All about making the best of YOUR Florida Family Beach Vacation.
Welcome to the third edition of “Florida with Kids” series centering on the best Florida family beach vacations.
In this post you’ll find great insider tips on Florida family beach vacations in Clearwater Florida, from kid friendly restaurants, kid friendly hotels and fun things to do.
If you missed the first post, check out “Florida with Kids: Siesta Beach”, or the second, Florida Family Beach Vacation: Treasure Island, St. Petersburg, they are both worth a look when planning your Florida family beach vacations.
Just by it’s name, you can figure out that Clearwater Beach has some of the most beautiful Gulf water access on the west coast of Florida. Clearwater’s beauty is far from exaggerated, which is one reason it sits on my list of the best “Florida with Kids” family beach vacations, filled with more fun for you AND your kids than you’ll find in any other area on the west coast of Florida.
“Florida with Kids”- Things to do at Clearwater Beach on your Florida Beach Vacation:
One reason why Clearwater Beach should be in your Florida beach vacation plans is that you could never run out of things to do there. Tampa Bay is considered the mecca of the family beach vacation destinations with literally hundreds of family activities. Here are just a few:
Pier 60-Clearwater Beach, FL (727) 449-1036. A “street” festival located on the promenade portion of Clearwater Beach’s famous fishing pier, celebrating the setting of the sun and featuring artists, craftsmen and performers with weekend musical entertainment. Also features multiple under-cover playgrounds with sand floors. And don’t miss sunsets at Pier 60 they’re amazing with a festival every night.
Clearwater beach’s recreational area has everything you could wish for on a public beach, playgrounds, volleyball, tennis, really…you name it, Clearwater beach has it.
The Jolly Trolley picks you up at a variety of stops, every 30 minutes and will take you anywhere you don’t feel like walking, such as beach shops, restaurants or the Clearwater Beach Recreation/Pool & Tennis Center. Tons of shops and restaurants are all close by.
Clearwater City public pool -51 Bay Esplanade, Clearwater, FL 33767. (727)462-6020. One of the city’s public pools with water slide and a child’s wading area with mushroom falls. The pool is open from late March until October.
Check out Clearwater’s main city website here for more info.
“Florida with Kids”-Attractions & Other Things to Do around Clearwater Beach- for your Florida Family Beach Vacation:
Adventure Island-4500 Bougainvillea, Tampa, FL (813) 987-5660. Adventure Island is Tampa Bay’s only outdoor water theme park. Awesome place to go if the kids like water, but be sure to bring waterproof sunscreen!
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay – 3000 East Busch Blvd., Tampa, FL (813) 987-5082. One of the coolest places in Florida for anyone wanting to experience a real adventure park!
Busch Gardens is truly a dream for any kid (oh who are we kidding, any adult too!!).
“An extraordinary atmosphere filled with naturalistic animal habitats and shows, hair-raising roller coasters, Rhino Rally and more, dazzling live entertainment.”
Clearwater Marine Aquarium– 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, FL (727) 447-0980.
“A very unique natural attraction where one can view, touch and experience the biology and behavior of bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles, river otters, sting rays, local fish, coral reefs, mangroves and more.” Beautiful, and the kids won’t want to leave.
Lowry Park Zoo– 1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL (813) 932-0245. A super family oriented zoo, and filled with tons of great photo op’s . “One of the top three zoos of its size in North America featuring more than 1,500 animals representing 350 exotic species including the manatee, camel rides, a white tiger and a close up encounter with the giraffes.” My grandkids had the best time here, we had a hard time getting them to leave! Easy parking too.
MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry)– 4801 East Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL (813) 987-6100. If you’re stuck with a rainy day, a great place to go is MOSI, with tons of great stuff for kids and adults. Largest science center in the Southeastern United States and home of Florida’s only IMAX DOME theater.
MOSI is by far one of the most awesome places for kids, there’s so much to do and see here, but the neatest thing is the theater. (Do be prepared tho’, the theater’s humongous screen may make some kids a bit queazy as it’s pretty overwhelming for some little one’s).
With your ticket of admission- MOSI is so much more than just access to more than 400 exhibits (including Disasterville and The Amazing You). When visiting MOSI don’t forget your admission includes access to:
- Kids In Charge! – The Nation’s Largest Science Center
- A film in MOSI’s IMAX® Dome Theatre
- A Saunders Planetarium showing
- A Science Works Theater 3-D Film
- MOSI’s Backwoods and Bio Works Butterfly Garden
MOSI recommends a minimum of 4 hours to enjoy all that MOSI has to offer.
And as Steph added in her Top 5 Kid Friendly Beaches in Florida, post–
“Kids young and old will ’arrgh’ at the chance to sail on a real pirate ship aboard Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise near Clearwater Beach. Busch Gardens Adventure Park is just across the bay in Tampa (about 20 min. away), and all the theme park thrills of Orlando are only 2-1/2 hours away.”
