Where to Stay in Clearwater Beach

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Looking for the best places to stay in Clearwater Beach? As a long time resident of the area, I’ve stayed at pretty much all of them. So I’ve rounded up all my favorite Clearwater Beach hotels for you right here. Whether you’re looking for a couples getaway, a family friendly vacation, or a quick weekend trip – there’s something for everyone here.

dad and son walking on clearwater beach
My son and my husband walking on Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater Beach is one of the most beautiful (and most popular) beaches in the country. In fact, it’s consistently ranked as one of the top beaches in the US by authorities like TripAdvisor and Travel and Leisure. And it’s no surprise why – the wide, sweeping, white sand beach is absolutely stunning. And the warm, calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are just unbeatable.

It makes a great vacation spot for both families and couples, and is a pretty popular spring break destination as well. There are plenty of hotels to choose from, but only a handful that really get my vote. (And I’ve stayed at pretty much all of them over the years.)

pier 60 in clearwater beach
Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach

You will want to consider the location first and foremost. While Clearwater Beach might look small on a map, it’s actually a pretty long stretch of beachfront. If you want to be surrounded by lots of action, you’ll want to stay close to Pier 60, where there are plenty of daytime activities, nighttime festivities, and a big playground for the kids. But if you want a little more peace and quiet, and fewer crowds, you can consider something further north on the beach or just south in Sand Key.

So without further ado, here are my favorite hotels in Clearwater Beach!

Where to Stay in Clearwater Beach

These are my top recommendations for the best hotels in Clearwater Beach, based on my 25 years as a Tampa Bay native.

If you’re planning a trip to Clearwater Beach, be sure to check out these other helpful resources while you’re here:

Or browse all of our Tampa Bay area travel planning resources – covering Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater.

14 thoughts on “Where to Stay in Clearwater Beach”

    1. The only option I am aware of for public overnight parking is at the North Beach Parking Plaza. I believe they charge $30/day for overnight parking.

      If you are staying in any of the larger hotels, they will likely have a self park or valet option for you also. We stayed at the Sandpearl recently and it was $25/day for valet parking, so cheaper than the public lot.

      Here is a list of all the public city parking lots:

  1. If you stay at the Sheraton, you can ride the Jolly Trolley and it will take you into Clearwater. Just show your room key and its free. $5 for a day pace oer person is a great rate as well..

    1. Great suggestion! The Sheraton is such a great family-friendly place, and a more affordable option than the hotels right in Clearwater Beach.

  2. My son lives down there so I’m down in that area a few times a year. There are so SO many little cute boutique hotels that are not nearly as expensive as these big chain hotels. My advice, unless you require room service and maid service, stay at a boutique hotel.

    1. Yes, this is a good point and I will have to look at adding a few of those options to the list as well! I don’t agree that one option is really better than the other. I think it just depends on the type of trip you have planned. We often like to stay at small, less commercial properties when we travel somewhere new. But for the beach, we definitely are looking for the amenities of a big resort – fancy pool, beach loungers, bar service, kid activities, etc. That’s especially true since we are local and can do a “regular” day at Clearwater Beach anytime. But there are definitely some mom and pop rentals in the area that deserve some love too!

    1. Opal Sands is owned by the same company as Sandpearl. In my opinion, it’s best suited for couples or adults without kids. Both properties are VERY nice and upscale. But Sandpearl is upscale with a family friendly vibe, and Opal Sands is the kind of place where people will be side eyeing your kids at the pool. Sandpearl also has a WAY better location on a wide stretch of beach, where Opal Sands is down at the very end of the beach where it’s not as expansive.

      I am not a fan of Shepherd’s. It’s more of a party place – in fact it was a popular place to go clubbing when I was growing up. It’s great for the spring break crowd but not so much for us grown ups. It feels a bit like staying in a night club. They have a small private beach area in front of the hotel with chairs, but it’s very small and crowded. And there is no easily walkable access to the main beach.

  3. I just stayed at the Marriott in sand key with my family and it was a very nice hotel. Just a short trolley ride away from the main strip and a very clean and lovely hotel. They have a nice pool and sand key park is right across the street which is a gorgeous beach. Loved every second in Clearwater.

  4. Hi! We’re thinking about staying at the Residence Inn Downtown. What are recommendations for that area? About how far would you say it is from the beaches, and any good food options if you have some, please? From what I’ve seen so far has mainly been on the beach.

    1. I wouldn’t recommend staying in Downtown Clearwater if you are mainly interested in the beaches. There’s really not much to do in that small downtown area and there is currently a big construction project happening on the waterfront there.

      Downtown Clearwater is just directly over the causeway from the beach, so without traffic you could be at the beach in five minutes. BUT… there is a ton of traffic on the weekends and you can easily get stuck just sitting on the bridge for 30-40 minutes.

  5. does anyone know the name of the hotel that is next to the Shepards resort. It was called the econo lodge but since then i think it has been renamed.

    1. The Gulfview Hotel and Hampton Inn are next to Shepherds. Perhaps one of those are what you’re thinking of?

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