Daytona Beach vs. Clearwater Beach

When it comes to fame, these resort cities are two of the US’ most famous. Daytona Beach and Clearwater Beach both are extremely special. Both hold the necessary ingredients that make up a famous tourist destination. From the sun, and the beach, to the city quirks, expect to have the grandest time in either.
Daytona Beach vs. Clearwater Beach

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Clearwater Beach, constantly voted the best beach has its perks and quirks. Daytona, on the other hand, has a caliber on a whole other level. Regardless of which you choose, expect to have more than just fun and entertainment in some of America’s best resort cities.

Daytona Beach

The 23 miles (37 km) of breathtaking Atlantic coastline of Daytona Beach on the east coast have earned it the title of “the world’s most famous beach.” But this place offers much more than just a stunning beach.

The city has a famous Speedway, a rich colorful history, and top-notch cultural amenities. Not to mention, a calendar of exciting events and festivals as well. All of these have made the city famous. It seems like exciting things keep happening here. With so much to do, this fun-filled vacation spot in the sun is ideal for families.

What Makes Daytona Beach Unique?

The World’s Most Famous Beach

This Florida beach community receives millions of visitors each year thanks to its 23 miles of white, sandy shoreline. The statement “World’s Most Famous Beach” is prominently displayed on a billboard as you enter Daytona Beach. In the early 1900s, Daytona Beach gained notoriety for high-speed automotive testing and later, racing. This turned the beach into a haven for fans of racing.

The sandy beaches gave way to the creation of the renowned racetrack known as the Daytona International Speedway. It was created by NASCAR pioneer William “Bill” France, as more and more racing took place. It was eventually dubbed the “World’s Most Famous Beach” by the 1920s.

Since 1959, the speedway has hosted the Daytona 500. It has drawn tens of thousands of visitors and racing fans from around the globe in quest of excitement.

A day in the sun is ideal at Daytona Beach, where you can discover volleyball courts, jungle gyms, water sports, and much more. Daytona Beach also has a firmly packed sand beach, therefore driving is allowed in some spots there! Additionally, you may hire bicycles nearby and ride them along the shoreline all day or at sunset!

Daytona International Speedway

The icon that helped put Daytona Beach on the map, the Daytona International Speedway is the most significant institution in the city. In addition to being one of the most storied auto racing venues on Earth, this is also where NASCAR is based.

This still-family-owned organization was established in 1947 by Bill France Senior. It hosts vibrant events that draw more than 125,000 spectators.

As you pass through garages, get behind the scenes and become fully immersed in the history of the raceway. The Daytona International Speedway offers a variety of tours. Fasten your seatbelt and take a Speedway Tour through the infield of the speedway to get a better look at the 31-degree-high banks.

Additionally, there is a rare chance to ride behind a pro driver at up to 160 mph (257 kph). You can also try the Richard Petty Driving Experience or the NASCAR Racing Experience. It lets you operate one of these vehicles for up to 30 laps.

The Festival Capital of Florida

On top of its iconic speedway and uber-gorgeous beaches, Daytona Beach also has a ridiculously rich roster of festivals. Its calendar of events gives Tampa a run for its money. No matter what time of year you choose to visit Daytona Beach, there will certainly be a fantastic festival or event.

Daytona Beach is the Festival Capital of Florida, hosting more than 60 prestigious art, music, and unique pop culture festivals. The festival and music calendar features some of the most prestigious events in the state. This makes for an excellent lineup with a flair for everything from culture and cuisine to motorsports and music.

In both large and small gatherings, people can enjoy the outdoors, art, history, and a variety of other activities side by side. Discover regional customs, take in live music and dance, and delight in a regional cuisine that is distinctive to each festival. Here are some of the best events in Daytona Beach that you shouldn’t miss:

Daytona 500

This breathtaking, high-speed race is the most prestigious on the NASCAR schedule. It is held yearly at the Daytona International Speedway. Don’t pass up the chance to get a ticket for this highly sought-after event. Racing fans come from far and wide to see the 500-mile (805 km) motor race.

Daytona Beach Carnival

This is a joyful festival that unites the Latino, Caribbean, and African populations in a single celebration. The Daytona Beach Carnival takes place over Labor Day weekend. It is a terrific time to visit Daytona Beach and provides the ideal justification for a celebration. Get in on the action by going to the “World’s Most Famous Beach” throughout the day.