Also you may want to check out:
The Florida Aquarium– 701 Channelside Drive, Tampa, FL (813) 273-4042. Fun for the whole family with activities like Swim with the Fishes, Penguins: Backstage Pass and a Wild Dolphin Ecotour. Don’t miss Explore A Shore, the outdoor water fun zone- perfect for all kids!
Florida Botanical Gardens– 12175 125th Street North, Largo, FL (727) 582-2100. A great natural habitat learning place – “Specialty gardens featuring Florida plants including wildlife nesting habitat, restored wetlands and natural bridges.”
Moccasin Lake Nature Park– 2750 Park Trail Lane, Clearwater, FL(727) 462-6024. For the nature lovers and future science lovers -“A showcase of the plant and animal species native to the area. Preserve featuring rescued and rehabilitated birds, reptilian, insect and fish displays, plant and energy exhibits, and nature trails through a diversity of natural Florida habitats, allowing viewing of native birds, insects, amphibians, mammals and reptiles.”
Haven’t had enough yet??? See more Clearwater Attractions here
Great places to Stay and Eat near Clearwater Beach for your Florida Family Beach Vacation:
Best Family-Friendly Restaurants on Clearwater Beach – courtesy of the urbanspoon.com
- Cristino’s Coal Oven Pizza – 1101 S Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater, FL 33756, www.cristinospizzeria.com– great gourmet pizzas.
- Greektown Grille- 1230 Cleveland St, Clearwater, FL 33755. www.greektown-grille.com– not just good Greek either!
- Mugs Grill & Bar on Missouri- 1250 S Missouri Ave. Clearwater, FL 33756. www.mugsonmissouri.com– a classic burger joint- awesome!
- Pickles Plus Too- 320 Cleveland St. Clearwater, FL 33755. www.picklesplus.com– old fashioned sit-down deli.
- Nauti-Nancy’s- 700 Eldridge Street, Clearwater, FL 33755. – one of the best kept secrets of Clearwater!- a hidden gem, excellent food, great atmosphere!
- Pete & Shorty’s Tavern- 2820 Gulf To Bay Blvd (route 60), Clearwater, FL 33759- really good casual food; try the local’s favorite- the shorty burger!
www.peteandshortys.com– you’ve got to try the fried pickles!
- Smokey Bones Bar and Grille- 2693 Gulf To Bay Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33759
www.smokeybones.com– pretty decent ribs and such.
- McCabe’s Restaurant– 2233 Gulf To Bay Blvd. Clearwater, FL 33765
www.mccabesofclearwater.com- breakfast served all day!
- Carrabba’s Italian Grill– 19919 Us-19 N. Clearwater, FL 33764
www.carrabbas.com – decent food for a chain.
- Planet Cafe Express; 520 Cleveland St. Clearwater, FL 33755
www.myspace.com/planetcafeclearwater – sandwiches & salads to go.
Where to Stay on Your Florida Beach Vacation; Family-Friendly Hotels on Clearwater Beach:
There are literally hundreds of kid-friendly hotels and resorts on Clearwater Beach, but here are just a sampling of what this amazing Florida family beach vacation spot offers:
Red Roof Inn Clearwater Beach– Photos – 421 South Gulfview Boulevard. Clearwater Beach, FL 33767 US Map It.
The Clearwater Beach Red Roof Inn features deluxe rooms with private balconies overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. This Inn is also within walking distance of the famous beach.
Travelodge Clearwater Beach–Photos – 401 South Gulfview Boulevard, Clearwater Beach, FL US 33767 Map It .
The newly renovated Pelican Pointe Hotel and Resort is located directly across the street from the Gulf of Mexico and is within walking distance to Clearwater Beach Pier 60 – the largest fishing fleet on Florida’s West Coast. Clearwater Beach is a crown jewel of Florida’s magnificent Gulf Coast. Nearby attractions include all-day fishing and boating, parasailing, eclectic shopping and delicious seafood dining.The spacious rooms are equipped with a kitchenette that includes a microwave, sink, a refrigerator, a dining area, and laundry access. The hotel offers a heated pool year round.
The Marriott Suites Clearwater Beach on Sand Key overlooks Clearwater Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and is situated approximately 12 miles from St. Petersburg Airport and 23 miles from Tampa International Airport. Local attractions include Clearwater Marina, Florida Aquarium, Jack Russell Stadium, Tarpon Springs, and Raymond James Stadium.Hotel amenities include room service, laundry/valet service, concierge, gift shop, safe deposit box, free parking, express check-in/out, and Hertz rental car desk. Guests may also enjoy the health club, whirlpool, and outdoor pool featuring an aquatic playground with a 35foot waterfall and Lisa’s Klubhouse. Drinks and dining are available onsite at Kokomo’s and Watercolour’s Lounge. Guest rooms feature work desks, lamps, dataports, voicemail, high-speed Internet access, cable TVs, in-room movies, wet bars, coffeemakers, irons, ironing boards, and hairdryers.