If you are looking for the perfect family trip where no one spends the day saying, “I’m bored,” then Clearwater, FL, is the place for you.
Clearwater Beach offers three miles of sand and sea with a beachside promenade for walking. You’ll find plenty of boutique shops and souvenir stores. There are excellent food choices from casual to fine dining restaurants. Water sports include fishing, jet skiing, swimming, snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and more. If you want to avoid renting a car, the Clearwater Jolley Trolley can get you around.
For the best family vacation destination, check out these top 13 fun things to do in Clearwater with kids.
1) Watch Beautiful Dolphins Swimming Freely
Clearwater Beach is home to scores of bottlenose dolphins who live and play in the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico year-round. Take a dolphin cruise from Clearwater Beach Marina to watch these amazing dolphins in their natural habitat.
The local guides onboard are happy to share their extensive knowledge about dolphins and other animals at home in Clearwater Beach. As the captain takes you to the best areas for dolphin sightings, your guide will point out famous celebrity homes you can see from the water.
2) Captain Bligh’s Landing
Travel back to when swashbuckling pirates still sailed the Gulf of Mexico in search of treasure. Explore hidden caves and peek behind waterfalls in an effort to sink your golf ball into the cup. This is no ordinary golf course. This is a pirate course and one of the best things to do in Clearwater, FL with kids.
Captain Bligh’s Landing is an 18-hole mini-golf venue at the southern end of Clearwater Beach. Golfers navigate through holes in a large pirate ship, waterfalls, and several caves. There is also an arcade with the usual video games and carnival-style prizes in exchange for game tickets. Captain Bligh’s is open daily from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm.
3) Moccasin Lake Nature Park
Moccasin Lake Nature Park offers things to do with kids in Clearwater, where they can learn more about nature and the ecosystems of South Florida. The 51-acre park is a nature preserve with protected wildlife and mature oak trees.
Visitors can walk along the nature trails and boardwalks in search of gopher turtles, raccoons, and many different birds. Several injured birds of prey have been brought here for rehabilitation and now call the Moccasin Lake Nature Park their home.
4) Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival
World-class sand artists come to Clearwater Beach for two weeks in April to compete for prizes at the Sugar Sand Festival at Pier 60. Visitors can walk through the 21,000-square-foot Pier 60 structure to watch the sand artists as they create their impressive sculptures.
The festival offers free live music, fireworks, and sand sculpting classes. There are food vendors, bounce houses, and a Ferris wheel. On the first Saturday, there is a cornhole tournament where players compete for cash prizes for first, second, and third place. On Saturdays at 9:30 pm, there is a free fireworks show. Skip the line by purchasing tickets online.
5) Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise
Cruise around Clearwater Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico on a pirate ship built for tourism in 1993. Captain Memo’s offers three sailings daily for two hours on a three-story ship that offers activities for all ages.
Activities for kids include:
Water gun battles
Family fun for everyone:
Great view of Clearwater Beach
Possible dolphin sighting
6) Clearwater Marine Aquarium
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium aims to rescue injured animals, rehabilitate and release them when possible. In some cases, after an injured animal is nursed back to health, they cannot go back out into the wild, and they become a permanent resident of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Resident animals at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium include:
The aquarium’s daily schedule includes animal feeding and informational presentations about turtles, dolphins, sharks, stingrays, and dinosaurs. There are also a series of interactive dinosaur exhibits and wildlife boat rides.
7) Memorial Causeway Green Trail
Your active and adventurous family can explore the Clearwater Beach area more by hiking the Memorial Causeway Green Trail. The trail is an easy hike on a paved pedestrian and bike path that’s 2.6 miles roundtrip.
One end of the trail starts where the Pinellas Trail ends at Turner Street and East Avenue in Clearwater. The other trail end is at Gulfview Boulevard in Clearwater Beach. The view is spectacular, with most of the trail running close to the water.
