Clearwater is a sunny beach town in Florida's Tampa Bay area with constantly great weather and spectacular sandy beaches. A big part of the city is on a barrier island with the 3-mile-long Clearwater Beach lined with restaurants and hotels. Clearwater is also famous for its marine aquarium, home to Hope and Winter, stars of the Dolphin Tale movie, and for Bright House Field where the Phillies have their spring training games. Surrounded by mangroves filled with wildlife, Clearwater is great for exploring in a kayak or on a paddleboard. Here are the best things to do in Clearwater, Florida.

1. Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium
© Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is completely dedicated to the rescue of sick and hurt marine animals. Once they are treated and rehabilitated, the animals such as dolphins, pelicans, and turtles are released into their environment. The aquarium also works on public education, research, and animal-assisted human therapy. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is located in what used to be the water treatment plant in Clearwater. It opened in 1972 and was the site of filming the popular movie Dolphin Tale, in which the two aquarium dolphins Winter and Hope starred, together with several other aquarium residents. Both dolphins are still here and can be visited as they swim in their large pool. Other rescues that live in the aquarium are pelicans, turtles, otters, sharks, sting rays, and many others. Visitors can get quite close to the animals, feed them, and learn about their stories. Browse the best Clearwater Beach hotels for your getaway.

249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, FL 33767, Phone: 727-441-1790

2. Moccasin Lake Nature Park

Moccasin Lake Nature Park
© Moccasin Lake Nature Park

Only a few hundred yards from the busy US 19 and blacktop filled with strip malls and fast food restaurants is Moccasin Lake Nature Park, a hidden gem in the heart of Clearwater and a wonderful, serene place for families to spend a day in nature. They can stroll along shady, tranquil oak-lined trails, take educational hiking tours, see nature exhibits, or take kids to educational camps. The park stretches over 50 acres of forest full of wildlife such as birds of prey, peacocks, turtles, butterflies, and bald eagles in a special enclosure. There is mile and half of boardwalk-raised trails under the forest canopy, crossing over streams and passing by lush ferns. The Cypress Trail will take you to a bluff that overlooks a large lake. Brigham Dock is an excellent observation point for wading birds. The park’s nature center has a range of activities for the kids to do, such as visit a butterfly garden, check out a water tower with a bunch of solar panels, and an aviary. There are many great restaurants in Clearwater Beach.

2750 Park Trail Ln, Clearwater, FL 33759, Phone: 727-793-2976

3. Cliff Stephens Park

Cliff Stephens Park
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Cliff Stephens Park in Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, is an important part of the Southwest Florida Water Management District since it provides storm water management and flood protection for Clearwater and the surrounding area. This lovely 44-acre green oasis also includes a number of paved trails for hiking, biking, and inline skating, Frisbee golf, an exercise course, and a number pf picnic tables and grills that can be found along the walkway. There are four docks around the reservoir and a small boat launch in the southeastern part of the park. Only electric motors and paddles are allowed. Fishing is permitted along Alligator Creek and from any of the docks. Phone: 352-796-7211

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4. Clearwater Threshers

Clearwater Threshers
© Clearwater Threshers

The Clearwater Threshers is a minor league baseball team playing in the Florida State League. The team has competed in the North Division since 2009 and its home games are played at Spectrum Field in Clearwater, Florida. The stadium, which opened in 2004, can seat more than 7,000 people and the record attendance at one game was 9,090 in 2008. The team has been an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies since 1985. From 1985 to 2003, the Threshers were named the Clearwater Phillies. Under that name, the team played at Jack Russell Memorial Stadium and it changed its name from Phillies to Threshers when it moved to Spectrum Field. Phone: 727-712-4300

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5. Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Down South Kite & Paddle

Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Down South Kite & Paddle
© Down South Kite & Paddle

If you would like to spend some time on the water while in Clearwater and want to explore a bit of the surrounding nature while giving yourself some exercise, let Down South Kite and Paddle’s experienced guides give you the time of your life. You can ride the wind with a kiteboard, a new fast-growing sport that combines sailing, surfing, and wakeboarding. You can try paddleboarding and after a short introductory lesson take a 2-hour tour of magnificent waterways filled with dense mangroves, home to ospreys, pelicans, all sorts of other birds, and so much fish. You can enjoy the same waterways in a small one or two-person kayak, or you can just rent equipment from Down South and do your own adventure.

