15 Best Things to Do in Clearwater, FL

Clearwater, FL
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Clearwater is a city with a long and illustrious history.

The Tocobagan Indian tribe was the first group to settle in the area.

The first permanent settlement in the area was established in 1835 when the United States Army created Fort Harrison as an outpost during the Seminole Wars.

After Clearwater's supply lines were cut, Union gunboats repeatedly attacked the area throughout the civil war.

Clearwater was initially incorporated as a town in 1891 and then reincorporated as a city in 1915.

It is the county seat of Pinellas County.

Today, Clearwater is a vibrant coastal city that has something for everyone.

From exciting attractions and beautiful beaches to delicious restaurants and lively nightlife, Clearwater has something to offer for everyone who visits.

Read on for our list of the 15 best things to do in Clearwater, Florida.

Take an Afternoon Walk along Clearwater Beach

People enjoying the sun at Clearwater Beach
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When most people think of Clearwater Beach, Florida, they envision beautiful white sand beaches, towering palm trees, and pristine turquoise waters.

And while all of that is certainly true, there's so much more to this beach community than meets the eye.

In fact, there's so much to do in Clearwater Beach that you could easily spend a week here and never get bored.

One of the best ways to see Clearwater Beach is from the water, and there's no better way to do that than on a dolphin sightseeing cruise.

Aerial view of Clearwater Beach
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You'll get to see these amazing creatures up close as they play in their natural habitat.

Plus, the boat ride itself is pretty fun, too!

One of the best things about Florida is having access to fresh seafood, and Clearwater Beach does not disappoint.

Whether you're looking for fried shrimp or stone crab claws, you'll find it all here.

Daytime view of Clearwater Beach
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Go for a Unique Adventure and Explore the Sand Key Lighthouse

The Sand Key Lighthouse is a beautiful historic landmark that overlooks Clearwater Beach.

It was built in 1849 and is one of the oldest lighthouses in Florida.

The lighthouse is open to the public and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

The preservation area around the Sand Key Lighthouse is also a perfect place for snorkeling or diving.

If you're feeling brave, why not go on a ghost hunt?

There have been reports of ghost sightings at the lighthouse for years.

So if you're up for an adventure, bring your ghost-hunting gear and see if you can spot any ghosts!

Just be sure to follow all the safety guidelines, so you don't end up getting lost in the dark.

Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Exterior of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
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The Clearwater Marine Aquarium was founded in 1972 as the first public aquarium in the state of Florida.

It is dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine animals, as well as the education and conservation of marine life.

One of the most popular things to do at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium is to meet Winter, the bottlenose dolphin rescued after being caught in a crab trap and losing her tail.

Winter was fitted with a prosthetic tail and starred in the movie Dolphin Tale.

She's an inspiration to visitors of all ages, and you can even get your picture taken with her!

In addition to meeting Winter, you can also explore the wonders of the sea at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Bottlenose dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium
Beyond My Ken, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are exhibits featuring all sorts of sea life, from turtles and stingrays to sharks and jellyfish.

You can even walk through a tunnel that goes underneath a shark tank.

If you really want to get an up-close look at some of the animals at the aquarium, you can sign up for one of their many hands-on encounters.

You can pet a stingray, feed a sea turtle, or even swim with dolphins!

These encounters are sure to be a highlight of your trip.

Get a Taste of the Local Nightlife at Mugs Sports Bar & Grill

Mugs Sports Bar & Grill is a popular bar and restaurant in Clearwater's downtown.

They've been chosen as the Best Sports Bar in Clearwater twice.

The bar is known for its lively atmosphere, cheap drinks, and delicious food.

It's the perfect place to visit if you're looking to have a good time and meet some new people.

The bar also features the classic jukebox with all the latest hits, plus all the classics that most know and love.

Mugs stays open till late, so it's a great place to go for a night out in town.

Go Fishing and Bask in the Ocean Views on Pier 60

Entrance to Pier 60
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Situated on 60 acres of land and extending into the Gulf of Mexico, Pier 60 is a beautiful place to spend a day at, whether you're swimming, sunbathing, fishing, or just enjoying the scenery.

