The Clearwater - St. Petersburg area enjoys a reputation as Florida's sunshine capital. These two adjacent towns are located on the Pinellas Peninsula, one of the most densely populated areas in Florida.
Little wonder, when the western shoreline of the peninsula overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, boasts 35 miles (56 km) of some of the best beaches in the world and the eastern coast fronts onto Tampa Bay.
The Gulf shore comprises a series of small beach communities and islands starting from the well known St Pete Beach at the southern tip of the peninsula, through Madeira Beach, Indian Rocks Beach, Clearwater Beach and ultimately Tarpon Springs at the northern end.
St. Petersburg, with a population of about 250,000, is located approximately in the middle of the peninsula and about 10 miles (16 km) from St Pete beach.
The city boasts many art galleries and museums, including the Florida International Museum which displays a permanent President J. F. Kennedy exhibit.
St Petersburg has a picturesque downtown area with a waterfront promenade and the famous pier provides bay views.
Clearwater Beach boasts some of the most beautiful, broad beaches on Florida's Gulf Coast. It is the home port for the largest recreational fishing fleet on the west coast of Florida. Pier 60 is Clearwater's well known sightseeing and fishing pier and is the focal point of the beach. Pier 60 Park is home to "Sunsets at Pier 60", a nightly festival celebrating the setting of the sun. The Gulf sunsets across the fleet at anchor provide the perfect end to magical days.
About 15 miles (24 km) north of Clearwater Beach is Tarpon Springs, once the center of a sea sponge industry. The industry is no longer viable but the Greek communities who were originally attracted to the area left a lasting landmark in the lovely Greek Orthodox St Nicholas Church located in the Tarpons Springs Historic District. The town continues to have a Greek influence through its restaurants, bakeries and shops.
The Clearwater/ St. Petersburg accommodation options include luxury resorts and condominiums, hotels, a variety of inns and vacation rentals along its 35 miles (56km) of ocean front. The St Petersburg hotels offer a great selection of family accommodation and there are several golf courses attached to their parent resorts.
Getting There & Getting Around
Tampa International Airport is the major air gateway to this area. (The St. Petersburg Clearwater Airport has limited service) Most major airlines serve Tampa International, including Air Canada, AirTran, America West, American, British Airways, Continental and Delta as well as several of the economy carriers.
Amtrak operates a service to and from the Tampa Amtrak Station. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority runs trolley service along Gulf Boulevard between St. Pete Beach and the Sand Key Resort where it connects with the Jolly Trolley which continues through to Clearwater Beach.
Clearwater & St Petersburg Vacation Highlights
Every type of aquatic recreation is available in the Gulf beaches region that encompasses Clearwater and St Petersburg. Jetskis, parasailing, boating, sailing, deep sea fishing.... its all here. Ample opportunities exist for hiking, biking, birding and other nature-based activities.
For a slice a Florida
history, visit the Don CeSar Beach Resort which started life as a luxury
resort in 1928, became a hospital and convalescent home for the US Army,
was abandoned, and has once again been restored to its former glory.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is dedicated to the rescue and
rehabilitation of marine mammals such as
sea turtles, otters, sharks and stingrays.
There are usually
more than 500 sea and land birds living at
Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, ranging from cormorants, herons, and
eagles to the common pelican.
This is also the site of the the nation's
largest wild-bird hospital, dedicated to the rescue, repair,
recuperation, and release of sick and injured wild birds.
Island State Park, located on a 3.5 mile (5 km) long island north of
Clearwater Beach, has one of Florida's top beaches. It's not uncommon to have
dolphins playing offshore. The park has a nature trail and wildlife
sightings are common. Caladesi Island is
accessible only by ferry from Honeymoon
Island State Recreation Area.
The Pinellas Trail
stretches 47 miles (76 km) from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and is
a favorite walking trail.
This is also the site of the the nation's largest wild-bird hospital, dedicated to the rescue, repair, recuperation, and release of sick and injured wild birds. Caladesi Island State Park, located on a 3.5 mile (5 km) long island north of Clearwater Beach, has one of Florida's top beaches. It's not uncommon to have dolphins playing offshore.
The park has a nature trail and wildlife sightings are common. Caladesi Island is accessible only by ferry from Honeymoon Island State Recreation Area. The Pinellas Trail stretches 47 miles (76 km) from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and is a favorite walking trail.
Other Regional Vacation Centers