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    Clearwater,

    Florida

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    Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, United States, northwest of Tampa and St. Petersburg. To the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and to the southeast lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 107,685. Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and is the smallest of the three principal cities in the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area. Cleveland Street is one of the city's historic avenues, and the city includes BayCare Ballpark and Coachman Park. The city is separated by the Intracoastal Waterway from Clearwater Beach. Clearwater is the home of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where bottlenose dolphins Winter and Hope live. The global headquarters of the Church of Scientology is located in Clearwater.
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    Inspiration

    Spend some time on the sand watching these beach web cams

    With beachside vacations being put on hold with coronavirus-related closures, there’s an alternative way to access sand and surf – right from your screen. Across United States, the nation’s beaches are being represented on screen from coast to coast. Embrace these picturesque views across the United States through these web cams. In California, view Doran Beach in Bodega Bay’s Doran National Park in Sonoma County beach. Torrance Beach’s webcam captures this 1.5 mile stretch of sand. Meanwhile in Monterey County, the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel keeps a camera’s eye on the Big Sur Coastline. In San Diego, the landmark Hotel del Coronado shows off its sandy scene online. On Visit California’s website, take a 360 degree VR experience along California’s North Coast Beaches; catch more of the Golden State’s beaches through LiveBeaches.com. Wisconsin’s Madeline Island, the largest of the state’s Apostle Islands, is home to the two-mile Big Bay Beach along with Big Bay State Park. In South Carolina, see different parts of Myrtle Beach through this EarthCam plus Edisto Beach on Edisto Island can be seen through video too. In Virginia Beach, view various filming angles of this coastal city, including its boardwalk, along with the waterside community of Sandbridge. The Wildwoods, NJ lights up with nine cameras throughout this five-mile island capturing its boardwalks and beaches. Also, find different feeds of the Jersey Shore beaches, from Asbury Park to Atlantic City and Cape May. Other Jersey beaches range from Jenkinson’s Point Pleasant Beach to Bay Head. Long Island, New York has live cameras on locations, including Long Beach, with its 2.2-mile boardwalk; Main Beach in East Hampton; Coopers Beach in Southampton; and Fire Island. Florida has their beaches covered and can be seen through the Visit Florida website. However, their respective regions are also showing their sand off. Paradise Coast is experiencing cameras across Naples and Marco Island, while The Palm Beaches have their eight beach cams collectively on one website; Florida Keys and Key West have a wide variety of water and beach view web cams. Also in Florida, South Walton is streaming Alys Beach and Grayton Beach and Grayton Dunes in Grayton Beach State Park. Pensacola Beach can be screened with east, west and south views. St. Pete/Clearwater through four live beach webcams of Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks Beach and two different views of St. Pete Beach. Or check out Miami's sand scene with these beach cams.

