Clearwater Beach Vs. Fort Lauderdale: Which is BETTER for Vacation?

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Clearwater Beach and Fort Lauderdale are two of the top travel destinations in Florida. Both of these destinations are known for their pristine beaches, vibrant nightlife, and the number of exciting activities they have to offer.

However, there are a lot of key differences that make both these two destinations unique in their own right. Here’s a comparison of these amazing beach towns on the Gulf Coast and why you should choose one over the other.

ParticularsClearwater BeachFort Lauderdale
Average cost of a 7-day trip$3368 (For couples)$2911 (For couples)
Known forBeautiful white sand beach, swimming, kayaking, vibrant nightlifeWorld-class Golf courses, Riverfront, Party vibes, Yachting, Arts, Culture
BeachesWhite sand beaches with the crystal blue water of the Gulf coastPristine white sandy beaches with a lively vibe and luxurious oceanfront high-rises
Popular Tourist AttractionsPier 60, Honeymoon Island State Park, Caladesi ParkFort Lauderdale Beach, Las Olas Boulevard, FL Riverwalk, Museum of Discovery & Science, Flamingo Gardens

Clearwater Beach Vs. Fort Lauderdale: Which is BETTER for Vacation?

Clearwater Beach Vs. Fort Lauderdale: Beaches

Clearwater Vs. Fort Lauderdale

There is no doubt that both Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale are top beach destinations in Florida. Both of these destinations are havens for beach lovers. So it doesn’t matter if you visit Clearwater or Fort Lauderdale, you won’t be disappointed. However, there are some key differences between these two destinations that you must know before making your final decision.

One of the major differences is that Clearwater is situated along the Gulf Coast. That’s why Clearwater has warm and clear water year-round. On the other hand, Fort Lauderdale is situated along the Atlantic Ocean, and as a result, the water is not as calm as Clearwater.

In other words, Clearwater offers better conditions for aquatic activities and it is a better option for families with young kids as compared to Fort Lauderdale.

fort lauderdale beaches

Clearwater is known for its miles of white sand beaches and crystal clear water. It is a very popular beach destination across the country and attracts a large number of tourists every year. That’s why you will find that beaches in Clearwater are busier and crowded most of the time.

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On the other hand, Fort Lauderdale has a diverse range of beaches. It doesn’t matter if you want lively beaches to party on or peaceful beaches to just sit and relax on, Fort Lauderdale has it all. In other words, if you are looking for a quiet beach gateway, Fort Lauderdale is a better option than Clearwater.

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Clearwater Beach Vs. Fort Lauderdale: Best Things to Do

Clearwater Vs. Fort Lauderdale activities

Best Things to Do: Clearwater

Visit the Clearwater beach

Obviously, if you are a true beach lover, you cannot miss the opportunity to visit one of the best beaches in the country. Clearwater Beach, also the main beach in the city, is full of life and energy.

You can explore a wide range of activities here, ranging from paddle boarding and jet ski to parasailing. This beautiful beach is well developed and well equipped with all kinds of modern amenities. Also, there is a good nightlife scene on this beach.

Clearwater Beach aquarium

The Clearwater Aquarium is undoubtedly one of the top attractions in Clearwater. This is an especially great activity for families with little kids.

Clearwater Aquarium is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to the rehabilitation and rescue of injured marine animals. Many marine animals like turtles, dolphins, stingrays and river otters have been rescued and rehabilitated in this aquarium. Visitors can take a tour and learn about these marine animals, and sometimes they can even interact with them.

Pier 60

Pier 60 is another popular tourist attraction in Clearwater. The pier offers visitors stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico as well as hosts a number of entertaining events in Clearwater. Apart from that, Pier 60 is jam-packed with a number of shops and restaurants to explore.

Honeymoon island

Honeymoon Island, which is about a 20-minute drive from Clearwater, is the perfect place if you want to escape the bustling beaches of Clearwater for some time.

This island offers miles of pristine white sand beaches, beautiful hiking trails, and exotic wildlife like manatees, bald eagles, and dolphins to explore. Picnicking, swimming, hiking, biking, and fishing are some of the top activities on this island.

Best Things to Do: Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale beach park

If you are in Fort Lauderdale and are looking for a relaxing and family-friendly beach gateway, then Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is the place to go.

This beach is known for its scenic strip of sand and the crystal blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. There are also a number of facilities like picnic areas, restrooms, showers, and playgrounds that are available on the beach.

Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Boulevard is one of the most popular attractions in Fort Lauderdale. This bustling place is packed with a variety of boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries to explore. You can say Las Olas Boulevard is the shopping and dining district of Fort Lauderdale.

The Sawgrass recreation park

If you have explored the pristine beaches of Fort Lauderdale and now want to spend some time exploring nature, then Sawgrass recreation park is the place to go.

Sawgrass Recreation Park, just 20 minutes from Fort Lauderdale, is a nature lover’s paradise. This park is home to over 300 species of birds and exotic animals like alligators, otters, and turtles.

Also, if you are interested in the exotic wildlife of the park, you can take part in one of the educational tours offered by the park.

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Clearwater Beach Vs. Fort Lauderdale: Nightlife

Clearwater Vs. Fort Lauderdale nightlife

If you are a party animal, you will love both Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale.

Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale both offer some of the best nightlife scenes in Florida. Both of these destinations offer a diverse nightlife scene that suits every kind of person. There is no shortage of things to do at night in both of these destinations. Both Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale offer a variety of nightclubs, live music bars, restaurants, and clubs to explore.

In Clearwater, especially, there are a number of places to go for party animals. However, I think Pier 60 is one of the best nightlife hotspots in Clearwater. You will find many free entertainment options at this place at night. This place has become the center of Clearwater’s nightly beach activities.

In Fort Lauderdale, without a doubt, Las Olas Boulevard is the most popular spot for partygoers. This iconic street is home to hundreds of amazing restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

If live music is your thing, then head to one of the many concert venues in the city, such as Revolution Live or the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

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If you are looking for a lively and family-friendly beach destination that offers calm and warm water year-round and plenty of beach activities to explore, then Clearwater Beach is a better option than Fort Lauderdale.

However, if you are looking for a beach destination that offers a diverse range of beaches along with a wild nightlife scene, then Fort Lauderdale is a better option than Clearwater Beach.

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About the author
Chetan Patil
Chetan is a travel enthusiast, who finds solace in traveling. Reading, writing, and sharing about outdoor adventures, culture, and traditions has been his lifelong passion.

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