Clearwater Beach offers crystal-clear water and sugar-white sand. The dreamy Gulf Coast town is also blessed with a warm Florida climate that makes every day a beach day. But where to stay in Clearwater Beach for the best experience?
You find Clearwater Beach lodging in the areas South Clearwater Beach and North Clearwater Beach. Other options for where to stay when visiting Clearwater Beach are Sand Key Park and Downtown Clearwater.
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South Clearwater Beach
The beach paradise Clearwater Beach beautifully sits on the Gulf of Mexico on the western side of Florida. Its white sand beach is time after time mentioned as one of the best beaches in America.
Clearwater Beach is a long and thin island. So wherever you stay within Clearwater Beach you have the spectacular beach nearby. In other words you have easy beach access from all Clearwater Beach hotels.
Still the areas within Clearwater Beach are somewhat different. The southern part of Clearwater Beach is the busier half with more restaurants, stores, attractions and Clearwater hotels, compared to North Clearwater Beach.
A lot of what’s going on in Clearwater Beach is centered around Pier 60 that gorgeously extends 1080 feet (329 m) into the Gulf of Mexico. Sunsets at Pier 60 is a nightly tradition with vendors and musicians making the already beautiful sunsets even better.
So when you pick the southern area for where to stay in Clearwater Beach, you have both the dreamy beach and the Clearwater buzz nearby. It certainly doesn’t get much better than that.
But with great location comes higher rates, and finding Clearwater Beach lodging on a budget can be hard. For cheaper Clearwater hotels you need to look towards the other options for where to stay in Clearwater Beach and vicinity.
In conclusion, South Clearwater Beach is the best option for where to stay in Clearwater Beach if you prefer to have attractions and liveliness nearby. But if you look for something more quiet, it’s a good idea to have a look at Clearwater hotels in North Clearwater Beach and at Sand Key Park.
Pick South Clearwater Beach for: Clearwater Beach hotels with best access to attractions.
Favorite location. It’s easy to see why South Clearwater Beach is the most popular option for where to stay in Clearwater Beach. The area, home to top Clearwater Beach hotels and entertainment, has all you need for a great stay.
Best South Clearwater Beach hotels
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
Hyatt Regency at Clearwater Beach offers a spectacular Gulf view from its beautiful location just south of Pier 60. The Clearwater Beach hotel sits in a prime location for enjoying all that Clearwater Beach has to offer, including dining and shopping.
Sandpearl Resort at Clearwater Beach
This Clearwater Beach resort sits north of Pier 60 and is a piece of paradise with its beachfront location. With a spectacular Gulf view and convenient location close to everything there’s to do, Sandpearl Resort is one of the best places to stay in Clearwater Beach.
Want more of Central FL? Check out our complete guide to the best areas for vacations in Central Florida.
North Clearwater Beach
Staying in North Clearwater Beach is a great alternative to the more visited southern area. If you go from South Clearwater Beach to North Clearwater Beach, you notice that the distance between restaurants, attractions and hotels soon start to thin out.
When picking North Clearwater Beach for where to stay in Clearwater Beach, you get the same beautiful beach as you get further south. But the difference is that you have that Clearwater buzz a few steps further away. Much fewer visitors reach the northern shores than the southern half of the island.
So you get a little more peace and quiet when you stay in North Clearwater Beach, compared to the southern area. That’s excellent if you look for a more laid-back Clearwater Beach stay and don’t mind being further away from the things to do at Pier 60.
But just like for South Clearwater Beach the popular location comes with a premium price. So if you’re after cheaper Clearwater hotels, you should look towards the other options for where when visiting Clearwater Beach.
In short, North Clearwater Beach is the best option for where to stay in Clearwater Beach if you want the Clearwater experience but don’t mind having most attractions a little further away. The area is not as lively as South Clearwater Beach, but the beach is definitely as pretty.
Pick North Clearwater Beach for: A quieter Clearwater Beach stay.
Best North Clearwater Beach hotels
Can you hear that? No, of course you can’t: North Clearwater Beach is quiet and secluded. A Key West inspired gem, Hotel Cabana makes the most of this off-the-beaten-path Clearwater Beach location.
