The beaches of Clearwater & St. Pete: An award-wining destination when you need a break from Orlando
We had a free day during our recent Orlando vacation, so we decided to head over to Clearwater and St. Pete, home to world class beaches, an abundance of shops, dining and fun activities. What a wonderful time it was!
When vacationing in the Orlando area, you have many beach options to choose from within a two hour drive. Our previous beach trip was to Cocoa Beach on the east coast, so this time we wanted to check out the Gulf coast. We had heard a lot about the beaches of Saint Petersburg and Clearwater. Saint Pete beach was even picked as the top beach in TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Beach Destinations in the United States. Clearwater is also one of TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice list. With all of the great reviews and beautiful photos we have seen, it was a pretty easy to decide where we should visit. The white sands and beautiful blue waters just looked way too tempting to pass up!
The drive to the Gulf is beautiful.
As you get closer to the beaches, you will pass many restaurants, hotels and shops. We didn’t make stops anywhere aside from the beach, but I bet it would be a lot of fun exploring everything in the area. It looked like such a nice little beach town with plenty of unique shops and of course, many seafood restaurants. You’ll also pass through the city of Tampa, so there are plenty of places there you can check out as well such as the Tampa Lowry Zoo, Aquarium, Hard Rock Casino and Busch Gardens.
We visited two separate beaches along the strip during our day there. The first beach was farther south, away from the more crowded areas of town (there’s a map at the bottom of the post). This location was a more secluded, and it had a bit more coarse/shelly sand. We had fun looking at all of the different shells scattered along the beach though. The second spot we visited was a bit more crowded, mostly due to the fact it is the advertised beach location on the strip. The sand here was more smooth and soft compared to our first stop. They also had activities like parasailing and beach chair rentals available for a fee.
Be sure to check out the complete photo gallery at the bottom of the post.
We had such a wonderful day when we visited! The sun was hot, the breeze off the ocean was cool, and the view was stunning. The water temperature was just right and the waves were unusually light the day we visited, but it was very enjoyable.
If you’re thinking about visiting a beach in Florida, St. Pete’s is a beautiful place and I highly recommend checking it out. The drive from Orlando is not bad at all, there is plenty of parking all along the beach and a lot to see and do on and off the beach. Next time we’re in town we want to spend more time exploring the shops, eateries and all the sights nearby. In fact, we’re thinking about booking a little voyage on Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise!
Clearwater is also home to the famous dolphin, Winter. You may have seen her story in the film Dolphin Tale, the story about how she lost her tail and a prosthetic had to be made to enable her to swim. You can visit Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium — learn more at SeeWinter.com. Or, if you’re visiting for the holidays, be sure to check out these area events.
Whenever you plan your break from the bustle of Orlando’s theme parks, I’m certain you’ll be happy with the beaches of Clearwater and St. Pete. (By the way, if you enjoy the Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando, you’ll be happy to know there is a Loews Hotel right on the beach in St. Pete too!)
Clearwater and St. Pete Beaches – map & links
Click any marker to display the attraction or venue name. To scroll or zoom, use the controls on the top-left of the map. You may also switch to different map views by using the buttons on the top-right of the map.
Official website: http://www.visitstpeteclearwater.com
Clearwater and St. Pete Beaches – photo gallery
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