Florida Snapshots: Clearwater Beach

This Gulf Coast beach boasts some of the softest, whitest sand in the world


Sugar Sand. It’s the name used to describe the ultra-white, ultra-soft quartz crystals that can be found on a select number of Florida’s Gulf Coast beaches. The most famous of these strands is Clearwater Beach, which consistently earns a spot on listings of America’s best beaches.

Sunglasses are a must when the mid-day sun transforms the sands of Clearwater Beach into a dazzling field of pure white. Later, these same silky crystals will take on the warmer hues of the setting sun, mirroring the light show taking place in the sky. With calm, shallow waters extending far from shore, Clearwater is a favorite with families, though it also draws its share of spring break revelers.

A highlight of the beach season is the annual Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival. This ten-day event features street performers, artisans and crafters, live entertainment, and fireworks, but the main attraction are the intricate sand sculptures created from the beach’s famous sugar-fine granules.