Halifax Art Festival

A significant event on Daytona Beach’s calendar is the yearly Halifax Art Festival, which has been going on for many years. Over 45,000 people travel each year to shop the enormous variety of stalls selling anything from original artwork and crafts to antiques.

There are also household goods, jewelry, apparel, and much more along the city’s renowned Beach Street. Find yourself admiring the creations of established artists or making your first purchase from a budding artist.

Daytona Beach Pier and Boardwalk

One of the city’s most recognizable monuments is the renowned Daytona Beach Main Street Pier, which was constructed in 1925. The 1,000-foot-long (305 m) fishing pier is a wonderful place to unwind and take in the breathtaking ocean views.

The Daytona Beach Boardwalk provides easy access to this charming wooden pier. It is available for free daily exploration. It’s a terrific location to catch the sunrise or spot marine creatures like dolphins and seabirds. For those who prefer to eat with a fantastic view of the lake, there are quite a few eateries nearby.

For your journey to Daytona, the Daytona Beach Boardwalk offers fun entertainment options. You’ll never run out of entertaining things to see and do while strolling along the city’s well-known Atlantic Ocean boardwalk.

Several Daytona Beach attractions are located on the boardwalk. There are plenty of amusements to enjoy, including roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Travelers can even have enjoyment by taking a leisurely stroll while feeling the pleasant sea wind.

Clearwater Beach

You can never get truly acquainted with Southwestern Florida without having been to Clearwater Beach. It is one of the most popular strips on the gulf coast, the beach best explains what southern Florida beaches are all about. It holds a ton of draws and activities that excites and attracts millions of visitors.

It is easy to get lost in the beauty and excitement of the resort city. Many of the quirks and activities available are enticing to almost every kind of traveler. Especially families with smaller curious kids. You can have the sun and sand during the day, but at night Clearwater Beach has a different take.

What Makes Clearwater Beach Unique

Beach Walk

When in Clearwater Beach, the famous Beach Walk is a must-visit. It is the most popular area on the beach and is perhaps the most energetic and jam-packed. Your Clearwater Beach experience won’t be complete without relishing in the highs that one of its famous institutions can give.

The Clearwater Beach Walk is littered with curiosities and fun finds. Its quirky contrast provides a charming side to Clearwater Beach. On one side you have hotels, resorts, and shops lined, while on the other are palm trees and the vast expanse of the Gulf of Mexico. You can relish the vibe and view just by chilling in between the pavement and the sand and water.

You can find a wealthy row of restaurants and coffee shops on one side where you can sample the best of the local and homegrown flavors. The restaurants offer amazing views of the aquatic horizon. The area also has rows of restaurants offering alfresco dining. If you’re one for people-watching this is the place.

The beach walk is also perfect for beach bums as it has easy access to the beach. You can easily go down after spending some time on the long walk. Beach chairs and umbrellas are available for rent, providing a laid-back time on the sand. You can enjoy many other activities just across the beach walk as well.

Apart from lounging and swimming, rental shops also offer opportunities to surf, jet ski, and many other water activities. The younger crowd loves to congregate around these parts looking for that extra thrill. Just north of the walk is also the iconic Pier 60, during the day you can find plenty of opportunities to fish. But it becomes a whole other story as the sun starts to set.

Pier 60

It wouldn’t be hard to miss Pier 60 when you’re already strolling around the Beach Walk. Another one of Clearwater Beach’s esteemed landmarks is the famous pier. This strip offers many charms and excitement for everyone, whatever type of traveler you are. If you’re looking for a bit of flair around the beach, this is the place to go.

While it’s just a part of the famous Clearwater Beach Walk, Pier 60 in itself is a trademark. It is not just a mere pier where you can watch sunsets and fish. It offers more than that. The pier boasts great catches for aspiring or seasoned anglers. You can even find several rental shops for fishing equipment.

Across the sand just before the pier, you can also find playgrounds and inflatable slides for kids. Just like the rest of the beach walk, Pier 60 is notably family-friendly especially when it comes to entertainment.