Pier 60 has a great swimming area that is perfect for both adults and children.

The water is clean and clear, and there are lifeguards on duty to make sure everyone stays safe.

There are also plenty of beach umbrellas and chairs for you to relax in when you're not in the water.

If fishing is your thing, there are many different types of fish that can be caught here, including snapper, grouper, flounder, and mackerel.

View of the sunset from Pier 60
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You can either bring your own fishing gear or rent it from one of the many shops at Pier 60.

Just be sure to get a fishing license if you plan on doing any serious fishing!

Pier 60 is also home to a number of unique shops selling everything from beachwear to souvenirs.

It's also where you'll find the iconic Sunset Festival, which takes place every evening as the sun goes down.

Binoculars on Pier 60
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Get Some Adrenaline-Pumping Adventure at the Clearwater Slingshot Rentals

Clearwater Slingshot Rentals has been in Florida for over a decade and has a great reputation.

They offer a wide variety of things to do, making it perfect for both adults and children.

What makes Clearwater Slingshot Rentals unique is that it’s one of the few places in Florida where you can find slingshots.

They allow everyone to rent a slingshot for a couple of hours or the entire day!

Slingshotting is a uniquely Floridian activity perfect for those who want to experience the thrill of speed without any of the hassle or expense of renting a car.

With slingshots, you can zip around town at up to 60 miles per hour in one of their high-performance slingshots.

Don't worry, they'll give you a helmet!

Take a Fun Ride around Town on the Clearwater Jolley Trolley

View of the parked Jolley Trolley
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The Jolley Trolley is a free shuttle service that operates throughout the city of Clearwater.

It's a great way to get around town without having to worry about finding parking or paying for a taxi.

What makes the Jolley Trolley so special is that it's one of the oldest continuously running trolleys in the United States.

View of the Jolley Trolley on a highway
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It began operations in 1914 and even survived Hurricane Irma in 2017.

The Jolley Trolley is a fun way to see the sights of Clearwater, and it's definitely worth riding during your stay.

Experience Being a Pilot or a Race Car Driver at Sim Center Tampa Bay

Sim Center Tampa Bay is a simulator attraction in Clearwater, Florida.

At Sim Center Tampa Bay, you can experience what it's like to be a pilot, race car driver, or even an astronaut!

With over 20 different simulator activities to pick from, there's something for everyone.

It features a variety of simulators, including fighter jets, race cars, commercial airliners, and virtual reality experiences.

And here are the coolest things ever: Fighter jets, Formula 1 cars, and Boeing 737 planes are all high-fidelity simulators that provide an immersive experience for flight training.

The Formula 1 is a full motion simulator with actual data from a real Formula 1 car controlling it, and the 737 simulator is a real flight training cockpit used all around the world!

All simulators are available for public usage, with an instructor to teach you how to use them correctly.

And if you're feeling competitive, you can even race against your friends or family members to see who can come out on top!

Go for a Tropical Buffet Aboard the Calypso Queen

Calypso Queen cruising the waters
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The Calypso Queen is a cruise ship that operates out of Clearwater, Florida.

It offers a variety of cruises, including sightseeing cruises, dolphin watching cruises, and sunset cruises.

The most popular cruise on the Calypso Queen is the tropical buffet cruise.

This cruise takes you on a journey through the Gulf of Mexico and features a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet.

The buffet includes dishes from all over the world, including Italian pasta, Jamaican jerk chicken, and American barbecue.

View of the docked Calypso Queen
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There's something for everyone to enjoy!

In addition to the great food, the tropical buffet cruise also offers live entertainment.

You can listen to music from a steel drum band or watch a performance by Caribbean dancers.

It's an experience you won't want to miss!

Learn about History at the Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center

The Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center has a whole section dedicated to the early days of Clearwater.

This is a great place to learn about the Native Americans who once lived in this area, as well as the early settlers who arrived in the 1800s.

The Clearwater Historical Society Museum and Cultural Center offers a wide variety of artifacts on display, ranging from Native American tools and weapons to early 20th-century photos of Clearwater Beach.

