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Clearing Your Mind in Clearwater

by Ashley Casorio

For those of us not lucky enough to "snowbird" (fly south for the winter months), we are restricted to a quick trip away to warmer temperatures. When us New Jerseyans are looking for an escape, we somehow always look to Florida.

The best part about Florida is that the beaches are different from north to south and from the Gulf to the Atlantic. One of the shining stars as far as beaches go is most definitely Clearwater Beach. True to its name, clear blue water laps onto the shore which is made up of long stretches of powdery white sand that feels soft under your feet. Pair that with a casual atmosphere and you can’t ask for much more for a relaxing weekend away.

What to Do

When you've had enough of lounging on the beach (does one truly ever have enough of that?), throw on your sneakers and grab your bike and cruise down the pedestrian promenade which runs along the beach. It was built during a $30 million redevelopment of the area and certainly is one of the highlights of town.

364 days a year there is a daily festival that takes place on Pier 60 which runs beginning two hours before the sun sets and two hours after the sun sets. Featuring artisans, entertainment, and merchants, the Pier 60 Daily Festival is a great place to celebrate the end of another day.

Do you love baseball? Be sure not to miss the Phillies’ spring training games if you’re there during the right time. After a day in the sun, hit up the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the dolphin who was the star of the movie Dolphin Tale with her prosthetic tail.

In additional to land activities, there is also water fun aplenty. Dolphin watching, paddle boarding, turtle spotting, and fishing can all be easily found. With water that beautiful, you need to be as close to it as possible!

Where to Eat

Island Grill

When the sun finally does sink into the horizon, enjoy an ice-cold cocktail and local cuisine at Island Way Grill which can be accessed via car or boat. Just dock and dine!

20 Island Way Clearwater

Marina Cantina

Tequila bar, water views, and Mexican food - do we need to say much more?

25 Causeway Blvd, Clearwater 

Jimmy's Fish House and Iguana Bar

When you're wanting to hear some live tunes and take in the beautiful surroundings, look no further than Jimmy's. Stepping inside you'll be transported to Key West with its laid-back atmosphere and tropical vibe. Fire up the blender!

521 S Gulfview Blvd, Clearwater Beach


Go for just a cocktail in the fun bar or stay for the handmade pastas compliment the fresh selection of locally grown goods – the choice is yours.

430 S Gulfview Blvd #100, Clearwater Beach 

Where to Stay

Clearwater Beach is peppered with hotels all along the sand. It can be hard to know where to begin when researching accommodations, but these two properties are options worth exploring.

Opal Sands

Opal Sands sits at the end of Clearwater Beach, directly on the water with the stretch of beach off to one side. The rooms are beautifully appointed with floor to ceiling windows allowing for unobstructed views of the water. When you want to watch the waves lap into the shore but don’t feel like getting your toes sandy, take a dip in the gorgeous pool located so close to the water that you’ll feel like you’re swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.

430 S Gulfview Blvd, Clearwater Beach

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

Some might discount the Wyndham as simply “the more budget friendly option” but this hotel has a lot to offer. The sleeping rooms are modern and quite simply adorable. Floor to ceiling windows with balconies make the perfect setting for sitting outside and enjoying your morning coffee. The restaurants and overall food on property are notable and the location adjacent to Pier 60 can’t be beat.

100 Coronado Dr, Clearwater

Ashley Casorio is the writer behind The Wandering Ash travel blog: Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @thewanderingash for photos and musings on her travels.