You’ll find several wide areas with overlooks where you can stop for a rest break and take pictures. There are also plenty of benches and trash bins along the way.
8) Coachman Park
Coachman Park has recently undergone an extensive upgrade with 19 acres of park space, offering plenty of outdoor fun for families.
A 9,000-seat covered outdoor performing arts concert venue offers live music and shows. An elevated bluff walkway has fantastic views of Clearwater Beach and the Clearwater Marina and connects the park to downtown Clearwater.
The pedestrian path offers views of the Intracoastal Waterway, and kids will enjoy a pirate-themed playground area with a splash pad. Bring a picnic lunch and relax while the kids run off some energy!
9) Watch The Gorgeous Sunsets
The sunsets at Clearwater Beach are some of the best in Florida. During certain times of the year, sunset watchers have even seen the legendary green flash as the sun dips below the horizon.
Take a sunset cruise for a truly magical experience for the whole family to enjoy. The experienced crew with The Tropics Boat Tours takes their guests on a Tropics Sunset Celebration Cruise from Clearwater Bay through Clearwater Pass to the beautiful Gulf of Mexico.
The cruise is available for all ages, and guests aged 21 and above will get a complimentary sunset champagne toast. The crew will point out popular sites along the way and share stories about the Clearwater area.
10) Family-Friendly Activities Near Clearwater
Great Explorations Children’s Museum is in St. Petersburg, 20 miles south of Clearwater. The Children’s Museum allows kids to play, explore and create. Tables piled high with building materials, including a wall of legos, allow children to create their masterpieces. The Live on Air exhibit will enable kids to see themselves on television. At the museum’s center is Longo’s Cove, with platforms and netting where kids can climb and explore.
Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay is a unique theme park with thrilling roller coasters, log rides, river rapids, kiddie rides, and animal attractions. Next to the park is Islands of Adventure, a water park with water slides, pools, and kid-friendly attractions. The parks are about 30 miles northeast of Clearwater in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay Grand Prix is an exciting indoor go-kart center with two locations. One in Tampa Bay and the other serving the Clearwater and St. Petersburg area. Racers can choose from the Grand Prix track with a challenging mix of twists, turns, and straightaways, or a speed track.
11) Pier 60
Spend a day at the Pier enjoying the beach, shopping, and playing at the playground. There’s a giant inflatable waterslide with separate lanes, so you can compete to see who is the fastest. You don’t need a car to get there; the Clearwater Jolley Trolley stops here.
The Sunsets at Pier 60 celebration starts two hours before sunset every night. You can watch street performers, firebreathers, musicians, and dancers. Shop for souvenirs from the vendors selling their handmade artisan crafts.
12) Sand Key Park – One Of Clearwater’s Secret Beaches
After spending a day with the crowds at the hugely popular Clearwater Beach, you might be ready for a quiet alternative. That’s where Sand Key Park shines.
Sand Key Park is 95 acres of sandy beach and grass park. Sand Key has plenty of parking and lots of room to spread out. There are two picnic shelters with barbecue grills, restrooms, outdoor showers, a boardwalk, a nature trail, and a playground. Beach umbrellas, kayaks, bicycles, and beach cabanas are available for rent.
13) Clearwater Fishing
Fishing is a popular sport in Clearwater, and you can fish from shore or a fishing pier. You might catch snook, spotted sea trout, or redfish. One of the most popular Clearwater fishing spots is the 1,080-foot Pier 60 fishing pier.
The bait shop rents fishing poles and reels, and the staff is happy to suggest which bait to use and where to set up your pole. You’ll even find anglers enjoying night fishing, with the lights from the pier illuminating the water. An all-day fishing pass is just $10.00.
Clearwater Is A Great Place For A Family-Friendly Adventure
As you can see, Clearwater Beach is the perfect destination for a family vacation. Sunshine, sandy beaches, wildlife, fishing, and live entertainment offer something for even the most difficult member of the family to enjoy.