This Is America’s Favorite Beach: Clearwater Beach, Florida

Clearwater Beach is the sort of vacation destination that inspires accolades, including top honors from USA TODAY, TripAdvisor (SmarterTravel’s parent company), and Forbes. Clearwater Beach is widely recognized for its warm Gulf Coast water, silky sand, and vacation-friendly location close to hotels, activities, and places to eat.

Shallow, clear water (Clearwater Beach lives up to its name) and miles of sand create plenty of room to splash, sunbathe, and play. Hotels offer seating and umbrellas to guests, and independent beachgoers have picture-perfect places to lay out their beach towels as well.

At sunset, Pier 60 is the place to be along Clearwater Beach, with a daily festival featuring street performers and vendors from two hours before until two hours after sunset.

Stay in the heart of the action by booking at a beachfront hotel such as one of these:

Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach: This high-rise hotel offers beach views, a large swimming pool, several dining choices, and specially themed family rooms and suites.

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Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa: The Hyatt Regency offers large rooms and ocean views, along with a pool with a view (it’s on the 8th floor) and a spa.

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By Christine Sarkis

There's a 95 percent chance Senior Editor Christine Sarkis is thinking about travel right now. Follow her on Instagram @postcartography and Twitter @ChristineSarkis.

Christine Sarkis is an SATW-award-winning journalist and executive editor at SmarterTravel. Her stories have also appeared on USA Today, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, and Business Insider. Her advice has been featured in dozens of print and online publications including The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, and People magazine. She has also shared travel tips on television and radio shows including Good Morning America, Marketplace, and Here & Now. Her work has been published in the anthologies Spain from a Backpack and The Best Women's Travel Writing 2008. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: The Trtl Pillow. It's easy to pack and comfortable, and makes it so I can actually sleep on flights.

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: Seeing the Aurora Borealis from the comfort of somewhere warm, like a glass igloo or hot spring.

Travel Motto: Curiosity is an amazing compass.

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: Aisle all the way.

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