This cozy little beach town got its start as a military fort. Today, the call to war has been replaced by a call to relax.

If you’re wondering what to do in Clearwater, the answer should be obvious. This is a beach escape through and through. So shimmy into that swimsuit, slap on the sunscreen, and cross the Clearwater Memorial Causeway over to Clearwater Beach. Here, miles of soft sand and warm ocean waves invite visitors to play. Clearwater sits right on the Gulf of Mexico, so enjoy the toasty breeze that tickles your skin as you wander the shore collecting seashells or ponder that novel you’ve always wanted to write.

The area’s year-round pleasant weather calls for snorkelers to press their faces through the ocean’s liquid mirror to catch a glimpse of another world filled with stingrays, turtles, and coral reefs. Become one with the sea and try some kayaking, parasailing, and jet skiing; all are popular things to do in Clearwater.

When evening comes, residents roll up their beach towels and slip into their sandals. They aren’t done; the night has so much simmer left. Instead, they drift over to Pier 60. This Clearwater institution is always filled with fishermen patiently waiting to pull trout, mackerel, snapper, or at least a decent story from the waters below. Sunsets at Pier 60 are legendary, so keep your phones handy to remind all your friends what life outside the cubicle looks like. As soon as that big, fiery ball begins to descend, a gaggle of musicians, jugglers, and other performers light up the night with warm notes and fun antics.

The Memorial Causeway connects the breezy beach life to Clearwater proper. Cleveland Street District, the city’s downtown, is growing so quickly it’s threatening to be soon be described as “bustling.” The area is adding restaurants and bars like they’re going out of style, but at least it will give you plenty of things to do in Clearwater at night. Truth be told, Clearwater possesses many faces. The same town that serves as the headquarters for the Church of Scientology was also the birthplace of Hooters. Embrace the multi-layered complexity of Clearwater, especially because that complexity includes incredible seafood!

When it’s time to get your beach on, take a look at our competitive Clearwater vacation packages.