Orlando to Clearwater: Fastest and Easiest Ways

The bridge over to Clearwater day trip from orlando florida

Clearwater Beach is undisputedly one of the best family beaches in Florida. And one of the closest Gulf Coast beach towns to Orlando, so it’s no wonder the drive from Orlando to Clearwater is an extremely popular route for visitors to Florida.

But how far away is it exactly from Orlando? Do you need your own car? Can you visit Clearwater in just one day?

Here we share everything you need to know about adding a trip to Clearwater to your Orlando and Florida itinerary.

How Far is Clearwater from Orlando?

Orlando is 106 miles from Clearwater. On a good day, you should be able to drive from the Orlando Downtown area to Clearwater, taking the I-4W most of the way, in 2 hours.

How Far is Clearwater from Disney World?

Disney World is slightly closer to Clearwater, sitting southwest of Orlando city center. From Disney to Clearwater is 90 miles and should take you about 90 minutes – traffic dependent!

How Far is Clearwater from MCO?

If you’re setting out from Orlando’s International Airport, MCO, your journey is 108 miles. With traffic and toll roads, you can expect it to take around 2 hours and 15 minutes to meet your destination in Clearwater.

How to Get From Orlando to Clearwater

So now we know how long to budget for our trip between Orlando and Clearwater, what mode of transport should you use?

Hiring a Car in Orlando

By renting a car, you will maximize your flexibility for day trips and any side trips you want to make during your stay on the Gulf Coast.

An airport car rental sign

Some tips for rental cars Orlando Florida:

  • Drivers must meet the minimum driving age (usually over 21 years of age) and have a valid driving license.
  • Some of the easiest routes for getting from Orlando to Clearwater include toll roads; inquire with your rental company about what their policy is on using toll roads.
  • Traveling with infants, you may have an extra daily fee for renting a car seat or a booster. They’re not always the nicest quality seats, so you may prefer to bring your own infant car seat when traveling to Orlando.
  • Parking can be very expensive at the Orlando theme parks. You may consider picking up your rental car in Orlando after completing your theme park fun.
  • In addition to the Orlando airport car rentals location, conveniently in the car park at MCO, you will find car rental locations across the city – even within Disney World!
  • If you won’t need a car after your trip to Clearwater, one-way drop offs are possible with car rental depot locations to also be found in Clearwater and nearby Tampa. Do note, this may incur an additional one-way fee.

Rideshare services or taxis Orlando to Clearwater

Not a keen driver or have no license? That’s OK. For a quick and convenient journey, albeit more expensive than renting your own car, you can use a service such as Uber or Lyft to complete the 2-hour journey to Clearwater.

The prices can be variable, and more for a larger vehicle, but expect in the vicinity of $100 to $150 USD. You’ll need the apps on your phone and data to use these services.

Public transport from Orlando to Clearwater

Your public transport options from Orlando to Clearwater are somewhat limited as there’s no direct service by road or rail, but may represent good value for solo travelers on a budget.

  • A daily Amtrak Thruway service runs from Orlando to St Petersburg, departing at 1:30pm. From St Petersburg, you can catch a local connecting bus to Clearwater. This route will take about 4 hours and 30 minutes with connections.
  • A Greyhound bus travels to St Petersburg three times a week. From there, you can connect to a local bus service to Clearwater, which leaves every 2 hours. The entire journey takes close to 5 hours and will cost you around $20 to $28 per person on an economy ticket.
  • The train is another option, albeit not direct. The 2-hour and 40-minute journey from Orlando arrives in at St. Petersburg-Clearwater Station. From there, you’ll need to connect by bus or train to complete your journey to Clearwater.
  • You can also train from Orlando to Tampa Union Station, 23 miles east of Clearwater. The train leaves twice daily and will take 2 hours. You can complete your journey by local bus or taxi in about 30 minutes.

Tours from Orlando to Clearwater

Many visitors seek only to spend a day traveling to Clearwater from Orlando, in which case it may be best to join an organized tour.

These tours set off early in the day but will include experiences such as a boat tour and time at Clearwater Beach and pier before returning you safely back to Orlando that night.

The good thing about a tour is you’ll not have the stress of driving, and you will know how much you’re paying for the day up front (though you’ll definitely want to bring a little extra for ice creams at the beach and some souvenirs from your time in Clearwater!)

More on Visiting Clearwater, Florida

We have a comprehensive guide over here on the best things to do in Clearwater with your family. Some absolute “musts” for your list include:

  • Visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
  • Heading out on a dolphin-watching tour
  • Seeing the sunset from Pier 60

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