The towns of Clearwater and Clearwater Beach on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast are some of the most charming beach destinations in the state. They’re part of the Tampa Bay area, which includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater itself. In fact, this area is one of the gay-friendliest regions in the United States. There are many gay friendly hotels in Clearwater, and rainbow flags fly just about everywhere. So much so that the city doesn’t even have a gay neighborhood! In fact, LGBTQ-friendliness is sewn into the fabric of this coastal city, which is home to gay bars, clubs, and even beaches. Clearwater, along with its neighboring St. Petersburg, is also where one of the country’s most iconic Pride parades takes place – St. Petersburg Pride.
That said, Clearwater is an excellent base for visiting some of the best sights and attractions near Florida’s Gulf of Mexico coast. For instance, Cape Coral, which is one of the World’s Most Beautiful Canal Cities, lies just two hours south along the coastline. Plus, Orlando, with its huge heap of attractions, including Universal Orlando, one of the USA’s Top Tourist Attractions, is less than two hours away. And, of course, Clearwater Beach and its long and sandy shoreline are right there. So, pack your bikinis and briefs, put your gay face on, and head to this gay-friendly paradise in Florida. To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Clearwater.
Tucked right on the Gulf of Mexico, Sandpearl Resort is one of the best gay friendly hotels in Clearwater. The award-winning resort does everything in style, right from champagne during check-in to a private beach with spectacular views. The best bit is that its ambiance is less resort-bustle and more boutique, and yet there’s a lot to do for gay travelers who love activities. Did you know it’s Florida’s first LEED-Certified resort? Aside from turndown and twice-daily housekeeping, the staff’s attention to detail is impeccable. Start your day at the massive zero-entry pool, where you can order cocktails from the dedicated wait staff. Evenings are best spent around the beach fire-pits mingling with other travelers. Don’t miss a massage session at the spa, which has a serene, grotto-like setting.
If that wasn’t enough, the resort also organizes eco-tours, poolside and beachside games. Moreover, the on-site restaurant serves excellent meals, including a scrumptious buffet/à la carte breakfast. Start your evening with drinks at the lounge with gorgeous sea views. Even rooms are impressive with dark wood furniture, white linens, and lots of space. Besides swanky mod-cons, you’ll love the minibars and marble and granite bathrooms with bespoke products. If you’re splurging, the suites have whirlpool tubs with windows opening to the main room.
Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa
LGBTQ travelers who love lively digs will love Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa. This immensely spacious and stylish all-suite hotel lies smack dab in the heart of Clearwater Beach, right across from the seafront. Set in a gargantuan shell-pink structure, this resort boasts everything you can possibly want, including spectacular sunset views. Spend time at the eye-catching eighth-floor pool deck, which boasts gorgeous views of the beach. What’s more, it’s sprinkled with poolside cabanas and even has a pool bar to the side, from where you can order endless drinks. After a pool session, pamper yourself with ‘ocean-inspired treatments at Sandava spa. Or, you could head for a soak to the whirlpool tub on the 16th-floor Sky Terrace, which makes for the perfect sunset viewing spot.
Besides the pool bar, the full-service restaurant regionally-inspired dishes for meals – think Cuban sandwiches and lobster mac ’n cheese. Above all, you’ll fall in love with the massive suites, which come with fully equipped kitchens to cook up a storm. After a night of partying, enjoy a blissful sleep on the signature Hyatt beds. Bathrooms are designed for serene and romantic times with bathtubs and KenetMD products. The standout is the huge furnished terraces with once-in-a-lifetime views of the Caribbean.
Opal Sands Resort
What makes Opal Sands Resort so gay-popular is that it sits on the curve of Clearwater Beach. With an entire side dedicated entirely to suites and rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, almost every room here boasts glorious ocean views. With a well-trained and lovely staff, it’s no wonder that it’s one of the best gay friendly hotels in Clearwater. Shiny surfaces and playful artwork is present everywhere, and every nook and cranny is spotless. The centerpiece here is the huge zero-depth-entry pool deck with a pool bar beside it. Not only is the place peppered with sun loungers and private cabanas, but it even has a large hot tub for a relaxing soak after a swim. Those wanting to unwind should definitely head to the spa, while fitness freaks will love the modern fitness center. The best bit? The dedicated beach access along with access to beach umbrellas and chairs.
Choose from two restaurants and bars, plus a pool bar, of which the main one serves delicious Italian-inspired fare such as Amaretto French Toast for breakfast. Begin an evening of revelry at the lounge with their signature drink – a Smoky Old-Fashioned. Rooms might have a ‘minimalistic’ tag, but they’re swankily furnished in muted seafoam and silver hues. Apart from creature comforts, you’ll find plush robes, gleaming bathrooms with bathtubs in the suites, and spacious balconies.
