Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival Tips and Advice – Clearwater Beach

Published on 04/17/23: Tips and feedback on the Sugar Sand Festival at Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach. We were first time visitors to this annual event, though I suspected my family would enjoy, as they had fun at Treasure Island’s Sanding Ovations. Turns out it was a hit, with a couple lessons learned in the process! Event runs until April 23rd.

Visit Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival on the Weekday

We visited on the weekend. Traffic was “literally crazy” in the words of my 7 year old, who currently prefixes most statements with “literally”. 🤷🏼‍♂️ If you can visit during the week, do that instead.

Ride the free Park and Ride on the Weekend

If you visit on the weekend, ride the free Park and Ride. It drops you off and picks up right outside the festival! No need to find a parking spot. Afterwards, as we sat on the cold bus (“literally freezing” per Colt), I told my wife this was one of my better recent decisions. You still sit in traffic, but I can’t even imagine trying to find parking in Clearwater Beach. It was bumper to bumper from 2 miles out.

Decades Theme for Sand Sculptures is Great

The “Decades, Blast from the past” theme of the sculpture festival was great. I especially enjoyed seeing my childhood represented with for instance E.T., Home Alone, Slash, Run DMC, Slash, Mario Brothers, Simpsons, Ghostbusters, MTV, The NeverEnding Story, and many more just in those couple decades alone. A trip down memory lane!

The Sand Sculpture Festival Costs Money, but Worth It

You need to pay $14 to see the sculptures. Ages 3 and under are free. The huge 21K sqft tent offered many more sculptures than another local sand sculpture festival, and includes themed music and lighting for the decades. Looks like it took someone a lot of work, plus proceeds benefit local charities per organizers. And you know what, some days, I’d simply pay for shade on the beach. 😅. Btw, that’s where Beachfront Bellhop comes in…

Bring Towel or Seating, plus Sunblock

Bring a towel or blanket and sunblock. Something to sit on didn’t cross our mind, but inevitably you’re going to end up on the beach itself. Especially if near sunset or you have children. The sculptures inspired Colt to want to build his own, so we ended up digging on the beach in our regular clothes, throwing a curveball to those playing “spot the tourist”. If you can, try to time your visit with the amazing daily sunset. Two birds, one trip.

Wear Easy to Remove Shoes

Wear shoes that are easy to remove. The sculptures are not built around sidewalks, you’re walking thru sand as you roam. 🏰 Much easier to walk barefoot in sand than with shoes.

Figure You’ll Stay in Clearwater Beach for a While

Don’t plan to just look at the sculptures and leave. It’s not going to happen. There’s much to do, even if you don’t buy a ticket to visit the actual sand sculpture tent. Sit on the beach, walk the pier, check out the street artists, grab food and drink from one of the many vendors (street corn!), and might as well check out nearby bar/restaurants just a few steps away. I mean, as long as you already have parking (or park and ride) why not. We ended up making an afternoon of it and arrived home well after dark.

Hope you enjoy! Ticket link: https://www.sugarsandfestival.com/p/tickets

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