Clearwater In December: The Ultimate Local Guide For 2023

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Headed to Clearwater in December? I got you covered with 15 festive things to do in Clearwater for the holidays!

I’m so excited to share with you all the magical things to do in Clearwater for Christmas. You know why? Because I’ve been lucky enough to live right beside Clearwater for over 12 years!

I was born and raised near Atlanta, but in 2011 my husband and I moved to sunny Florida. Christmas is not only reserved for the snowy mountains and cold weather, Christmas in Clearwater is a must-experience vacation (or staycation if you’re local).

I’ve seen their holiday spirit come to life year after year. I am so excited to show you things to do in Clearwater in December!

Things to do in Clearwater for Christmas

Clearwater In December

Spending Christmas in Florida has lots of awesome benefits! First, the weather is usually quite warm, so you can enjoy outdoor activities without bundling up in heavy winter gear.

Second, you can have a sandy beach Christmas. Building sandcastles, swimming, and even surfing are all part of the holiday fun.

Third, Florida goes all out with holiday decorations, and you’ll see palm trees wrapped in twinkling lights.

Fourth, the state has cool events like boat parades, where boats are decorated with colorful lights and sail along the waterways.

And finally, you can experience a unique Christmas vibe with a tropical twist that you won’t find elsewhere.

15 Things to Do in Clearwater In December

Clearwater in December never has a dull moment. Florida goes all out!

The cheerful, friendly people and the unique blend of coastal and holiday vibes make Christmas in Florida an unforgettable and heartwarming experience for families and visitors alike.

1. 🚎 Jolley Trolley Coastal Route for Holiday Lights

Taking the Jolley Trolley’s Coastal Route to see holiday lights in Clearwater is a fantastic idea!

First, it’s super fun and exciting, like a holiday adventure on wheels. You get to enjoy all the sparkling lights and decorations without worrying about traffic or parking. There are two route options on this public transit: Beach Routes & Coastal Routes.

Jolley Trolley Coastal Route for Christmas lights for things to do in Clearwater

Personally, I recommend the Coastal Route because it will lead you through charming towns like downtown Dunedin (a giant Christmas tree landmark you won’t want to miss), Palm Harbor (my hometown), and the world-known sponge docks, Tarpon Springs.

Second, it’s like a cozy ride with a friendly driver who shares cool stories about the lights. It’s a wonderful way to spend time with your family, making joyful memories as you admire the magical holiday scenes together.

Things to do in Clearwater for Christmas - Jolley Trolley for holiday light tour

On the public transportation route ($5 unlimited daily pass), the Jolley Trolley won’t be touring in and out of local neighborhoods with incredible lights (the most famous in the area is my old neighborhood, Indian Trails).

However, the drive up and down Alt 19 is beautiful and you will enjoy tons of lights and holiday personality because Clearwater in December is very festive. 🎄

Jolley Trolley Coastal Route schedule: Click Here for PDF of Schedule

2. 🎄 Enchant, “The World’s Largest Christmas Light Spectacular

One-of-a-kind Christmas lights show, Enchant, will be at the Tropicana Field in Saint Petersburg, FL (less than 20 miles from Clearwater)! They’ve built an amazing light maze adventure called “Santa’s Magic Timepiece” using over four million sparkling lights.

You’ll also find a massive 100-foot-tall holiday tree, an ice-skating trail, live shows, visits from Santa, and a marketplace with cool gifts and yummy holiday treats. Plus, there’s a Tipsy Tree Lounge for holiday cocktails.

3. 🐬 Dolphin Boat Tour in Clearwater Beach (with Free Ice Cream)

We all love ice cream, but imagine how excited your kids will be when they spot their first dolphin in the water! Make life long memories in Clearwater in December by spotting dolphins with your family.

things to do in Clearwater for Christmas 2023

The boats are comfy, and they’re all set to take you into the Gulf waters, where dolphins like to play.

They’ve even got free ice cream on board to keep you smiling. While you’re out there, you can also look for dolphins, seabirds, and fish.

great reviews for Dolphin boat tour for Christmas in clearwater

There are restrooms on board, making it great for families of all ages. This activity screams “Christmas in Florida!” and can be a great Christmas present to your family!

Book this Dolphin Boat Tour with the best prices here: Book Now!

4. 🚣‍♀️ Sharkey’s LED Glass Bottom Fish Feeding Night Tour in Clearwater

Discover Christmas lights like never before with Sharkey’s Glass Bottom LED Fish Feeding Night Tour in Clearwater. It’s a must-try holiday activity that promises a truly unique and magical experience.

