Essential information for Clearwater
When to go
Florida isn’t known as the Sunshine State for nothing – it’s quite literally summertime here all year-round, warm temperatures included. The same goes for Clearwater, which is treated to some pretty fantastic holiday weather conditions.
We’re talking an average of 360 days of sun a year. In the summer months, Clearwater sees average temperatures around 30°C, and even in winter the temperature doesn’t drop below 10°C.
During the summer, the humidity in Clearwater reaches an all-time high. This can result in brief, scattered thunderstorms, making summertime Clearwater’s rainy season. June to October is Clearwater’s hurricane season, though the city’s location along the western coast of Florida means it’s often well-sheltered from passing storms.
The busiest tourist seasons for Clearwater are the summer and winter – summer because the kids are off school, and winter because holidaymakers are trying to flee the cold in their countries. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, autumn tends to be the quietest, as the weather is still warm but kids have gone back to school. Package holidays to Florida are often cheaper around this time too, making it ideal for a last-minute getaway.
Health and safety
You’ll find quite a few mosquitoes in Florida, so in order to minimise the chance of being bitten, you should avoid standing bodies of water and protect your skin when outdoors with mosquito repellent.
As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and family on your trip. If you’re visiting Clearwater specifically to take part in sports or watersports, you should make sure your insurance covers this. See our holiday extras page for more information and for the latest health and safety information visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/health.
Some hospitals may ask non-US residents to pay a deposit on admittance. You should direct any requests for funds to your travel insurance provider in the first instance and only pay the hospital if you’re advised to do so by your travel insurance company.
Passports and visas
Prior authorisation is needed to enter America, either by acquiring a visa or through the Visa Waiver Programme – VWP. The VWP allows most British citizens to enter the USA for tourism purposes for a period of up to 90 days.
You will also need to receive authorisation from the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation – ESTA at least 72 hours before you travel. This process provides the airline with information about you such as details of your passport, country of residence and address of your first night’s stay in the USA. To find out more and to apply visit the ESTA website.
If a child is travelling with only one parent or someone who isn’t their parent or legal guardian, you may be required to provide certain documents at the border. For the most up-to-date passport and visa info, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/usa/entry-requirements.
The Clearwater area is closest to two airports – St. Petersburg-Clearwater International and Tampa International Airport, though the most popular airport is Orlando International Airport. If you’re flying to the latter, transfers to Clearwater typically take two hours. However, most tour operators include transfers as part of a holiday package so getting to your resort should be easy.
Once in Clearwater, your options for getting around are either hiring a car or using shuttles and taxi services. Clearwater is also serviced by popular car-sharing company Uber and the Jolley Trolley, which runs along the coast from Clearwater Beach to Tarpon Springs. There’s also the Clearwater Ferry, which’ll take you from downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach.
On the whole, though, many Clearwater neighbourhoods are accessible by foot, especially the area surrounding Clearwater Beach and downtown St Petersburg.
Advice for travellers with children
If you’re travelling with children that love the beach, you’re pretty much taken care of for your entire Clearwater holiday. Clearwater Beach is ranked as the top beach in all of the United States on TripAdvisor – it’s privy to heaps of watersports, along with easy access to restaurants, bars, a beachside promenade and a long pier. It’s also incredibly clean and constantly monitored by on-duty lifeguards.
Clearwater’s many nature reserves also have a number of kid-friendly facilities, where little ones on family holidays to Florida can learn about local flora and fauna. These centres are usually equipped with picnic spots as well. And on top of this, only an hour and a half’s drive away lies every kid’s dream – the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios.
Connector type: Flat two- and three-pin plugs, type A and B
Voltage Info: 120 volts
In an emergency, dial 911. This will link you to police, ambulance and fire services.
British Consulate General
If you’re a victim of crime or affected by a crisis overseas, or if something happens to a relative or partner contact the British Consulate General in Miami.
Address: 1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami FL 33131 Phone (from within Clearwater): +1 (305) 400-6400
Medical treatment is often costly within the United States, and there are no special arrangements for British nationals. You’ll need to make sure you have adequate funds in case of an emergency, and ensure that your healthcare insurance is up to date.
The Morton Plant Hospital is a general hospital that can provide assistance with ongoing treatment, surgery and medical emergencies, among other services.
Morton Plant Hospital Address: 300 Pinellas Street, Clearwater FL 33756 Phone: +1 (727) 462-7000