famous for its interactive exhibits. You can feed the pelicans, stingrays, and other creatures that make their home here. Popular residents include the dolphins, Winter, and Hope, but you can also catch sight of nurse sharks, river otters, sea turtles, and more. If you’re an animal lover or traveling with kids, you’ll want to visit this popular venue.
Pier 60 is a celebrated fixture on the Clearwater coast, both for fishing and strolling. It’s a great place to enjoy views of the Gulf and the sunset. At any given time, street performers can also be found entertaining the crowds who visit this tourist hotspot.
Ruth Eckerd Hall is a celebrated hub for the arts in Clearwater. This venue features symphony, theatrical, and dance performances. If you’re a fan of the performing arts, you’ll want to check out the schedule when you’re in town. While there are more than 2,000 seats, tickets can sell quickly for popular shows.
Located in the heart of Clearwater, Moccasin Lake Nature Park is a pristine natural space filled with oak-lined walking trails, exciting hiking courses, and fun natural exhibits. The park features 50 acres of land and water features. Take in picturesque Cypress Trail with its lake views and the animal exhibits like the bald eagle enclosure.
A cultural landmark, Capitol Theater has been welcoming Clearwater residents and visitors through its doors since 1921. The historic theater is one of the oldest still-operating theaters in the entire state. It features comedy routines, cinema showings, band performances, recitals, and more. Although on the small and cozy side, the Capitol brims with Art Deco flair.
Visit Cliff Stephens Park to enjoy the many trails for jogging, biking, and strolling. Situated on 44 acres, the park has plenty of space for its other installations like disc golf and exercise courses picnic areas. Go boating, fishing, canoeing, or inline skating.
A celebrated practice space used by Major League Baseball teams like the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies, BayCare Ballpark is a great place to spend an afternoon. Many baseball fans head to the field to catch some of their favorite ballplayers in action. The field features more than 8,000 seats and has a sought-after food court where you can grab your favorite ball field snacks.
Enjoy an afternoon in the sunshine while perusing the produce and handicrafts at the Clearwater Farmers Market. Of course, you’ll want to come hungry, as you’ll find a wide array of vendors serving up delicious eats. Shop for arts and crafts or special souvenirs. Live entertainment often adds to the market’s vibrant atmosphere.
Clearwater’s fabulous Beachwalk is popular with visitors for its old-fashioned charm. You’ll find classic ice cream parlors and cafes nearby, not to mention restaurants, boutiques, craft shops, and more. The pedestrian area is a great place to meet friends and stroll in the sunshine. It’s also a popular place to shop for souvenirs.
Get up close to Florida’s wildlife by booking a tour with Gulf Coast Kayak in the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Reserve. With a range of guided kayak, paddleboard eco-tours, and guided kayak fishing trips on offer, there really is no better way to experience Florida’s mangrove islands and waterways. By following in the footsteps of Calusa peoples, who first paddled the waters over 1000 years ago, you'll have a chance to see dolphins, manatees, stingrays, sea turtles, osprey, and bald eagles. You don’t have to be a kayaking pro to explore, as Gulf Coast Tours offers experiences for families and first-timers.
The oldest park in Pinellas County, Philippe Park, is a tranquil escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors can take a stroll along the one-mile shoreline, admire the view of Old Tampa Bay, and go fishing and cycling in this pet-friendly park. If it's a sunny day, don’t forget to pack a picnic, as you’ll want to take in the majestic shade trees. Philippe Park is also home to the largest remaining Native American Temple Mound in the Tampa Bay Region, an impressive structure made of shells and sand, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Landmarks.
Stretching 4.5 miles from Coachmans Ridge Park to Safety Harbor, Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail is an excellent place to head out for a hike, run, or bike ride. Suitable for all skill levels, along the way, you can admire beautiful wildflowers, old oak trees, and Spanish moss. There is plenty of shade along the trail, which passes through several Clearwater parks and sports facilities. For avid cyclists, the trail offers some varied terrain, and dog walkers can feel free to bring their dogs to the trail, but make sure to keep them on a leash.
Part beach, part park, Sand Key Park is perfect for a family day out. With white sands, the beach is a pristine and peaceful paradise. The park nearby features picnic stands, a playground, and a dog park, so there really is something for everyone. For those interested in wildlife, birdwatchers can try to spy heron, roseate spoonbill, and great horned owls in the salt marshes. The beach is known as the base of operations of the artificial reef program as well as a place where sea turtles come to lay their eggs.
Who can say no to craft beer, margaritas, and Mexican-inspired food? Visit the Sea Dog Brewing Company’s Clearwater Cantina for a fun evening out where you can share a few laughs with friends and even make some new ones. Known for their nights featuring DJs and live music, the Sea Dog Brewing Company is a great evening out where you can take your pick from their two bars and three patios.