Want to experience unique Christmas lights in Florida?

Paddle in our glass-bottom kayaks under the starry night sky, and let the custom LED lights unveil a mesmerizing underwater wonderland.

You’ll be captivated by the illuminated sea creatures, from colorful fish to graceful dolphins, making it a one-of-a-kind Christmas adventure.

Try a glass-bottom LED light-up kayak for a special

The chance to feed the fish during the tour adds extra joy to the holiday spirit. Make this year’s holidays truly special with this enchanting journey under the stars.

Want a unique Christmas light experience in Florida? This is a perfect thing to do in Clearwater in December: Book Now!

Pro Tip: This can be a GREAT Christmas present for your family! We love gifting our kids experiences and this is truly unique.

5. 🎺 Florida Orchestra – How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Concert)

Want to take the family to a classic orchestra experience? Join the holiday fun as Cindy Lou Who goes on a quest to discover the true meaning of Christmas, turning Whoville and the Grinch’s world topsy-turvy in the process!

While you are near Clearwater in December, go see How The Grinch Stole Christmas in concert

This concert will take place on Saturday, December 2nd, at 7:30 PM at the Mahaffey Theater and on December 3, 2023, at 12:30 AM ($20-$50/ticket).

6. 🐬 “There’s Snow Place Like CMA” at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Ever heard of the movie Dolphin Tales? Winter, who played a starring role in the movie Dolphin Tale, lost her tail due to getting caught in a crab trap line.

But thanks to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) and the Hanger Clinic, Winter received a remarkable prosthetic tail. Sadly, she passed in 2021 but her spirit and celebration live on at this aquarium.

things to do in clearwater for Christmas includes visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The annual event “There’s Snow Place Like CMA” featured Winter and now it helps thousands learn about how blubber and fur help animals stay warm in Florida’s cooler weather and in the coldest places on Earth.

You’ll get to see these amazing animal adaptations up close and personal right in the aquarium. The aquarium hosts a “Sea-sonal Family Fun” event on December 27th-28th where each morning you’ll discover the world of marine science through exciting experiments and hands-on activities.

If you are considering multiple activities around Clearwater for the holidays, the Tampa CityPass (which includes 5 must-see attractions) could be the best fit: Learn More

7. 🍳 Christmas Brunch at Ocean Hai in Wyndham Grand

What’s a better way to celebrate Christmas than enjoying a delicious brunch after the presents are unwrapped?

My family loves traditional Christmas brunch and the Ocean Hai has everything you can imagine.

Enjoy Christmas brunch at Ocean Hai in the Wyndham Grand Hotel for things to do in Clearwater for Christmas

This could be a special holiday feast and the cozy atmosphere plus beautiful ocean views will add to the festive spirit. It’s a great way to celebrate Christmas, with the ocean as your backdrop, and tasty food as the star of the show.

Skip the meal planning and enjoy their brunch buffet on Christmas day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Free Things To Do in Clearwater In December

Clearwater is a fantastic place to spend Christmas, especially if you’re looking for a warm and sunny holiday experience.

The city comes alive with festive decorations, and you can enjoy unique holiday activities like boat parades and beachfront celebrations.

With its beautiful beaches, friendly atmosphere, and a wide range of holiday events, Clearwater offers tons of FREE things to do!

8. ⛵ Clearwater Yacht Club Annual Holiday Boat Parade

The Clearwater Yacht Club’s Holiday Boat Parade is a super cool event! It’s like a floating holiday party on the water. It’s on Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

You can watch it from places like waterfront restaurants and hotels, so you get a perfect view. The boats all light up with amazing decorations and take a special route.

things to do in Clearwater for Christmas includes boat parades

As they go by the Clearwater Yacht Club, judges give out cash, trophies, and prizes for different categories. It’s like a competition, and the best boat can even win a big grand prize. All FREE for you to enjoy!

9. 🎥 Holiday Movie in the Park

This is always a great family-friendly event! Grab chairs and/or blankets and pick a spot on the lawn in front of the Clearwater Historical Society (610 S Fort Harrison, Clearwater, FL). This will take place on December 16th at 7 p.m.

Things to do in Clearwater for Christmas include going to the FREE holiday movie at the park on Dec. 16th

It’s like a special outdoor movie night with a holiday twist. You can bring some snacks and enjoy a fantastic Christmas movie under the stars.

