Looking for the best things to do in Clearwater? Great we have you covered.
So, you have made the decision to go to the Sunshine State for a family trip and you are going to Clearwater Beach to see if it lives up to the hype. Let me assure you it does.
Here is a list of things to do that are family friendly and unique to the Clearwater area. And if you are wondering what to do about food while you are visiting the place in this list, I have you covered as well.
Each area is broken down with things to do and places to eat all within 30 mins of Clearwater Beach. The list contains activities and attractions that both tourists and locals alike will enjoy.
29 Best Things to do in Clearwater (And Nearby) You Must Do!
Little Toot Dolphin Cruise is one of our favorite things to do in Clearwater. The team over at Little Toot has taken a 47-foot authentic tugboat and transformed it into a fantastic way to view dolphins You start your adventure in the Clearwater Marina where they are located.
The first part of the trip goes through the intercoastal way, and this is where the fun really begins. Once out in the water, the Little Toot makes waves that dolphins cannot resist.
The dolphins jump and play in the wakeless than 5 feet from you. As your journey continues, the captain takes you underneath the Sand Key Bridge and out into the Gulf of Mexico, which if timed rights will give, you’re a breathtaking sunset. If for some reason you do not see a dolphin, they offer a complimentary second trip.
This is a place you may have heard of if you have seen Dolphin Tale. This Aquarium that specializes in Marine Conservation has been around for over 50 yrs.
Although not large, they make up for it in heart. The staff at CMA makes you feel like you are part of the family, answering any questions you have and ensuring you have the best time while you are there. They are home to dolphins, manatees, otters and many others.
This is a great stop if you are short on time as it will not take a whole day to navigate but will give you a nice break from the humidity.
3. H20 Jet Ski rentals
Still wondering what to do in Clearwater fl – H20 Jet Skis is the top-rated jet ski rental company in the area. They offer a unique hybrid experience, which combines a guided tour of the Clearwater Beach area as well as time to cruise the waters by yourself. It is not unusual on these tours to catch sight of dolphins and other marine animals.
They offer a VIP tour which will provide you with 2 hours of fun including shelling, and of course the possibility of more dolphins.
4. Pier 60
This pier isLocated in the middle of Clearwater beach, Pier 60 is a 1,080-foot recreational park that includes a popular fishing pier.
With a bait house, telescopes and six covered pavilions offers a variety of activities for the whole family. Never fished in the Gulf before?
That’s ok , because the friendly people at the Pier 60 bait house can offer guidance for the bait and tackle that would help you the most. The park comes alive at night with street entertainment from music to fire dancers.
5. Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is an obvious destination if you are in Clearwater. Rated as best beach in the nation multiple times, this beach will give you that picture perfect beach with its soft sand and warn Gulf waters.
Beach chairs are available to rent so that you do not have to bring your own. Soft white sand, beautiful water, amazing sunsets and no shortage of food and fun. This is Clearwater beach in a nutshell. If you have never been, you should go, if you have been , you should come back.
One of the best free things to do in Clearwater.
6. Caladesi Island
This island takes a little more effort to get to than the island that Clearwater is on, however it is well worth your effort.
This island is only Accessible by boat, however if make this trip, you will see Florida the way it was when early explorer first set foot on its sandy shores.
One unique activity on this island is the walk to the Scharrer Homestead. This historical location will not disappoint as you will have an opportunity to experience nature firsthand away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist life.
7. Frenchy’s cafe
This is a local favorite with 3 different locations in Clearwater beach. One is on the main drive of Clearwater Beach and is exactly what you think of when you think of a beach restaurant, cold drinks and great food.
Frenchy’s second location just north of clearwater beach is a beach bar right on the beach with great views of the water and fantastic food.
On the weekends you can even catch a beach volleyball game while you grab a bite. Their 3rd site is small, and quant and you go just for the food. No sights at this one as it is on a side street, but the wait here is generally less.
Christinos is a local favorite nestled in Downtown Clearwater. This Italian restaurant offers a variety of dishes including its famous coal fire pizza.
A small mom and pop style eatery, with the owner learning his craft in Brooklyn, New York, this restaurant only offers fresh homemade dishes. A nice selection of gelato is available for dessert, if you have room. Seating is limited so get their early or be prepared to wait.
One of the best things to do at night in Clearwater.
9. Ice cream and Creamery
Ice cream and Creamery is a nice way to finish off a day in the Sun at Clearwater beach.
With 36 fresh made flavors, milkshakes and twisters( think of blizzards but not copyrighted) you cannot go wrong. Located on the corner in the heart of Clearwater beach , this place is always hopping, but the wait is worth it.
Sand Key Beach
10. Sand Key Park
Sand Key Park is right across the bridge from Clearwater Beach. For those adventurous ones you can walk over the bridge into the park.