But the real fun in Pier 60 begins when the sun starts to set. The pier transforms and hosts the daily Sunset Festival from 6 to 9 PM. From live entertainment to quirky pop-up stores, Pier 60 is the place you’d definitely want to be in after a day at the beach.

Also called Sunsets at Pier 60, the Sunset Festival features street performers charming everyone, from kids to adults. There are also musical concerts headlined by local artists and bands. If you’re not one for rowdy nightlife, this is the best alternative to parties.

On top of live entertainment and performances, the Sunset Festival also has several pop-up stores. Most of which offer various items and products. Most of these stores are homegrown, and some are family-owned as well. Or, if you feel like eating the night away, you can also find places that offer food and drinks.

Dolphin Watching

The Gulf of Mexico is well-known to be one of the most diverse and richest in terms of marine life. You can even check out many of them just around the waters of Southwestern Florida. Just beyond the waters of Clearwater Beach, several marine animals can already be spotted.

With this phenomenon, the beach offers several tours to see these animals up close and personal. And none more special than the lovely dolphins. Just across Clearwater Beach, you can check out several dolphin pods. Most tours take you around areas where they swim while educating you. The crew provides essential information about these gentle sea creatures.

Tours also include entertainment and refreshments on their packages. This gives curious visitors the best experience. You can witness firsthand the beauty of the gulf, see dolphins up close, and sip tropical coolers all in one boat excursion.

Dolphin-watching tours can also be accessed via the many cruise services found across the beach. Cruise lines also offer tours and excursions to see dolphins and other marine animals. These tours also include stops on other beaches and many other water activities.

Water Tours

Clearwater Beach has a vast beach and an even more expansive gulf just across. Conquering its waters is one of the most famous activities on offer. Packed with excitement, luckily there’s more than one gimmick to explore the waters.

While most tours involve either boarding a boat or a ship, these tours often have twists and quirks that further entertain guests. These companies have created fun ways to navigate the waters of Clearwater Beach.

Here are some of the options you must try:

Pirate-Themed Cruise

Pirates plundering and occupying incoming ships from Europe have left their mark on the history of Southern Florida. And maybe the rest of the Gulf of Mexico. Although they had had a bad image, pirates are now frequently used as a plot device in cruises out of Clearwater Beach.

Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise is perhaps the most popular choice for families. Children that are fascinated by pirates love it. Role-playing, treasure hunting, and live entertainment are all included in the cruise experience. Families can anticipate their trip to Clearwater Beach having a lot of twists.

The Calypso Queen

The Calypso Queen’s cruise cruises are as opulent as you can imagine. It isn’t called “queen” for nothing. The three-story ship will take you around Clearwater Beach’s picturesque banks. The excursion gives you the opportunity to take in the views of the gulf and the beach.

The Calypso Queen also serves two full-service bars and free drinks. A lunch or dinner buffet is also included in the package. Live music, a DJ, and dancing are the icing on the cake of the Calypso Queen providing energy and fun.

Private Boat Tour

Locals and visitors alike frequently congregate on Clearwater Beach. This makes the beach feel really crowded. If you feel like exploring, you will have trouble having the beach to yourself. Maybe even never. A private boat excursion offers the finest opportunity to both explore and get away from the area.

Private boat trips are an excellent choice if you have a sufficient budget and want to get the most out of your trip to Clearwater Beach. Private boat tours can be found everywhere along the beach, and they frequently use double-deckers. Expect to be taken around many of the area’s gorgeous spots and views.

Which Is Better – Daytona Beach or Clearwater Beach?

If you’re looking for a more jam-packed and energetic time along the waters of southern Florida, then Daytona Beach is the better option for you. It has everything Clearwater Beach offers and more. From the world’s most famous beach stretch to a rich roster of festivals, Daytona Beach is a holiday getaway through and through.


Is Daytona Beach Near Clearwater Beach?

Daytona Beach sits far from Clearwater Beach. They’re both located on opposing sides of Southern Florida. Daytona Beach is approximately 139 miles (223 km) from Clearwater Beach, directly.

Clearwater Beach to Daytona Beach

You can get to Daytona Beach from Clearwater Beach in one of three common ways. You can take the train via Amtrak, or the bus, or you can drive in your car.