    Inspiration

    Where to Find The Best Cocktails for Fall

    When those summertime margaritas and rum punches turn to cherry-tinted Manhattans or bourbon-forward Old Fashioneds, you know autumn has fallen. From tailgating to Thanksgiving to Halloween, these complex, robust, cold-weather cocktail flavors combine the crispness of the season with a warmer, more generous, flavor profile. Want to get started on your seasonal cocktailing? Here are six fall cocktails to look out for and where you can hunker down to drink them. The Palm, multiple locations This classic steakhouse, known for its prime beef and lively caricatures of patrons and celebrities lining the walls, has gone from a single New York City restaurant in the 1920s to 21 locations around the globe. And though you can always enjoy a generous martini, this season you can also choose from five new fall cocktails. For a more well-heeled concoction, the Figaro consists of Basil Hayden’s dark rye, Amaro Montenegro, caramelized fig syrup and black walnut while the South Side of Italy is a playful mixture of Plymouth gin, Lillet Blanc, Caravella Limoncello, simple syrup, lemon juice and mint. The Sazerac Bar, New Orleans, LA This French Quarter gem occupies a slice of New Orleans cocktail history. And with its signature dark wood, leather chairs, and dark, narrow bar, you’ll want to make sure you have time to enjoy its namesake Sazerac in the place it was born. The timeless drink is mixed with Sazerac Rye, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar and Herbsaint but you can also sip the Brown Derby, with Buffalo Trace bourbon, grapefruit, lemon, honey and Rhubarb bitters. The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen Spirits, Charleston, SC This rooftop restaurant shells out handcrafted cocktails relying on locally sourced, unorthodox ingredients like carrots and corn. Take a seat indoors or outdoors and soak up the panoramic views of Charleston’s stunning architecture, then order one of these eccentric drinks to keep you company. The Trader’s Village is a play on Mexican street corn and combines corn infused tequila, ancho reyes, egg yolk, lime juice, and avocado orgeat, while the clarified milk punch dubbed the Clearwater merges bourbon, Plantation 5 year rum, port wine and citrus, garnished with warm bread pudding. Now, if that won’t warm your soul, nothing will. My Friend Duke, New York, NY A downtown cocktail den seamlessly plunked in Manhattan’s Murray Hill, My Friend Duke is a neighborhood joint with an upscale vibe. In addition to the 11th St. Manhattan, which adds a cheeky taste of Drambuie to its rye, antica and bitters, the Night Owl is an exciting potion fusing cold brew coffee soaked in oats, Irish whiskey and Demerara sugar – then charged with nitrogen. By the time you’ve imbibed these fall mixtures, this cocktail den will morph to a place where everybody knows your name. Nari, San Francisco, CA The biggest problem at Nari will be choosing which cocktail to try next. A sister restaurant of New York’s beloved Kin Khao, this two-level Thai palace pairs bold seasonal flavors with an ambitious cocktail menu broken up into punch, standard cocktails, low-alcohol and zero-proof. The punches are sized for sharing so you’ll have to bring friends to sample concoctions like the Tua Kua, with whiskey, amber vermouth, lime, peanut orgeat, cacao and bitters. Standard cocktails include the coconut-washed bourbon, salt and bruleed palm sugar lime peel that make up the Benja. Or the Sita, a blend of whiskey, toasted brown rice, Benedictine, amaro and angostura. Feel like taking it easy? Try the refreshing session cocktail called the Ambhan, with sweet vermouth, amaro, plum liqueur and spiced angostura. King of Cups, Chicago, IL Sow your royal cocktails at this imperially themed bar in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. And in addition to the over-the-top Rococo-style décor, including an interactive throne, the cocktails are many and come on tap, with a swizzle, stirred or shaken. The perfect cool companion, the Absolute Rule is a carbonated tap cocktail blending bourbon, brandy, and Guinness while The Lady India is likened to a whiskey sour and shakes together a strange brew of bourbon, sweet vermouth, lemon, IPA, beer syrup and angostura. And if you’re mood for a boozier creation, try the well-stirred Ginger Grant, with Scotch, fry vermouth, pomegranate balsamic and orange bitters.

    Inspiration

    Tap into The Spirit of The Desert in Tucson, Arizona

    With 350 sunny days a year, Tucson is a wonderful place to see the great outdoors, especially at Saguaro National Park. And thanks to its eclectic mix of American, Mexican, and Native American culture, it’s also an excellent blend of Southwestern influences. From the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, this article will guide you through some of the best indoor experiences and attractions that Tucson has to offer. In no particular order, you’d do well to add one or all of the below to your bucket list: 1. See the world’s largest collection of grounded aircraft. Aircraft boneyards and parked airplanes are a big deal in Tucson. This is because the dry, clear, and mostly smog-free climate is an ideal place to minimize corrosion while storing them. What’s more, Tucson's alkaline soil is so firm that airplanes can be towed and parked on it without the need of a tarmac. Which is why the U.S. Air Force keeps an astonishing 4,400 reusable aircraft parked here. Although the government boneyards are closed to the public, you can get an impressive and up-close taste of them at the Pima Air & Space Museum, home to more than 350 specialty airplanes sitting on 80 acres of both indoor and outdoor display. 2. Learn how life survives in the desert. As indicated by the extreme temperatures and lack of perceivable life, it takes one tough cookie to survive the Sonora and greater Arizona deserts. That fight for survival is on full display at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is a 98-acre outdoor zoo, indoor aquarium, botanical garden, art gallery, and natural history museum not far from the west entrance of Saguaro National Park. With two miles of designated trails, shade cover, and ice cream on site, it’s an enlightening way to soak in both state and Tucson history. It’s also a great way to see local wildlife, whether at one of two aviaries on display or at one of the coyotes, bears, mountain lions, or reptile exhibits. 3. Get campy at the award-winning Gaslight Theatre. For more than 40 years, the Gaslight Theatre has been spoofing pop culture, movies, and performing arts in a wonderful saloon-type setting. Known for its music (especially its talented pianist), laugh-out-loud acting, audience participation, and free popcom, its an unexpected but pleasant surprise. To get a taste of the variety on display, the theatre is currently parodying both Star Trek and James Bond, as well as cover concerts celebrating the music of Dolly Parton, Barbara Streisand, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. 4. Go back in time at the museum of miniatures. Even better than the famous Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a magical experience through time and place, as told by more than 300 miniature houses and decor in over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space. Looking at miniature houses dating back to 1742 might not seem like much, but most visitors stay up to two hours and leave unexpectedly delighted. “Jaw dropping,” wrote one recent visitor. “I was a little skeptical at first but will definitely go back,” wrote another. 5. See great southwestern art in a beautiful desert setting. Named a “National Register of Historic Places,” the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum rates just as well among visitors as it does art historians. Designed and built by acclaimed Arizona artist and architect Ted DeGrazia, the 10-acre site features world-famous painting, a mission, adobe gallery, and cactus courtyard just to name a few. Built in 1951, the setting and artwork on display is as surreal as it is inspiring. 6. Take the scenic car route. If you want to see the great outdoors while still beating the heat, consider scenic drives by car through either Saguaro National Park (both east and west sections), Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, or the stunning Gates Pass via the Tucson Mountains. For even more good looks, you’d do well to visit the Franklin Auto Museum. For over 40 years, the classic car collection has displayed more than 20 antique Franklin automobiles in the center of Tucson. It’s only open from October to May, however, so plan accordingly. 7. Eat your heart out. Not fully Mexican and not quite Tex-Mex, Tucson has its own Southwestern flavor. You can try that first hand at Boca Tacos. Or at the oldest Mexican restaurant in the country at El Charros. But if you really want to go big, you could attempt the full 23 miles of the best Mexican food in America, as rated by UNESCO. BONUS: For an excellent and recently restored Spanish colonial church, visit Mission San Xavier del Bac. This article was independently commissioned for sponsorship by Visit Tucson. All editorial views are those of Budget Travel alone and reflect our policy of editorial independence and impartiality.

