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10 Best Things to Do Near Clearwater FL

With SO many incredible things to do near Clearwater FL, here is a list of our favorites!

With St. Petersburg to the south, Clearwater to the west, and Tampa to the east, this region is defined by the trio of major cities and is the most popular tourist destination on the Gulf Coast.

While it is technically an island, the St. Pete and Clearwater area is officially situated on what’s called the Pinellas Peninsula, bounded on one side by the Gulf of Mexico and the other by Tampa Bay.

Incredibly, there are more people per square mile than Miami and it’s the most densely populated area in the state.

With that said, there is an absolutely tremendous amount of places to visit, sights to see, and things to do at Clearwater Beach and the surrounding area. Like many major areas, you could spend weeks (or even a lifetime!) here and not see everything that a gorgeous area such as this has to offer.

Our Favorite Things to Do Near Clearwater FL

We’ll cover some of the more interesting and off-the-beaten-path locations. We won’t be covering things like the major sports teams in the area or amusement parks like Busch Gardens.

Honeymoon Island State Park

Since you’re most likely coming to this area from the north, we’ll begin our exploration just before Clearwater at Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin.

Honeymoon Island is a natural barrier island that boasts four miles of sandy beaches, nature trails, and tons of wildlife. There’s even a designated Pet Beach area on the south end of the island for our dog, Bo.

The Osprey Trail on the north end of the island is a 2.5-mile walking trail that winds its way through pine fatwoods. There is a great opportunity to view some wildlife here including gopher tortoises, raccoons, and armadillos.

If you look skyward, large osprey nests located in the top of barren pine snags may be seen. Great horned owls nest there in late winter, and sometimes the chicks can be observed peeking over the edge of their nest or flapping their wings as they learn to fly.

Caldesi Island State Park

Honeymoon Island State Park is also the launching-off point if you want to get to Caladesi Island State Park via the Caladesi Connection Ferry service. It’s $14 round-trip and about a 20-minute ride.

Caladesi Island is one of the only remaining undeveloped barrier islands in the state making it a remote, beautifully isolated location and ripe for exploring.

You can spend some time on the nearly 4 miles of pristine undeveloped beaches or rent a kayak and paddle through the three-mile mangrove trail along the southeastern edge of the island.

This island really is a treat and if you have some extra time we would absolutely recommend taking a day to explore it before heading to the hustle and bustle of Clearwater and St. Pete.

Clearwater Beach

Heading further south, Clearwater is without a doubt a resort town, and Clearwater Beach is one of the most spectacular beach fronts in the entire state.

The star of Clearwater Beach, in our opinion, is Pier 60. Every day from two hours before until two hours after sunset, there is a festival called Sunsets at Pier 60 where you can enjoy artisans, crafters, street performers, and of course the sunset off the coast!

On Friday and Saturday nights, there is a free outdoor movie theater called Sunset Cinema set under the stars which
begins at dusk!

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is another great location right before you hit the beach, general admission is $25 and hours are 10am – 6pm daily.

Here you can visit sea turtles, otters, sharks, stingrays, and, of course, dolphins.

If you want to get involved, the aquarium also has Animal Care Experiences where you can assist one of the staff in feeding and daily caring for the resident sharks, dolphins, or otters.

The aquarium also doubles as a marine rescue hospital, helping to rescue sick and injured sea animals. The primary residents are sea turtles, many of who were not able to get from the egg to the ocean or adults who were struck by boats or ensnared in fishing lines.

St. Pete Beach

Heading further south from Clearwater, we’ll venture into St. Pete. If Clearwater is the “resort town” of the area, then St. Pete is the cultural center.

Aside from the gorgeous white sands of crescent-shaped St. Pete Beach, the city itself hosts a number of iconic museums located right downtown.

10 Best Things to Do Near Clearwater FL 2
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More things to do near Clearwater Florida – Dalí Museum

In our opinion, the can’t-miss museum while you’re in this area is the Dalí Museum which holds one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of works and artifacts of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí.

The collection includes over 2,400 works from every moment and in every medium of his artistic activity, including oil paintings, many original drawings, book illustrations, artists’ books, prints, sculptures, photos, manuscripts, and an extensive archive of documents.

Masterpieces in the collection include The Hallucinogenic Toreador and The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory.

The building itself is a work of art. There is a double-helix staircase in the center of the museum which was inspired by Dalí’s fascination with DNA. Plus, a large glass geodesic bubble made up of 1,062 triangular pieces of glass, nicknamed the Enigma, expands along the outside of the structure.

General admission tickets are $25/person. Guided tours are $100 for up to 10 guests plus admission. Hours are 10am – 5:30 pm daily.

The Chihuly Collection

Nearby the Dalí Museum, you’ll find the Chihuly Collection, presented by the Morean Arts Center. Dale Chihuly is a world-renowned glass artist and this museum is a stunning, permanent collection of his unique artwork.

There are 18 installations here, spanning several of the artist’s most popular series. Highlights include the Ruby Red Icicle Chandelier, created specifically for this collection, and the Mille Fiori.

On top of the Chihuly Collection, the Morean Arts Center also has rotating exhibits, a hot shop where you can watch live glass blowing demonstrations and the Morean Center for Clay which focuses on ceramic artists.

General admission tickets are $20 per person and hours are 10 am – 5 pm daily.

More things to do near Clearwater Florida – Sunken Gardens

The 100-year-old Sunken Gardens is a botanical oasis in the middle of bustling St. Petersburg. There are over 50,000
tropical plants and flowers as well as its trademark pink flamingos.

Florida Botanical Gardens

The lovingly cultivated Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo are an urban oasis. The garden grounds are comprised of nearly 30 acres and include interpretive trails and a variety of natural habitats.

There are 10+ themed gardens here each with its own distinct atmosphere including a tropical fruit garden, patio
garden, herb garden, vegetable garden, palm garden, succulent/cactus garden, native Florida plant garden, and
butterfly garden.

The grounds are open from 7 am-7 pm daily and admission is free.

Heritage Village

The gardens also are near to Heritage Village which is a 21-acre living history museum with 33 historic buildings, including a variety of historic homes, a general store, a railroad depot, two schools, and a church.

More things near Clearwater Florida to explore

If you’re headed to Florida’s Gulf Coast, don’t miss our articles on Exploring Florida’s Forgotten Coast and the Best Florida Beach Campgrounds (Gulf Coast).

I also highly recommend you check out our Florida Adventure Guide Bundle for ready-to-go trip itineraries.

We RVers may wander far and wide but it’s true for most of us that we end up with some favorite “Go-To” places – places that draw us back again and again.

Florida is one of those places for us. And we know it is for many RVers looking to get away and explore during the winter. 

That’s why we’ve created three guides, covering Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Keys. 

Each of these guides is a seven-day guided exploration of one of the coasts. And each stop is a curated view of the best things that we’ve enjoyed on this trip and want you to experience.

All together these guides are over 300 pages of content! 

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