Before 1906, Clearwater was known as Clear Water Harbor — the “clear water” moniker traces back to the freshwater springs found in the area by the American settlers who began farming the region in the 1840s. Today, visitors who boat to Clearwater, Florida can swim in the crystal clear waters at Clearwater Beach. The city of Clearwater, located northwest of St. Petersburg, straddles the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The mainland side is known as Clearwater, and the barrier-island side on the gulf is called Clearwater Beach.
There are very few reasons not to visit Clearwater while on a trip along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Known for its powdery white sand, Cleawater Beach is one of the best beaches to sunbathe and swim. The Travel Channel rated it one of the Top 10 in Florida, therefore it is a must see on your next Gulf Coast cruise.
Upon arrival, make sure to dock at Chart House Marina in Clear Water Beach. Located right on Clearwater Point, Chart House offers easy access to the Gulf of Mexico while still being on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Take the chance to lounge by the pool or make the half mile stroll to Clearwater’s main strip where there are plenty of dining options, tiki bars, and retailers.
Downtown Clearwater has ample activities for boaters of any age. The Capitol Theatre offers movies and live events all year long, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium gives visitors up-close and personal interactions with dolphins, otters, pelicans, sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays. Two don’t-miss local events are the Clearwater Sea Blues Festival (Feb. 23-25) for scrumptious seafood cuisine, and the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival (April 13-22), for which more than 20 tons of sand are converted into sculptures and walk-through displays.
When looking for places to dine make sure to check out Pearly’s Beach Eats. With some of the best fish tacos in town, this beachside restaurant serves the freshest seafood while still offering a large menu for those not particular to fish. Another local favorite is Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. With beachfront dining, this open-air restaurant offers beach staples such as oysters crab, grouper, conch, and shrimp while providing nightly live music. For the a slightly fancier dining experience, Caretta on the Gulf is a luxurious beachside resort eatery offering carefully sourced, sophisticated New American cuisine.
But the most popular reason to go to Clearwater is to hang out on the beach. Whether you like to lie in the sun, take long walks along the shoreline or while away the hours beachcombing, Clearwater Beach’s world-class sand will not disappoint. And as any beach aficionado will tell you, it’s all about the sand.
*Adapted from Marinalife