By Nancy Foster
Pier 60 Park, considered the hub of Clearwater Beach activity, is your A-list destination for year-round fun in the sun. Beach purists flock here for the fabulous sand and warm Gulf of Mexico waters. This city-owned park is flanked by award-winning Clearwater Beach, which ranks as Top U.S. Beach in the TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice awards.
Good advice is to arrive early in the morning and claim your perfect spot. A $30 investment for a day’s beach cabana rental and two beach chairs is well worth it. Stock up on snacks, water toys and sunscreen at one of two nearby concession stands and then surrender to a day of relaxation. Other services include a well-equipped playground, visitor information center, outside showers, bike racks and restrooms.
The actual pier, ideally located between long, wide stretches of spectacular beach, juts 1080 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Stroll its boardwalk for fabulous views and photo ops and, if fishing is your passion, head to the very end of the pier and rent gear at the Bait House. No license is required when fishing from the boardwalk.
A lure for all ages is the free nightly Sunsets at Pier 60 Festival that runs two hours before and two hours after the sun sets. Expect to find an eclectic array of street musicians, buskers, artists and craft vendors to keep you entertained and intrigued. Sunset viewing is prime in Pier 60 Park, so bring your camera and join everyone on the beach to capture this blazing spectacle.
On weekends, at Pier 60’s entrance, enjoy free PG-rated movies under the stars at Sunset Cinema. Don’t forget your blanket or beach chair; popcorn and concessions are available.
Lodging, dining, shops and Clearwater Beach Marina are all within walking distance of Pier 60 Park, and parking is available at metered lots. The Clearwater Jolley Trolley and Florida Free Ride offer alternative transportation options to this Clearwater Beach landmark.
Each year, the spectacular 10-day Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival draws thousands of visitors from around the world. Festival dates for 2017 are April 14-23. Plan your spring vacation to include this popular festival.