Clearwater Beach Pier 60
GPS Coordinates: 27.976144, -82.828848
Directions: From the Orlando area driving time should be about 2 hours or so. Take I-4
toward Tampa (about 80 miles). Follow the signs to get on I-275 South/Tampa International Airport/St. Petersburg (5
miles). From I-275, take exit 39 to merge onto Highway 60 West toward Tampa Airport/Clearwater (toll). Follow
Highway 60 (about 15 miles) all the way to Clearwater Beach. At the roundabout, circle counterclockwise and
follow signs for beach parking.
Hours: Beach parking lots are closed from 1 a.m. till 7 a.m.
Clearwater Beach packs a lot into a small area. Within just a few blocks you’ll find a fishing pier, full public
beach facilities and extensive parking, a variety of restaurants and shopping, a marina and hotels of all price
The main beach access is at Pier 60, where the focal point is a concrete fishing pier that reaches hundreds of
feet into the Gulf of Mexico. During the evening, vendors line the pier hawking their wares (mostly arts and
crafts), live music fills the air and buskers entertain. It’s a real scene.
Strolling up the beach or along South Gulfview Boulevard you’ll see retirees, young families with kids, and
teenagers, watched over by well-equipped lifeguards. The police maintain a presence, but seem to blend
inconspicuously into the crowd unless needed to quiet some unruly beach patrons or to usher a misplaced vagrant to
a more appropriate location.
A wide paved beach promenade separates the beach from the commercial activity (restaurants and shopping) across
the street. Another promenade of brick pavers adds an element of contemporary design while providing a “shoppers
walk” past the vast array of restaurants and shops on S. Gulf Blvd.
The beach at Pier 60 has excellent lifeguard coverage, though the water is shallow and usually very calm. In
2010, no drownings occurred during hours that lifeguards were on duty. Because the Gulf waters are so calm and
shallow on the west coast of Florida, lifeguards spend most of their time finding lost children, enforcing beach
regulations, and answering questions from beach patrons. Still, they are highly trained and very capable when duty
The sand is brilliant white quartz crystals and the water is usually reasonably clear. There is a smattering of
shells to be found. This beach is safe and child-friendly but is quite busy. There is quite a bit of parking
available, but expect some traffic congestion on weekends and holidays especially. This is where Tampa and
Clearwater goes to the beach.
For the best chance of finding parking, arrive before 11 a.m. on weekdays and before 10 a.m. on weekends.
Parking is $2.75 per hour or $16.00 for the entire day. Meters will accept quarters, bills, and credit/debit cards.
I find that using a debit or credit card usually works the best.
Lifeguards: On duty from 9:30 a.m. till 4:30 p.m.
- Alcohol is not allowed on the beach.
- Pets are not allowed on the beach.
- No fires, no glass containers, no camping, no soliciting, no skateboarding, no bicycles on beach, no
surfing or skim boarding, no boats or windsurfing, no fishing or cast netting (except from pier).
In the past I’ve been critical of Clearwater Beach because it is so heavily developed and traffic can become
quite congested. However, a recently completed $30 million renovation has completely restructured the traffic and
pedestrian flow along Clearwater Beach. In short, it is beautiful, and very suited to walking around rather than
- 2 snack bar type restaurants
- Restrooms with changing areas
- Outdoor rinse-off showers
- Metered Parking
- Sales of beach gear
- Rental of umbrellas and chairs
- Fishing pier with pole rentals
- Playground (covered) with equipment for kids.
- Evening entertainment and live music
- Restaurants and shopping within walking distance
- Hotels within walking distance
- ADA access and beach wheelchairs
Yes, it is a busy place, but literally EVERYTHING you and your family could need is right at your fingertips,
whether it is beach toys or gear, clothing, or a wide choice of food and drink. Unless you are looking for a quiet
beach with a lot of trees and nature, I highly recommend Clearwater Beach’s Pier 60 public beach access. All you
have to do is show up, park your car, rent some beach chairs and umbrellas and relax on one of the Florida’s top
beaches. For lunch, visit the snack bars or walk across the street to one of the excellent restaurants. Forget your
hat or sunscreen? Need a new bathing suit or beach bag? Just walk across the street and buy it. Rinse off and
change into dry clothes and spend some time shopping if you like, then have dinner and stay for the sunset before
heading back to Orlando or on to your next destination.
One thing noticeably lacking at pier 60 is the presence of picnic tables. I think this is for two reasons: It
takes away a favorite resting spot for vagrants and also encourages people to eat in the area’s many
Nearby is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which I highly recommend, especially for kids. http://www.seewinter.com/
Where to Stay on Clearwater Beach
The top choice would be the Hyatt, directly across the street and tightly integrated with the beach. Rooms start
at about $300/night. Two other top hotels that are right on the beach would be the Sand Pearl and the Hilton. There
are plenty of other hotels across the street and/or within a short block or two of the beach. They come in all
Above: The armless bandit of Clearwater Beach.