    This content is sponsored by Visit Tucson
    National ParksBudget Travel Lists

    Discover 6 Perfect Florida State Parks

    In Florida, a day at a park doesn’t always have to mean hanging out with The Minions, Mickey or Big Bird, though it often does. No surprise, considering the Sunshine State is synonymous with popular theme and water parks. But, Florida is also home to 175 state parks scattered from the Panhandle to the Keys, each offering an opportunity to experience the state’s myriad natural and cultural treasures, whether streams and rivers threading through a verdant landscape, a system of caverns peppered with stalactites, miles of undeveloped sandy beaches, dense tracts of forests dripping with moss, or historic forts and lighthouses. The entire compendium of state parks shows off Florida’s grand diversity of ecosystems, from mangroves to pinelands to dunes, as well as the resident and migrant creatures that call these vast expanses home or pay a seasonal visit. In the six state parks below, a grand array of enticing scenery and activities are on full display. (You can learn more at floridastateparks.org.) 1. Oleta River State Park Just 30 minutes from downtown Miami, Oleta is considered Florida’s largest urban park and one offering numerous water- and land-based activities. Inside the park, BG Oleta River Outdoors (bgoletariveroutdoor.com) rents canoes and kayaks so visitors can paddle through dark, foliage tunnels along the mangrove-lined river and then on to peaceful Biscayne Bay and the Intercoastal Waterway with opportunities to spot river otter, and sea turtles. (This concession also offers full moon and one-hour Friday sunset kayak tours.) And, despite Miami’s perfectly flat topography, Oleta is considered one of Florida’s best mountain biking venues, with more than a dozen miles of interconnected, challenging single track coursing beside the park’s waterways. 2. Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park On the southern tip of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs is most noted for its one-mile-some beach -- perfect for sunning and swimming -- that’s often named as one of the top 10 beaches in the U.S. by Dr. Stephen Leatherman of Florida International University, aka Dr. Beach. Bird watchers are also attracted to this park that’s a stopover on the Atlantic Flyway for migrating species, such as Cerulean and Bay-breasted wood-warblers. Anyone walking to the southern tip of the Pond Trail will be near the Cape Florida Lighthouse, South Florida’s oldest structure that provides stunning views of Biscayne Bay, Key Biscayne and South Beach. 3. Topsail Hill Preserve State Park Named for the tallest of the coastal dunes along the Gulf of Mexico that resembles a ship’s sail, rising over 25 feet high, Topsail Hill, located in the Florida Panhandle, preserves these white quartz dunes with lakes -- a unique ecosystem -- where fresh and saltwater mix. Those with a fishing license can try to snag catfish, bream or bass in one of these lakes, or cast from the beach for Spanish mackerel, pompano or red fish. The paved Campbell Lake Bike Trail -- named for this coastal dune lake, a popular picnic spot -- that’s shaded by tall longleaf pines appeals to cyclists. 4. Hillsborough River State Park Just a few minutes north of Tampa, Hillsborough is one of the few spots in Florida featuring whitewater rapids. Those who bring their own canoe relish the small section of Class II rapids. The park also rents canoes that can be put in just below the rapids on this blackwater river, the color deriving from the tannins leaching from fallen leaves. Growing along the shore, live oaks, magnolia and cypress trees provide for shaded paddling, with opportunities to see otters or alligators on the banks. History buffs often sign up on a guided tour of the reconstructed Fort Foster, a replica of the circa 1837 fort from the time of the Second Seminole Indian War. 5. Honeymoon Island State Park Having received its name after several dozen honeymoon cottages were constructed (and subsequently demolished) in the early 1940s, this barrier island remains a stunning day-trip from Tampa for nature lovers. Though beachgoers flock to the sandy and seashell/rock studded four-mile stretch, a wild landscape of tide pools, sand dunes and salt marshes await those walking past the last parking lot to the shaded Osprey Trail. Hikers will find monarch butterflies fluttering about and the ever-present scent of pine. (A real treat is seeing osprey with their young.) 6. Caladesi Island State Park A short ferry ride away from Honeymoon Island, Caladesi was once attached to its sister island prior to a major hurricane in 1921. Though now connected to Clearwater Beach after a land bridge formed, Caladesi feels like the Florida of another era, once visitors wander past the ranger station/concession, with nothing but the sounds of bird calls, and the tide lapping at the powdery beach. In 2018, Dr. Beach ranked Caladesi’s dazzling quartz sands as one of the country’s top 10. A network of sandy trails wind through the heart of this island where signs remind visitors that the dense interior is snake territory.

