Clearwater Beach Review – Soft, White Sand & Clean Beach to Match
Written by - Alex Richwagen, June 2014
Clearwater Beach has routinely been named one of the best beaches not only in Florida, but also in the world. The sand itself is nothing short than what you’d expect to see in a movie scene between your toes walking along the shoreline. Its pristine texture is the kind that will keep folks coming back for years to come. Just like its neighbor, St. Pete Beach, the beach line itself is very flat, making it very easy on the feet for walking or running alongside the picture perfect sunrise in the morning. Check out this one below.
The matching crystal clear water is equally inviting, displaying usual shades of aqua blue and a soft light green to jump right into (and yes you can see the bottom). Since the beach is on the border to the Gulf of Mexico, it’s not uncommon to see dolphins jumping around from time to time without fear of much else around the shore. This is truly a welcoming environment for families and friends as the condition of the beach is always kept tip top. There’s very little to no evidence of trash along the 2.5 miles of beach front property and it comes with a premium vs. its neighbor in St. Pete.
Food - Of Course! Let's talk about food. Finding stuff to do in Clearwater shouldn’t be too difficult as there a lineup of bars and restaurants to relax.
- Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill– There are several spots on the beach, but the ones in Clearwater Beach are nothing short of fantastic. Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is right on the beach and is a staple with the locals known for the laid back atmosphere. There’s a few menu items that are standouts on the menu that I’d like to mention. First of all, the She-Crab soup is an absolute staple to the restaurant with its very flavorful broth combined with the chunks of crab creating one hell of a soup. The second is the Super Grouper sandwich that can be fried, grilled, or blackened. It’s an extremely fresh sandwich straight out of the ocean making anyone that orders it a happy customer thereafter.
- The Original Hooters – This historic location is right at the roundabout is located on the third story of a restaurants area on the right hand side when arriving into Clearwater Beach. This Hooters doesn’t showcase anything out of the ordinary than a traditional Hooters restaurant bar, but the fact that it’s three stories up does set it apart. The consistent and beautiful breeze makes this Hooters just that much better.
- The Island Way Grill – The Island Way Grill is located about 1.5 miles away from the beach itself, but the food and atmosphere itself are well worth it. They generally have a live band with good island style music to set a relaxing mood, letting the weekly worries melt away. The food is top notch when it comes to the Clearwater area, showcasing a variety of flavors from the pacific rim, island, and pan-asian cuisine. The daily fresh catches include the likes of Sea Bass, Yellow fin Tune, and Red Snapper just to give you an idea prepared to your liking. The menu is so extensive filled with fresh, creative, and mouth-watering decisions that you’ll have to look at the menu for yourself to get an idea found here.
- Crabby Bill’s – just like the location in St. Pete, Crabby Bill’s is a franchise with about six locations within Florida. Crabby Bills is a small scale restaurant bar/grill that has about a half dozen locations within Florida. The restaurant takes the traditional model of a beachside bar and does a 7 out of 10 job executing it. They don’t anything that is a big wow, but has a great selection of food, is always close enough to sand, with cold beverages to keep you happy.
Now that we have covered a variety of restaurants, you might need to know where to stay while visiting. I break this down in multiple categories to capture each and everyone’s preferences.
Where to stay – Here's my recommedations on hotels and their average pricing per night
- Family –
- Singles or without kids –
- Luxury –
- On a Budget –
The last pieces to cover surround cabana rentals, stuff to do, and parking.
- Cabana Rentals – Regardless of where you stay or end up on Clearwater beach, you won’t have to look too far in order to get a cabana. Just like St. Pete Beach, the cost to grab one with some chairs is relatively cheap not to mention an umbrella. All the necessary items can be purchased for $15-25 for the entire setup.
- Stuff to do – The first thing that comes to mind is right around the Pier 60 House, there are boat tours that takes folks out on a big pirate ship. Jet Ski rentals can be found near the Holiday Inn on the beach, which is just south of the Hyatt Regency, when first entering from Route 60. The place is called Clearwater Jet ski. Just next door, there is the Banana Boat spot to go for a ride on a 30 foot banana boat ride pulled on a jet ski. At the same location, you can actually rent scooters or bikes that could add a nice element of family bonding located at 619 Gulfview Boulevard. If any of these things aren’t exactly your thing and you’d rather just relax by the beach, trust me, I understand. If just being in the water is good enough, check out these different water games to play to give you some fun.
- Parking – this is a bit more expensive, but nothing outrageous. There’s multiple side lots that can be used for $10-20 for the day with local folks running the lots. My personal favorite place to park is located at the Grand Hyatt Regency, offering a full parking garage meaning your car is covered in shade all day long. The cost is at least $10 with a maximum of $16, but at the end of a long day at the beach, it’s well worth the extra to get in a car less than 100 degrees. The complex and adjoining hotel is extremely clean, family friendly, has top notch restrooms (as I know my fiancé looks for), elevators to each level, and a bar leading out to the beach serving to go drinks on request.
Clearwater Beach has been voted one of the top beaches in the United States today. Take your friends and family and go check it out. Between the safe environment and soft, white, and clean sand, you will definitely enjoy yourself. If you feel like I missed any spots on the list, please feel free to write in the comments section or if you at least found this helpful. Happy Beach Days ahead for you.