447 Grand Boulevard, Venice, California 90291, Phone: 727-422-2736

6. Dream Catcher Explorations

Dream Catcher Explorations
© Dream Catcher Explorations

It is difficult to have more fun on the water in Clearwater in less than 4 hours than with Captain Mike Troche. It all starts with a roughly 40-minute ride on the inter-coastal waterway until you reach a remote small island know as Three Rooker Bar. As the boat glides through the calm waters, you will be able to observe sea life in their natural habitat. The Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins love to come so close to the boat you can almost touch them. Before reaching the island, all passengers who want can go for a tubing ride, pulled by the boat and slow or fast, as they wish. Once on the island, guests can go snorkeling and see spider crabs, minnows, stingrays, and even a manatee if they are lucky. For those who prefer to stay dry, the beaches are full of shells, pieces of broken coral, sand dollars, and sea sponges. The captain will provide soft drinks but the guests should bring their own snacks or alcohol if they wish.

100 Dodecanese Blvd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689, Phone: 727-804-2291

7. Encounters with Dolphins, Clearwater

Encounters with Dolphins, Clearwater
© Encounters with Dolphins

Encounter with Dolphins is a narrated, 3.5-hour fun sightseeing tour of Clearwater’s harbor. You will enjoy a smooth ride aboard their 40-foot excursion boat, with awnings for shade and comfortable seats. You will learn about our local wildlife and watch the dolphins in their native environment. The boat will stop for about a half hour at Compass Island, where you can collect shells, enjoy a refreshing swim or snorkel, and the kids can expend some energy hunting for treasure. The dolphins you will meet are bottle-nosed dolphins. Large families normally live in Clearwater harbor all year around. If you are lucky, you will also see manatees and many birds such as herons, ibises, egrets, spoonbills, cormorants, storks, and pelicans.

25 Causeway Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33767 8864, Phone: 727-466-0375

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8. Gulf Coast Kayak

Gulf Coast Kayak
© Gulf Coast Kayak

Gulf Coast Kayak has been taking people on a discovery of Pine Island Sound and the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve since 1992 in one of their kayaks or paddleboards. Choose one of their guided kayak eco-tours or fishing trips, let them teach you to paddleboard or rent one of their kayaks or paddleboards and explore on your own. Paddle around mangrove islands and narrow shady waterways where the Calusa Indians used to fish more than 1,000 years ago. Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve Pine Island Sound is known for shallow grass flats about 4 feet deep and home to hundreds of birds and marine life. As you paddle along the well-marked 190-mile-long Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, you may see dolphins, stingrays, manatees, eagle rays, great blue herons, sea turtles, ospreys, and bald eagles.

4120 Pine Island Rd, Matlacha, FL 33993, Phone: 239-283-1125

9. Little Toot Dolphin Adventures

Little Toot Dolphin Adventures
© Little Toot Dolphin Adventures

There is a good reason why Little Toot Dolphin Adventures usually see more dolphins than other boats. Little Toot is a tug boat, only 40 feet long and stocky, with a lot of power, so it creates huge wake, which dolphins find irresistible – they love to jump over it and frolic around it. The boat is also fairly low, making it closer to the water, so people can get pretty close to the dolphins. The Little Toot is Coast Guard certified to go up to 3 miles off shore and through the intercostal waterways, finding dolphins in all of their habitats. The Little Toot boat has high fence with safety netting and is perfectly safe for the kids. It has lots of seats, and you can relax under the shade of the canopy or enjoy the bright Florida sun, but wherever you sit, you will have the time of your life. And if by some bad luck you do not see any dolphin, your next trip on Little Toot is free. Browse our best places to visit in Florida guide for more ideas.