In addition to artifacts, it also has a collection of historic documents that tell the story of Clearwater's past.

You can see everything from founding documents to old newspaper articles.

The center also has a movie theater where you can watch a film about Clearwater's history.

This museum is a great way to learn about Clearwater's past in a fun and informative way.

Shop till You Drop at Westfield Countryside Mall

Cinema in Westfield Countryside Mall
Roman Eugeniusz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Westfield Countryside Mall is the perfect place if you're itching to go shopping, want to grab a bite, or just feel like spending a lazy afternoon.

The mall is home to over 150 stores and restaurants, as well as a movie theater and an indoor playground.

If you're looking for some retail therapy, Westfield Countryside Mall is the place for you.

You'll find all your favorite stores, including Macy's, Forever 21, and American Eagle.

If you're hungry, the mall has plenty of restaurants to choose from.

You can grab a snack at Cajun Cafe, Charley's Grilled Subs, or Bacon Street Diner.

The mall also has a movie theater where you can catch the latest blockbuster.

If you're bringing the kids with you, the indoor playground is the perfect place to take them.

They'll have a blast climbing on the jungle gym, playing in the ball pit, and going down the slide.

Take a Leisurely Stroll Down Mandalay Avenue

A woman jogging along Mandalay Avenue
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Mandalay Avenue is one of the main thoroughfares in Clearwater Beach.

The avenue is lined with shops, restaurants, and things to do.

It's also the perfect place to people-watch, as there's always something going on.

Surf Style shop at Mandalay Avenue
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If you're looking for a little bit of exercise during your vacation, then be sure to take a walk or run down the scenic Mandalay Avenue.

This beautiful tree-lined street runs parallel to the beach and offers some stunning views.

A restaurant at Mandalay Avenue
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Take a Break from Reality at The Exit Games FL

Forget about your worries and immerse yourself in another world for an hour or two.

At The Exit Games FL, you can choose from a variety of different themes ranging from pirates to space exploration.

The Exit Games FL offers a variety of themed escape rooms for you to choose from, each with its own unique challenges.

Each game is designed for up to 10 people, making it a great activity for groups.

You'll have to work together to solve puzzles, find clues, and ultimately escape the room before time runs out.

The Exit Games FL is perfect for those looking for an adrenaline-pumping challenge.

It's also great for team-building exercises or just a fun night out with friends.

Enjoy Breathtaking Views from the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa

Exterior of the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
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The Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa is located on Pier 60, which is considered by many to be the best spot in Clearwater for watching the sunset.

The resort has a number of rooms with balconies that offer stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Even if you don't have a room with a balcony, you can still enjoy the views from the resort's pool deck or one of its two restaurants.

The Sunset Grille is an open-air restaurant that offers American cuisine with a Florida twist.

The menu features fresh seafood dishes like Gulf shrimp and stone crab claws, as well as steak and chicken entrées.

Road leading to the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
Nick Fox / Shutterstock.com

And, of course, no meal at the Sunset Grille would be complete without one of their famous margaritas.

If you're looking for something a little more upscale, you can dine at Ray's on the River.

This fine-dining restaurant has a private terrace with breathtaking views of the water.

The menu features seasonal items, like roasted mahi-mahi and pan-seared scallops, as well as mouth-watering steaks served with homemade sauces.

Take a Tour or Catch a Game at the BayCare Ballpark

The field of the BayCare Ballpark
P. Bauck (Sliver7), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

BayCare Ballpark is the home of the Clearwater Threshers, a minor league baseball team that is affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies.

It's where the Phillies have their yearly spring training.

They have been training here since 1947, and it's the second-longest affiliation between a major league club and a spring training home in baseball.

The stadium offers a variety of tours that are perfect for baseball fans of all ages.

You can take a behind-the-scenes look at the stadium and learn about the history of the Threshers.

You can even take a swing in the batting cages!

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the things that you can do in Clearwater, Florida.

Whether you're looking for a place to relax or a place to party, Clearwater has something for everyone.

So what are you waiting for?

Start planning your trip to Clearwater now!

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