About Clearwater in West Central Florida
Clearwater Beach Florida rated top beach year after year.
Located in Pinellas County on the west central Coast of Florida, Clearwater Beach is known around the world as a beach destination and for the many vacation rental homes, condos, and resort hotels located here. Clearwater Beach consistently ranks high on most lists of the best beaches in the world. The year round balmy tropical climate and the warm Gulf of Mexico waters attract millions of visitors each year to the Florida Sun Coast.
Clearwater Florida offers a relaxing, fun and sun oriented getaway with a variety of Florida Beach Condos, vacation homes, hotels, motels, and luxury resorts. Choose an accommodation near any of Clearwater's local attractions that offers comfort while making the most of the beautiful beaches and attractions at affordably priced rates.
While you are visiting Clearwater Beach, make sure to take in Sunsets at Pier 60, a festival on the promenade portion of Clearwater Beach's fishing pier, celebrating the setting of the sun, which features artists, craftsmen and performers with musical entertainment on weekends. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium, located on the causeway to the mainland, is a very unique natural attraction where one can view, and touch, the biology and behavior of bottlenose dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, Kemp's Ridley sea turtles, river otters, sting rays, local fish, coral reefs, mangroves and more. Moccasin Lake Nature Park is a showcase of the plant and animal species native to Florida, featuring rescued birds, reptilian, insect and fish displays, plant and energy exhibits, and nature trails through a diversity of natural Florida habitats. Nearby Tampa, St. Petersburg and Orlando offer a huge variety of attractions within easy driving distance of Clearwater beach.
Coachman Park in Clearwater hosts the largest free-admission jazz festival in the Southeast every October; the Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a world-class gathering of the some of the greatest talents and attracting tens of thousands of the greatest fans of jazz. The Annual Downtown Dunedin Street Art Festival is held outdoors on Main Street in downtown Dunedin in June, a perfect setting for a perfect show featuring more than 100 crafters in a variety of mediums. Clearwater hosts the Annual Kingfish Tournament, presented by the Rotary Club of Clearwater, and sanctioned by Southern Kingfish Association. You do not need to be a member to participate in the tournament, which will take place at the waterfront of Coachman Park. The city of Clearwater is the Baseball Spring Training home of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Gulf Coast beaches of Clearwater Beach and the Sun Coast are perfect for swimming, surfing, or catching up on your tan. You can also find powerboat and sailboat rentals, as well as jetski rentals. The warm Gulf of Mexico waters are inviting for snorkeling and scuba diving.
While there is no true "off-season" in the Clearwater area for golfers, some seasons are not so crowded as others. The beautiful climate in west-central Florida is near perfect year round, and the many golf courses ensure a playable course for all. Pinellas County is loaded with great courses from the Gulf Coast to Tampa Bay.
The Federal Armed Occupation Act of 1842 gave 160 acres of land in Florida to any head of family or single man over 18 who would bear arms and cultivate the land. Among the first to take advantage of this Act in the Clearwater area was James Stevens, Samuel Stevenson, and the seven McMullen brothers. Most settlers to the area farmed vegetables and raised cotton for export, with a few fishing the nearby waters. The Historic Belleview Biltmore hotel was built by railroad tycoon Henry Plant in 1897, to increase passengers on his trains. The community of Clear Water Harbor gradually changed its name to Clearwater and was incorporated as a city in 1915.
The Tocobaga Indians first settled the Clearwater and Tampa bay areas around 900 A.D. and, like the Timucua and Caloosa Indians, were known for constructing various ceremonial and communal mounds. The Tocobagas were skilled craftsman, including many potters, living mainly from the seafood that are plentiful in the area. They were also known to raise corn, making them one of the few agricultural tribes in Florida.
The Tampa Bay area was visited by several Spanish explorers prior to European settlement in the area. In 1528, Pánfilo de Narváez visited the Tocobagan village at Safety Harbor. Hernando de Soto visited the Tampa Bay area in 1539. Hernando de Escalante Fontaneda, a shipwreck survivor who lived with the Indians of southern Florida from 1549-1566, spoke of the Tocobaga in his story and in 1567 Pedro Menéndez de Avilé visited the Safety Harbor site.
During the Civil War, while most men of the Cleawater area were away fighting for the Confederacy, Clearwater and the surrounding area became a frequent target of Union gunboats raiding for supplies. In 1888, when the first railroad reached the area, the community had 18 families. The Historic Belleview Biltmore hotel was built by railroad tycoon Henry Plant in 1897, to increase passengers on his trains. The community of Clear Water Harbor gradually changed its name to Clearwater and was incorporated as a city in 1915 three years after Pinellas county was created from the western portions of Hillsborough County.
It was during this time that the first hospital was built in Clearwater, using money donated and raised by Morton F. Plant, son of Henry Plant. Andrew Carnegie donated money to build Clearwater's first library and the first wooden bridge was built connecting Clearwater with Clearwater Beach. In the 1940's the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team began to play Spring Training games in Clearwater.
During World War II, Clearwater became a major training center for the U.S. Army, with almost every hotel in the area being used as barracks for the recruits. It became common for traffic in Cleawater to become backed up due to the soldiers marching in the streets. Nearby Sand Key was used as a training area for fighter-bomber target practice. Many of the recruits that trained here returned after the war to start their families.