If you’re looking into Clearwater Beach as your Florida vacation destination, you’re probably already aware of its beautiful white sandy beaches, its calm Gulf water, and its spectacular sunsets. But perhaps you’re still searching for the ideal kid friendly hotel right on the beach that will have all the family amenities to ensure the kids AND the parents have a fun and relaxing vacation.

I know just the place, and as a native of Clearwater, I’ve visited there many times.  After years away, I recently returned to Hilton Clearwater Beach with my own family for a weekend of sunshine, pool-time, and relaxation.

Hilton Clearwater Beach overlooks the beach on the Gulf of Mexico and has everything a family needs to relax and have fun: expansive sandy beaches, accessible transportation options, and plenty of family friendly attractions and activities to keep you as busy as you want to be.

Most of its rooms offer beachfront views from which you can enjoy the sunset on your balcony. The hotel itself has private beach access, two fresh water pools and a hot tub. The hotel even offers a designated shaded play area right on the beach that’s chock full of sand toys where toddlers can play for hours.

KIDS ACTIVITIES AT THE HOTEL

KIDS CLUB

All my kids need to have a good time is sand, surf and maybe a pool. This hotel has a dedicated beach space with beach loungers and umbrellas for rent. There’s also a Kids Club available daily for those times you need some kids-free moments to yourself. Club activities change daily, but include organized games on the beach and in the pool, and daily craft projects. During our stay, our girls enjoyed making their own shark’s tooth necklace.  I was told that they may even start offering some evening Kids Club events to allow parents to enjoy kid-free dinners together.

PIER 60 PARK

Within view of the hotel is Pier 60 Park, which not only has a fishing pier, but also three play structures and two swing sets. Adjacent to the pier is another mini “pop-up” park directly on the beach that offers inflatable water slides and bungee rides for a small fee. On Friday and Saturday nights, a free (FREE) family-friendly movie is projected on a big screen on the lawn of Pier 60 Park for anyone who wants to enjoy an outdoor picnic and a movie.

KID FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS IN CLEARWATER BEACH

Located right on the beach, Hilton Clearwater Beach is within a short distance to many of the area’s attractions.

CLEARWATER MARINE AQUARIUM

A short ride on the Jolley Trolley will bring you to one of Clearwater’s most well-known attractions. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is home to Winter, the dolphin with the prosthetic tail who has been made famous by the movie Dolphin Tale. If you’ve seen the movie, CMA is where the real story all started, and where many of the movie scenes were filmed.

But Winter the Dolphin isn’t the only sea life you’ll see at CMA. This aquarium has been a rescue and rehabilitation facility for more than 20 years for a variety of the local wildlife including dolphins, sea turtles and otters.  As a non-profit organization, it relies solely on donations to support its residents, some of whom are too injured or tame to be released back into the wild.

The CMA is an organization close to my heart, as my own mom was a volunteer there, where she participated in the rescue and release of many animals over the years. My kids were happy to spend half the day petting the sting rays and sea urchins, or watching the sharks and sea turtles glide around the tank.

Movie fans might be interested to know that CMA also has a second facility that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie. Admission to Winter’s Dolphin Tale Adventure is included in the ticket price for the Aquarium.

CLEARWATER MARINA

Just across the street from the hotel is the Marina where visitors can charter boats for a variety of activities: fishing, wildlife viewing, sunset cruises and even more active pursuits like water-skiing and tubing. The Sealife Safari eco-tour boat offers a combo snorkeling and scenic boat trip and is affiliated with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  The Concierge at Hilton Clearwater Beach will gladly help organize an outing.

Although the weather was chilly by Floridian standards when we visited, we enjoyed all the family amenities that Hilton Clearwater Beach had to offer—the pool, the hot tub, the Kids Club—even the ping pong table! The next time we travel back to my hometown, I know where we’ll be staying.

This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.

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Visiting Winter the Dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

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