For groups seeking the quintessential "meeting with a beach" experience, Clearwater Beach delivers wide, sandy, blindingly white beaches that are dotted with resort hotels, restaurants, shopping, and transportation. Better still, Clearwater Beach event venues are located less than a 30-minute drive away from Tampa and St. Petersburg.
Clearwater Beach is situated 10 miles from St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, 18 miles from Tampa International Airport and 44 miles from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.
Attendees are never more than a few steps from the sandy shores: Hotel venues in Clearwater Beach include the 416-room Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort, with 40,000 square feet of meeting space; the 390-room Sheraton Sand Key Resort with 25,000 square feet of meeting space; the 250-room Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa with 12,000 square feet of meeting space; the 253-room Sandpearl Resort with 25,000 square feet of meeting space; and the new 230-room Opal Sands Resort, with 25,000 square feet of space.
The aquamarine waters framing Clearwater Beach are enticing for special events. Among the options are sightseeing, luncheon and dinner cruises aboard the 65-foot, triple-decked Calypso Queen, which can accommodate 149 passengers; and Dolphin Encounter cruises, which last about two hours and take attendees on the Gulf of Mexico. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium can host team-building sessions, awards night events, and receptions.
For recreation, spouse programs, and the like, popular activities include excursions to Caladesi Island, which is annually rated America's number-one beach by several publications and websites; Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise, a themed cruise (typically lasting two hours) that can accommodate 125 passengers; and deep-sea fishing charters available at the Clearwater Beach Marina.
Many dining venues in Clearwater Beach incorporate the seafront. Popular venues include the beachside setting at Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar, an oceanside favorite since 1926 and Forlini's Ristorante & Bar, situated directly across the street from the beach featuring housemade pastas and a wine list with more than 650 selections.
Two major events around which to plan meetings and incentive programs are the spring training games of Major League Baseball's Philadelphia Phillies, who play during the month of March at the 7,300-seat Bright House Field and the Clearwater Jazz Festival, a 10-day series of jazz concerts in mid-October that has featured talents like Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck and Kenny G in its 32-year history.
Located just north of Clearwater, in Palm Harbor, is the 608-room Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, with 65,000 square feet of meeting space, four golf courses, a spa and three restaurants. And in nearby Safety Harbor, the 174-room Safety Harbor Resort & Spa, with 30,000 square feet of meeting space, is a National Historic Landmark, a Florida Heritage Landmark and a Historic Hotel of America.