The park will be all lit up and festive, creating a magical atmosphere. It’s a great way to celebrate the season with your family and friends. If you are in the area on this day, I recommend marking your calendar!

10. 🛍️ Holiday Market – Biggest One Yet at Coachman Park!

Stop by the most enormous Holiday Market ever at Coachman Park on December 9th, 2023, from 10 am to 3 pm! There will be more than 122 awesome vendors to explore.

Best Things To Do in Clearwater For Christmas

Plus, you can meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, and even the Grinch! Mrs. Claus will even tell a cool story at 11 a.m. And guess what? There’s a Paw-rade at noon, so don’t forget to bring your furry friend along for the fun – this sounds like so much fun!

It’s a day of shopping, meeting cool characters, and having a blast with your pet at the Holiday Market in Clearwater.

11. 🎄 Making Spirits Bright Christmas Parade

We love parades! On Tuesday, December 12th, 2023, at 4 p.m. the Making Spirits Bright Parade will be going through Clearwater, Florida!

It’s an event where everyone, from local businesses to residents, are invited.

free things to do in Clearwater, FL for Christmas

The parade kicks off at Island Way Grill, and if you want to be in the parade, make sure to line up by 3:30 p.m. The parade’s route is super cool, going from North Beach to South Beach and then back to Island Way.

12. 🎁 Creation Station: Ugly Sweater Ornament

Personally, it’s not Christmas season until I’ve attended an Ugly Sweater Christmas party! Do you have you a staple ugly sweater you save year-after-year? Don’t lie. Me too.

Creation Station is putting a twist on this tradition and hosting a Ugly Sweater Ornament event!

They do something cool every month, and this time it’s all about celebrating the season. It will be on Dec 21st from 05:00 p.m. to 06:30 p.m.


You get to make your very own Ugly Sweater Ornament out of felt. You can hang it on your Christmas tree or use it as a gift tag. You don’t need to sign up beforehand but keep in mind that there’s only so much room, and it’s first-come, first-served.

So grab your creative spirit and head over to make a super cool Ugly Sweater Ornament at Creation Station—it looks like it would be super fun!

13. 🎅🏻 Free Photos with Santa and Outdoor Movie

It’s not often you can take photos with Santa for FREE! This will be on Sunday, December 10th at 11803 104th Street, Largo, FL.

From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., you can meet Santa, take photos, and enjoy all kinds of holiday activities. After that, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., snuggle up on the courtyard with blankets and popcorn for an outdoor holiday movie under the stars.

Visit Santa near Clearwater for free!

There will be tons of cool activities, like yard games, cookie decorating, and more, so make sure to mark your calendar!

14. 🎄 Indian Trails Walk-Thru lights – my old neighborhood!

The Indian Trails neighborhood in Palm Harbor, FL is the absolute best for Christmas lights, and I know it well because I used to live there!

One special thing is that I had the very first Disney-themed light display in the neighborhood.

Indian Trails Christmas lights are the best to walk-thru or drive-thru near Clearwater, FL
This house was always my favorite light display

People in Indian Trails really get into the holiday spirit, and the whole place lights up with fantastic decorations. You can stroll through the streets and enjoy the dazzling displays of lights, inflatable characters, and more.

It’s like walking in a magical wonderland! If you want to experience the most enchanting Christmas lights, Indian Trails is the place to be, where neighbors go all out to make it extra special. More details here: Where is Indian Trails

15. 🌲 Harbor Holiday Nights (Trolley Light Tour $5):

I recommend Folly Farm for a wonderful time with holiday lights, campfires, children’s activities, and more! They will have this open FREE to the public from December 14th – 16th.

Go to the Harbor Holiday Nights event while you are in Florida in December

It’s an awesome way to enjoy the holiday spirit and create lasting memories with your family! And don’t forget, parking is available at Cedar and Elm, where the REAL Fun Bus will pick you up to shuttle you to Folly Farm.

Handicapped parking is also there. So, get ready for a festive adventure and let the holiday lights brighten up your day!

Weather In Clearwater In December

Clearwater during the holidays usually has nice and mild weather. The temperature is around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

It’s not too hot or too cold, just right for enjoying outdoor activities. You might see some rain, but it’s not very rainy. You can wear a light jacket or a sweater to stay comfortable.

It’s a good time to visit the beautiful Clearwater Beach and have fun without worrying too much about the weather. Just remember to check the forecast before you go to be sure!

