A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Clearwater vs. Tampa for Beaches, Food, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Clearwater or Tampa?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Clearwater and Tampa. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Clearwater

Clearwater is a beautiful, outdoorsy, and adventure-filled coastal city. It's also popular because of the museums, nightlife, and food.

Tampa

Tampa is a low-key, laid-back, and easy-going city. Since it's a large city, you'll find plenty of things to do. It's also known for food and beaches.

Clearwater and Tampa: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Nice resorts
  • Good scuba and snorkeling destination
  • Popular beach
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
Pros
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Not as popular for scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Less popular with couples


Is there more to do in Clearwater or Tampa?

Travelers will generally find more things to do in Clearwater than Tampa. While Tampa is larger than Clearwater, Clearwater has more sights and attractions for tourists. Clearwater is better known for its museums, food, nightlife, resorts, scuba diving & snorkeling, beaches, and shopping, while Tampa is more popular for its big city activities. Clearwater is more touristy than Tampa and is popular for its beautiful white sand beaches, laid back atmosphere, and watersports. Also, Clearwater is famous for Clearwater Beach. Tampa is well known for its amusement parks, wildlife parks, and popularity as a cruise ship port.

How is Clearwater different from Tampa?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Tampa and Clearwater. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Clearwater or Tampa?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Tampa does not have museums and landmarks.

Clearwater offers many unique museums, sights, and landmarks that will make for a memorable trip. Perhaps most well known is the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but there are also a surprising number of museums nearby such as the Dalí Museum, the impressive Chihuly Glass Museum, and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Tampa does not have museums and landmarks.


Is the Food Better in Clearwater or Tampa? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is an excellent place to visit for its restaurants. Also, Tampa is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Clearwater has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Head to the waterfront for some of the best seafood. Unfortunately this is also where you'll find the highest prices. Shrimp, crab, and a fresh catch of the day are common on many menus.

Tampa offers number of good local restaurants to choose from. There are a surprising number of great local restaurants around town as well as a good food truck scene. Some favorite dishes include fresh caught seafood, Grouper sandwiches, and Cuban sandwiches.

Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Nightlife?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is a popular place for its evening party scene. However, Tampa is lacking in options for nightlife.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Clearwater. You'll find laid back beach clubs, glitzy wine bars, and relaxed bars where you can spend a nice night out.

Tampa is generally a quiet destination but there are options around. The city has some good nightclubs, sports bars, and other spots where locals enjoy spending the evening.

Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Resorts?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is an excellent place to visit for its luxury resorts. However, Tampa is not a resort destination.

Clearwater is known as a popular and fun resort destination. You'll find a number of nice resorts along the coastline. Some of the most popular are the Sandpearl Resort, the Opal Sands Resort, and the Clearwater Beach Marriott.

Tampa is not a resort destination.


Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Scuba Diving and Snorkeling?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is a popular place for snorkeling and scuba diving. However, Tampa is lacking in options for the nearby scuba diving and snorkeling.

Clearwater has a few good snorkeling spots. There's both snorkeling and diving nearby. Some of the best dive spots are within and hour of the shore and you'll find diving shops that offer trips.

Tampa has a few snorkeling spots. While the water isn't always the clearest, there are some nice snorkeling and diving spots in the area. Options include Shell Key and Egmont Key, Crystal River, and Fort De Soto.

Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Beaches?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is an amazing coastal city to visit for the beach. Also, Tampa is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its beaches.

Travelers come from around the world to visit the beaches in Clearwater. Clearwater Beach is on many lists as one of the best beaches in America. It's the most popular beach in the area and it spreads out over 2.5 miles. Sand Key Beach is another popular destination as is the pristine Caladesi Island State Park.

Tampa is a very popular place to visit for its beaches. Popular beaches near Tampa include Ben T. Davis Beach, Fred Howard Park, and Indian Rocks Beach.

Is the Shopping Better in Clearwater or Tampa?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is a popular place for its shopping areas. However, Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Clearwater has a variety of shopping areas worth visiting. You'll find all of the standard shopping options in the area such as malls, shopping centers, and outlets. Westfield Countryside Mall is a popular destination as is the Cleveland Street District.

