With its warm weather, white sand beaches, and clean waters, Clearwater Beach, is one of the best spots for swimming, sunning, and family fun in the United States. Set on a barrier island just offshore from the city of Clearwater, the area is perfect for activities such as boating, fishing, and water sports. The surrounding towns and cities offer many fascinating aquariums, museums, and other points of interest in the sunny state of Florida. Here are some of the top locations for vacation rentals in and around Clearwater Beach.

1. Clearwater Beach

clearwater beach

Vacation rentals in Clearwater Beach itself place you at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico with its incomparably beautiful blue waters and gorgeous sunsets. The wide sandy beach extends for miles in both directions. You can relax under an umbrella, swim in the gulf, or charter a boat for fishing and dolphin watching. The adventurous can try snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and parasailing. Shops, restaurants, galleries, and entertainment facilities line the long, winding Beach Walk promenade. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium features sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, pelicans, and a famous group of dolphins.

2. The City of Clearwater

clearwater harbor
Source: Flickr/Daniel Oines

A causeway over the Intracoastal Waterway connects Clearwater Beach with the city of Clearwater. The downtown Cleveland Street District, which sits on a bluff with an outstanding view of Clearwater Harbor, is renowned for its outstanding shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. The kids will love observing wildlife along the nature trails at Moccasin Lake Nature Park. Clearwater hosts a number of fascinating annual events, including the Fun N Sun Festival, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday, and the Super Boat National Championship.

3. Dunedin

caladesi island
Source: Flickr/Pinellas County

The city of Dunedin, located just north of Clearwater, features two of the most popular offshore state parks in Florida. You can access Caladesi Island State Park by private boat, passenger ferry, or a long walk over the sand via Clearwater Beach. Renowned for its pristine beach and bird watching opportunities, the state park has amenities such as a marina, bathhouses, picnic areas, and a nature trail. Popular activities include canoeing, kayaking, snorkeling, and looking for shells. A causeway links nearby Honeymoon Island State Park, Florida’s most visited state park, with the mainland. The park is a natural refuge, mainly for birds and various plant species, and visitors often spot dolphin pods offshore.

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4. Largo

botanical garden
Source: Flickr/Walter

Vacation rentals in the city of Largo, just south of Clearwater, provide convenient access to beautiful Indian Rocks Beach. Largo also hosts the Pinewood Cultural Park, which includes Heritage Village and the Florida Botanical Gardens. Heritage Village includes over 30 historic buildings along with the fascinating Pinellas County Historical Museum. The botanical gardens have boardwalks, bridges, and nature trails through numerous themed gardens. On the east side is a natural area where you might spot bald eagles, ospreys, coyotes, alligators, and other wildlife.

5. Madeira Beach

johns pass pier
Source: Flickr/Nick Ares

Madeira Beach, also known as Mad Beach, not only has beautiful beaches and sparkling clean gulf water for swimming and sunbathing but also hosts the famous John’s Pass water-front entertainment district. John’s Pass features a meandering extended boardwalk full of shops and restaurants. You can charter a boat and rent equipment to go fishing, dolphin watching, shelling, jet skiing, and parasailing. If you time it right, you can savor amazing marine cuisine at the annual John’s Pass Seafood Festival.

6. Treasure Island

treasure island
Source: Flickr/Walter

Treasure Island lies along three miles of white sand beaches just west of St. Petersburg. The Treasure Island Beach Trail is ideal for strolling, cycling, dog walking, and skateboarding. At the southern end of the island is Sunset Beach, which has a long boardwalk that makes a popular local fishing site. Sand Sculptors come from all over the world to take part in the annual Treasure Island Master Cup Sand Sculpting Competition and Music Festival, also known as Sanding Ovations.

7. St. Petersburg

st petersburg
Source: Flickr/Matthew Paulson

The historic city of St. Petersburg is southeast of Clearwater Beach at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Vacation rentals in the city provide easy access to area beaches such as Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach, and Treasure Island. St. Petersburg is famous for its many museums, which include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Salvador Dali Museum, and the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Of particular interest to families is the Great Explorations Children’s Museum. This vast interactive facility features themed areas such as Critter Cave, Explorer’s Cove, Touch Tunnel, Imagination Playground, and other fascinating exhibits in which children can explore and play.

8. Safety Harbor

safety harbor pier
Source: Flickr/Matthew Paulson

The City of Safety Harbor lies between Clearwater and Tampa on the western shore of Tampa Bay. According to legend, the explorer Hernando de Soto designated its rejuvenating natural mineral springs the Fountain of Youth. Health enthusiasts continue to flock to the city’s famous spa from around the world. Visitors to Safety Harbor also enjoy access to its numerous parks and cycling trails, its museum of local history, and its picturesque marina and fishing pier.

9. Tarpon Springs

kayaking
Source: Flickr/Darryl Kenyon

The famous Sponge Docks in the city of Tarpon Springs have long been the focal point of the Florida sponge industry. Begun by Greek sponge divers, the Greek community in Tarpon Springs is so extensive that when you stroll through the city, you feel as if you are in a Greek seaside village. You can tour the Tarpon Springs Greek Historic District, visit St. Nickolas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, and sample authentic Greek cuisine. Kids enjoy the interactive Tarpon Springs Aquarium, where they can touch and learn about live baby sharks and other local marine animals.

10. Tampa

jet skiing tampa
Source: Flickr/Matthew Paulson

The city of Tampa lies east of Clearwater Beach across Tampa Bay. Numerous sightseeing and recreational opportunities surround vacation rentals in the city, including Adventure Island, Busch Gardens Tampa, the Florida Aquarium, and the Lowry Park Zoo. Its world-class museums include the Museum of Science and Industry, the Tampa Museum of Art, and the Tampa Bay History Center. Tampa restaurants offer diverse cuisines from all over the world, and extensive malls and plazas provide a paradise for shoppers.

 
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