So last time, I was telling you all about family holidays in Kissimmee. The next stop on our little tour of alternative Florida destinations was beautiful Clearwater. This gorgeous Gulf Coast barrier island destination sits just across Old Tampa Bay on the west coast of Florida along with St Petersburg. Between them, they boast 35 miles of white sandy beaches and an average of 361 sunny days per year. So apart from lazing away endless, sunny days and glorious sunsets in this pretty resort town, here are a few other reasons why Clearwater is a fabulous choice for a family holiday.
That beach, though
Clearwater’s gorgeous, wide beach has the softest sand and the bluest Listerine-coloured sea I’ve ever seen (the beach was voted TripAdvisor’s no 1 beach in America in 2016). If you’re not lazing under one of the pretty umbrellas, or swimming in the warm blue water, stroll along the half-mile beach walk: an Instagram-worthy promenade that runs the entire length of the beach. Wander the shops, or grab a drink or an ice cream, then as the sun goes down, visit Sunsets at Pier 60 for the street performers, crafts, and entertainment, as well as that gorgeous sunset.
The warm, safe waters around St Pete and Clearwater make it perfect for all sorts of watersports and are another reason why Clearwater is a fabulous choice for a family holiday.. Take a paddle boarding class, jump on a jetski or rent a kayak. There’s something for everyone and you might even spot a turtle or two.
Take a boat tour
We joined a dolphin safari with The Tropics Boat Tours, sailing out into the Gulf (gazing out into 6000 square miles of turquoise perfection can make you forget your troubles quite quickly), soaking up the sun and sipping cocktails. Happily we were in luck and spotted quite a few dolphins, including this playful pair who skimmed the waves alongside us for quite a while (see the whole video on my Instagram). Heaven.
Grab a bite
Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill is a Clearwater institution. Visit this lovely, bright location right on the beach and grab an outdoor table to watch the sunset and indulge in one of their delicious grouper sandwiches, or my own personal favourite – the coconut shrimp, plus a cocktail or two, obviously.
Discover the craft beer scene
The Gulf Coast is famous for its craft beer scene. The ‘Gulp Coast’ boasts more than 30 independent craft breweries. We headed to Dunedin Brewery, a fun and funky destination with live bands, hip tattooed staff and a great selection of beers. Dunedin is Florida’s oldest craft brewery (the pretty town of Dunedin is well worth a visit) and we took a fascinating tour behind the scenes as well as tasting some of their fabulous small-batch brews. My favourite was the apricot peach ale. Delicious!
Stay right on the beach
The beautiful, brand new Wyndham Grand, Clearwater Beach only opened in January and really is a gorgeous place to stay. The pretty new high end resort is right on the beach. My chic room was decorated in soft tones of pale duck egg blue and white, with a pretty white trellis headboard and bright, stylish bathroom with a huge walk-in shower. The balcony views are breathtaking, looking out over the pier and over the fine white sand of Clearwater Beach. Breakfast was fabulous too.