Looking to get away from it all without having to “go away”? Look no further than Sand Key Park in Clearwater, Florida. With its beautiful white beaches and stunning sunsets, this peaceful paradise is known as “the beach with the million-dollar view.”
This Pinellas County barrier island sits just off Clearwater Beach on Clearwater Pass, so access is easy. A natural gem, Sand Key Beach Park offers 95 beautiful acres of peaceful sugar-sand beaches, parks, and nature trails to explore. And with an array of amenities—including cabana rentals, outdoor showers, beautiful picnic shelters with grills, a playground, and a dog park—it makes for a great family outing.
Ready for a break from the buzz of busy beaches? Plan your getaway with this guide to what to see and do in Sand Key Park in Clearwater, FL.
Looking for more ideas for your trip? Check out our Florida Travel Guide for more recommendations on when to visit, where to go & what to do!
What to see & do at Sand Key Park
Laze on Sand Key Beach
Located just across the bridge from the ever-popular Clearwater Beach, Sand Key Beach offers a different beach vibe from the insanely popular beach town. (And with a parking permit fee of just five dollars, it’s a bargain!)
Ready to book some serious beach time? Rent a beach umbrella, a beach chair, a cabana—or all the above at Sand Key Beach Park. You’ll be all set for a laid-back day of people- and wave-watching.
Sand Key Park also offers disabled visitors specially designed beach wheelchairs which both maneuver on sand and float in the water.
Hit the waters of the Gulf of Mexico or Clearwater Bay
If you’re planning a beach getaway, you’re expecting sun, sand, and surf, right? Sand Key Park has it all – and more!
Ready to ride the surf? Polish up your board (or rent one) and head out onto the Gulf of Mexico. Or slip into a rental kayak and paddle the aquamarine waters of Clearwater Bay.
Hop aboard the Clearwater Jolley Trolley
If you’re looking for a unique and fun way to sightsee, hop aboard the Clearwater Jolley Trolley. Furnished with oak and brass trim, these vintage cars offer a great way to view Clearwater Beach, Sand Key, and the neighboring coastal towns in North Pinellas.
Sit back, relax, and be entertained by a friendly driver who will highlight local attractions, recount the area’s history, and offer recommendations for great places to wine and dine.
Go on a Little Toot Dolphin Adventure
Want to get a close-up look at some much-loved locals? Hop aboard the Little Toot Dolphin Adventure tugboat at Clearwater Beach. This nifty vessel glides low on the water, offering great views of these amazing marine mammals.
And as it moves like a tugboat, it creates a huge wake, providing a perfect dolphin playground. (Hope you packed your camera!)
Enjoy a picnic
When you’re ready for a bite at the white-sand beach, you won’t have far to go. Fire up a grill and chow down at one of the park’s picnic pavilions.
Or let the meal come to you: the Sand Key Beach Grill food truck is a favorite with beachgoers. They cook up fresh beach fare in their kitchen-on-wheels. Take your pick of everything from juicy burgers to fish and chips. Quaff it all down with a cold beverage – and you’re all set to head back to the sand and surf.
Try your hand at fishing
For anglers itching to cast a line: you’re in the right place. It’s a short trip to a great catch. Book a fishing charter to try your luck with one of the most abundant fish populations on the Gulf Coast.
Clearwater Bay teems with species ranging from trout to walleye. So bait that hook and enjoy the shoreline view while you’re at it.
Take a helicopter tour at Clearwater Airpark
How about a different type of view – say, bird’s eye? Head over to Clearwater Airpark, just minutes away from Sand Key Park, and hop on a helicopter.
You’ll buzz over the renowned Pier 60 boardwalk, get stunning views of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and barrier islands. Then you’ll zip over the famous greens of Belleair Golf Course, Florida’s first fairway. Bring your camera!
Hike through Sand Key’s salt marsh
Ready to cover some ground and take in some natural wonders? Pull on your walking shoes, grab your binoculars, and discover the unique eco-environment of Sand Key.
The island is home to a rare salt marsh. Explore it to observe rare and endangered bird species like great horned owls nesting and feeding. It’s a haven for endangered sea turtles that lay their eggs in the sand. Keep your eyes peeled for hatchlings!
Attend a beach party
And what would a surfside stay be without beach parties? The broad swathe of sand at Sand Key Beach is the ideal setting for festive events—everything from corn roasts to corporate celebrations to weddings.
Literally, thousands of couples have said “I do” on Sand Key Beach. With emerald green water, white sugar sand, and a stunning sunset as the backdrop – it’s a natural fit for nuptials.
Take a dinner cruise on the Calypso Queen
Want to keep the party going? Easy: Just hop aboard the Calypso Queen, a cruise ship that gives you a chance to experience the beautiful Clearwater coastline at a laid-back and leisurely pace.
Chill out and enjoy the view as you savor a deckside dinner. Or forget about making reservations: the head for the buffet bar, and choose from an array of tempting offerings.
Hit the dance floor and move to the stylings of a live DJ. Then kick back with a cocktail from the open bar—and witness a sunset so vivid you’ll take it home with you as a permanent reminder of your unforgettable Sand Key Beach experience.
How to get there
Sand Key Park is located just a few minutes south of Clearwater Beach across Clearwater Pass. If you’re driving your own car, there’s a small $5 parking fee to park at Sand Key Park.
Where to stay
Want to extend your visit to Sand Key beyond a day trip? You’ll be spoiled for choice.
Take your pick of vacation rentals ranging from cottages to top-tier accommodation like Sheraton Sand Key Resort or the Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key.
Equipped with full services and amenities, both these top-rated Clearwater Beach hotels are steps away from Sand Key Park. Indulge yourself!