Getting Around Clearwater

Whether you are from the area, flying down, or road-tripping, this special time of year in Clearwater offers everything from sparkling lights on the beach to the jolly boat parades.

In December, getting around Clearwater is pretty easy. You can use cars or rent a bike to explore the city.

Many places are close, so you won’t have to travel too far. The roads are not too busy, making driving simple.

Clearwater map for visiting Florida in Decemeber

You can also take the Jolley Trolley or public buses to move around if you don’t have a car. The weather is nice, so walking is enjoyable too. Just remember, since it’s a popular time for tourists, some places might have more traffic.

Overall, getting around Clearwater in December is convenient and fun, allowing you to explore the city easily.

Where To Stay in Clearwater In December

Staying in Clearwater for the holidays with family is wonderfully convenient. The city offers a range of accommodations, making it easy to find the perfect place to stay and enjoy all the festive activities.

Places to stay in Clearwater for Christmas

📍Best Budget Spot: Book Here – Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel

Pier House 60 Clearwater Beach Marina Hotel is a centrally located option in Clearwater Beach. The hotel offers a bar, restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. Guests with cars can use the parking zone. Sport enthusiasts can use the fitness center, gym, indoor, and outdoor pools.

Places to stay in Clearwater for Christmas

📍Best Mid-Range Spot: Book Here – Residence Inn by Marriott Clearwater Beach

Residence Inn Clearwater Beach in Florida is a favored destination for travelers. The hotel provides a comfortable stay with a range of amenities and welcoming staff. The hotel’s location and friendly service make it an excellent choice for those exploring Clearwater.

where to stay in Clearwater for Christmas 2023

📍Best Luxury Spot: Book Now – Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa

Residence Inn Clearwater Beach, a top choice for Clearwater travelers, offers a comfortable stay with numerous amenities. The friendly staff provides warm hospitality, and the well-furnished guestrooms come with useful amenities.

FAQs: Things To Do In Clearwater for Christmas

When visiting Clearwater during the holidays, people often ask about the best holiday events, like parades or light displays.

They also wonder about the weather and what to wear. Tourists might inquire about good places to eat and shop for gifts, and transportation options to get around the city.

✅ Is December a good time to go to Clearwater Florida?

Yes, December is a great time to visit Clearwater, Florida! Having lived here for 12 years, I know firsthand that you can enjoy the holiday spirit, outdoor events, and beautiful beaches without the intense summer heat or freezing temperatures.

✅ Is Clearwater Beach busy on Christmas?

Clearwater Beach can be busy on Christmas, as many people come to enjoy the warm weather and holiday festivities. It’s a popular time for both locals and tourists to visit.

✅ Do people still go to the beach in Florida in December?

Yes, people still go to the beach in Florida in December. The weather is usually mild and pleasant, making it a great time to enjoy the beaches without the summer crowds.

✅ What part of Clearwater Beach is less crowded?

Being a local, I know the best beach spots. North Clearwater Beach tends to be less crowded, with quieter areas like Caladesi Island and Honeymoon Island State Parks. These spots offer a more serene beach experience away from the bustling crowds.

✅ Is Clearwater a walkable town?

Clearwater is moderately walkable, especially in the downtown area. You can stroll along Cleveland Street and the nearby waterfront. However, having a car may be more convenient for exploring the entire city.

Final Thoughts: Clearwater In December

My family and I have lived near Clearwater for twelve years, and we’ve discovered that celebrating Christmas here is just wonderful! There are so many cool things to do.

First off, there’s the Clearwater Yacht Club’s Holiday Boat Parade. You can watch it from restaurants and hotels along the water. It’s like a Christmas party on the water with boats all lit up and competing for prizes.

Enjoy plenty of things to do in Clearwater for Christmas

Then there’s the Making Spirits Bright Parade on December 12th. It’s a blast for everyone, including local businesses and residents. The parade travels from North Beach to South Beach and back, spreading holiday cheer all around.

And don’t forget about the Holiday Market on December 9th. It’s the biggest one yet at Coachman Park, with over 122 vendors! Plus, you can meet Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the Grinch. There’s even a Paw-rade for your furry friends!

The holiday movie at the park on December 16th is awesome too. You can bring your cozy blankets and enjoy a Christmas movie under the stars.

As you can see, there are tons of things to do in Clearwater for Christmas! It’s a fantastic place to spend the holidays. Maybe we will see you there!

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