7 Tips for Visiting Clearwater Beach, Florida

We received a discounted room rate from Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa in return for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own! 

To help your vacation planning – 7 Tips for Visiting Clearwater Beach, Florida!

7 Tips for Visiting the Gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

This past March, right between our birthdays, Bryan had to go to a conference in Tampa. Since I am always looking for ways to travel and make our dollar stretch a little bit (his airfare would be covered by work), I thought it would be fun for us to make it into a short vacation. I mean, what better way to spend a March Birthday Week than in Florida!

Sometimes, we love going on vacation and seeing everything possible. This time, we just wanted to reconnect and recharge our batteries. We wanted sun, warmth and relaxation, so instead of staying in Tampa, we headed out to Clearwater Beach.

7 Tips for Visiting the Gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds TravelStretched out along a narrow, 3-mile stretch of the Pinellas Peninsula on the Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach has the blue waters of the Gulf to the west and the bay to the east. It is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in the country and sometimes even the best beach in Florida and it’s not hard to see why with it’s white sandy beaches and gorgeous, clear water. The beach also has a good amount of shallow water which makes it really family friendly.

Clearwater Beach has a lot more to offer than just the beach itself, though. USA Today readers voted it “Best Beach Town in Florida” in 2013 which probably has a lot to do with so many fabulous activities. From sunbathing on the beach, diving into a sand volleyball game, renting a fishing boat, taking a dolphin watching cruise, parasailing, heading to the aquarium, or sailing away on a pirate boat (yes, you read that right) – Clearwater Beach has you covered! Your choices don’t end when the sun goes down either.

7 Tips for Visiting the Gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel #sponSo – Here are seven reasons you should visit Clearwater Beach Florida!

1. The Beaches – I’ve already spoken about this, but there beaches really are fabulous. We loved getting to spend some time on the cool, white sand. Plus, while not cheap, they do have lots of umbrellas, chairs and even half cabana umbrellas that you can rent. If you have flown into the area, renting is a convenient option to stay cool and protect your skin from the sun.

7 Tips for Visiting the Gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

2. The Sunsets – Yes, I am giving this it’s own category. We made sure to schedule our evenings around the sunsets and then headed down to the beach to snap some pictures and enjoy the gorgeous view. These sunsets over the water definitely go down as a highlight of our trip (just like sunrises on the other side of the state are a must see, too).

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel 7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

3. Amazing Food and Lots of Options – We stayed right on the boardwalk which spans a lot of the beach and houses a lot of great food options. Grouper is a local staple, so you will definitely want to add that to your must eat list (if you like seafood that is). If you don’t like seafood, don’t worry. There are plenty of restaurant options. We loved sitting outside at the lively Crabby’s Beachwalk Bar and Grill and the fresh shrimp we ordered for dinner.

Surprisingly, our favorite restaurant was at our hotel – SHOR American Seafood Grill at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa. We went to SHOR for our first dinner on Bryan’s birthday and definitely splurged. It was so worth it. Great seafood appetizers, fabulous surf and turf, and delicious desserts. I am still shocked this was a hotel restaurant. Plus, they are really dedicated to local breweries which Bryan loved as a craft beer guy.

We also ate pool side at Swim for lunch at the hotel and highly recommend the buffalo chicken sandwich. It was one of the BEST I have ever had. Normally they are drenched in buffalo sauce and both burn your mouth like crazy and drip everywhere. Not here! The sauce is more baked into the chicken and is absolute perfection.

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

Other restaurants highly recommended to us: Island Way Grill (for daily fresh seafood) and Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill.

4. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium – If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, how about Winter and Hope? At only three months old, Winter was found stranded after becoming entangled in a crab trap line which cut off circulation to her tail flukes. She was brought to CMA for treatment of her injuries, but she did lose her tail. She is also the star of Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2. Her and Hope’s story has been an inspiration to so many people and you can visit them at CMA. Please keep in mind the aquarium is small. They do amazing rescue work though and it’s worth the visit to support their cause and, of course, see Winter and Hope.

5. Pier 60 and the boardwalk – Every single day of the year (weather permitting), there is a Sunsets at Pier 60 festival. How fun is that? There is live music and crafter booths every night and on weekends they show outdoor movies. It really is the spot to be at night so you won’t want to skip this if you visit.

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

The pier is also open during the day. It offers great views of the beach and we saw lots of people fishing off the pier as well. It made for a really nice walk in the morning with our coffee. I loved this sign on the boardwalk for how easy it was to find everything, but mainly because it references St. Louis which is where I was born!

6. The Pirate Ship {or boat rides in general} – I will be honest – this is NOT something we did. However, the plentiful boat rides appeared in all of my research and they looked like so much fun from afar. If we had stayed longer than two full days, we probably would have chosen a boat ride. There are rides for both dolphin and manatee sighting, which would be my first choice, and sunset rides. If we had kids though, Captain Memo’s Pirate Ship would be the winner. It looks SO cool!

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

7. Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa – We absolutely LOVED our stay at this resort. It was at the perfect location – across the street from the boardwalk and beach, near great restaurants, and close to Pier 60.

It also has amazing views! Depending on what side you are on, you can get views of the Gulf and/or the bay. From the balconies of our room, we got both. It was so fun to sit out there for a little bit every day and enjoy the views. Our room itself was gorgeous as well. We were upgraded to a suite, which means we had a large room with kitchen and two bathrooms (perfect for a big family), and I loved all the details (especially the seashell lamp). I know what a lamp like that! 7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

The hotel also has lots of great amenities. In the room alone, they offer way more amenities than most hotels offer, including toothpaste, mouthwash, lip balm, and after sun gel. Plus, the resort has a pool bar, nice restaurant, bar, coffee and pastry station, a hot tub on a high floor with lots of loungers to relax and pretty draped lights for nighttime, and a good sized pool area with foosball and ping pong, indoor cabanas for rental, yummy food, and again FABULOUS views. Of all the beach locations we have been to, this is one of the best pool side views I have ever experienced.

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

 

While I love being on the beach, I also really love having a bar, waiters, and bathrooms all at accessible distance. This felt like the best of both words. We had a great breeze coming off the Gulf and a killer view of the water and beach. Plus, we got to watch the pirate boat. 😉

I always try to read as much as possible on vacations like this. It is how I unwind and clear by head – exactly what I needed for a quick birthday trip to paradise. So, in case you are curious, I read All the Light I Cannot See and Girl on the Train. The former offers different perspectives of WWII than we normally get – a blind French girl and a young German boy forced into the war – and the latter is a really fast mystery.

7 Tips for Visiting the gorgeous Clearwater Beach, Florida - Sun, white, sandy beaches, fabulous views, good food and fun activities. It doesn't get much better! | The Love Nerds Travel

 

If you are interested in some other activities a bit further out in Tampa, there is Busch Gardens, Adventure Island (water park) and the Florida Aquarium.

Have you been to Clearwater Beach before? Should I add anything else to this list? I love adding reader suggestions into my post! 

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