Best Clearwater hotels
Clearwater IntroductionClearwater’s jaw-dropping beaches have cemented its status as a favorite year-round playground for over a century. This small farming community on the Gulf of Mexico was transformed into a vacation hot spot thanks to the foresight of railroad magnate Henry B. Plant, who opened a grand resort hotel on Clearwater Bay in 1897. A dedicated train running direct from New York City brought movie stars, magnates, and world leaders to this unspoiled corner of Florida, and today’s fortunate visitors can relax on the same sands, bathe in the same cool waters, and enjoy the same laid-back vibe as the A-listers of yesteryear.
Hotels in ClearwaterHotels in Clearwater are dedicated to making your stay in this beachfront community as hassle-free and fun-filled as possible. The well-appointed resorts, chain establishments, and traditional motels that make up the bulk of the city’s accommodation have been offering a warm Floridian welcome to visitors ever since the heyday of Henry B. Plant. Clearwater hotels typically offer family-friendly rooms and suites with all the amenities you need for a memorable vacation. Start your day with a dip in the outdoor pool, limber up for a day’s sightseeing or sunbathing in the fitness suite, and then come home to a relaxing nightcap in the bar.
Where to stayThe beach has always been the biggest draw in Clearwater, so make the most of this spectacular location by staying close by. Be right by the water from the moment you wake up with a beachfront cottage—Bahama Breezes Beach House by RedAwning offers home comforts and a private pool. Or soak up spectacular views from a suite in a resort hotel—try to book one close to Pier 60 Park, famous for its sport fishing and dreamy sunsets. For those on a budget, there’s a healthy range of discount hotels in Clearwater around the beach, including popular budget chains and no-frills motels.
Things to seeThe friendly bottlenose dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium are one of this area’s best-loved attractions. Learn about the inspiring work of this pioneering rescue center and make friends with the marine stars of the popular ‘Dolphin Tale’ movies, filmed on location here. The warm waters of the Mexican Gulf make an ideal habitat for dolphins, so you might be lucky enough to spot them in their natural environment too—boat trips leave from the marina. Clearwater’s built environment also has its star turns—don’t miss a live performance at the Capitol Theatre, built in 1921 in classic Hollywood style and reputed to have some of the best acoustics in the state. Wander through the historic Cleveland Street District to soak up the ambience of old Clearwater, then enjoy the panoramic views from Beach Walk, which is lined with popular restaurants, friendly bars, and landscaped gardens.
How to get to ClearwaterClearwater’s main international air link is Tampa International Airport, which operates direct flights throughout the country and further afield. The airport is located across the bay, with a typical journey time of around 40 minutes from Clearwater. You’ll find plenty of cabs waiting at the terminal to take you to your hotel, along with car-rental offices for independent travel. Check first to see if your resort provides free shuttles for guests—many do. The main highway access into Clearwater is Route 19. For a fun way to travel in Clearwater, hop on the Jolley Trolley, a San Francisco-style trolley car that serves the beach and downtown.