    News

    Travel News: Coast-to-Coast Bargain Trips for Fall 2018

    We’re just getting started covering some of the hottest fall bargains, deals, and steals. As summer temperatures drop, so do the vacation prices, from Pacific coast hideaways like Morro Bay, CA, to posh Atlantic resorts like The Sea Pines, in Hilton Head, SC. Here, five of the latest bargains you should pounce on now. A STYLISH STEAL ON HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC A two-bedroom villa on Hilton Head, SC, from $136/night. Any questions? We didn’t think so. But you should know that The Sea Pines Resort is one of the top-rated properties on Hilton Head, and fall (and winter) stays are an absolute steal. The resort’s Getaway Package includes lodging and activities available Sept. 8, 2018 through March 1, 2019, including tennis, cycling, golf for all ages, dinners and food discounts, spa discounts, and even a complimentary family portrait photo session on the beach. Rates start at $136/night for a minimum of four nights in a two-bedroom deluxe villa in the resort’s Plantation Club. A NEW MARITIME MUSEUM IN MORRO BAY, CA We named Morro Bay one of the Best Budget Destinations in America 2018, and we are so pleased to announce that, after 25 years of fundraising and hard work, the charming fishing village that makes visitors feel like family is opening the Morro Bay Maritime Museum on September 29. Located right on the town’s bustling waterfront (home to some of the finest fresh seafood anywhere), the museum will offer free admission each Saturday through the end of the year. Exhibits will include an authentic crafted Salinan Tribe Tule Boat, U.S. Navy history and memorabilia, and much more. And Morro Bay packs a bunch of festivals into its fall calendar, celebrating the region’s seafood, avocados, wine, and more. LEAF PEEPING IN THE ADIRONDACKS, NY A fall visit to Adirondack State Park, in upstate New York, offers, in addition to hotel rates well under $200/night, the opportunity to savor eye-popping fall foliage from a variety of unusual angles. These include: an aerial tour of the region’s legendary reds, yellows, and golds, with takeoff and land in Long Lake and Inlet; an Amtrak dome car, with windows on all sides, from Albany, NY, to Montreal, Canada; a luxurious dinner cruise on Raquette Lake; a quiet river rafting excursion in the Hudson River Gorge; a cycling tour to historic Great Camp Santanoni with its lake views and apple orchards; kayak one of the region’s seemingly endless waterways amid fall finery. Get Adirondacks foliage updates starting September 12 at adirondacksusa.com. CANOE WESTERN MONTANA Western Montana’s Seeley-Swan Valley, roughly south of Glacier National Park and north of Missoula, offers an unparalleled chain of lakes and quiet waterways closed to motorized boats, the Clearwater River Canoe Trail. It’s about a  two-hour paddle that takes you past incredible mountain vistas, marshes, and Montana’s bursts of autumn yellows and golds. Lodging in Seeley Lake and other communities along the waterway is always reasonable, and vacation rentals on Seeley Lake offer pinch-me views (visitmt.com). FALL FOLIAGE IN THE BRONX New Yorkers and those visiting the Big Apple should seriously consider a autumn stay-cation or day trip to the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx (yup, the Bronx, one of our Best Budget Destinations in America 2017). The Botanical Garden highlights foliage season with two Fall Forest Weekends that include guided walks through the largest remaining tract of old-growth forest in NYC, the 50-acre Thain Family Forest, as the leaves put on an annual show that rivals that of any region in America. Visitors can canoe down the Bronx River, experience birds-of-prey demonstrations, and even take in live Shakespeare performances. Now that’s a fall weekend (nybg.org).

