The laid-back Clearwater Beach is a stretch of soft, white sand (part of Clearwater city) located on the Gulf of Mexico on the western side of Florida!
The beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is a popular destination all year round offering many activities like jet-skiing, parasailing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Even though it is quite small, Clearwater Beach is divided into a few areas offering completely different vibes and attractions, so it is important to know them in advance to plan your stay based on your interests!
That’s why we’ve created this guide with the best areas and hotels where to stay in Clearwater Beach, from the touristic South Clearwater Beach to the budget-friendly Downtown Clearwater, the quiet North Clearwater, and the family-friendly Sand Key!
And I tried to include all kinds of accommodation options: luxury and budget hotels, luxury resorts, and even some VRBOs for anyone who wants some more privacy… just make sure you book them super fast once you find your dream place as everyone wants a slice of paradise and rooms do go quickly here!
So let’s stop talking and start exploring them all… ready?
- If you are in a hurry
- 1. South Clearwater Beach – where to stay for first-timers
- 2. Downtown – where to stay in Clearwater Beach on a budget
- 3. North Clearwater – most laid-back area in Clearwater
- 4. Sand Key & Belleair Beach – where to stay with kids
- BONUS 1: Top 3 best luxury resorts in Clearwater Beach
- BONUS 2: Best VRBOs in Clearwater Beach
- Frequently asked questions about hotels in Clearwater
If you are in a hurry
If you’re short on time and you need to book immediately, check out this list with the best hotels in Clearwater Beach:
Club Wyndham Clearwater
Best luxury hotel
Gulf Side Cottage
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Pier House 60
Best value for money
Chart House Suites
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here is a map to help you visualize where the 3 places to stay that I will be talking about are located:
1. South Clearwater Beach – where to stay for first-timers
If it’s your first time in Clearwater Beach, I suggest you stay in the southern half of the island: the most touristic and busy part, where you’ll find all the best attractions!
South Clearwater Beach offers many facilities to take a break from the sun (or have fun at night) like cool bars and restaurants, laid-back cafés and shops but also accommodation options for different tastes and budgets, from upmarket hotels to affordable motels.
South Clearwater Beach offers the perfect mix between dreamy beaches and a lively vibe! In fact, the area hosts Pier 60, which is the heart of life in Clearwater Beach.
Extending for 1080 feet (329 m) into the Gulf of Mexico, Pier 60 brims with street vendors and musicians, making your strolls and your sunset watching (one of the main activities here) particularly enjoyable!
In other words… If you’re looking for life, this is where to stay in Clearwater Beach!
This 4 star Clearwater beach resort is literally a 2-minute walk from the beach, and will make you feel like a real king! Here you can have access to a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a bar where you can enjoy great cocktails with a view! You will also love the family rooms, fully equipped with air conditioning, a kitchen, a dining area, and a private bathroom… everything you need for a comfy stay!
Other accommodation in South Clearwater Beach
Enjoy a great location, a heated outdoor pool, friendly staff, and free wifi in South Clearwater Beach!
This property has a large pool and transfer service: one of the best Clearwater Beach hotels to stay on a budget!
Check out this large studio just a short walk from the white sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico
Things to do in South Clearwater Beach
- Embark on a scenic dolphin-watching cruise
- Enjoy the most stunning sunsets on this boat tour
- Take a cruise around Clearwater, with an open bar and buffet!
- Buy some souvenirs at Pelican Walk Plaza
- Try some water sports like windsurfing at Clearwater Beach
- Join this incredible Tiki Boat cruise around the Gulf of Mexico!
2. Downtown – where to stay in Clearwater Beach on a budget
I am not gonna lie: staying in Clearwater Beach on a budget can be quite hard, especially if you want to stay in the beachfront hotels, where the big demand makes the prices super high!
But if you get closer to Downtown Clearwater, just across the bridge towards the mainland, you can find some affordable accommodation options… just take into consideration that you’ll be a bit further away from the beach!
But that won’t be a big issue: it takes only 15 minutes by car to get from Downtown Clearwater to Clearwater Beach. Just remember to book your affordable hotel some months in advance if you don’t want to lose the spot!
Even though it is not considered a tourist destination, the center also offers some interesting attractions to visit, such as the home of Scientology and some great independent coffee shops.
And if you feel like extending your trip to Florida for some days, this is the right area to do it. Downtown Clearwater Beach is well connected to other towns like Tampa or Orlando which are also worth a visit!
If you want to stay in Clearwater Beach with all the comforts, this family-friendly hotel is for you! It offers spacious guest rooms with a living area and modern kitchen, and access to great facilities like an outdoor pool and a gym. Here you can start your day with a delicious breakfast and go jumping in the seawater straight after, being just 8 miles from Clearwater Beach… what else do you need?
Other options in Downtown Clearwater
Make good use of the outdoor pool, free WiFi, and free private parking in this hotel with great value for the price!
Fully equipped apartment in Downtown Clearwater, hosting up to four guests and offering very good prices to stay on a budget
Enjoy staying in a modern apartment close to everything Clearwater has to offer!
