The best attractions at Clearwater revolve around the water. Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Clearwater Beach boasts one of the best waterways and beaches in Florida. In addition to the fabulous beach, there are hidden treasures just waiting to be found as you navigate the waters that border Clearwater Beach. You’ll spot dolphins, turtles, and more as you explore the barrier islands along the coast of Clearwater Beach.
A getaway to Clearwater Beach can be anything you want it to be – relaxing to non-stop adrenaline-pumping fun. We’ve curated some of the best attractions in Clearwater that you will love!
There are two ways to explore the waters that border Clearwater Beach. You can take the Caladesi Connection Ferry from Honeymoon Island over to Caladesi State Park, or rent a boat. Of course, you can always plan a 90-minute walk from Clearwater Beach to Caladesi also. We opted to rent a comfortable pontoon boat from KSK Marina Clearwater.
KSK Marina Clearwater Boat Rental
From the moment we walked into KSK Marina, professionalism was the name of the game. From the gal manning the check-in desk to the dockhand who helped us on the boat, they were knowledgeable, professional, and helpful. Before we cast off the lines the dockhand explained all the operations for the pontoon boat and supplied a chart of the waterway.
KSK Marina is right on Clearwater Harbor in Clearwater Beach. You can easily access Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island, and more by boat.
Casting off the lines, we headed out into the bay with a destination of Caladesi Island. The waterway is gorgeous, and we saw loads of dolphins on our way to Caladesi.
Arriving at the entrance to Caladesi we began to see birds everywhere – no wonder Caladesi is a bird-watchers paradise! The island is perfect for nature lovers to explore. Beachcombers never know what treasures from the sea they will find.
Following the winding waterway through the mangroves, you’ll come upon the well-maintained docks for the island. It’s an easy hike to explore the island, hit the beach, or grab your fishing gear for a day of saltwater fishing fun.
After leaving Caladesi, we explored the bay area. The bay is filled with small islands, that are really no more than sandbars that border the Gulf of Mexico. Several have become favorites of the birds, and are filled with birds of all species, making a spectacular sight for boaters.
What You Need To Rent A Boat from KSK Marina
We suggest that if you are interested in renting a boat and exploring the waters that you have some boating experience. You may be asked to demonstrate a basic knowledge of boat operations when renting.
However, if you are a newbie to boating, KSK can provide a boat captain who has extensive knowledge of the area waters. They can also customize an itinerary for you.
Winter, the dolphin featured in the movie Dolphin Tale has found her forever home at Clearwater Aquarium, along with a few other dolphin pals. But there is so much more to discover at Clearwater Aquarium, one of the top attractions at Clearwater.
Just having completed a major renovation, Clearwater Aquarium is a top-notch aquarium! Some of the new exhibits include a huge exhibit space on the 4th floor which houses rotating exhibits.
During our Clearwater visit, the interactive exhibit on display was “Whales: Living With Giants” which was spectacular!
Elevated Experiences at the Aquarium
Also on the 4th floor is a new Virtual Reality adventure, which goes hand in hand with the display exhibit. This immersive experience will leave you feeling as if you were right there, in the water with inhabitants of our oceans. Guests who choose the VR experience (an additional charge) will take the role of marine biologists to observe and become immersed among the underwater wildlife, with state-of-the-art motion platform seating. The VR experience elevates your visit to Clearwater Aquarium.
Another elevated experience that is offered by Clearwater Aquarium is their boat tours. Guests can choose between the Sealife Safari Tour and the Dolphin and Wildlife tour. We took their Dolphin and Wildlife tour, which transports you out into the Gulf of Mexico where you will spot dolphins cavorting in their natural environment. I highly suggest adding the boat tour experience to your visit – it really rounds out any visit to this amazing aquarium and animal rescue.
We loved the stingray touch tank! These graceful creatures will mesmerize guests as they glide through the water with their wings.
And of course, no visit to Clearwater Marine Aquarium is complete with a visit to the Dolphin Complex. The new Ruth & J.O. Stone Dolphin Complex is where you’ll meet bottlenose dolphins—Nicholas and Hemingway can be seen in the Viewing Pool. There are five pools in total in the complex, and lots of floor-to-ceiling viewing windows, giving guests ample opportunity to see these beautiful creatures.
Note: Unfortunately Winter passed in November 2021, but she is still remembered and revered at the Clearwater Aquarium by her fans and care team. She was a remarkable creature that touched the hearts and lives of many.
No visit to Clearwater Beach is complete with beach time! Clearwater Beach boasts a gorgeous sugar sand beach on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico. The clear blue waters of the Gulf beckon you to take a dip. For a whole day at the beach, we recommend that you rent a beach cabana. The cabana will allow you to escape to the shade when you’ve had enough sun.
The peaceful views of the sand beach and the Gulf, and the serenity of the waves lapping the shore will ensure a relaxing day at the beach – a perfect prescription for any beach vacation.
Clearwater Beach makes an ideal Florida getaway. It is easily accessible from Tampa International Airport and is a perfect base for exploring the surrounding areas of St. Pete, Tarpon Springs, and Dunedin. There are so many attractions at Clearwater, but definitely plan to make time to spend on and in the gorgeous waters.