Glitzy marinas, creative crab grills, and boutique beachwear shops all wait to greet you on this twist of a Gulf Coast barrier island. But they are just the welcoming committee. Beyond them is the piece de resistance, the jewel in the crown – miles of cotton-white beaches with sugar-like sands and opal-shimmering waters. Tempted? This guide is a ticket to the very best Clearwater Beach rentals and villas.

Choose your type of Clearwater Beach vacation rental

It's important to nail down the exact sort of vacation rental in Clearwater Beach before you book. Not only do different places have different amenities, but they can significantly change the style of break you'll have on these glinting Sunshine State shores.

Clearwater Beach vacation rentals on the beachfront

There's no more sought-after type of Clearwater Beach vacation rental than the beachfront villa. Swing open the balcony doors and voila – there are the turquoise shore waters and the gleaming sands, literally steps away. These will tend to become homier and less modern the further north you head up the island.

Romantic beach cottages in Clearwater

Looking to share stunning sunsets with the other half? Score yourself a cozy little cottage on the edge of Clearwater Beach and you're in for a trip that's fit for a honeymoon. Compact kitchens and nautical-themed bedrooms keep things quaint and thoughtful, while outdoor spaces with palm fronds and BBQ grills are a bonus.

Condominium stays with alluring shared facilities

If you don't mind sacrificing a little privacy for a palm-fringed swimming pool to call your own, the classic condominium might be the way to go on Clearwater Beach. These modern flats will have all the creature comforts you're used to back at home, too, with fitted kitchens, ensuite master bedrooms, and living rooms with flat-screen TVs.

Choose the right area for your Clearwater Beach rental

As it sprouts out into the Gulf from the city of Clearwater, Clearwater Beach ranges through happening harbor areas, yachting clubs, and loveable resorts. The pointers below can help you zero in on the spot that's right for you.

North ways along Eldorado Avenue

Caladesi Island starts things off with a jaw-dropping bang of mangrove swamps and deserted coves at the northern end of Clearwater Beach. There aren't any rentals to be had in those protected reserves, but you can unearth some enchanting cabins and cottages by Eldorado Avenue to the south.

Mandalay Avenue has all types of home

Midway up Clearwater Beach is the neighborhood that spreads out from Mandalay Avenue. This is the perfect rental area for loads of different types of travelers. Elegant flats sit by Parisian bakeries and artisan coffee shops at its south end, while larger family homes pop up near the sand dunes to the north.

Around Pier 60 Park

To the south is the palm-sprouting nature reserve of Sand Key Park, to the east is the causeway heading across to Clearwater city, while all around Pier 60 Park are marinas laden with sailboats and motorboats. Welcome to the hub of the barrier island, where you can step outside your luxury condo and find amazing aquariums or settle in for long lunches of Gulf-caught seafood straight off the grill.

Ensure you get a bargain deal on Clearwater rentals

No one likes to overpay for their jaunt to Floridian shores, especially not with dolphin-spotting boat trips and sunset cruises on the Gulf of Mexico to add to the itinerary. The tips below can help, revealing ways to reduce the cost of even the most luxurious of vacation home rentals in Clearwater Beach, FL.

Mid and late spring has it all

Spring break brings sun seekers and water sportsters to town, while the festive season before has price hikes on account of the snowbirds. Summer, meanwhile, can see temperatures soar and the occasional tropical storm. The upshot? April, May, and June offer the perfect balance between crowds, weather, and lower accommodation rates.

Costly Clearwater Beach vacation rentals on the beachfront

It's certainly an alluring prospect, waking to the rhythm of the waves and the sound of bristling sea oats on the dunes. But you will have to pay extra for the luxury of living by the beach, which means bargain hunters should focus their search on the neighborhoods a little to the east.