Things to do in Downtown Clearwater
- Have a bike ride through Clearwater Memorial Causeway
- Take a stroll with views of the beach in Coachman Park
- Check out the exhibits and performances of the Clearwater Center for Arts
- Buy some food and artworks at the Cleveland Street Saturday Market
- Try the most delicious middle eastern cuisine at Mana Mana
3. North Clearwater – most laid-back area in Clearwater
If you want to enjoy the stunning white beaches and sparkling clear waters of South Clearwater Beach, but avoid its big and noisy crowds, North Clearwater Beach is the right place for you!
Its laid-back and peaceful vibe is perfect for a tranquil holiday with the family or a romantic getaway with your special one (especially if you’re in Clearwater Beach during peak season)!
And if one night you feel like having some fun in the eclectic bars and restaurants of the South, Clearwater buzz is just a few steps further away.
Being a more secluded and exclusive area, North Clearwater offers fewer hotels at higher prices, so it is something to take into consideration if you want to travel on a budget. But if you don’t mind paying a little extra, this is definitely one of the best areas to stay in Clearwater Beach!
This 4-star resort is only a 2-minute walk from the beach, and within 4 minutes drive from Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Here you’ll find everything you need for a luxurious vacation: a lagoon-style outdoor pool, a full-service spa, on-site dining, and elegant guest rooms with views of the Gulf of Mexico. Here you can even engage in cool activities like parasailing, beach volleyball, and cycling with free bicycle hires!
Other accommodation options in North Clearwater
Enjoy great value for price in this hotel with a heated outdoor pool, family rooms, and free wifi available!
Relax on the sun terrace by the pool at this Clearwater Beach Resort Motel, offering very affordable prices
Stay literally seconds from the beach in this property featuring a bistro courtyard for grilling and chilling!
Things to do in North Clearwater
- Explore the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Try some holistic therapies at Clearwater Beach Spa
- Explore the natural beauty of Caladesi Island State Park
- Dine on some delicious seafood at Beach Fire Beach Bar and Grille
- Bring your four-legged friend to the dog-friendly stretch of the Northern Beach
4. Sand Key & Belleair Beach – where to stay with kids
If you like the idea of staying on the most beautiful beaches in Clearwater without having to deal with the tourist crowds, while also having access to all the amenities you need for a comfortable holiday, you should check out Sand Key and Belleair Beach!
In Sand Key Park you’ll have access to parking spots, a dog park, a playground, seasonal lifeguards, and even a disabled visitors’ beach to accommodate the needs of literally anyone. The perfect spot for a family getaway!
Just south of there, Belleair Beach is an upscale beachfront neighborhood offering a relaxed atmosphere and, like its neighbor Sand Key, many facilities such as beach parking areas, public parks including Morgan Beach Park, and two tennis courts.
So if this sounds like you and you’re looking for a relaxing vacation with the family, check out these great options:
Looking for a luxurious stay in North Clearwater Beach? This Clearwater beachfront hotel will surprise you with an aquatic playground, a spa, and a lagoon pool with a waterfall, for the happiness of all the family! And get ready to eat delicious food, either at The Clearwater Beach Marriott, the Watercolor Grillhouse, or the poolside Kokomo’s Bar and Grille… There is even a coffee house and an ice cream shop!
Other accommodation in Sand Key & Belleair Beach
This Beach Resort offers an outdoor swimming pool, free private parking, a private beach area, and a barbecue!
Enjoy this super cozy hotel, featuring a heated pool, views of the beautiful beach, and a spa to fully relax!
Step into this little piece of paradise with breathtaking views of the pristine gulf straight from the bedrooms!
Things to do in Sand Key & Belleair Beach
- Relax on the gorgeous Sand Key beach
- Take a trip to One-Tree Island
- Have a family picnic at bay park
- Bring the kids to Kolb Park playground
- Enjoy Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve
- Have fun at Splash Harbour Water Park
|👑 Luxury price:||$400|
|💵 Mid Range:||$200|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||High|
|📍 Best area:||South Clearwater Beach|
|👪 Best area for families:||Sand Key|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Club Wyndham Clearwater|
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:||Pier House 60|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Chart House Suites|
BONUS 1: Top 3 best luxury resorts in Clearwater Beach
If you want to have a fully relaxing holiday in Clearwater Beach without having to worry about anything, you can opt for a resort with all the facilities you need, right here on site! Although there are no all-inclusive resorts in Clearwater Beach, there are plenty of options with all the same facilities.
Whether in the south or in the north, Clearwater Beach offers countless resorts with beach access, cool amenities like pools and spas, amazing restaurants, and much more. And the best part… most of them have a prime location just a short walk from the beach!
These luxury resorts range from around $500-600 a night. Check them out… I am sure you will love them:
- Opal Sands
This Clearwater beachfront hotel lies within walking distance from the beach and offers resort-style luxuries! Here you can relax in the full-service spa, stay in shape in the large fitness center, and end your day with a tropical cocktail by the pool!
And for the best dinners with a sea view, there is an on-site restaurant serving delicious Italian dishes. Last but not least.. You will also love the rooms, fully equipped with flat-screen tvs, desk, refrigerator, coffee machine, and private bathroom!
- Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
Located literally a 1-minute walk from the beach, the 4-star Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa will take your stay in Florida to the next level!
With full-service Sandava Spa (including treatments, private suites, detoxifying facials, and massages), a rooftop pool, and a fitness center with cardio and weight equipment, you have something to do at any time of the day. Let’s not forget about the food… the on-site restaurant offers a Pan Latino menu and happy hour specials, while SHOR serves the best American breakfast and dinner!
- Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach
Check out this 5-star hotel with a perfect location in Clearwater Beach, just across from it! Here you can relax in the big swimming pool, get treatments in the on-site spa or stay active in the fitness center.
The rooms are super nice, offering breathtaking ocean and beach views from the balcony, and all comforts like coffee-making facilities, a refrigerator, and access to a hot tub! Guests particularly love the friendly staff and delicious breakfast served every morning… the best way to start your day!
BONUS 2: Best VRBOs in Clearwater Beach
Clearwater Beach also offers a lot of lodgings, holiday houses, and airbnbs for rent, perfect if you’re going on vacation with the family, some friends or you want to have a quiet getaway with your couple!
Enjoy full privacy in one of the following VRBOs, where you can wake up with stunning beach views, cook delicious dinners in your own kitchen and enjoy some quality time with your beloved ones… the perfect way to feel at home away from home!
- Family vacation / Romantic getaway! – This beautiful cottage is the perfect place for a vacation with a big family or friends! The location is great, walking distance to both the white sand beach and the restaurants nearby.
If you feel like having a cozy dinner in total privacy with your beloved ones, the cottage has a fully renovated kitchen and a spacious deck area complete will a full set of patio furniture and grill (the dining table hosts up to 8 people). And with the easy-to-care wood laminate flooring throughout the entire cottage, you will feel at home without worrying if the kids are making a mess!
- Beautiful Clearwater Beach Home – Have a romantic getaway or a family retreat in this tastefully decorated, upscale, and well-equipped beach home! Hosting up to 6 guests, the cottage has an open kitchen, a cozy living/dining area with a sofa sleeper, and (the best part) a secluded, tropical patio that offers a hot tub and a BBQ for relaxing moments. Y
ou will love the location in a super quiet and upscale neighborhood Clearwater North Beach, just across the street from the beautiful and pristine Gulf Beach.
- Historic Beach Cottage – Check out this historic one-bedroom beach house, just a few steps away from the Gulf of Mexico. This is definitely the best place for large families with children and pets looking for a laid-back, beach vacation.
Here you will immediately feel at home, with a designer fully equipped kitchen, a spacious living room and bedroom, and a backyard with a wood party deck! The cottage is completely surrounded by large shade trees and tropical plants, and has even a gazebo, 2 BBQ grills, and bicycles to explore the area!
- Families & Pet Friendly – Located in the quiet residential area of north Clearwater Beach, this cozy tropical vacation rental has tropical landscaping and first-class decor! Here you’ll have the best sleep in the comfy king beds and the best dinners on the outside patio with a grill.
Here you won’t have to worry about anything: the house offers bicycles, beach chairs, umbrellas, and beach towels! There is even a trolley service by the house that will bring you to all beach activities, shops, restaurants nearby… everything you need for an enjoyable vacation!
Frequently asked questions about hotels in Clearwater
📍 Which is the best place to stay in Clearwater Beach?
🤔 Is north or south Clearwater Beach better?
It really depends on what you are looking for: they both have stunning beaches, but the south is more touristic and crowded, while the north is quieter and laid back… perfect for a family or couple getaway!
🏙️ Does Clearwater Beach have a downtown?
Yes, Clearwater Beach has Downtown Clearwater at only 15 minutes by car from Clearwater Beach. The area offers some interesting attractions to visit and many budget accommodation options, like Nautical Watch.
👪 Where to stay in Clearwater Beach FL for families?
🔍 What are the best things to do in Clearwater Beach?
The best things to do in Clearwater Beach are:
● Relaxing and having a picnic at the Sand Key Park
● Engaging in watersports like windsurfing at Clearwater Beach
● Visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Here we are at the end of this extensive guide on where to stay in Clearwater Beach, including the best areas and hotels in Clearwater Beach, and even some amazing resorts and unique VRBOs.
Since we went through a tonne of options, I imagine you can be a little undecided about which is the best place for your vacation in Clearwater Beach, so I want to give you extra help with my 2 absolute favorites:
- Club Wyndham Clearwater – a 4-star hotel with a beautiful pool within walking distance of the beach
- Pier House 60 – a great mid-range option with a rooftop bar featuring incredible sunsets!
Once you’ve picked your perfect spot, book it as soon as you can: places here sell out incredibly fast!
I really hope this guide will be helpful for your travel plans and you enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it and finding the best accommodation for you!
If you feel like something hasn’t been covered or you have any questions, please leave them in the comments… I will be super happy to answer you.
Have the best holiday!