Tampa is not a noteworthy shopping destination.


Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Families?

Clearwater
Tampa

Both Clearwater and Tampa are superb family-friendly destinations.

Clearwater is a very family-friendly place to visit. Check out the playground and activities around Pier 60. Less crowded and family-friendly Sand Key Park is another favorite spot and the playgrounds at New Coachman Park and Crest Lake Park are also fun. Clearwater Marine Aquarium is another popular attraction for visitors with kids.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Tampa is very family-friendly. The city has a number of kid-oriented attractions including Busch Gardens Amusement Park, several kid-friendly museums, and a number of animal centers, aquariums, and wildlife rescue facilities.

Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Couples?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is an excellent place to visit for couples. However, Tampa is lacking in options for romance.

Clearwater makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. There are beautiful parks and beaches as well as romantic activities like sunset cruises and dolphin spotting tours. Couples will also enjoy dining on local seafood and shopping at the local venues.

Tampa is not the best destination for a couple to visit. The area does have great restaurants and some fun places to explore, but the downtown area has room for improvement and much of the city is suburban.

Is Clearwater or Tampa Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is a decent place to visit for times when you don't have a car. However, Tampa is lacking in options for its public transit.

Public transit is mostly limited in Clearwater. The Clearwater Jolley Trolley connects some of the area's highlights. There are also public buses that run several routes through town.

Public transit is limited or non-existant in Tampa. There is the street car that runs from downtown Tampa to Ybor City and stops at 11 stations.


Is Clearwater or Tampa a more walkable city?

Clearwater
Tampa

Clearwater is a popular place for its ease of walking around. However, Tampa is lacking in options for its walkability.

Clearwater is a somewhat walkable coastal city. The waterfront and downtown areas are surprisingly walkable.

Tampa is generally not very walkable. While there are some neighborhoods that are considered walkable, you really need a car if you hope to explore Tampa in depth.

For even more information, also check out Is Clearwater Worth Visiting? and Is Tampa Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Tampa or Clearwater?

How long in Clearwater or Tampa?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Clearwater and Tampa. With generally more activities and things to do, visitors tend to spend more time in Clearwater than in Tampa. Usually, 3-5 days is a good amount of time for Clearwater, and 2-3 days is enough time in Tampa.

Families should spend more time in Clearwater than Tampa. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Clearwater, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Clearwater than Tampa. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Clearwater that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Clearwater than Tampa if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Clearwater.


  • How many days in Clearwater or Tampa? Ideal Length of Stay
    Clearwater 3-5 
    Tampa 2-3

One day in Clearwater or Tampa?

In Clearwater, many people enjoy the food and scuba diving and snorkeling that this adventure-filled destination offers. People enjoy relaxing at one of the resorts. Lots of people come for the beaches. This coastal city offers a variety of activities to choose from. Since there is so much to do in the area, one day is probably not enough for all of it.

With food around the easy-going city of Tampa, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Clearwater or Tampa?

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Clearwater. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. A weekend is usually not enough time for a trip here as there is plenty to do. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision.

With food around the destination of Tampa, there's plenty to do. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.


Five days in Clearwater or Tampa?

Clearwater is a fun place to experience. In Clearwater, many people enjoy the shopping and museums that this destination offers. Lots of people come for the beaches. People often spend their time relaxing at one of the resorts. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Tampa, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Clearwater or Tampa?

You'll find museums and nightlife around the outdoorsy destination of Clearwater. You can also relax and pamper yourself at one of the resorts. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Lots of people come for the beaches. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Tampa is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


Which place is cheaper, Tampa or Clearwater?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Clearwater is $309, while the average daily cost in Tampa is $179. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Clearwater and Tampa in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Clearwater $141
    Tampa $85
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Clearwater $282
    Tampa $170
Compare Hotels in Clearwater and Tampa

Looking for a hotel in Clearwater or Tampa? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Clearwater


Hotels in Tampa


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Clearwater Hotel Prices and Tampa Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Clearwater $221
    Tampa $69

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Clearwater

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Clearwater:

