Clearwater Beach is always a top contender for “Number One Beach” in the United States. It’s for good reason too, it’s massive, has picturesque white sand, and is nestled on the beautiful warm bathtub that is the Gulf of Mexico. According to Trip Advisor, Clearwater was rated #1 for two years running - go us!
But does being a great beach for Summer Vacation translate into being a gorgeous elopement or destination wedding location?
In this case: Yes!
There are other great locations in Florida to elope though: You can check out our detailed post about them here: Where to Elope on the Beach in Florida
Part of the beauty of the Clearwater beach area is the buildings and amenities. It’s bustling every day of the week and has a great atmosphere toward the South Side– but just a short walk away, north of all the hustle and bustle, is North Clearwater Beach.
There’s tons of options for every type of couple. A fancy hotel with an incredible view and a ballroom for an incredible reception. For those that want something a little more romantic and intimate, there’s that too.
The North beach is THE place to get married if you want a small, intimate ceremony on a beautiful beach. If you’re even considering getting married barefoot – this is it. The beach faces the sunset, there’s greenery and that soft white sand. For a guest: it’s unforgettable. For a photographer: Its Amazing!
Towards the South you’ll start seeing lots of high rise hotels. There’s so many options, each with something unique to offer.
Believe it or not, Clearwater Beach is actually pretty convenient to travel t!. The St. Pete/Clearwater airport is about a half an hour from the Beach. Clearwater Beach is basically a barrier island that has one major bridge to get on and off. You and your guests will want to stay near the beach – downtown Clearwater and the surrounding areas not by the beach are… less than picturesque.
Driving onto the Clearwater beach area, you’ll pass the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (which you may have seen in Dolphin Tale) and you’ll eventually come to a big roundabout! Be warned – this is the hardest place to drive, possibly the in the world. Most hotels and restaurants are just around this roundabout and traffic coming through here can take a while.
Clearwater does have a free trolly which makes it easy to get around if you’re able to catch it.
For everyone eloping to Clearwater beach and elsewhere – this is a big deal and can be a tough decision. Your specific needs will probably vary and will depend on the amount of guests you’re planning on having, their budget, and how close they really need to be. If you’re all traveling from out of state, definitely try and stay on the Beach. Pier 60 kind of marks the half way point. Depending on where you're planning to elope (Use the map below to see available locations), should be where you and your family stay! Clearwater Beach is EXTREMELY walkable. There's tons of restaurants, shops, grocery stores, and convenience stores. You'll never really be too far from anything.
The Clearwater parks department permits activities between Avalon Street and the Opal Sands resort. Weddings and "Intimate Ceremonies require a permit. You would also need a permit if you have over 25 guests, a small arch, or amplified sound for any other event. Luckily, the permit fee is only $100 and covers 4 hours. Permit applications and fees are due 30 days prior to event date.
Florida is hot. Even in the winter, it can be warm. On a hot summer day, the sand will be hot to the touch, and it’s usually humid too. Not exactly conducive to hair and makeup, let alone grooms decked out in wool suits. Please keep the warm weather in mind when you’re making your plans.
In the rainy season (typically June-September). It’s likely to rain. It’s likely to rain a lot. Often, it seems like every day at 4:00 you can set your watch to the downpour. This could happen anywhere, at any time of year, but just know what you’re planning for and have a backup plan. It might clear up in a few minutes, it might rain for a while.
The best time of year to Elope in Clearwater Beach would be Fall-Spring. It’s less hot, less bugs, less tourists, and less chance of rain.
A beach elopement is such an intimate, amazing experience. It's really just you, the one you love, and those closest to you. No need to fuss about which table linens to use, or stress about getting your décor just right. It's a simple, but elegant day where you can focus on the things that are most important to you and have a blast getting married! Here's an example of a beach elopement that we absolutely loved being a part of! This was on Madeira Beach, which is about 30 minutes south of Clearwater Beach.