Sand Key Park
Sand Key Bridge makes it effortless to go between South Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Park. In just a matter of minutes you can go from the famous Clearwater Beach to Sand Key Park. That makes Sand Key Park a great alternative to the traditional Clearwater Beach stay.
If you pick Sand Key Park for where to stay near Clearwater Beach, you have a soothing atmosphere around the clock. The peacefulness at Sand Key makes it a popular option for families and couples looking for something off the beaten path. The Sand Key Park beach is huge and as nice as the beach in Clearwater Beach.
You also find a few restaurants to try at Sand Key Park. But you don’t have nearly the same selection here that you get if you stay in Clearwater Beach. So for more extensive dining and entertainment you have to make the short drive across the bridge to Clearwater Beach when you stay at Sand Key Park.
Although it’s close, Sand Key Park isn’t technically part of Clearwater Beach. Thanks to that it’s often possible to find cheaper rates at Sand Key Park, compared to the Clearwater Beach hotel rates. Therefore Sand Key Park is a good option if you look for a more inexpensive place to stay near Clearwater Beach.
To sum up, Sand Key Park is a soothing alternative for where to stay at Clearwater Beach. The area is certainly not the best alternative if you want entertainment right on your doorstep. However, the hotels near Clearwater Beach in Sand Key Park are perfect if you want a quieter stay.
Pick Sand Key Park for: Soothing hotels near Clearwater Beach.
Best Sand Key Park hotels
Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Sheraton’s Sand Key Resort is with its ultimate beach access a great place to stay at Sand Key Park. The peaceful Sand Key Park location makes it a perfect place to stay at Clearwater Beach for families and couples who look for a more quiet Clearwater Beach getaway. At Sheraton’s Sand Key Resort, you stay off the beaten path but still near everything that Clearwater Beach has to offer.
Downtown Clearwater, FL
The beachfront hotels in Clearwater Beach are very popular and the demand there tends to make the hotel rates rather steep. So an alternative for where to stay near Clearwater Beach on a budget is to look across the bridge towards the mainland.
Because across the mainland bridge you find Downtown Clearwater. The hotels in Downtown Clearwater are generally cheaper, but they are also not on the beach. And as a result you don’t get the beachy atmosphere when you base yourself in Downtown Clearwater.
On the other hand it only takes around 15 minutes by car to get from a hotel in Downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach. So it’s a rather short drive to get from Downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach.
In short, Downtown Clearwater is an option for where to stay near Clearwater Beach on a budget. But if you want a beach stay, you should look towards the other alternatives for where to stay when visiting Clearwater Beach.
Pick Downtown Clearwater for: Visiting Clearwater Beach on a budget.
Budget location. Downtown Clearwater is an excellent option for where to stay near Clearwater Beach on a budget. It’s not an area with beachfront Clearwater hotels, but the rates away from the Gulf of Mexico are significantly cheaper.
Final words about where to stay in Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach is one of the best places in Florida for a beach getaway. Enjoy sugar-white sand, the splashing Gulf of Mexico and — arguably as importantly — great places to stay.
Check in at one of the Clearwater Beach hotels at Pier 60 if you want that quintessential experience. Here you have your whole Clearwater Beach vacation within walking distance.
But if you want something quieter, consider more hidden Clearwater accommodations. North Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Park are dreamy options just a short ride from where it happens.
Where to stay in Clearwater Beach FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay in Clearwater Beach, Florida.
Each part of Clearwater Beach has its own charm. North Clearwater Beach is more quiet, compared to the Pier 60 area on the southern part of the island. In South Clearwater Beach you find more liveliness and things to do.
Much of the activity in Clearwater Beach is centered around Pier 60 in South Clearwater Beach. The further north on the island you go, the more the Clearwater crowds tend to thin out.
Clearwater Beach is in general a very family-friendly destination with things to do for all ages. But the best places to stay in Clearwater Beach for families looking for a quieter stay are North Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Park, located just south of Clearwater Beach.
From Tampa to Clearwater Beach it’s 25 miles (40 km) and about 30 minutes by car.
Read next: Top things to do in Clearwater Beach.
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