We love to travel as you can probably tell from our Travel section here on the blog but, we usually get to visit all of the fun places in Orlando and while there are many of them, we love to visit new and exciting places too. Our family has never had the amazing opportunity to stay in Clearwater before and let me tell you, if you haven’t then you most certainly need to put that as your top 5 things to do in Florida! There is nothing like the beautiful west coast with it’s beaches full of white sand.
Being that it was our first time really exploring Clearwater/St. Pete area, I made up a list of the top 5 places that you must visit with your kids! Or even if it’s just yourself and your significant other. That’s the beautiful thing about this area, there is just so much to do for not only families but couples as well.
Number One: Clearwater Marine Aquarium
This place may look insanely familiar if you have seen the movie Dolphin Tale. Yes, this is the home of Winter the Dolphin. Being the ultimate Dolphin love that I am myself, this was our second time visiting this aquarium but first since they re-did the entire place and gave you a more in depth look at what Winter and some of the other dolphins that they have rescued have been through.
They don’t just have dolphins here as they are a rescue, rehabilitate, release type of aquarium but some animals get to stay as they just can’t make it out in the wild anymore. There are small sharks, some fishes, sea otters and a few sea turtles. One sea turtle is blind and missing part of their snout which you can only assume would make it hard for them to live out in the wild where they need to constantly protect themselves.
The kids really enjoyed learning all about Winter as Adylee was a huge fan of the movies but also they just love seeing sea animals like their momma. There are some interactive fun things for the kids to do along the way like little trivia’s and puzzles. Making this trip as quick or as long is completely up to you! There are shows throughout the day where the workers talk more in depth about the animals and their stories.
Number Two: a good hotel pool
We stayed at the Marriot Clearwater in Sand Key and let me tell you, a good hotel with a good pool is KEY for traveling with young ones. My babies are fishes when it comes to pools and they can spend the entire day in there without ever needing to go up to the room for a break. If swimming in the pool was all we did the entire weekend, they would’ve been more than content.
There are quite a few amazing hotels up and down the Clearwater area but I really enjoyed the Marriott. It was right on the coastline in Sand Key and right across the street from Sand Key park. The salt water smell and beautiful sunrises and sunsets were things you could only imagine experiencing in the movies.
The pool area was perfect for the kids! Not only was there an entire pool with a jacuzzi separate but there was also a splash pad area that we had to pull Gracelyn away from. There was a little small pool in there as well that she just loved to splash around in. If you know Gracelyn, you know she has been scared of water since the day she was born but this place was number one in her book.
Number Three: a dolphin tour
I highly recommend taking a tour! We went on the Tropics tour as they have a great deal with the City Pass that you can purchase online. I also highly recommend doing that. You pay one price and can get into not only the Clearwater Aquarium but also the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, the Tropics tour and one other place! Totally worth the price!
Aside from that, the Tropics tour took us out on the water and we went looking for some sea wildlife and saw about four Dolphins swimming together. It was so beautiful to see these animals in their natural habitats and there is nothing like being out on a boat in the middle of the ocean.
Number Four: the beach of course
Take your kiddos to the beach when you are here! The white sand and water of Clearwater Beach are just magical. We aren’t huge beach people but we can appreciate a great one when we see it. Having only ever been to Daytona Beach or NSB, the kids really enjoyed that the sand wasn’t hotter than hot and that they could hunt for some sea shells. We don’t see many sea shells on this side of the coast, more jellyfish washed up than anything. Of course, you always have to practice safety and make sure you are watching the tides and for sharks.
Number Five: Pier 60
Pier 60 is the heart of Clearwater Beach and it is just perfect for kids. Don’t feel like being on the beach but wanna be near the water? This is the spot for you. It’s right across the street from the Marina where all the boat tours are and it has two playgrounds for kids along with a concession/ice cream spot. There is an entire pier that you can walk and see the ocean from along with some obstacle courses and slides on the other side if you wanna do that sort of thing.
Clearwater is the place to visit if you’re looking for not only a good beach but also lots to do in the area!
They also have a ton of restaurants and nightlife things to do as well. Crabby’s is one of our favorite resturants to visit and it’s right across the street from Pier 60. This is just half of the things that you can do in the Clearwater/St. Pete area!