Clearwater Florida is located northwest of Tampa Florida. It is on the Gulf coast of Florida meaning it is next to the Gulf of Mexico. For many of us that live on the East Coast the only body of water we ever see is the Atlantic Ocean.
While it is just sea water and nothing more. There is just something looking out into the Gulf of Mexico. Plus if you live on the east coast like I do. You’ve probably only ever seen a sunrise over the ocean and not a sunset.
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In Clearwater Florida you can catch a sunset over the water. I got lucky the one evening I was there and had a pretty spectacular sunset. But sunsets are not the only thing to find in Clearwater, Florida.
I’ve been to beaches in all along the east coast of the US, along with beaches in Spain and the waterless beaches in Iraq and Kuwait (lots of sand). The sand here is easy to walk on. You can wear shoes and not have a problem walking towards the water.
The white sand while it was fine. It did not leave you feeling grimy and dirty like the sand from many Jersey beaches. The sand at Clearwater Beach was easy to rinse or brush off.
Unlike most of the beaches I am use to, there seemed to be a rinse off station every 100 feet or so. Of course bathrooms were a little harder to find but those rinse off showers were everywhere. Just look for a turtle.
You can also get a great shot of sunset. Of course it may be a little tough with all the other people in the water. You can’t blame them. The water was very comfortable. Not too hot and not too cold.
I ended up having a perfect sunset the day I was here. About 2 hours before sunset it started to pour and I figured I wouldn’t get one of my bucket shots (Sunset over the Gulf). Not too long after it started to pour the showers let up and the clouds started to break.
Maybe only 20 minutes before sunset did the clouds finally start to break away and the beautiful colors in the sky started to appear. I was really hopping I was able to catch one of the many boats going in front of the sun.
But that was the best I could get. My goal of getting a sunset of the Gulf of Mexico was completed. I am glad that the sky played nice with me on this day. .
If you enjoy sunsets or photography. The Clearwater beach is the place to go. Also if you enjoy splashing around in the water. This is also great for that. It didn’t seem too deep. I feel like I went out pretty far with it just coming up to my waist (I’m 5’11”).
I must have spent a few weeks looking at the different places to grab food at. While many places jumped out at me like Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, Cooters Restaurant & Bar, Sharky’s Beach Bar. I decided to go to Crabby’s.
In Clearwater Beach you can either go to Crabby’s Dockside or Crabby’s Bar and Grill. We hit up Crabby’s Bar and Grill since we were walking the Beachwalk and it was getting ready to rain. I was planning on going to Dockside but the weather took me to a different place.
The menu’s from both locations look about the same. The only difference I can really tell is the location and atmosphere. The food came out quickly and was cooked well.
Neither my daughter or I was a fan of the fries. We have never liked this style of french fries. But they were nice and crispy. The chicken fingers were nice and hot. The lobster was cooked perfectly. I would have liked a bigger roll however. It seems like the roll was too tiny for the amount of lobster meat you got.
My only complaint would be with our server. It took too long to get a refill. I ended up getting only one refill when I asked for the check. It was a very warm day in August when we went. So I was pretty thirsty. Other than the super slow refill everything else come out quickly.
When I come back to Clearwater for longer than a day I would definitely eat here again. Maybe I would be able to slow down and enjoy a second or third refill.
CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM
The main reason why we were visiting Clearwater Florida and the Tampa Bay area was for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA). I have a post all about the Clearwater Marine Aquarium that you can read about here.
CMA is also a part of the Tampa CityPASS. This is a great ticket to get for anyone visiting the Tampa Bay area including Clearwater. You can read all about the Tampa CityPASS here and what is offered.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to Winter and Hope the dolphins from the Dolphin Tale movies. If it wasn’t for those two dolphins my daughter wouldn’t have wanted to come to Clearwater.
CMA is worth a visit before or after you hit the beach. You will be inspired by the stories of both of these beautiful dolphins. They are currently expanding and are scheduled to the new building done by 2020.
While driving or walking around Clearwater or St. Petersburg you will find all of these painted dolphin statues. From what I have read, there are over 200 unique painted dolphins around.
Local businesses can fill out a form to get there own statue for their business. I was trying to get a picture of all of them until I realized there were so many.
You can’t walk very far without running into at least one of them. They are pretty cool though. Each is painted differently. Each has it’s own theme. If there is a dolphin fan in your Family they will just LOVE them.
They are all the same size. But come in many different colors. If you are traveling down I-95 be sure to stop at the Florida Welcome Center. You will find the “Jazz” Dolphin there.
There are many hotels along the coast here in Clearwater. As you would expect the prices are not cheap. Most will cost you $300 or more a night.
Needless to say I did not stay at one of these hotels. I wanted to but couldn’t find a price I was willing to pay. But boy did they look nice from the outside standing on the beach.
I’m sure you can get some amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico from these rooms. I know the sunset the day I was there would have been amazing. Was that sunset worth $300 plus a night? I don’t know maybe it was.
I ended up staying at a La Quinta Inn near Busch Gardens (read about that here). It was less than an hour drive to Clearwater. There were plenty of other hotels in and around the Tampa Bay area that are closer to Clearwater. Just depends on what your plans are while you are visiting.
I booked my room with Hotels.com so I could earn a free night. I was also getting the Tampa CityPASS so I knew Clearwater was going to be my last stop of the day and not my first.
If you are looking for a break on your Disney Vacation and wanting to go to a beach. Be sure to check out Clearwater Beach. It is around 2 hours west of Orlando. Try to stay a day or two.
There are plenty of things to see and do. From finding as many painted dolphin statues as you can. To finding the best seafood spot in town. Of course who could forget a visit to see Winter and Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Have you ever been to Clearwater Florida? Have you ever been to any other Gulf Coast town? Let us know in the comments below. Kozmophotos is only a couple post away from our first 100 post.
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