Of all the sunny beach towns you could flock to in Florida, none are quite like Clearwater Beach.
Despite experiencing the beach life of many other places around the world, such as the Caribbean, Central America, and Asia (and even the endless string of beaches the Florida Keys provide), Clearwater Beach has always stuck in my mind as one of the most memorable.
My mom and I spent a few days exploring Clearwater when I was in my early twenties, and no matter what other excursions we’d done throughout the day, I found myself being called back to the beach as often as possible, even if it was just for a quick stroll along the sand, to take in the beautiful views, or to breathe in that fresh, salty air.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Clearwater Beach itself is on my “must do” list when it comes to visiting Clearwater. But there are a few other things you don’t want to miss while you’re here as well.
Clearwater Beach has been named the #1 beach in the U.S., and with hundreds of beaches running the country’s coastlines (not to mention the island chains of Hawaii and the Florida Keys), that’s saying something!
TripAdvisor’s listing says, “With hundreds of things to do on Clearwater Beach, the main attraction is still pretty much its near-perfect beach.” And that description is not far off! Clearwater Beach really does have it all.
Whether you want to sunbathe or play in the powdery white sand, float in the beautiful green-blue water that remains swimmable year-round (although it would be more like a quick dip in and out for me during the winter temperatures), or gaze in awe at the colorful sunsets that light up the sky, you’re sure to enjoy your time here.
The expanse of the beach itself is impressive, stretching three miles long and about three blocks wide! You’ll have plenty of space to roam the beach and listen to the surf hit the shore, especially if you arrive in the off-season.
Sunsets at Pier 60
A trip to the beach isn’t complete without a beautiful sunset to end a day in paradise, and Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach has nightly sunset festivals!
Strolling the beach as the sun sinks below the horizon or taking a seat in the sand to soak up the beauty are both great ways to take in the extraordinary colors, but there are also musicians performing, artists selling their creations, and all kinds of other performers and activities to entertain you along the pier.
Sunsets at Pier 60 are a memory that will last a lifetime. Even now, years later, that image of the big yellow-orange ball, the sound of the waves rushing in and out, and the birds flying overhead are rooted firmly in mind.
Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise
If you’re looking for a unique activity the whole family will love, this is it! Rather than just looking at the water, you get to go exploring out on the water—and you may even see some dolphins while aboard! Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise has now been in operation for over 40 years and remains a favorite attraction of the area.
Besides getting to don a pirate hat and pretend to be a pirate for the length of the cruise, you’ll also get to enjoy the views as you depart Clearwater Beach Marina and cruise out through Clearwater Bay to the Gulf of Mexico. The crew keeps the kids entertained with pirate stories and legends, water gun fights, face painting, and plenty of other games and activities.
You can choose between a daytime cruise in the morning or early afternoon, or a champagne cruise that departs early evening and makes it to the Gulf just in time for sunset. Visit the reservations page on their website to see the sailing times and operational schedule by season.
But there’s so much to do and see at CMA that sticking it at the end of this article just wouldn’t do it justice. It deserves its own write-up!