Caladesi Island State Park in Florida has the honor of being neighbors with one of the top-rated beaches in the USA: Clearwater Beach. If you can pull yourself away from the sugar-white sand and venture just a few paces north, you’ll discover a gorgeous Gulfside area that’s perfect for an afternoon picnic, a quiet day of fishing or a refreshing swim. Explore both of these beautiful areas, with a stay at one of these top hotels – bookable with Culture Trip.
Courtesy of Sandpearl Resort Private Beach / Booking.com
The suites at Sandpearl Resort – brushed with tans, browns and golden color palettes that reflect the sandy shoreline – are graciously appointed with Roman-style tubs, fully equipped kitchens and furnished Gulf-view balconies. Hop from the balcony onto a wave runner, then up into a parasail to appreciate the Gulf from all angles. While you’re enjoying the cool blue waters, why not dive deeper into the oceanography of the region, with a visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium?
No shirt, no shoes, no problems at Barefoot Bay Resort & Marina. You won’t need more than a towel and a pair of shades as you fish for mackerel off of the marina and cook it up on the poolside barbecue. Bobbing on the Mandalay Channel, you’re never more than a three-minute walk to the beach. Want to get there slower but in style? Rent a jet ski from the marina, and ride around the key.
You’re welcome to do what you please after sunrise at Pier House 60. The white-sand beaches in Clearwater are around the corner, but the pool on the Intracoastal will give you water views just as relaxing. Can’t decide which you prefer? Get both views from a king suite, and recoup from a long day of tanning on your luxury linens. Just make sure you’re awake in time for sunset on Jimmy’s Crow’s Nest – there is a complimentary sunset shot waiting for you on the 10th-floor rooftop bar.
You’d better pack more than just an appetite for luxury when you head to Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach. The Ocean Hai restaurant features the only Asian-fusion menu in town, an appetizing arrangement of sushi and sashimi platters that wonderfully complement the regional seafood dishes at their sister restaurant Dock’s. Hungry for more? Hang out poolside, and allow the staff to send over light fishy bites and salty drinks. Thank goodness, your suite has a mini-fridge for all of the leftovers you’ll haul back.
If a beach view is all you desire in a Florida vacation, we know the perfect place. The Beachview Inn does indeed have water views from its suites and poolside fire pits. The downside is that your view from the suite may include a kitchenette, dining area and dedicated living area with a comfortable couch and TV with a full sports package that will do its best to distract you from the waves outside.
Opal Sands Resort is the easel on which you’ll paint your perfect vacation. From colorful drinks at the Sandbar tiki bar to the glow your skin will earn from hours of sun and spa worshipping, your stay at Opal is a work of art in every aspect. Local artists have also adorned the suites and common spaces of the resort with paintings and sculptures, creating a small art walk that’ll tour you around the property. Perhaps, you’ll be inspired to paint your own sunset from your suite’s Gulf-view balcony.
Who said anything about relaxing on the beach? Shephard’s Beach Resort rocks the boat by packing its event calendar with tons of live music. Grab a little shuteye in the afternoon – you’re going to need all of the energy you can muster for a night spent jamming at the Tiki Beach Bar and dancing at the Wave nightclub. You won’t be able to try all 100 varieties of tequila at Salt’s bar, but you can surely cross a handful off of the list.
Coconut Cove believes that your dog deserves to dig a hole in the sand at one of the best beaches in the country. Pooches will receive their own tail-wagging welcome kit of bowls, balls and treats upon check-in. The canine concierge will gladly show them where the formal bathroom is, as well as where you two can sniff out the best dog-friendly restaurants and dog parks on the island.
Courtesy of Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Clearwater Beach / Booking.com | Courtesy of Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Clearwater Beach / Booking.com
Need a staycation that won’t break the bank? Fairfield Inn and Suites gets you within eight miles of Clearwater Beach yet keeps you tucked quietly on the Intracoastal, where you can relax uninterrupted for hours. Breakfast is free, while lunch, dinner and sunset drinks can be found within a five-minute flip-flop walk. Kayak tours, surf lessons and more outdoor fun are also nearby – but, let’s be honest, you’ll want to spend most of your time soaking away in the hot tub.
First time in Clearwater Beach? Hilton is exactly where you want to stay. Right on the white sand and next to the popular Pier 60 gathering spot for unrivaled sunsets, the Hilton will wow you with a convenient location that you’ll love almost as much as the private cabanas and sunburned skin therapies at the spa. Don’t just see the Gulf from above; let the concierge arrange a snorkeling or deep-sea fishing adventure for you so you can fully explore the emerald waters.