    News

    Travel News: 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America

    We’ve been devouring OpenTable’s list if the 100 Most Scenic Restaurants in America, which is based on more than 12 million reviews of restaurants across the U.S. by “verified diners” (meaning the reviews were not written by the restaurants themselves or by public relations reps). The varying vistas these eateries offer range from seascapes, nature to city skylines to iconic landmarks. But even a quick glance at the list makes it clear that some of the most beautiful restaurant views come with a hefty price tag. With that in mind, we did a deeper dive into the scenic restaurants whose menu items are aimed a bit more at bargain seekers like us - those where dinner with a drink and tip will come in roughly under $30/person. The good news is there are plenty of affordable options in all regions of the U.S. Here, a few of the standouts (to learn more or book a reservation, look them up on OpenTable). THE WEST It’s no secret that Budget Travelers love California’s Central Coast, and Ventana Grill, right on the water in Pismo Beach, will knock you out with seascapes (ventana, after all, means “window” in Spanish), good prices, and great Latin American fare and, of course, seafood.. Beachcomber Cafe - Crystal Cove, in Newport Beach, CA, is right on the water and gets high marks for breakfast and beignets. Duke’s, in La Jolla and in Malibu, CA, wows visitors with its ambience and Hula Pie. El Five serves up a popular paella - not to mention breathtaking views of downtown Denver, CO. THE NORTHEAST Boat House Waterfront Dining, in Tiverton, RI, offers lobster fritters along with waterside views. Legal Harborside, in Boston, MA, is the place for fish and chips (and, do we have to say it… chowder), served, yes, harborside. Parc, on beautiful Rittenhouse Square, in Philadelphia, PA, gets raves for its French cuisine, including the cheesy, bubbly onion soup. THE MIDWEST The Bistro at Gervasi Vineyard, in Canton, OH, offers beautiful vineyard views plus a posh interior and, of course, great wine. Primavista serves affordable Italian food with sweeping views of Cincinnati, plus a bread pudding you should save some room for. THE SOUTH The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing, on the water in Richmond, VA, generates plenty of buzz for its shrimp and grits. Columbia Restaurant - SandKey, in Clearwater, FL, pours a popular sangria in an open, airy space with windows looking out on the water. Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, in Charleston, SC, focuses on seafood, including its ever-popular shrimp and grits.

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    DESTINATION IN Florida

    Dunedin

    Dunedin is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. The name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. Dunedin is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area and is the 5th largest city in Pinellas County. The population was 35,321 at the 2010 census.Dunedin is home to several beaches, including Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, and Caladesi Island State Park, which is consistently rated among the best beaches in the world. Dunedin is one of the few open waterfront communities from Sarasota to Cedar Key where buildings do not completely obscure the view of the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico beyond; a 1-mile (1.6 km) stretch of Edgewater Drive (also known as Alternate US 19) south of downtown offers views of St. Joseph Sound, Clearwater Beach, and Caladesi Island. Downtown Clearwater and Clearwater Beach are a 6-mile (10 km) drive south on Edgewater. The downtown business district is notable for its absence of large commercial signage, corporate franchise restaurants or chain retail stores. The Pinellas Trail, a 39-mile-long (63 km) bicycle and pedestrian trail that traverses all of Pinellas County, bisects downtown Dunedin. A large portion of the trail lies on the former roadbed of the Orange Belt Railway, the first railroad in Pinellas County, which arrived in 1888. Since 1977, Dunedin has been the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as the class-A Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League. In April and May 2021, the Blue Jays played their regulation games at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, due to COVID-19 cross-border restrictions. Dunedin is one of the smallest communities used by Major League spring training teams, although surrounded by a large metropolitan area. TD Ballpark is situated next to the Dunedin Public Library a few blocks south of downtown on Douglas Avenue, and is just two blocks east of Edgewater Drive. The stadium was built as a replacement to Grant Field, the Blue Jays' first spring training ball park. The library was founded in 1895 and is the oldest public library in Pinellas County.Until early 2005, Dunedin was the home of Nielsen Media Research's production operations. The city is home to multiple breweries including Dunedin Brewery, Florida's oldest microbrewery.