Clearwater Beach’s Sandpearl Resort is the latest in our “Day On, Day Off” series, in which we spend one day exclusively on-property, and the next, a full day in town.
Day On at Sandpearl Resort
Buffet at Caretta’s
Start your day at the resort with the best buffet you’ve ever had at Caretta’s. Omelets and eggs cooked to order, fresh Belgian waffles, pastries, smoked salmon, fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, hash brown casserole, and cereal are among the many options. Get there early (they open at 7 a.m.) and snag a seat on the patio, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, to watch the sun come up while you enjoy your breakfast.
A Cabana by the Pool
For an experience far-removed from swimming in a backyard or public pool, head to Sandpearl’s central pool and treat yourself by renting a cabana, which comes with lounge chairs, fans, couches, refrigerators, and even a TV. The sloped-entry pool is also climate controlled, making it comfortable for year-round swimming, and there are beach toys available for families.
An Afternoon at the Spa
Keep the rest and relaxation going by spending a few hours at the Spa at Sandpearl Resort. The Essence package has everything you need to feel invigorated and refreshed: a 50-minute custom facial to hydrate and nourish your skin, a 50-minute Swedish massage to relax your body, and a manicure and pedicure. A light lunch is offered midway through.
The Bell Means It’s Dinner Time
If you hear a bell, it’s not in your head. The ringing of the resort’s dinner bell is a tradition that dates back to Sandpearl’s earliest days, where a guest will ring the bell to indicate the end of the beach day and the start of dinner time. Make your way over to Tate Island Grill, home to a relaxed, fun atmosphere, including live music on Fridays and Saturdays, TVs with the games on, and a beachside fire pit to finish your night over some drinks and good conversation.
Day Off in Clearwater Beach
Breakfast at Maggie Mae’s
Day two begins just a couple miles away from the resort, over at Maggie Mae’s, where the menu is packed with just about every breakfast option imaginable. “Mom’s Best” is the best-selling dish: two eggs, home fries, bacon (or sausage or ham), and a biscuit. Sitting inside can be a little tight when there’s a line of waiting diners, so if the weather allows, try to grab a seat outside on the deck perched over the ocean.
It’s a Beach…And a Park
People wondering what to do in Clearwater Beach frequently turn their attention to the beaches. And for good reason – they’re Clearwater’s bread and butter. Sand Key Park, just three mile south of Sandpearl, has all the ingredients for a comfortable day at the beach: white sand, clear water, concessions, bath houses (with changing stalls), outdoor showers to shed the day’s sand and salt, and even shelters and grills for reserving.
Gelato for Lunch
It may not be the most nutritionally well-rounded lunch, but, hey, you’re on vacation. Gala’s Gelateria will delight with their gelato (try the Bosco Incantato – chocolate and seasonal fruit gelato with whipped cream), croissants, crepes (they have savory options too – ham and cheese, prosciutto, etc.), and coffees.
Surf the Sky
Sky Surfing Aviation caters to daredevils with aerial tours in their trikes – what look like a cross between a scooter and a hang glider. The basic 60-minute flight lesson includes a safety and training portion, and then sends you soaring through the sky with a pilot, heading south, past the Shell Key and John’s Pass, all while observing marine life from above. You’ll even get a chance to take the wheel.
Dinner at Cafe Ponte
You may not expect to find such fine dining wedged in a strip mall, but don’t judge Cafe Ponte by its exterior. A favorite of critics in the area, the restaurant is named after its chef and owner Christopher Ponte, who enjoyed an education and career in France and New York prior to opening the restaurant in 2002. Thanks to an open-kitchen concept, diners watch the back-of-house staff prepare their dishes, which, while American, are also French, Asian, and Italian-inspired.
Where to Stay Sandpearl Resort