Clearwater; A Family Escape

Clearwater Beach resides on a clip of land outside of Tampa. A big bridge connects the island to the mainland. It's an incredibly beautiful spot right on the gulf with lots of island vibes, without having to drive to the Keys.

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Where to Stay
The Sandpearl is the definite showstopper and would fall under the luxury category. Valet meets you at the door and whisks your bags to your room. The lobby is equipt with a self playing piano, lounge area, coffee shop and spectacular views of the courtyard waterfall, pool and ocean.

The rooms have spacious balconies that face outward toward the gulf, and comfortable Adirondack chairs for sipping Mai Tai's and watching sunsets.

Onsite restaurants feature chef created menus for every meal of the day. There is a more relaxed poolside cafe and an upscale restaurant off the lobby. The breakfast buffet should not be missed; every breakfast item you can imagine is either fresh prepared at your request or already on the bar. Fruit, smoothies, salmon, pastries, pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, omlets, biscuits; I could go on. Being "all you can eat", you can taste test an assortment of items and fill up for a long day on the beach.

While the Sandpearl seems like an adult only retreat, it's not. Areas with designated kid's fun such as games and a boogie board loan center accommodate children perfectly. The beach entry pool allows for super tiny ones to splash and play. And of course all of the restaurants have delicious items kids will gladly scarf down.

Since the resort provides plenty of kid oriented fun, adult relaxation blends seamlessly into the environment. So if you and your partner are traveling solo, there is plenty of seclusion. The beach side cabanas are perfect for hiding away as well.

Food
Like any great beach destination, you won't find a shortage of fresh seafood. The Thirsty Marlin is a little bit of a drive, but so worth it if you love crab legs, sushi and fried corn. The Beachcomber is a stones throw from the Sandpearl, and offers a high end setting, live piano player and a killer Oysters Rockefeller.

Extra Fun
There is the basic stuff, like jet skiing and parasailing in Clearwater, but I'd highly recommend a dolphin tour. There are several operators to choose from, such as a life-like pirate ship or a boat that looks like a shark! Tropics Boat Tours probably offer the best views thanks to their double decker boat. You will see a TON, of dolphin; I'm not kidding. These cute little mammals are not lured to the boat, rather they have actually developed a relationship with these people and gladly surface to put on a show for passengers. It's completely ethical and super fun!

Clearwater is a go to destination for our family thanks to the great balance of activities and affordable, yet luxurious, fun.

Karyn Wofford
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Karyn Wofford is a writer with an expertise in lifestyle, wellness and travel. She's a contributor to Livestrong, the Mother Earth Living Blog, A Luxury Travel Blog and Diabetes Forecast. Karyn is also a US Global advocate for T1International. Follow her on Twitter @karynwofford
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