Before 1906, Clearwater was known as Clear Water Harbor — the “clear water” moniker traces back to the freshwater springs found in the area by the American settlers who began farming the region in the 1840s. Today, visitors swim the Gulf of Mexico’s crystal clear waters at Clearwater Beach. The city of Clearwater, located northwest of St. Petersburg, straddles the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. The mainland side is known as Clearwater, and the barrier-island side on the gulf is called Clearwater Beach.
Downtown Clearwater has ample activities for boaters of any age. The Capitol Theatre offers movies and live events all year long, and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium gives visitors up-close and personal interactions with dolphins, otters, pelicans, sea turtles, sharks, and stingrays. Some of the animals were even featured in the movie “Dolphin Tale.” From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each week, the Cleveland Street Saturday Morning Market features fresh local produce, baked goods and flowers. Two don’t-miss local events are the Clearwater Sea Blues Festival (Feb. 20-21) for scrumptious seafood cuisine, and the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival (April 15-24), for which more than 20 tons of sand are converted into sculptures and walk-through displays.
But the most popular reason to go to Clearwater is to hang out on the beach. Whether you like to lie in the sun, take long walks along the shoreline or while away the hours beachcombing, Clearwater Beach’s world-class sand will not disappoint. And as any beach aficionado will tell you, it’s all about the sand. The Travel Channel rated this beach one of the Top 10 in Florida. The easiest and must fun way to the beach is the Jolley Trolley — five bucks gets you an unlimited daily pass that will ferry you as far as Dunedin, Palm Harbor, and Tarpon Springs.
WHERE TO DOCK
- Clearwater Beach Marina on the west side of the Gulf ICW, has 23 transient slips for vessels up to 125 feet.
- Clearwater Harbor Marina on the east side of the ICW, has over 1,500 feet of floating concrete docks with side ties for overnight stays.
WHERE TO DINE
- Salt n Peppa Bistro is a petite, homey hideaway serving crepes and classic French dishes from onion soup to escargot. Rated Clearwater’s No. 1 restaurant by Trip Advisor.
- The open-air Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill has beachfront dining right on the Gulf. Enjoy beach staples such as oysters, crab, grouper, conch and shrimp while listening to the nightly live music.
- Caretta on the Gulf is a luxurious beachside resort eatery offering carefully sourced, sophisticated New American cuisine.
Capt. Jeff Werner has been in the yachting industry for over 25 years. In addition to working as a captain on private and charter yachts, both sail and power, he is a certified instructor for the USCG, US Sailing, RYA and the MCA. He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your yacht’s fuel in optimal condition for peak performance. For more information, call 239-246-6810, or visit MyDieselDoctor.com. All Marinalife members receive a 10% discount on purchases of equipment, products and supplies from Diesel Doctor.