Florida is a family vacation paradise with its abundance of beautiful beaches, vibrant cities and of course the biggest and best amusement parks in the country. Last year I visited Clearwater Beach for a conference and fell in love. So when Expedia.com asked me to share all of the great family friendly things to do in Clearwater Florida to inspire you to book your next family trip there, I jumped at the chance to share my love for this part of the United States.
Clearwater is on Florida’s west coast not far from Tampa, making it easily accessible even from the West Coast of the US. Visitors flock to this part of Florida for it’s continual sunshine, crystal clear waters and perfect beaches. In addition, Clearwater Beach has a great range of hotel options, making it ideal for family holidays.
5 Family Friendly Things to Do in Clearwater Florida
The number one Clearwater Beach attraction is the beach itself. It is called sugar sand due to it being the softest, whitest sand you have ever seen. I actually thought of it more as flour since its consistency was just like putting your feet in a bag of flour. But, you know sugar sounds better than flour! I am not the only one gushing about the Clearwater Beach. It won Trip Advisor’s 2018 Traveler’s Choice Award as the #1 Beach In America and was listed as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the World. It really is that spectacular. The waves are gentle enough for even the smallest of family members to enjoy making it a top spot in Clearwater Florida.
Meet Winter the Dolphin
I am way behind on my family friendly movies, but I bet most of you already know about Winter the dolphin. I did not know about Winter until my visit, but wow what a story! At the The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, a short drive from the beach, lives the local water celebrities Winter and Hope from the Dolphin Tale movies. The aquarium is also a working animal hospital taking in injured marine animals from the area. You can find out more about how the public can help keep marine wildlife safe as well as learn about how they rescue and rehabilitate the animals. While you are at the aquarium, there is plenty to see from rescued sea turtles, otters, pelicans and more. There are shows and demonstrations throughout the day where visitors can learn more and sometimes even touch the animals.
Take a Boat Tour
It goes without saying that being on the coast there are tons of wonderful options to get out on the water. For families there are a multitude of boat tours from the super fun and silly Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise to whale watching tours.
We recommend the pirate tour which takes littles on a 2 hour trip including a treasure hunt, face painting, dolphin watching and lots of silliness from the crew.
If you want a little more serious of an adventure, there are several companies providing dolphin tours as well as tours of Clearwater itself. If you just want to avoid driving, check out the Clearwater Ferry that can take you from the Marina area to Downtown in a snap! It’s a beautiful, quick and cheap way to check out the city from the water.
Visit During the Sugar Sand Festival
If you can go to Clearwater Beach at any time of year, I would highly recommend planning your visit during the annual Sugar Sand Festival. If you like art and sand castles, then you will love it. The festival is held every April for approximately 10 days. The event brings tons of visitors to the area, but even with the crowds, it is worth it to see the amazing craftsmanship on display. Don’t worry, the festival doesn’t take over the entire beach – you will still have plenty of space to enjoy that extra fine sand yourself too.
The festival includes everything from sand sculpting classes, live performances as well as specially designed play areas for the kids.
Explore by Jolly Trolly
Most kids love any type of unique vehicle, so they will love hopping on the Jolly Trolly to explore the local area. The trolly visits surrounding coastal towns taking in downtown Clearwater and more. The open windows on the vintage style trolly cars are operated by friendly drivers who can point out local attractions and share information about the areas you pass through. Trolleys run 7 days a week and cost $5 for an unlimited (day) ride pass.
Where to Stay in Clearwater Florida
There are no shortage of places to stay in Clearwater Florida from hotels to vacation rentals. There are even hotel rooms that resemble apartments for families looking for space and the convenience of having all the amenities of home without having to clean up after themselves! Hop over to Expedia to see their latest deals for Clearwater Florida.
During my visit I was able to stay at both the Residence Inn/ Springhill Suites as well as the Wyndham Grand which are both conveniently located at Clearwater Beach.
The Springhill Suites opened in 2017 as two hotels sharing a lobby, restaurant and pool, but with their own wings catering to their loyal patrons. The suites all have a living area space, desk for working as well as the sleeping area. We love Springhill Suites and have even stayed at one here in Southern California.
The Wyndham Grand is just on the beach, next to Pier 60 making it an ideal choice for families who want to be right in the center of the action. The Wyndham is a 15-story tower with 343 guest rooms, with most overlooking the beach providing spectacular sunset views.
But whatever your needs are, they exist in Clearwater in all types of price ranges.
Have you been to Clearwater Florida? Isn’t it the best sand in the world?
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