  • St. Petersburg to St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) - Departure Private Transfer: $64
  • St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) to St. Petersburg - Roundtrip Private Transfer: $127
  • St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) to St. Petersburg - Arrival Private Transfer : $64
  • St. Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) to Clearwater Beach - Arrival Private Transfer: $102
  • St Petersburg to Tampa Airport (TPA) -Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Private Transfer from St Petersburg Clearwater Airport to St Pete Beach: $70
  • Private Transfer from Clearwater to Tampa Airport: $120
  • Private Airport Transfer to St. Petersburg or Clearwater Beach : $104
  • Pete–Clearwater Airport to Clearwater Beach Round-Trip Transfer: $145
  • From Orlando: Clearwater Beach Day with Transfers and Lunch: $100
  • Clearwater Beach to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $54
  • Clearwater Beach to St.Pete–Clearwater Airport (PIE) -Departure Private Transfer: $102

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Tampa

Also for Tampa, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private transfer: From Tampa to airport and vice versa : $18
  • Private Departure Transfer - to Tampa Airport (TPA): $32
  • Private Arrival Transfer In Tampa International Airport (TPA) : $35
  • Private Arrival Transfer - from Tampa Airport (TPA): $36
  • Private One-way Tampa Airport Transfer To/From Tampa: $46
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa hotels - Arrival Private Transfer : $50
  • Tampa hotels to Tampa Bay Cruise Port - Departure Private Transfer : $50
  • Tampa hotels to Tampa Bay Cruise Port-Departure Private Transfer : $50
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Transfer: $50
  • Tampa Airport to Tampa Bay Cruise Port Private Arrival Transfer: $50
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $50
  • Tampa Bay Cruise Port to Tampa Airport (TPA) - Departure Private Transfer: $50

Is it cheaper to fly into Clearwater or Tampa?

Prices for flights to both Tampa and Clearwater change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Clearwater $46
    Tampa $53

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Clearwater

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Clearwater.

  • 2 Hours Beach Bites & Brews Food Tour in Gulfport, Florida: $69

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Tampa

For Tampa, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Cooking Class near Disney in Tampa Florida: $88
  • Ybor City Food Tour On Sundays: $89

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Clearwater -
    Tampa $20

Tours and Activities in Clearwater

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Clearwater are as follows:

  • 1-hour Dolphin Sightseeing Adventure Cruise from Madeira Beach: $28
  • 1.5 Hour Tiki Tour with Open Bar in Clearwater Beach: $49
  • 2 Hour Guided Kayak Tour in Boca Ciega Bay - St. Pete: $55
  • 2 Hour Guided Segway Tour of Downtown St Pete: $59
  • 2 Hour Sunset Cruise in Clearwater, Florida: $35
  • 2 Hour Sunset Kayak Tour: War Veterans Memorial Park: $59
  • 2 Hour Tandem Kayak Tour (Price for 2 People): $110
  • 2 Hours Kayak Eco Tour in Tarpon Springs: $54
  • 2.5 Hour Kayaking with Manatee and History Tour in Tarpon Springs: $58
  • 2.5-Hour Sunset Cruise Tour in St. Petersburg: $67
  • 4-Hour St. Pete Pier to Egmont Key Experience by Ferry: $67
  • 90 Minute Axe Throwing Guided Experience in Clearwater at Hatchet Hangout: $50

Tours and Activities in Tampa

For Tampa, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Ybor City Immigrant influence Smart Phone guided App (GPS) walking tour: $6.50
  • Tampa Riverwalk: A Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.41
  • Tampa Riverwalk a Smartphone Audio Walking Tour: $7.99
  • Unique Scavenger Hunt Experience in Tampa by Crazy Dash: $10
  • Experience the season with a scavenger hunt in Tampa with Holly Jolly Hunt: $20
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour: $26
  • Discover Tampa with Local Stories from a Virtual Tour: $30
  • The Official Downtown Tampa Ghost Tour: $30
  • Tampa Terrors Ghost Tour By US Ghost Adventures: $30
  • Shared Ybor City Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Downtown Tampa Historic Walking Tour: $30
  • Sunset and Night Cruises Tour: $30