25 Causeway Blvd #16, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767, Phone: 727-446-5503

10. Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Philippe Park

Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Philippe Park
© Philippe Park

Philippe Park is the oldest park in Pinellas County, with huge shade trees along the hiking trails, a mile-long path along the shoreline, and fantastic views of Old Tampa Bay. It is great place for picnics, fishing, rock climbing, playing softball and boating. There are two playgrounds for the kids and a boat ramp with access to Tampa Bay. There are eight picnic areas with grills. One of the fascinating historic attractions is Temple Mound from the Native American Tocobaga. It is made of layers of sand and shells and it is believed that there was once a structure on top for religious ceremonies or as a chief’s home. Archeologists think that at some point there was a town plaza at the bottom of the mound and a ramp that led to it. The mound is listed as Historic Landmark.

2525 Philippe Pkwy, Safety Harbor, FL 34695, Phone: 727-669-1947

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11. Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Pier 60

Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Pier 60
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Pier 60 is one of the most popular tourist spots in Tampa Bay. This 1,080-foot-long fishing pier is also a recreational park and has a fully stocked bait house, six covered pavilions, and telescopes. The bait house has not only all sorts of fishing tackle and bait, but also souvenirs, T-shirts, drinks, and snacks. Avid fishermen lining up the pier can catch Spanish mackerel, snook, silver and spotted trout, redfish, sheepshead, tarpon, snappers, jacks, flounders, and many other species. Pier 60 has one of the largest beach playgrounds on the Gulf, keeping the kids well occupied. As the sunset approaches, Pier 60 transforms into a festival with artisans, musicians and street performers, tourists and locals all enjoying the daily spectacle of one of the most magnificent sunsets they have ever seen. More Florida Weekend Getaways

7 Causeway Blvd, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767, Phone: 727-462-6466

12. Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail

Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail
© Courtesy of Patrizia Tilly -

The Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail is a multi-use bike and hike trail that links the Pinellas Trail and the planned Florida Progress Trail. Still in development, the trail will provide a pleasant, safe, and educational off-road trail that will connect the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay from Clearwater Beach to Safety Harbor. The trail takes advantage of public property, rights-of-way, and easements to avoid going through private land. After the trail is fully completed, it will connect a number of neighborhoods and more than 20 parks, educational, and recreation facilities. The trail will offer opportunities for nature walks, picnicking, photography, fishing, or just pleasant relaxing time. It is already becoming a popular leisure time space as well as an important commuter route for students and workers from the central Clearwater area.

13. Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center

Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center
© Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center

Situated on a 5-acres campus which was once the South Ward School, the Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center is well-worth a visit. The museum is housed in a two-storey masonry building which dates back to 1906 and was used as a school for more than 125 years. The museum opened to a public a few years ago and there is still much work to be done to renovate the other buildings on the campus. If you are interested in seeing all the artifacts and exhibits at the museum you can request a private tour.

Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center, 610 S. Fort Harrison, Clearwater, FL 33756, 727-754-8019

14. Columbia Restaurant, Clearwater

Columbia Restaurant, Clearwater
© Columbia Restaurant

Columbia restaurants have been a popular destination in Florida for Spanish and authentic Cuban fare since 1905, when Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez Sr opened the first one in Tampa's Ybor City. The beautiful, opulent dining room and spacious deck overlooking the gleaming intercostal waterway are the perfect setting for a lunch with friends or a celebratory dinner. All Cuban favorites are on the menu, from fabulous black bean soup to stuffed piquillo peppers and huge selection of tapas. Don’t forget to try authentic Cuban desserts like churros and tres leches. The lovely breezy deck is a perfect place for a cold mojito, some fruity cocktail, or cold cerveza. More day trips from Naples