Wyndham Grand Clearwater
Gay travelers who like to live in the thick of all action will love Wyndham Grand Clearwater. Located right on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the resort boasts not only sea views but is also close to all the pier action. What’s more, the marina from where boat excursions depart is just a block away! The entire hotel boasts a sunny design and is not afraid to show it; think bright blue lobby chairs, yellow wallpapers, etc. The gorgeous turquoise swimming pool is the epicenter of the resort and is peppered with loungers under pretty blue umbrellas. There’s even a poolside bar to enjoy drinks and light snacks at your perch. Plus, the resort also has a full-service spa and a well-equipped fitness center that enjoys views of the gulf.
The restaurant serves delicious Asian-inspired dishes, but the breakfast is the standout. It includes not only continental favorites such as French toast, omelets, and an avocado melt but also surprises such as eggs with kimchi and pork belly omurice. Above all, it’s the rooms that are the standout here and have some of the best amenities in Clearwater. Silver Scandi lamps add pizzazz, while the furnished balconies offer incredible views of the Intracoastal Waterway and the sea. The beds are plush with pillows and face huge 50-inch TVs, while closets come with slippers and robes. If you want to engage in some room romance, go for the queen rooms that come with bathtubs.
Hotel Cabana is one of the most affordable gay friendly hotels in Clearwater and is perfect for LGBTQ travelers who’re on a budget. What’s more, it lies at the quiet northern end of Clearwater Beach and is the island’s oldest hotel. In fact, the hotel’s origins go back to the 1940s when it was the Coca Cabana motel. So, gay travelers looking for some peace and quiet have certainly come to the right place. That said, the place looks like anything but a “motel,” all done up in clean lines and neutral hues. The structure’s Key West facade is complemented by well-manicured tropical plants. The courtyard pool is where all the action is and it’s peppered with white sunbeds under pretty white umbrellas.
Begin your day with a complimentary cup of coffee before heading out for breakfast. After the renovation in 2017, rooms and suites have gotten a major facelift – and it shoes. Aside from kitchenettes for whipping up meals, you’ll also find king or queen beds, coastal-hued pillows, and framed photo prints. The best bit is that the beach is just a short walk away.
Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key
LGBTQ travelers who’re water babies will love Clearwater Beach Marriott Suites on Sand Key, which has a 35-feet waterfall at the pool! In an area that is full of swimming-focused accommodations, this hotel certainly stands out from the lot. It might have limited access to the beach but more than makes up for it with its pool. What’s more, there’s even a poolside grill and bar, from where you can order drinks as you lounge at the perch. You also have the choice of as many as five restaurants that range from fast-casual during lunches to fine-dining at dinnertime. Moreover, there’s even an ice-cream shop and a coffee house. After a relaxing session at the pool, indulge in a relaxing session at the on-site spa.
All rooms at this property are actually suites, and each of them features a comfortable and plush living area with cushy sofas. A microwave and small fridge make it ideal for storing and heating leftovers. But, the best feature is the private balcony from where you can spy gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea.
This hotel is for the water babies, too; behold the Edge Hotel, one of the best gay friendly hotels in Clearwater to have a superb pool. Edge Hotel boasts the most divine infinity pool on the sixth floor that looks out to the Gulf of Mexico. But that’s not it, for it boasts a 27-feet-tall glass wall, which gives you the illusion that you’re floating in the Gulf of Mexico! What’s more, there’s another larger pool as well as a tiki bar from where you can order drinks as you lounge at your perch. Since the resort offers a complete experience, it even has two on-site restaurants that serve delicious American fusion cuisine. In fact, its rooftop restaurant and bar are Clearwater’s largest!
Begin your day with 360-degree views of Clearwater and the Caribbean Sea and a hearty complimentary breakfast. Plus, the friendly hotel staff even assist you with renting dune buggies and tandem bicycles for exploring the neighborhood. Rooms, although slightly cookie-cutter, are spacious and come with microwaves, coffeemakers, fridges, and flat-screen TVs. Additionally, they offer views of the pool, the city, or the Gulf of Mexico.
Clearwater Beach Hotel
No one does beachfront on a budget better than the Clearwater Beach Hotel. The charming value-for-money hotel sits in a seafoam-colored structure just a block from the beach. However, its rates are much lesser than other beachfront hotels. That said, the hotel still has a few quality touches, despite placing value over frills. For instance, rooms and suites have fridges and microwaves. Not only are they all bright and spacious, but all of them even have patios with alfresco seating overlooking the greenery. Bathrooms are chic and spotless, and suites even have complete kitchen setups for gay travelers who want to stay for long.
