How Far Is Clearwater Beach From Disney?
- Patrick Hunter
Occasionally, there is so much to do during a Walt Disney World visit that you need a break afterward. Thankfully, Walt Disney World’s central position in Florida places it within easy driving distance of beaches on both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.
- St. Petersburg (“St.
- Pete”) Beach, Dunedin’s scenic Honeymoon Island, Madeira Beach and John’s Pass Village & Boardwalk, Fort De Soto Park, and Sand Key Park are just a few of the numerous beaches and tourist locations located along Florida’s gulf coast.
- Clearwater Beach, located just outside of Tampa and a short distance from Walt Disney World, is undoubtedly the greatest beach among them.
Consistently ranked among the best beaches in Florida and the United States, Clearwater Beach has something for everyone, including restaurants, beach bars, watersports, shopping, nightlife, and miles of Gulf of Mexico beaches. Clearwater Beach gives the best “bang for your buck” for travelers traveling from Walt Disney World, whether for a day, a weekend, or a few days towards the conclusion of their trip.
Clearwater Beach might satisfy everyone, from those seeking a “break from a vacation” to those who must “always be doing something.” GETTING THERE Unless Florida finally constructs the long-rumored high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando, you will need a rental vehicle to reach Clearwater Beach.
If you do not intend to hire a car for the duration of your trip, the Alamo and National Car Care Centers are located near the Magic Kingdom. For further information, visitors of the Walt Disney World Resort can contact their concierge desk or front desk.
Clearwater Beach is approximately 90 minutes west of Walt Disney World and is accessible by I-4 westbound to I-275 and then Florida Route 60. (signed in some spots as Gulf to Bay Blvd.) On the approach to the beach, you will pass by Tampa International Airport, cross the Courtney Campbell Causeway (which is flanked by palm trees and Tampa Bay), and then cross another causeway over the bay and onto the island that comprises Clearwater Beach.
A roundabout directs motorists to the northern or southern beach. With just one entrance and exit, the beach causeway becomes quite crowded during peak travel seasons, particularly during the spring. If you are merely planning a day trip to the beach from Walt Disney World, you should aim to arrive in Clearwater by 10 a.m.
- The seaside neighborhood and nearby regions are served by a shuttle named the Jolly Trolley.
- During peak seasons of the year or on weekends, parking might be in short supply.
- Despite this, there are several public parking lots and metered parking places.
- The largest lots are close to Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill and Palm Pavilion between Bay Esplanade and Rockaway Street, near the city pool and public library on Bay Esplanade, and adjacent to the marina and causeway (although this latter lot is reserved for marina activities only.) Captain Memo’s warship turns heads.
HOW TO ACT There are more activities than swimming and sunbathing to occupy a weekend in Clearwater besides the approximately 2.5 miles of sandy beaches. In addition to watersports, dinner cruises, and fishing that take place on the water, Pier 60 is the focal point on the beach for a variety of other family-friendly activities, such as free nighttime dance performances, festivals, a playground, and an evening market featuring local artisans and vendors.
Pier 60 is located right off the roundabout on Coronado Drive and is accessible via beach sand or the Beach Walk, a pedestrian route just off the sand that traverses the majority of the beach area. From typical beach businesses such as Surf Style, Wings, and Ron Jon Surf Shop to Island Dog Outfitters for pet souvenirs and Hulk Hogan’s Beach Shop for pro wrestling souvenirs and Hulkster-branded knickknacks, shopping is abundant.
The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is home to Winter, the dolphin featured in the film Dolphin Tale. The young pirates in your company may appreciate Captain Memo’s Pirate Voyage, a two-hour cruise aboard a real-looking replica pirate ship with activities for all ages (by which we mean both face painting and a full bar.) Just off Causeway Boulevard, on the marina, reservations for cruises are recommended but not needed.
- Bicycles, scooters, and Segways may be rented at Shephard’s Beach Resort on South Gulfview Boulevard.
- It is widely stated that no two Clearwater Beach sunsets are same, as they are legendary.
- Whether viewed from the beach, the pier, a restaurant, or a hotel room, a Clearwater Beach sunset is a must-see while visiting the area.
WHERE TO DINE Frenchy’s Clearwater Beach restaurants provide fresh seafood and family-friendly eating at five sites in the region, including Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill on Rockaway Avenue, which is immediately off the beach. Grouper sandwiches, she crab soup, ceviche, and garlic crab fries are among the specialties made popular by Alton Brown and cable television.
Much of the fresh seafood comes from the company’s own fishing boats, which dock outside its Poinsettia Avenue restaurant, Frenchy’s Saltwater Cafe. All locations provide monthly features, daily drink deals, and live entertainment in the majority of cases. The Palm Pavilion on Bay Esplanade is opposite the parking lot from Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill.
What was once a snack shop is now a full-service restaurant and bar with amazing coastal views and sunsets. The Palm Pavilion is renowned for its laid-back island/local cuisine and live entertainment during happy hour. The Brown Boxer is a popular beach tradition.
- On Mandalay Avenue, across the street from the beach, “the Boxer” is a popular nightlife establishment with a complete cuisine and a spacious bar.
- A block away along the water, Cooter’s is also renowned for its grouper, wings, and the Pittsburgh Steelers supporters that congregate there on Sundays throughout the autumn.
Other popular establishments include Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber on Mandalay Avenue and Papaya Street, which serves fresh seafood, prime steaks, and fine wine, and Detroit Coney Island on Mandalay Avenue and Kendall Street, which serves authentic Detroit-style “coney dogs,” french fries, and bottled beer served in a brown paper bag on the sidewalk just off the beach.
WHERE TO RESIDE In recent years, building of high-rise hotels and resorts has exploded in the Clearwater Beach region. Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, Shephard’s Beach Resort, Hilton Clearwater Beach, and the newly new as of February 2016 Opal Sands Resort are among the largest. Frenchy’s Oasis Motel, with bay views, Jimmy Buffett music by the pool, and kitchenettes in every room, is one of the many smaller hotels in the region with more affordable rates (and, yes, owned by the same people who own the restaurants.) There are several condominiums and vacation houses available for long-term rentals.
OTHER AREA ACTIVITIES Beyond Clearwater Beach proper, the remainder of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Area may be found. While there is a great deal to do in Tampa Bay, including the Busch Gardens theme park, professional and collegiate sports, and the Lowry Park Zoo, we will focus on a few additional easily accessible destinations along the road between Walt Disney World and Clearwater Beach.
In addition to the annual fair held in mid-February, the Florida State Fairgrounds are home to the MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre, which hosts big-name concerts year-round, and the adjoining Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Dinosaur World is located off Exit 17 of Freeway 4 in Plant City, Florida, and contains over 100 life-sized dinosaur statues, including a Tyrannosaurus Rex emerging from the trees off the interstate to entice/frighten drivers.
The first Hooter’s restaurant is located on Clearwater’s Route 60 and serves wings, oysters, and waitresses of a specific demographic. On West Spruce Street in Tampa, one of the nation’s most recognized microbreweries, Cigar City, runs a tasting room and brewery tours.
Sample the Jai Alai IPA and Maduro Brown Ale, then on a certain date in March, join uber-beer fans from throughout the country for Hunahpu’s Day and purchase this Imperial Stout from a limited supply. FINAL REMARKS Adding a few beach days at the end of your trip is a fantastic way to get more leisure out of your trip.
It’s not something I would recommend to everyone, but for those families that visit Walt Disney World annually or more than once a year, adding some additional attractions helps combat the Disney tiredness that certain family members may have. In addition, the drive to Clearwater is fairly simple.
With the exception of rush-hour traffic, the travel is straightforward and stress-free. It circumvents the traffic congestion on International Drive and in Orlando (since both Disney World and Clearwater are south of this part of I4.) If you are expecting to rent a car anyhow, it may be worth considering flying into and out of Tampa International Airport if you are ending your vacation in Clearwater.
Consider flying into Clearwater/St. Pete instead than Stanford if you choose a low-cost airline such as Allegiant. With some of the greatest beaches, seafood, and sunsets in all of Florida a stone’s throw away from Walt Disney World, every Disney fan should make it a point to visit one.
What beach is nearest to Disney World?
Closest Atlantic Beaches to Disney World and Orlando – Atlantic coast beaches Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Canaveral National Seashore, and Cocoa Beach are the nearest to Disney World (East). Each is around the same distance from Disney World, with Daytona Beach being just above Cape Canaveral, an hour and a half to the northeast.
- Cocoa Beach is roughly an hour to the southeast, directly below Cape Canaveral, while New Smyrna and Canaveral National Seashore are slightly more remote hidden treasures for families who want uncrowded, undeveloped beaches.
- Vero Beach is little further away, but still highly popular with Disney enthusiasts.
Let’s examine every Atlantic Coast Beach:
Not (Necessarily) Required: Clearwater Beach is a pedestrian-friendly town. This indicates that a car is not required unless you plan to leave the beach area for additional activities, such as Busch Gardens. Florida car rentals are reasonably affordable (use the site AutoSlash to find good deals).
Although the price of a rental automobile may not be prohibitive, daily parking fees at your hotel can quickly accumulate. Standard daily parking at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach & Resort, for instance, charges an additional $25 per day (unless you are a Globalist or on an award stay). If you choose not to hire a car, you may always take a cab or Uber to the airport.
The estimated cost of an Uber is $40. Once reaching the beach, there are several transportation alternatives, such as the gratuity-based Florida Free Rides, the $2.25-per-ride Clearwater Jolley Trolley (free for children 5 and under), and Uber.
What is the ideal time to visit Clearwater?
October through December is the optimal season to explore Clearwater Beach. These fall months have low humidity, fewer tourists, and an abundance of holiday festivities. However, technically October and November are part of the Atlantic hurricane season, and although they are not peak hurricane months, you should be mindful of the chance of a storm developing.
- Summer and winter are seasons to avoid due to frequent rainstorms in July, August, and September and a large number of snowbirds (retirees and part-time residents from the northern United States) in January, February, and March.
- Consider coming in April, May, or June, when migrating birds, stingrays, and sea turtles are frequently observed.
While the landscape changes with each season, Clearwater Beach has year-round warmth. Protect Your Trip: Search, compare, and purchase the most affordable travel insurance. Get a Quote,