The beach is the first item on any Clearwater and St. Petersburg itinerary, but those who make a beeline for the sands miss out on these five unique attractions and one truly unique island paradise.
A Jaw-Dropping One Man Show
Plenty of Florida destinations boast piers, but few can touch the unpredictable, always entertaining nightlife at Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach. From 5:30-9:30 p.m. every night of the year, the city throws itself a party, and it’s one of the select places in America where you can see a man juggle flaming sticks while riding a seven foot tall unicycle.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to arguably the best up-close dolphin interactions in the United States, but Winter is the star. The aquatic headliner of the film Dolphin Tale is an energetic and entertaining performer, despite having a first-of-its-kind prosthetic tail to make up for the loss of its flipper.
The Dali Museum
Salvador Dali experimented freely with perspective and shapes to create his masterworks, and St. Pete’s glass and concrete museum is a paean to his art. Outside you’ll find latticed glass domes bending around the structure, and inside you’ll find the largest collection of Dali art and mind-bending architectural helixes to admire.
Shells and History
Clearwater is one of the rare spots where Native American history is present in the land itself, rather than plaques and museum exhibits. The Tocobaga tribe lived in the region 1,000 years ago and survived on a steady diet of shellfish, leaving behind mounds of oyster, clam, and mussel shells that account for many of the elevation changes you’ll find in Clearwater and St. Petersburg. Visit nearby Safety Harbor’s Phillipe Park for the best example, a 20 foot tall mound that gives you a terrific view of the Gulf of Mexico.
Oh, and One of the Best Beaches in the World
Of course, you’ll still want to visit a beach, and Caladesi Island is one of the most pristine and peaceful white sands stretches in the world. Take a leisurely three-mile ferry ride and disembark on one of Florida’s few truly natural islands. Either laze the day away under the hot sun or kayak your way around its perimeter.