1241 Gulf Boulevard, Clearwater, FL 33767, Phone: 727-596-8400

15. Safety Harbor Site

Safety Harbor Site
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Safety Harbor is a harbor in the northwestern part of Tampa Bay, almost completely landlocked. The charming small town of Safety Harbor is located on the west shore of Tampa Bay. Part of very old Florida and with tunnels of old oaks dripping moss over brick-paved streets, the town is perfect for leisurely strolling on foot and checking out lovely boutiques, pubs, and restaurants. Philippe Park is perfect for a picnic in the shade of ancient hardwoods. Explore the large, ancient Native American settlement with its big ceremonial mound and pamper yourself at the Old Safety Harbor Resort, where you can swim in the healing waters of a natural mineral spring. Stroll along the fishing pier and drop a fishing line or take a tour of the mangroves by kayak or paddleboard. Check out our romantic weekend getaways guide for more ideas.

110 Veterans Memorial Ln, Safety Harbor, FL 34695, Phone: 727-724-1545

16. Things to Do in Clearwater Beach, FL: Sand Key Park

Things to Do in Clearwater Beach, FL: Sand Key Park
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This beautiful Clearwater park has two areas—a wide sandy beach and a park. The park has two picnic areas with shelter for shade, grills, picnic tables, water fountains, a restroom, and a kids’ playground. There is also a designated dog park area. One part of the park is a salt marsh with benches from which people can observe herons, anhingas, roseate spoonbills, great horned owls, and common moorhen as they nest and feed. The beach is also known for sea turtle nests. Clearwater Marine Aquarium keeps an eye on the turtles and records the statistics on the turtles’ visits and the number of eggs, as many marine turtle species are endangered. The park is also the base of a project for building an artificial reef in the Gulf.

1060 Gulf Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33767, Phone: 727-588-4852

17. The Exit Games FL

The Exit Games FL
© The Exit Games FL

The Exit Games FL offers visitors a very special immersive experience where you and your friends become the participants in various tricky situations. This Florida escape room is a little different from others you might have tried – the experiences have been enthusiastically constructed by the owners and have been built around very authentic situations. You and your family or friends will need to use team-work and lateral thinking to unravel the clues to solve the puzzles which will lead you through to the end of your story. The Exit Games are great fun for families, corporate team-building and even for something a little different on date-night.

The Exit Games FL, 620 Lakeview Road, Clearwater, FL 33756, 727-601-4978

18. Wildflower Cafe

Wildflower Cafe
© Wildflower Café

Wildflower Café is charming breakfast and lunch spot hidden under the old oak trees in Clearwater, a popular neighborhood cafe where locals come for a cup of tea or coffee with some of their fabulous pastries in the morning, or for a pot of hot soup with the quiche of the day. Their Sunday brunch is a must. The market portion of the café is filled with delightful take-out foods like salads, sandwiches, quiches, and sweet temptations. The café is conveniently located right next to the Pinellas Trail, so you can grab a snack before you hit it.

1465 S Ft Harrison Ave #105, Clearwater, FL 33756, Phone: 727-447-4497

19. Things to Do Near Me Today: Clearwater Ferry

Things to Do Near Me Today: Clearwater Ferry
© Clearwater Ferry

Getting there is part of the fun – leave your car behind and book yourself a ride on the Clearwater Ferry next time you head to the beach. The Clearwater Ferry links Downtown Clearwater with the beach, marina, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and all the attractions of North Beach. There is also a route which includes Dunedin. There is free parking available at the Downtown Ferry Terminal and you will save yourself the hassle of battling the traffic to the beach. Ferries depart the Downtown Terminal and return from North Beach approximately every few hours, depending on the season.

Clearwater Ferry, 42 Drew Street, Clearwater, FL 33756, 727-755-0297

20. Big Storm Brewing Company

Big Storm Brewing Company
© Big Storm Brewing Company

Producing a range of fresh and flavorful Florida-style craft beers since 2012, Big Storm Brewing Company is dedicated to producing quality products for their large following of fans. Their Tap Room in Clearwater is located at their main production facility and features a large outdoor under-cover patio where you can kick back and relax with your favorite brew while watching some sport on large-screen TVs. Besides trying some of the innovative beers on tap, you can also enjoy a great meal from their pub-grub menu. Just of few of the most popular beers on tap include their Bro Mosa Tangerine IPA, the Palm Bender IPA and the Tropic Pressure Golden Ale.

