With the reputation Florida has garnered for its beach life, you'd better believe the beaches you'll visit on holidays to Clearwater are gorgeous. Both Clearwater Beach and nearby St Pete's Beach are among the top in the United States, decked with powdery white sands and warm water from the Gulf of Mexico. Here are our picks of the best beaches in Clearwater, plus the towns close by.
Clearwater Beach is one of those pinch-me shores whose jaw-dropping beauty can only be believed once seen in person. It was voted the number one beach in the U.S. on TripAdvisor in 2016, and is the only American beach to make the cut in TripAdvisor's 'Top 25 Beaches in the World' list. It has rightfully earned its title as Clearwater's top draw.
The sands at Clearwater Beach are often likened to the Caribbean, due to their powdery white appearance. They also seem to stretch on for miles, and make up an incredibly wide beach, which means you won't have to war with other holidaymakers for sunbathing space.
There's a pier extending well out to sea, plus a busy marina, restaurants and bars within walking distance. As for watersports, Clearwater Beach is privy to just about every kind. Jet skiing, parasailing, kite surfing, wind surfing, water skiing – you name it, Clearwater Beach has it.
This set of quiet shores is found within the Indian Rocks Nature Reserve, so you can intersperse your time spent lazing on the beach with walks around designated trails.
There, you'll find loads of local flora and fauna like turtles and fiddler crabs. The reserve and beach are small as far as Clearwater holiday choices go, but you'll still find a little fishing pier, boardwalk and a playground.
Madeira Beach is where you'll want to head if you're after all the beauty of a white sand coast but without the crowds. It's a lot more subdued than Clearwater Beach, but still features sunloungers and umbrellas to rent, and has a busy boardwalk at the back that's packed with restaurants. On top of this, your chances of seeing a dolphin out in Madeira's quieter waters are high.
Caladesi Island is a protected space just north of Clearwater Beach and accessible by ferry, though a hurricane in 1985 made the trek there reachable by foot from Clearwater. Within the state park is a hiking trail, marina and, of course, a beach.
It's ranked among the best in the United States, and with good reason. The white shores are supremely wide and lapped by almost emerald-coloured water. Watersports are also available here, featuring everything from canoeing to snorkelling.
Honeymoon Island is just on the other side of Caladesi – the two used to be attached until a hurricane hit the land mass in 1921. The park is a haven for a number of plants and animals, including endangered species.
For the most part, the beach wows with white sands, though some of the beach is covered in fossilised coral. Prime activities here include fishing, hiking along the nature trails and sunbathing, of course.
St Pete Beach – found just south of Clearwater – is another Florida beach to have racked up quite an impressive accolade. It's also featured on TripAdvisor's list of 'Top 25 Beaches in the U.S.', coming in at number four.
It's home to the longest stretch of undeveloped beach in Florida, though it does have its fair share of amenities. Here, you'll find watersporting activities like para-sailing and paddle-boarding, along with beach bars just beside the coast.