Pretty sunset at Clearwater Beach

Clearwater is most famous for being home to miles of pristine sugar sand beaches. Time and time again, the soft white sands and clear waters, has led to Clearwater Beach being rated amongst the top beaches in the country. Quartz crystals give Florida Gulf beaches their trademark white sand. Off the beach, there are plenty of great restaurants, nature preserves, and cultural attractions to explore. First time visitors will definitely want to spend at least a day enjoying the finest smoothest quartz sand anywhere. Below are the top 5 attractions to enjoy during your time in ‘the Gulf’s number one beach town.”

1. Walk on the sugar smooth sand of Clearwater Beach

Beautiful white sand at Clearwater Beach - Florida Gulf Coast

Besides offering 3 miles of shell-free white sand beaches, beautiful Gulf breezes, and crystal clear waters, Clearwater Beach has much more going for it. Beach volleyball, a beautiful pier, a paved Beach Walk, watersports, and a whole lineup of fun events throughout the year, means you will always have something to do here. Most notably, the Sunsets at Pier 60 is a great free nightly festival which features movies, street performers, art vendors, and more. There’s many touristy gift shops and restaurants to enjoy after your day at the beach. Lots of great seafood options, tiki bars, and waterfront outdoor dining add to the vacation ambiance.

2. Dine at Columbia

Waterfront dining at Columbia Sand Key

Columbia, the world’s largest Spanish restaurant, opened in Tampa’s historic Ybor City back in 1905. Today, it has expanded to include several locations. Although the Ybor City restaurant has historical significance and wonderful live flamenco dancing nightly, The Clearwater locations win the award for best views. In fact, it has been rated one of the most scenic restaurants in the country. Fortunately, the view can be enjoy inside or via the covered waterfront deck. As for the food, it’s the best authentic Cuban in the city. Do not leave without trying the signature Cuban Black Beans and the savory Paella.

3. Take a sunset cruise

Sunset cruise in Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater is home to some of the best sunsets on the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately, this means the beach can get a bit crowded at this time. Opt instead for a relaxing sunset cruise. A sightseeing cruise is a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenery while also learning more about the area. Tropics offers a variety of cruises including dolphin and happy hour tours. Sunset is the best time to book your tour as you can enjoy being outside without the harsh sunlight in your face. Also, a complimentary champagne toast is offered to guests over 21. Drinks and snacks available on board.

4. Take a nature walk at Moccasin Lake

Boardwalk trail at Mocassin Lake nature park in Clearwater, Florida

This laid-back park is located far away from the tourist hustle and bustle. If you are willing to drive a bit, you will be rewarded with some peace and quiet. Amenities include nature trails, a boardwalk, and picnic tables. A small Birds of Prey exhibit provides habitat for injured birds While on the trails, keep an eye out for gopher tortoises and alligators. Late spring and early summer are typically when gators are most active.

Full guide to Clearwater Parks

5. Beach comb at Sand Key Park

Beachcombing at Sand Key State Park in Clearwater, Florida

A few minutes south of Clearwater Beach lies a quiet less popular beach which happens to be one of the best for shelling. Sand Key is a rocky beach known for its’ abundance of seashells. You can find just about anything here including coveted sand dollars. Be aware that taking a live sand dollar is illegal. Otherwise, a great place to find beautiful colorful shells of every shape and size! Nice place to take a stroll and enjoy the views without “as much” tourist traffic. Tip – Bring with a picnic lunch to enjoy after your collecting your haul.