For those who would prefer to drive, there is parking inside the park. The park offers great offshore fishing, and the beach is less crowded than Clearwater Beach. The park has picnic areas, bathrooms, and shower areas to help you clean up before the drive or walk home for the night.
11. The Columbia at Sand Key
This is a must stop restaurant in the area. Although it has its fair share of seafood selections, it is a Spanish style restaurant with authentic chicken and yellow rice, Cuban bread , and scratch made Sangria.
With its beautiful views of the intercoastal , dock side dining, and delicious food, you will want to make this a regular stop when you are in the area.
Bellair Beach Area
12. Bellair Beach
This is another beach on the island that is about a 10-minute drive from Clearwater .
Looking for a local less commercial beach, then look no farther. This pristine beach gives you basics of Clearwater Beach minus the crowd. Parking plays a more difficult roll at this beach, however there is a parking lot with access, but parking is limited.
Right across from a parking lot for Bellair Beach is Guppy’s. Guppy’s is a local favorite that is known for serving fresh seafood and has some of the best grouper on the island.
The décor is centered around the early days of Indian Rocks and really showcases the history of the island. Whether you sit on the balcony or inside, the staff will ensure that you are treated as if you are the only one in the restaurant and that every dish you ordered is exactly the way you wanted it.
With appetizers such as the Fish spread, made from fresh caught fish, you don’t have to wait for lunch or dinner time and can stop in just for a small bite.
Things to do near Clearwater- Indian Rocks Beach
Keegan’s Seafood Grille has been open for over 35 years and once you taste their food, you will understand why. Family friendly atmosphere and great food has tourist and locals alike coming back time and time again.
Another restaurant on the island that is known for using fresh fish and ingredients , Keegans will not disappoint.
Don’t just take my word on it, the over 2000 Google review that they have , have given them an average 4.5 rating, and with as many restaurants that Clearwater has, this is something to be said.
15. Cafe De Paris
Café de Paris’s story starts in 2003 after the owner, his wife and son decided to come over from France and open an authentic French bakery.
Each day, this bakery makes fresh pastries from croissants to danishes to tarts. all while using no preservatives.
Breakfast sandwiches made on fresh croissants are worth the drive alone. But who says you must eat everything there? You can take a few treats for later. This will no doubt be a repeat place for you and your family.
16. Crabby Bills
Crabby Bill’s is a local favorite and proudly celebrates its 39th anniversary in April of 2022. They are undoubtedly the best-known seafood restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach, and it is obvious as you drive by on Friday night.
This place is always packed. Although they have other locations the original one in Indian Rocks will always be the favorite. This place has something for everyone, even you folks who do not like seafood. The burger and onion rings are just as good as the shrimp and crab.
17. Smugglers Cove Put Put
Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf courses is a fun activity to do in Clearwater beach which includes 18 holes of put put which goes through caves, pirate ships, waterfalls.
Put-Put is a great way to spend time as a family and to do it in this environment that makes you feel like you went back in time is a bonus. However, the thing that sets this one apart from your local put-put back in the Midwest is the Gators.
That’s right Smuggler’s cover has live alligators and this just adds to the excitement. We aren’t just talking about looking either. You can actually feed even feed these alligators. Some of the holes are inside the caves to give you a break from the Florida sun, but the best time to Put is in the evenings.
18. Seacoast Seabird Sanctuary
One of the nicest places to go for bird lovers in Florida has it has 3 acres of beachfront property with lots of different birds. The sanctuary is home to over 100 disabled birds who are displayed in large aviaries.
Children and adults alike will enjoy walking through this Sanctuary and seeing the variety of birds on displayed, all while learning about how our decisions can impact these creatures’ lives.
A sanctuary is a great place for amateur and professional photographers alike as there are a variety picture opportunity including from the top of the observation tower.
19. Splash Harbour Water Park
Tired of saltwater and sand but still want to cool off ? Look no further than Splash Harbour. Splash Harbour is the only waterpark that is also within walking distance to the Gulf of Mexico that I have ever heard of. T
his unique location was created with the whole family in mind. From the tired dad who want to rest and float in their 600-foot lazy river or the full of life 10-year-old who just wants to go fast down the 42-foot-high slide, no one will be left out.
There is even spot for the little ones with interactive water activities and giant buckets dumping loads of water. Regardless your age or what you are looking for in a water park, Splash Harbour will help the whole family create lasting memories.
20. George C McGough Nature Park
This park is right over the bridge form Indian Rocks Beach and is a great way to experience Florida the way it used to be. Your young ones will enjoy the large number of turtles in the ponds surrounding the nature center.
Feel free to try and count them but it’s nearly impossible given the amounts that are there. Another notable attraction is this park is home to two Bald Eagles, and it truly is an experience to see such a beautiful bird up close.
