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Day 2: Clearwater Marine Aquarium & Dunedin

Clearwater Marine Aquarium dolphins
Trip
Day 2: Clearwater Marine Aquarium & Dunedin

OK first things first. Are you early risers? Then you want to stick with Option 1. If you prefer to sleep in, jump straight to Option 2.

Option 1 – For the early risers

Breakfast at Clear Sky Beachside Café (8am)

Tuck into some great breakfast fare over at Clear Sky Beachside Café, unilaterally voted as one of our favorite breakfast joints in the area. The Sunshine Skillet is always a safe choice.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (9:30am – 12pm)

Today you will visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. It is most famous for Winter the Dolphin. (You know, the dolphin movie that you watched last night.) Be sure to fill up at breakfast, as the lunch options at the aquarium are not great. We also recommend that you pack a few bottles of water and some snacks for you and the kids. You are allowed to bring a backpack, or a cooler (as long as it does not exceed 24″ long x 15″ high x 18″ wide.)

If you want to pack a lunch, a great option is to grab subs at Publix grocery store right next door. Publix have some of the best subs around and is just the thing if you are aiming for an all day aquarium experience. 

Or, if subs are not your thing, get some lunch after you finish up at the aquarium. (Don’t worry, as long as you save your ticket, you can re-renter the aquarium on the same day.)

Lunch at the Bait House (12:15pm – 1:15pm)

The Bait House Tackle & Tavern is loved by all ages and sits you right on the docks. Alongside fresh seafood, you can also order some scrumptious tavern food. We recommend ordering the drunken shrimp and spicy tuna nachos for starters, while splitting the fresh catch sampler plate. 

Head back to Clearwater Marine Aquarium  (1:30 – 3pm) 

We find it best to break up the day at the aquarium, get some great food outside and then head back to finish up your tours. The ideal time to check out the aquarium is about 2-3 hours. If you want to book boat tours, certain animal care experiences, and Behind the Scenes tours expect that these will add at least another hour to your day, and is a great choice for anyone that really loves animals and marine biology. 

Check out Dunedin (3:30 – 6pm)

Once you’ve finished up at the aquarium, get in your car and make your way to downtown Dunedin. If your kids are under eight, you can head over to the marina to look at the boats. (There’s also a children’s play area located just opposite the marina at Edgewater Park.) There is lots of good people watching and things to see in the marina. If your kids are over eight, you want to grab some bikes over at Kafe Racer and head out on the Pinellas Trail. (Again, either option is based on family preference.)

Dinner at Crown & Bull (6:15pm -7:30pm)

You’ll probably be famished by the time you have finished up at the marina and Pinellas Trail, so we recommend that you make your way over to Crown & Bull for dinner. Something of a landmark eatery, this cool joint has been around for a few decades already and offers a relaxed atmosphere with live music and locally-sourced Floridian grub. 

After dinner, head over to Strachan’s Ice Cream parlor for some of the BEST ice-cream you’ll ever try. Round off your evening with some ‘nightseeing’ around Dunedin, or pack up and head back to your hotel after a long day.

Option 2 –  For the late risers 

Breakfast (Saturday) 11am / or Brunch (Sunday) 10am 

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is on the agenda for today. Therefore, you will want to head straight to Island Way Grill (right next door) for breakfast. Be sure to sit on their outdoor patio on the water. 

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (12pm – 3pm)

After breakfast, you can easily walk over to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, or drive over should you not want to leave your car. However, you will save on the parking ($10) at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. (Remember, you do this at your own risk, or as we say, the local way.)

As you had a late breakfast, we recommend you to pack a lunch today. A great option is to grab subs at Publix grocery store right next door. Publix have some of the best subs around and is just the thing if you are aiming for an all day aquarium experience. 

Check out Dunedin (3:30 – 6pm)

Once you’ve finished up at the aquarium, get in your car and make your way to downtown Dunedin. If your kids are under eight, you can head over to the marina to look at the boats. (There’s also a children’s play area located just opposite the marina at Edgewater Park.) There is lots of good people watching and things to see in the marina. If your kids are over eight, you want to grab some bikes over at Kafe Racer and head out on the Pinellas Trail. (Again, either option is based on family preference.)

Dinner at Crown & Bull (6:15pm -7:30pm)

You’ll probably be famished by the time you have finished up at the marina and Pinellas Trail, so we recommend that you make your way over to Crown & Bull for dinner. Something of a landmark eatery, this cool joint has been around for a few decades already and offers a relaxed atmosphere with live music and locally-sourced Floridian grub. 

After dinner, head over to Strachan’s Ice Cream parlor for some of the BEST ice-cream you’ll ever try. Round off your evening with some ‘nightseeing’ around Dunedin, or pack up and head back to your hotel after a long day.

Have Sun
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madisonavenue
madisonavenue
14. January, 2021.
Relax a little Wonderful way to relax and enjoy the sun, surf and sand. The air is clean and fresh and people seem nice!
The Bis
The Bis
13. January, 2021.
Clearwater memories Super nice beach, I personally like to stay by Pier 60. Totally worth spending the day at the beach. Parking right at pier 60 by hour, or valet park at the hotels off Cornado (Hyatt, Springhill, and Residence Inn for less than $20 for day) You literally walk across to beach and Pier 60 area is right there. Many shops off the beach area that are worth browsing as well as local bars and restaurants Easy to get to , straight shot from Tampa airport, over the bridge and your there!
Nat C
Nat C
7. January, 2021.
Worth the parking wait What a gorgeous beach. Powder white sand. Plenty of space. Nice waves. Parking is a challenge. Parking is sporadic and hard to find.
Prizzis
Prizzis
7. January, 2021.
Endless beach An immense, wide beach where you can walk for hours or even days. It is lined with the dense row of big hotels, though.
Teresa K
Teresa K
4. January, 2021.
Clearwater Beach Beach was very nice. If you don’t have your own chairs you can rent some. There’s a lot of seagulls around . Be careful if you want to eat chips or anything they will surround you. Besides that you will be satisfied with the area.
Michael R
Michael R
3. January, 2021.
Very nice place First time here and i must say this is a very nice beach, i have no complaints and anyone planning to come to clearwater should definitely do so. I highly recommend ????
circlemfarms
circlemfarms
3. January, 2021.
Nice!! Simple review.. Crowded so show up early to park and get a spot.. But very worth at least a day or two of any vacation! Clean.. have to give Clearwater credit.. it was super clean!!
OKY M
OKY M
2. January, 2021.
Plage ???? tres belles ! La Plage est facile d’accès et très belle ! Le sable blanc magnifique! C est une grande plage idéale avec les enfants
Sandrinna8
Sandrinna8
1. January, 2021.
Clearwater beach review The sand is super soft it does not stick to the skin the water is very clear and cold the beach is very clean and organized.