Big Storm Brewing Company, 12707 49th Street N, Clearwater, FL 33762, 727-201-4186

21. Celebration Station

Celebration Station
© Celebration Station

Celebration Station is just what you need to keep the kids happy and entertained for a few fun hours. The amusement park is home to a wide variety of fun rides and activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Games Arcade offers dozens of fun games for all ages including air hockey, driving games and more. Sporty visitors will enjoy the Batting Cages which can be hired for fun or for team practice. Other popular activities include Bumper Boats, Euro Bungy, Go-Karts, Laser Tag and Miniature Golf. Younger visitors can join in the fun at Playland, which offers fun rides for toddlers. More ideas: Romantic Weekend Getaways

Celebration Station, 24546 US-19 N, Clearwater, FL 33763, 727-791-1799

22. Escape Room Clearwater Beach

Escape Room Clearwater Beach
© Escape Room Clearwater Beach

The Escape Room at Clearwater Beach may look like an ordinary room at first glance, but do not be deceived by its appearance. Once the door closes you will be immersed into a real-life adventure game which you can only escape by working together as a team to unravel a sequence of clues; you will need to work against the clock to solve the puzzle in time. There are 7 different scenarios to choose from – zombies, Da Vinci secrets, an alien invasion and several more. The Escape Room experience is fun for the whole family or for a group of friends – you will always have the room to yourselves.

Escape Room Clearwater Beach, Pelican Walk Plaza, 483 Mandalay, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767, 727-754-9752

23. Tampa Bay Grand Prix

Tampa Bay Grand Prix
© Tampa Bay Grand Prix

Tampa Bay Grand Prix offers families and groups of friends an exhilarating and fun-filled day in Clearwater. The extreme go-kart course has three brilliant tracks where you and your group can hone your driving skills and race against each other. You will set off in top-of-the-range Italian electric Pro-Karts, which are fun and easy to drive, even for beginners. After a few laps you will be ready to challenge your buddies. The karts can reach 50mph and offer a true racing experience. The Tampa Bay Grand Prix is the ideal venue for an unusual birthday party, a corporate team-building experience or for a bachelor’s/bachelorette party.

Tampa Bay Grand Prix, 12350 Automobile Blvd, Clearwater, FL 33762, 727-527-8464

24. Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill

Things to Do in Clearwater Beach: Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill
© Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill

Owner of Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Michael Preston, originally hailed from Quebec Canada, where French is commonly spoken. Michael was nicknamed Frenchy, hence the name of this legendary open-air fish and seafood restaurant which is located right on the beach. To ensure that your fish and seafood dinner is always as fresh as can be, Frenchy also owns a fleet of fishing boats which supply all his raw produce. The ambiance is casual and laid-back and the food is so good that there are often lines of people waiting outside on the pavement. It would be a shame to leave Clearwater without visiting Frenchy’s at least once or twice. More Florida beaches

Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, 7 Rockaway Street, Clearwater, FL 33767, 727-446-4844

25. Palm Pavilion Beachside Bar and Grill

Palm Pavilion Beachside Bar and Grill
© Palm Pavilion Beachside Bar and Grill

There is always something special about dining near the beach and Palm Pavilion Beachside Bar and Grill is about as close to the Gulf as you can get. The restaurant originally opened in 1926 and has been a popular local hang-out every since. Most days you will find a local musician to entertain you while you sip your favorite cocktail and watch the amazing sunset. The menu features all your favorite Florida dishes including a brilliant Florida Shrimp and Crab Chowder, Coconut Shrimp, Conch Fritters, Grouper Cheeks and Seared Tuna – to mention just a few. Main courses include burgers, sandwiches, sliders, entrees and sides.

Palm Pavilion Beachside Bar and Grill, 10 Bay Esplanade, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767, 727 446 2642

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