As a beach lover, I’m fascinated by the various types of sand that you can find at beaches around the world. We’ve been to the red sand in Santorini and the pink sand in Bermuda, but my favorite is the famous sugar sand located in Clearwater, Florida. If you’ve been to Clearwater, I’m sure you agree – the sand is really that beautiful! Guests visiting Clearwater Beach in the spring will definitely want to check out the Sugar Sand Festival, which takes place on the famous Pier 60.
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All About The Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival
We were visiting Clearwater Beach, Florida for spring break, and were staying adjacent to Pier 60 at the Hilton Clearwater Beach. First thing in the morning on one of our vacation days, we headed over to the pier to experience the festival for ourselves. We had a wonderful time – I’d absolutely recommend visiting if you are nearby during the festival.
Taking place for 17 days in April (through April 28, 2019 this year), the festival features a number of family-friendly activities. Some are offered at no cost, while others have an admission fee. As you head into the pier, you’ll find a small Ferris wheel, which would be perfect for little ones. Individual tickets are available for admission. As you head toward the festival, you’ll find buskers and vendors, including many craft vendors located on the actual pier tucked under colorful rainbow umbrellas.
There are also a number of play zones and inflatables. These are available at a separate cost, and include inflatable water slides, bungee trampolines, bounce houses, and aqua balls. You don’t have to pay the entrance fee for the sugar sand tent exhibit – you can just purchase these tickets individually.
Once you enter the festival grounds on the sand, you’ll find food vendors. Our favorites included the booth selling deep fried Oreos and the ice pops. While we were there first thing in the morning, you could easily get a meal from these vendors if visiting during a mealtime.
Continue walking toward the main tent, and you can get in line to purchase tickets for the large 21,000-square foot tent with the sand sculptures. I’d definitely recommend arriving early and on a weekday for the shortest lines. We got there around opening on a Monday and didn’t wait too long. Credit cards are accepted.
Tickets to the sand sculptures can be purchased online or on site. We used a AAA discount, which had to be used on site. If you have pre-paid tickets, or are returning for a second time in the day, you can use the Fast Lane entrance. This way, you can bypass the desk to purchase tickets.
Once we paid, we headed into the main tent. There we were able to see all of the sand sculpting works of art. This year’s theme is “Sea the World: A Journey Around the Globe”. The sand sculptures include scenes from Australia, Europe, Canada, and the Seven Wonders of the World.
You can take your time as you walk around the tent, and there are various employees located throughout the walk to answer any questions you may have. As we walked around, we took pictures and even saw one of the sculptors working.
As we finished going through the tent, we were able to take a group photo in front of a sculpture. A printed copy of this photo is offered free of cost as you exit the tent. It’s completely free, although there are other items to purchase along with the photo (the personalized photo book seemed to be popular when we picked up our picture).
There are also commemorative items for purchase as part of the festival including tee-shirts, hats, and ornaments. I couldn’t leave without picking up a tee-shirt.
In addition to the sculptures, there are other family-friendly activities as part of the festival. These include free live music, fireworks (every Saturday during the festival, weather permitting), movies, a cornhole tournament, sand sculpting classes, sand sculpture demonstrations, and so much more.
The festival also offers a VIP Lounge that is available at an additional fee. This ticket includes VIP admission to the tent, as well as a VIP lounge with great views of the sunset, seating, a bar area, drink tickets, an official tee-shirt, and appetizers.
The Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival runs in conjunction with the Sunsets at Pier 60 daily festival. This festival runs daily 2 hours before and 2 hours after sunset on a daily basis.
Planning to visit the Clearwater Beach Sugar Sand Festival? You’ll probably want to stay on Clearwater Beach, so you can easily walk right over to the pier. Here are some hotels within walking distance that you may consider: