Though the first Spanish explorer, Panfilo de Narvaez, first landed in Clearwater, or then Clear Water Harbor, in 1528, Clearwater Beach was not established until the mid-1800s. It became a most settled area when the Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 gave 160 acres to any head of the family or single man over 18 who would bear arms and cultivate the land. The "father of Clearwater," James Stevens, and Samuel Stevenson were among the first settlers. After a visit in 1841, James Parramore McMullen and his six brothers settled in the Clearwater area. They and their descendants held many important government positions throughout the early years.

Now, Clearwater Beach is a separate entity from the city of Clearwater. It was also named the nation’s #1 beach this year by TripAdvisor because it is such a beautiful and peaceful area. The white sands and pure blue waters make it undeniably the best beach in the area, but for those of us lucky enough to live near it, we sometimes take its beauty for granted.

Top 5 Restaurants on Clearwater Beach

Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe

One of the most poppin’ places on Clearwater Beach is Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe. For fresh seafood and one of the best grouper sandwiches in Pinellas County, Frenchy’s is a great place to grab a bite to eat before, during or after a long hot day in the sun. Some of my favorite bites from Frenchy’s are the fried calamari and gator bites, they’re even perfect to share! Sit on the rooftop deck and look out over the beach as you enjoy the freshest seafood Clearwater Beach has to offer.

Crabby’s Dockside

Located right in the heart of Clearwater Beach near Pier 60, Crabby's Dockside is quite popular for its seafood and drink specials. While they recently changed their name from Crabby Bill’s to Crabby’s Dockside, they still uphold the same values that their original location created 20 years ago. They are 100% committed to serving fresh (never frozen) food at a fair price to the tourists and locals that take over Clearwater Beach every day. Their new location offers a gorgeous panoramic view of Clearwater Beach and they’re proud to share the view with you!

Cooters Restaurant & Bar

Speaking of the local's favorite restaurants, who doesn’t enjoy an all-you-can-eat crab legs dinner? Cooters is proud to be one of the only sports bars on Clearwater Beach, as they offer large flat-screen TV’s to watch your favorite teams compete on in their sports bar and game room. Their menu consists of fresh seafood like Captain's Platter and Old Bay Steamer Bucket. However, they also serve your favorite bar bites like wings, sandwiches, and burgers. Stop by for a bite to eat in a casual atmosphere, perfect for after a beach day!

Brown Boxer

The Brown Boxer on South Clearwater Beach has an open atmosphere with an extensive outdoor seating area with two full bars. But what they’re really known for is their wings, buffalo shrimp, and grouper fingers. After almost 20 years of successful business, they are still enjoying long and exciting nights by the bar with their regulars.

Sandbar at Opal Sands

This relatively new spot by Opal Sands has quickly become a local favorite as the view just can’t be beaten. In my opinion, there is nowhere better to sit and have a bite to eat and a few drinks during the beautiful sunsets on Clearwater Beach. Some of their best bites include the Watermelon Shrimp Ceviche, Buffalo Chicken Wrap and Sandbar Wedge Salad. Head there to see a beautiful sunset the next chance you get!

Top 5 Nightlife Locations on Clearwater Beach

Shephard's WAVE Nightclub

Shephard’s WAVE Nightclub is the premier destination for a night out under the bright and colorful lights of a nightclub. They often feature local and nationally known DJ’s in a high energy environment like TCHAMI, Bonnie N Clyde, Sam Feldt and Tritonal that are headed there this summer! On your next night out in Clearwater Beach, you’ll be swept away by the incredible light shows and state-of-the-art sound system at the WAVE Nightclub!

Shephard's Tiki Bar & Grill

If you’re looking for a beachside party where you can dip your toes in the water and then seconds later be right on the rails at your favorite DJ’s set, the Tiki Bar & Grill at Shephards. They have live music daily by some of the best local bands with numerous concerts and special events. This summer Elephante, Herobust, and NERVO are taking over the beachside stage!

SALT Tequila Bar

Calling all tequila lovers! Have you ever been to a bar that is dedicated to your favorite alcohol? Well, Shephards has done it! A premier spot for tequila shots, drinks and cocktails have opened in Clearwater Beach. With more than 100 varieties of tequila, they draw quite a crowd on the weekends. It is a sophisticated experience in a beautiful and casual beach setting. Check out their late-night happy hour for some great deals on the best margaritas on Clearwater Beach!

Jimmy’s Crow Nest

Rooftop bars at the beach… It doesn’t get much better than that! Head to Jimmy’s Crow Nest for strong cocktails, casual American fare, and panoramic beachfront views. Their 3 pm-6 pm Happy Hour runs Saturday-Thursday and features $4 beers. Some of their best-featured cocktails are the All American Lemonade, made with Tito’s vodka and the “Life’s a Peach”, made with Patron. So whether you’re a vodka drinker or tequila drinker (because we all know that people are rarely both) stop by Jimmy’s Crows Nest for a beautiful sunset and craft cocktail any night of the week.

Coco Coronado

Tiki Bars by the beachfront are a must-see in Clearwater Beach but our favorite is Coco Coronado! First off, they have one of the BEST Pina Coladas of all time. But the bar itself is just a fun and lively place, with frozen drinks galore and live music to listen to as you play cornhole with your friends it is a great hangout spot for people of any age.

Top 5 Destinations for Things to Do in Clearwater

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Remember the movie Dolphin Tale? Well, it was filmed at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium! Winter and Hope still reside at the aquarium and you can go see them at a tour of the facility. As a non-profit business, they take in sea creatures that have been injured so they can rehabilitate them and potentially send them back into the wild when they are ready. It is a smaller aquarium than the Florida Aquarium in Downtown Tampa, however, their mission is one that is close to any animal lover's heart.

Sunsets at Pier 60

I know someday when I don’t live in Tampa Bay anymore that the one thing I will miss more than anything else is the beautiful sunsets we are lucky enough to see every day. Clearwater Beach and Pier 60 are the most gorgeous and picture-perfect places to catch a sunset. But, I will let these pictures do the talking.

Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise

Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise is a staple on Clearwater Beach. Whether you’ve been on one yourself or have just seen the ship sailing by as you sat on the beach, you know the pirate ship I am talking about. Since first sailing into the Clearwater Beach Marina 40 years ago they have brought joy to countless men, women, and children as they coaxed the inner pirate out of all of us.

Clearwater Jet Ski Rentals & Tours

If you and your family or friends have a hard time sitting still at the beach, stop by Clearwater Jet Ski Rentals and be gliding over the water at warped speed in no time. Your tour guides won’t be afraid to take you through the mangroves or let you go fast through the open waters. They’ll even snap pictures for you so you can share your adventures with friends on your social media accounts.

Opal Spa

Spending day after day in the sun can be tiring. If you’re anything like me you’ll likely end up with a sunburn after the first two days in the sun. However, the Opal Spa is a relaxing and calming place that will rejuvenate you for another day at the beach. With services like massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. You can even get a full 6-hour day spa package that includes all of the above.

For more information on Clearwater Beach, return to, your local and free guide to Pinellas County.