Despite the lack of dining, there are a plethora of dining options around since the location is excellent. Aside from free Wi-Fi, the hotel also has a tour desk and concierge services, as well as a free parking space per room. The best amenity of them all is undoubtedly the heated outdoor pool. Set in a fenced-in area, the pool is peppered with sun chairs where you can lounge after a swim.
Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa
Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort & Spa is not just one of the best gay friendly hotels in Clearwater, but it’s amongst the overall Best Hotels in Clearwater FL. There is no dearth of Clearwater spa hotels with direct beach access, but the Hilton stands out for its budget-friendly pricing for its upscale offerings. What makes the Hilton so gay-popular is that the resort offers a complimentary beachside photoshoot! Now, who wouldn’t want a romantic photoshoot on what is one of the most gay-friendliest cities in Florida? Even its rooms and suites are impressive to boot and come with swanky mod-cons. Not only do most of them have balconies, but also they have views of the park, harbor, coast, or the gulf.
But, that’s not all. Hilton offers a long roster of everyday beach activities that include free access to non-motorized watersports. Plus, they even arrange for other water activities that you and your partner might be interested in. The outdoor pools at the hotel are especially superb and lined with comfy sun loungers perfect for unwinding by the water. After spending a long, long time at the pool and the beach, head for a skin-soothing treatment or massage at the spa.
Meranova Bed & Breakfast
If you don’t mind looking around Clearwater for a gay friendly hotel, then consider the mesmerizing Meranova Bed & Breakfast. This gay-owned eight-room property lies in the charming town of Dunedin, around 10 minutes north of Clearwater. What makes it so gay-friendly is that it’s close to Blur Nightclub. Plus, it’s gay-owned! The inn radiates a low-key Key West-style vibe. All rooms here are ensuite with private entrances and even have porches or balconies overlooking the lush gardens. Moreover, they’re decorated with lovely artwork and antiques, floral bedspreads, and neutral hues that add to the romantic ambiance. Finally, two suites even have full kitchens for couples who want to indulge in some romantic cooking.
The rest of the inn is equally dreamy. The lush lawns are full of trees, a lovely orchid garden, and a gazebo where you can grab a few quiet moments. The highlight here is the pool, where you can cool off on sun-kissed Florida days. Begin your day with a hearty gourmet breakfast, which you can enjoy in a romantic ambiance under the gazebo or in the garden. Do you guys want to sleep in? They’ll even bring it to your room.
Sheraton Sand Key Resort
Nestled right on the white sands of Clearwater Beach is Sheraton Sand Key Resort, one of the best gay friendly hotels in Clearwater. The resort takes the idea of barefoot luxury to greater heights. Choose from a bevy of luxurious oceanfront accommodations here. What’s more, all of them open directly onto the beach thanks to the private balconies that allow unobstructed sea views. Moreover, all rooms and suites come equipped with all mod-cons as well as bathtubs and bespoke toiletries and products in the bathrooms.
Of all the amenities here, the sparkling infinity pool is the ideal place to unwind after a day of activities such as swimming, snorkeling, or exploring the town. You could also follow it up with a pampering body treatment or massage at the exclusive spa. Dig into delicious Floridian cuisine at the many on-site restaurants, and bars. Finally, the quiet stretch of sand that Sheraton sits on is the perfect place for an early morning or evening stroll with your partner.
Just So You Know:
- St. Petersburg-Clearwater is on its way to becoming the gay tourism capital of Florida. In fact, St. Pete Pride is the largest LGBTQ event in the southeast.
Get Some Culture in Clearwater:
- St Petersburg Pride: The largest Pride celebration in the Southeastern region of the United States is the vibrant St Petersburg Pride. The week-long celebrations boast an exciting roster of events that include live music, panel discussions, gay before and after parties, and a street festival. It all culminates into one vibrant and an eye-popping nighttime parade.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Clearwater:
- Pro Shop Pub: This gay bar is one of the oldest establishments in downtown Clearwater, competing 45 years in 2021. This small, albeit amazing bar, has a jukebox and a pool table, but its main draw is the beautiful staff and the people. Plus, you’ll love the cheap daily specials too.
- Blur Nightclub: This extremely gay-friendly establishment lies in the quaint town of Dunedin, just north of Clearwater. Don’t miss drag queen bingo, which takes place on Tuesdays’ gay-friendly nights. Some of Tampa Bay’s best performers perform here on Friday nights.
Best Gay Saunas in Clearwater:
Clearwater doesn’t have an out-and-out gay sauna. However, if you’re looking to have fun, head to GayStPete House in St. Petersburg. It’s an excellent gay-only B&B with a clothing-optional pool and a sizzling sauna!