Some of the other things to experience include a butterfly garden, a fire pit you can rent, a playground for the kids and an observation desk that looks out over the mangroves and into the intercoastal.
21. Conch Republic
This is a restaurant brings Key West Island style to Indian Rocks. This is a place you can truly come as you are. Want to wear a flower laden Hawaiian shirt with white shorts?
Come on in and enjoy , table service or mingle with like-minded people at the outdoor bar. Another restaurant that boasts about how fresh their food is, the Conch Republic will make you think they went and caught the fish right before they served it to you.
On a side note, a trip to the Conch Republic would not be complete without getting an order of the conch fritters.
22. Sweet Sage Cafe
From the moment you pull into the parking lot of Sweet Sage you will know that this place is different. The feeling only intensifies as you walk through the door and see all of the signs on the wall.
Sweet Sage Café takes pride in being different, and it shows. Have a dog you love to take out? You are in luck, Sweet Sage Café loves dogs and has created an environment in their “Garden of Eatin’” that makes your dog feel like a first thought not an afterthought, as noticed by even having items on the menu just for your dog.
Breakfast is the big draw and even if you don’t have a dog , the outdoor seating is worth the stop in itself.
23. Alligator and Wildlife Discovery Center
What started out as an Alligator experience has evolved over time to become a leader in the Clearwater area for animal conservation activates.
The discovery center is home to over 250 animals from Alligators to Lizards, and other marine animals. The most unique activity as this place is the opportunity to Kiss a Gator…that rights kiss a gator. Kids will love this local conservatory who works hard to create a fun family environment.
24. Candy Kitchen
What is the only thing better than candy? An entire store dedicated to only candy. Think Willy Wonka, minus the Oompah Loompa’s and you have a good idea of what you are walking into with the candy kitchen. Interested in Pez? They have an ever-growing collection.
Speaking of collections, their bathroom is wallpapered in candy boxes from when they opened almost 25 years ago. This fun place will allow you to create new memories over candy you remember having as a kid.
25. John’s Pass
If you are in Clearwater and don’t make a trip to John’s Pass what’s the point of going to Clearwater? John’s pass did not exist until a hurricane came through and created an exit into the Gulf.
Over the years, John’s Pass has grown from its humble beginnings to what it is now. With over 100 stores, you will be offered with a unique retail shopping experience to provide you with whatever you may be looking for. From your favorite collegiate gear, “shrunken heads” for your tiki bar, or fine jewelry , if you can think it, you are likely to find it.
John’s Pass is also home to a variety of restaurants, both local and chain. The fun doesn’t stop there, there is also a local fishing fleet, dolphin watching tours, shelling tours, boat rentals, parasailing and jet skiing. John’s Pass is truly a one stop shop for you and your family.
26. Royal Conquest Pirate Ship Tour at John’s Pass
Explore the beautiful waters of Madeira Beach aboard the majestic Royal Conquest. The Royal Conquest is a 46 foot red Pirate ship that provides an exciting experience for all ages.
The crew is dressed like pirates and never break character which set the tone for the entire trip. For the little swashbucklers there are stories, games and the opportunity to try and take the ship with water guns.
While the kids are being entertained buy the pirates, the parents can take a moment and enjoy some grown up pirating by partaking in a cup of rum that is provided by the captain himself.
Things to do in Clearwater when it rains
Let’s say you are done with beach activities or Heaven forbid it starts to rain. What are you going to do now? The following three activities give you an opportunity to change speed and experience other things Clearwater has to offer.
27. Clearwater Threshers
If America’s pastime is more your speed the Threshers is a Minor League Baseball team for the Philadelphia Phillies.
They play their home games at BayCare Ballpark and depending on the time of the year, you could even see the Philadelphia Phillies playing their spring training games here. The best is watching a game on the 4th of July and finishing the night with a spectacular fireworks display.
28. Celebration Station
It doesn’t matter if it is raining or the sun is shining, Celebration Station has you covered. Have a large family and no one can decide on what to do? There is something for everyone here, from laser tag, to batting cages, go karts, bumper boats or put-put.
Grab a pizza for a meal break and then head into the arcade for ticket to other world adventure.
29. Great Explorations Children’s Museum
Don’t let the title of museum fool you, this is anything but the boring idea you have in your head when it comes to a museum.
Exhibits change all the time so you never know what you and your child will be learning about or having fun experiencing. What you can expect, is that your child will have a great time with all of the interactive exhibits they provide.
Great explorations take learning and makes it fun. So much so that this will be a place your child will ask to go back to next time you are in the Clearwater area.
This is just a small sampling of things to do within the Clearwater Beach area. There is no shortage of things to do if you venture away from the beaches.
More Gulf Coast fun: