Long considered one of the best beaches in Florida, Clearwater Beach is perhaps the busiest on the gulf coast. It is 3 miles long and broad, and you can walk from one end to the other. Its soft, powdery white quartz sand attracts locals, tourists and its fair share of spring breakers. Watersports like jet skiing, parasailing and water biking are popular. Clearwater Beach has something for everyone. Dinner cruises and Pirate Cruises are a fun diversion and if you must bring your laptop, there’s free Wi-Fi access.

Two favorite Clearwater Beach restaurants are Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber and Bobby’s Bistro & Wine Bar located next door to one another on Mandalay Avenue in North Clearwater Beach. The Beachcomber is a Clearwater Beach tradition since 1948. A free bottle of wine with dinner for two from their world class wine cellar is yours with a certificate from The Florida Beach Book.

A favorite Clearwater Beach hotel is the Sandpearl Resort. There are plenty of affordable Clearwater Beach motels, inns and condos to choose from as well. The southern end of Clearwater Bch is chock full of hotels, restaurants and resorts. There’s nightlife, shopping and plenty to do. Pier 60 is an event in and of itself! Every night at Sunset join the party (modeled after Key West’s sunset event) with entertainers, artists and craftspeople.

Clearwater Beach is located in Pinellas County which is home to Clearwater, the county seat, St. Petersburg & Tarpon Springs. The county is located on a narrow 280 square mile peninsula with the Gulf on one side and Tampa Bay on the other. It is one of three counties that make up “Greater Tampa Bay.”

Pinellas County offers 35 miles of white-sand bchs on 20 barrier islands. 1 or 2 of them frequently wind up on noteworthy Best Beach Lists!

Want to check out the area but tired of walking? Just hop on the trolley and it will take you there! From north to south and all the stops in between, from Clearwater Bch to Pass-A-Grille in St. Pete Bch, the trolley stops at every beach and town in between.

Here are some specifics on Clearwater Beach from The Florida Beach Book, along with a few others in the county:

Clearwater Beach

Location: west on U.S. 60. The municipal bch is located on the southern half of Clearwater Bch between the Clearwater Pass jetty to the south and Avalon Ave. to the north.

Phone: 727-562-4800

Website: www.clearwater-fl.com

Hours: 24 hours

Parking: metered lots/streets, $.75-$2.00/hour

Amenities: 3 miles of white sand, concessions, showers, restrooms, cabana, umbrella and watercraft rentals, volleyball courts, showers, playground, Pier 60 fishing pier, picnic shelters, grills

Activities: swimming, volleyball, fishing, sunbathing, walking, shelling, surfing

Pets: no

Of Special Interest: Pier 60 is open 24 hours and is located ½ mile north of Clearwater Pass.”Sunsets at Pier 60″ are every evening, starting two hours before sunset. Modeled after Mallory Square in Key West, you can join local artists, craftspeople and performers at this famous landmark. Pier 60 has restaurants, shopping and concessions on and around it as well as bait and tackle shop and rod rentals.

Beach Walk is a winding beachside promenade with lush landscaping, artistic touches and clear views to Clearwater’s award-winning bch and the water beyond, a place where bicyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians all have safe and convenient access and where visitors and locals can socialize, dine, play games, or simply enjoy the spectacular sun and surf.

Fort De Soto Park

Location: 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde

Phone: 727-893-9185 Pinellas County

Hours: sunrise to sunset

Parking: free

Amenities: this park consists of 1,136 acres made up of five interconnected islands. It has over 7 miles of waterfront, including almost three miles of the finest white sand bch in the United States, an 800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks and a 238-site family camping area with facilities including picnic tables, grills, water, electricity, washers, dryers, sanitary disposal stations, modern restrooms, showers, play areas, and a camp store. Two large swim centers including a food concession area located at the North Bch Swim Center. It has two fishing piers with food and bait concessions. Restrooms, picnic shelters, snack bar, recreation trail, nature trails, canoe trail and a dog park complete the picture!

Activities: swimming, fishing, boating, camping, hiking, walking, biking, in-line skating

Pets: yes, in designated areas

Of Special Interest: Fort De Soto Park was named America’s Top Bch for the second consecutive year (2009) by TripAdvisor. Citing a “spectacular combination of soft white sand, calm, clear water and a laid-back atmosphere,” the popular online travel network put the park’s North Beach at the top of its annual best-of list. In 2005 Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach,” named Fort De Soto the nation’s #1 Bch.

Pass-a-Grille Beach

Location: 1000 Pass-a-Grille Way, Pass-a-Grille

Phone: 727-367-2735 Hours: sunrise to sunset

Parking: metered $1-$1.25/hour

Amenities: 1 mile long, concessions, playground, picnic areas, restrooms and showers. Handicapped accessible & handicapped wheechairs (call 727-367-8300)

Activities: swimming, fishing, walking, sunbathing

Pets: no

Of Special Interest: Relax and take in beautiful sunsets, and discover the historic charm of this Old Florida fishing community. You won’t find any high rise hotels, just a wide open bch. Located on the southern tip of Long Key, Pass-A-Grille features restaurants, small inns and eclectic shops. Historic 8th Avenue contains the oldest dwellings on the Pinellas bchs, and one of the largest Historic Districts on the Gulf Coast.

Treasure Island Park

Location: 10400 Gulf Blvd., Treasure Island

Phone: 727-547-4575 Treasure Island

Hours: sunrise to sunset

Parking: metered $1-$1.25/hour

Amenities: 2 miles long, concessions, handicapped accessibility & handicapped wheelchairs, picnic areas, restrooms, showers, volleyball courts

Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, jet skiing, volleyball, surfing, sunset watching

Pets: no

Of Special Interest: On a two mile stretch of this large bch, visitors can fly kites, rent jet skis, or play on one of the dozens of volleyball courts. Accommodations of all sizes and price ranges dot the bch, and nearby bistros provide a great place to recharge. Treasure Island’s wide bch and family friendly accommodations have made it a prime vacation destination for multiple generations.

Treasure Island Beach (Access)

Location: 100th Avenue & Gulf Blvd.

Phone: 727.549.6165 Pinellas County

Hours:sunrise to sunset

Parking: metered $1-$1.25/hour

Amenities: restrooms and showers, biking/jogging path

Activities: swimming, sunbathing, biking, jogging, walking, surfing

Pets: no

John’s Pass Beach and Park

Location: Gulf Blvd. @129th St., Madeira Beach

Phone: 727-391-9951

Hours: 6 AM to midnight

Parking: metered, $1/hour

Amenities: 500 feet of beachfront, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, jetty, handicapped access

Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing

Pets: No

Of Special Interest: on Sand Key, which is 14 miles long and extends from John’s Pass to Clearwater Pass.

Kitty Stuart Park

Location: Gulf Blvd. @ 140th-141st Avenues, Madeira Beach

Phone: 727-391-9951Hours: 6 AM to 10 PM

Parking: limited metered, $1/hour

Amenities: shower, picnic table

Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing

Pets: no

Madeira Beach

Location: Gulf Blvd. @ 144th Avenue, Madeira Beach

Phone: 727-391-9951

Hours: 6 AM to midnight

Parking: limited metered, $1/hour

Amenities: 3.5 miles long, rental concessions, restrooms, showers

Activities: swimming, fishing, sunbathing, surfing

Pets: no

Redington Shores Beach

Location: 18200 Gulf Blvd., Redington Shores, Sand Key

Phone: 727-397-5538 Redington Shores Town Hall

Hours: 7 AM to dark

Parking: metered, $1/hour

Amenities: 3.5 acre park with 1 mile of beachfront, restrooms, showers, handicapped accessibile

Activities: swimming, fishing, shelling

Pets: no

If a Clearwater Beach vacation is in your future, another popular choice in a Clearwater beach hotel is the Sheraton Sand Key Resort. And athough it’s not techincally one of the Clearwater Beach restaurants, Gulf Bistro in Madeira Beach is well worth your time. It’s a quaint French restaurant with very reasonable prices. A gift certificate for Gulf Bistro can be found in the Florida Beach Book.

Come and enjoy your vacation in Florida, Clearwater Beach is waiting!

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