The Perfect Winter Escape
As the dark and dreary days of winter take their toll, it’s natural to seek out the warmth of the sunshine. Nestled on the warm emerald waters of Florida’s Gulf Coast, St. Pete/Clearwater boasts more than 35 miles of sugary white-sand beaches. Whether you’re seeking pure relaxation, a bit of adventure, or a mix of both, these vibrant communities have something to offer everyone. Soak up the sun during the day and enjoy al fresco dining all year long. With St. Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach named in the top 25 U.S. beaches by Tripadvisor, the communities of St. Pete/Clearwater have something to offer everyone. It’s the kind of place that brings people back year after year.
Trust the Locals
With so many amazing beach destinations, what makes St. Pete/Clearwater so special? The answer is best given by longtime locals, who welcome visitors to their hometown year after year. Lisa Chandler, founder of the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, believes that the natural beauty combined with a welcoming atmosphere is what sets this area apart. “Our sunsets are like no other. It’s a very family friendly, wholesome atmosphere. That’s what continues to bring people back,” she says. This community celebrates its beauty on a regular basis. Chandler is passionate about the nightly sunset celebration that has taken place in Pier 60 Park for the last 28 years: “Each night we celebrate the sunset two hours before until two hours after sunset and the festival features artisans, crafters and street performers.”
As a tribute to this unique community, Chandler founded The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival. “We decided to create a 21,000 square foot art museum made out of sand and water,” she says. “The whole idea was to celebrate what we consider to be Mother Nature’s two best assets, which are our sugar sand and our sunsets.” The 17-day festival features not only the sand exhibits but concerts, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences. It’s a family-friendly environment that takes place every April. No matter what time of year you choose to visit, you’ll find a community that is ready and welcoming. “We have year-round lifeguards, our beaches are groomed 365 days of the year, and there’s a plethora of nightlife and restaurants for people to choose from. We’re surrounded by water, so there’s a host of water activities that all ages and demographics can enjoy,” says Chandler.
Something for Everyone
St. Pete/Clearwater truly has something for everyone. Whether large families traveling together, couples, or groups, there is no shortage of things to do and see. Misty Wells, host of ‘Let’s Take it Outside’, agrees: “The cool thing about Clearwater is that it’s for everyone. Anyone that wants to have fun in their own way on the beach or in the outdoors is drawn to Clearwater because we just have so much to do here.” Wells, who is also an avid outdoor enthusiast, also thinks that this part of Florida has a unique offering. “We have the best beaches in Florida, we truly do,” she says. “We have the sugary sand beach with clear, calm waters. We also have the intracoastal as well, so we have those nice safe areas for paddle boarding and boating.” Beyond that, Wells says that the people and atmosphere are truly welcoming: “We love our visitors. We want people here. We get to see some of the same people once or twice a year and we love that.”
Easy Access and Accessible
Whether it’s a short drive or a quick flight, this gem on the Gulf Coast is an easy trip. AC Hotel Clearwater Beach Senior Sales Manager Garvey Johnson emphasizes that “Clearwater Beach is such a tranquil, tropical destination. It’s an easy destination to get to both for the fly and drive market. Flying in, travelers can choose from both St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and Tampa International Airport (TPA), which have hundreds of affordable non-stop flights a day from across the country. For the second year in a row this year, TPA was named the best large airport in the country by USA Today.”
Once you arrive, it’s easy to explore the surrounding communities and destinations. “A lot of visitors that stay in Clearwater Beach will discover that there are tons of great destinations close by for day tripping,” says Johnson. “There are little hidden gems all around us. Honeymoon Island, St. Pete, downtown Clearwater…there are endless places to explore in this gorgeous Gulf Coast region of Florida.”
When the winter weather has you seeking a warmer climate, look no further than the beaches of St. Pete/Clearwater. It’s a destination where you’ll be warmly welcomed by locals. Brimming with beautiful beaches and calm waters, St. Pete/Clearwater will welcome you time and again.
Let’s Shine—plan your next getaway at VisitStPeteClearwater.com