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Clearwater -
    Tampa $26

Sample the Local Flavors in Clearwater

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Clearwater:

  • The Tour and Wine Tasting Experience at Aspirations Winery: $32

Sample the Local Flavors in Tampa

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Tampa:

  • Tampa Bar Hunt: Tampa Takeover Bar Crawl: $12
  • Tampa Terrors Boos and Booze Haunted Pub Crawl: $35
  • Tampa Bar Crawl on a 2023 Street Legal Golf Cart: $40
  • Ybor City Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $170
  • Tampa Heights Private Brewery Tour by Custom Golf Cart: $191


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Clearwater and Tampa, we can see that Clearwater is more expensive. And not only is Tampa much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Tampa would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Tampa and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Clearwater would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Clearwater than you might in Tampa.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Clearwater Expensive? and Is Tampa Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Clearwater or Tampa?

Tampa has a larger population, and is about 3 times larger than the population of Clearwater. When comparing the sizes of Clearwater and Tampa, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Clearwater or Tampa?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Clearwater or Tampa in the Summer?

Both Tampa and Clearwater during the summer are popular places to visit. The beaches, snorkeling, and the family-friendly experiences are the main draw to Clearwater this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Tampa for the beaches, snorkeling, the city activities, and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Clearwater is generally around the same temperature as Tampa. Daily temperatures in Clearwater average around 82°F (28°C), and Tampa fluctuates around 82°F (28°C).

In Tampa, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Clearwater. In the summer, Clearwater often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Tampa. Clearwater gets 265 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Tampa receives 265 hours of full sun.

Tampa gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Clearwater. Clearwater usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Tampa. Clearwater gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Clearwater 82°F (28°C) 
    Tampa 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Tampa in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Clearwater and Tampa. Many travelers come to Clearwater for the shopping scene. Also, many visitors come to Tampa in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions.

Clearwater is around the same temperature as Tampa in the autumn. The daily temperature in Clearwater averages around 75°F (24°C) in October, and Tampa fluctuates around 75°F (24°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Tampa this time of the year. In Clearwater, it's very sunny this time of the year. Clearwater usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Tampa during autumn. Clearwater gets 234 hours of sunny skies, while Tampa receives 234 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Clearwater usually receives around the same amount of rain as Tampa. Clearwater gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain each month for the autumn. The hurricane season in Clearwater is June to November.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Clearwater 75°F (24°C) 
    Tampa 75°F (24°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Tampa in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Clearwater as well as Tampa. Many visitors come to Clearwater in the winter for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, most visitors come to Tampa for the cuisine during these months.

In the winter, Clearwater is around the same temperature as Tampa. Typically, the winter temperatures in Clearwater in January average around 60°F (15°C), and Tampa averages at about 60°F (15°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Tampa. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Clearwater this time of the year. In the winter, Clearwater often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Tampa. Clearwater gets 200 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Tampa receives 200 hours of full sun.

Clearwater usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Tampa. Clearwater gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Clearwater 60°F (15°C) 
    Tampa 60°F (15°C)

Should I visit Clearwater or Tampa in the Spring?

Both Tampa and Clearwater are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Most visitors come to Clearwater for the beaches during these months. Also, the spring months attract visitors to Tampa because of the beaches and the activities around the city.

In April, Clearwater is generally around the same temperature as Tampa. Daily temperatures in Clearwater average around 71°F (22°C), and Tampa fluctuates around 71°F (22°C).

It's quite sunny in Tampa. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Clearwater. Clearwater usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Tampa during spring. Clearwater gets 299 hours of sunny skies, while Tampa receives 299 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Clearwater usually receives around the same amount of rain as Tampa. Clearwater gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while Tampa receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain each month for the spring. June to November is the hurricane season in Clearwater.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Clearwater 71°F (22°C) 
    Tampa 71°F (22°C)

Typical Weather for Tampa and Clearwater

Clearwater Tampa
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 60°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm)
Feb 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 61°F (16°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 67°F (19°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 71°F (22°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
May 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 77°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Jun 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm)
Oct 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 75°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Nov 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 68°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)