Clearwater Beach Florida
Sugary white sand where it is like Spring Break everyday.
Let's be realistic, this is THE Spring Break destination on the Gulf Coast barrier islands. It will put a charge in your Florida beach vacation.
Clearwater is a lively, dynamic, thumping beach community geared mostly to young people (plus, the young at heart)...and maximizing the amount of money it can rake in.
I'm not trying to be funny, these are just the facts.
** Although most of us love the energy of the beach here in Clearwater...we don't really need it 24/7. Many people looking to move, or retire in Florida, want something with a pleasant quietness. The lush, peaceful lakefront homes of the Lakeside Collection luxury community in Auburndale certainly fills this vision.
Get To Know Clearwater Beach
At about 3 miles in length, Clearwater Beach is a narrow barrier island between Sand Key to the south (Clearwater Pass) and and the pristine Caladesi Island (Dunedin Pass) to the north.
The sugary powder white sand, closeness of beachfront restaurants, bars, t-shirt shops, and hotels attract a far larger number of young adults than the lower Gulf Coast islands.
The beach is heavily used by both visitors and locals. If you are in the 18-35 target age group, and you are looking to meet someone...the beach is the action part of the community.
You can walk the beautiful 3 miles of Clearwater Beach...from Clearwater Pass to Dunedin Pass...without breaking stride and say hello to hundreds of other friendly walkers along the way.
* A kind of neat thing to do if you get to the beach early is to take a walk up on the bridge that spans across Clearwater Pass. You can get some great photos from here.*
Traffic can get pretty heavy by 11:00am even in the months outside of Spring Break.
You have to be watchful for pedestrians crossing and teenagers running.
Do not be surprised if you see skateboarders zigzagging out in the street on Gulfview Blvd/Mandalay Avenue, trying to outfox the local police...or a couple of college guys with hangovers attempting to jaywalk between parked cars.
Being vigilant about unpredictable pedestrian traffic on Clearwater Beach streets is like an advanced survival skill.
Boy Scouts have to be prepared. United States Marines have to be able to process and adapt. If you were a member of either of these organizations, you will benefit when driving along the beach.
As of right now, the meters run $1.25 per hour in almost all areas. There is usually a 6-hour maximum. Yikes...30 U.S. Quarters! Free beach parking is pretty much a thing of the past.
Don't let parking tickets sour your Florida beach vacation. It is well worth it to buy a couple of $10 rolls of quarters and keep them in your car.
If you are driving and looking for beach access with parking, Acacia Street will be your northern boundary.
This street pretty much divides Clearwater Beach into the tourist district to the south...and the upscale residential district (North Beach) to the north. You'll be real aware of the change because you will come to a "roundabout" traffic coordinator in the middle of Mandalay Avenue.
There are no hotels north of Acacia Street and unless you are staying in one of the palatial beach houses or a condo, there is no public beach access either.
The beach is the vibrant money-maker of the community. It has a lot of energy and it attracts loads of people.
"Tourism is Clearwater's number one industry, and the beach is at the center of the tourism. City and tourism officials recognize that it is important to preserve overnight accommodations for the millions of visitors who come to Clearwater year after year."
Clearwater Beach is beautiful...the sand is fine, white and powdery...the stores and restaurants are modern-looking...there are huge hotels and resorts...Pier 60 has nightly activities as well as good fishing...but for me, there are just too many people and too many cars.