If you’re planning a road trip in Florida and you’re wondering how long it takes to drive from Orlando to Clearwater, you’ve come to the right place! The short answer is that it takes around 2 hours to drive, but the longer answer might be more useful and more interesting to you.
The exact travel time between Orlando and Clearwater depends on a variety of factors, including the time of day, day of the week, and time of year. We’ll explore these variables in detail to prepare you ahead of your vacation.
At Real Florida Adventures, we spend a lot of time going between both spots providing visitors with awesome experiences on day trips. If you haven’t hired a car for your Florida vacation, why not let us do the driving if you have an Orlando day trip in mind?
Part of the fun of a vacation is sitting back and letting someone else take care of the details! Whether you’re doing one day trip or more, drop us a line for travel advice and day trips between Orlando and Clearwater. We’re here to help you see the most of these two great cities.
Driving From Orlando to Clearwater: Things to Know
The distance from Orlando to Clearwater is approximately 105 miles, and the most direct route is via Interstate 4 and Interstate 275. Depending on your starting point in Orlando and your Clearwater destination, you may need to take additional highways to complete your journey.
The total driving time for the journey from Orlando to Clearwater is around 1 hour and 45 minutes. However, this time can vary depending on traffic conditions and the time of day you’re traveling.
If you’re driving during peak traffic hours, such as rush hour in the morning or evening, you can expect your travel time to increase significantly. Traffic on I-4 can be particularly heavy during these times, and it’s not uncommon for the journey to take closer to 2 hours or more.
Driving in the Holidays From Orlando to Clearwater
If you’re traveling during a major holiday or event, you may experience heavier-than-normal traffic and longer travel times.
Popular events in the Orlando area, such as the annual Disney marathon or the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, can cause traffic to be backed up on I-4 and other nearby highways.
When Is the Best Time to Drive From Orlando to Clearwater?
If you’re looking to minimize your travel time and avoid traffic congestion, the best time to drive from Orlando to Clearwater is typically during off-peak hours. This means avoiding rush hour traffic in the morning and evening, as well as traveling on weekdays instead of weekends.
If possible, consider leaving Orlando early in the morning to avoid traffic congestion on I-4. Similarly, if you’re traveling from Clearwater back to Orlando, try to avoid leaving during peak traffic hours in the late afternoon or early evening.
Driving Through the Seasons From Orlando to Clearwater
Another factor to consider is the time of year you’re traveling. Florida is a popular destination for tourists throughout the year, but certain times are busier than others. For example, the summer months and major holidays such as Christmas and New Year’s can be particularly busy on the roads.
If you’re traveling during a busy season, be sure to factor in extra travel time and plan your route accordingly. Additionally, if you’re traveling during hurricane season (June to November), be sure to check for any weather-related road closures or travel advisories before setting out on your journey.
What Are Alternate Routes From Orlando to Clearwater?
While the most direct route from Orlando to Clearwater is via I-4 and I-275, there are several alternate routes you can take depending on your starting point and final destination.
For example, if you’re traveling from the northern or western suburbs of Orlando, you may want to consider taking Florida’s Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway. This route will take you west toward Clearwater and may be faster than traveling through downtown Orlando and Tampa.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling from the eastern suburbs of Orlando, you may want to take State Road 408 to Florida’s Turnpike and then onto the Veterans Expressway. This route will take you north toward Clearwater and may be faster than traveling through downtown Orlando and Tampa.
Overall, we recommend traveling during off-peak hours and on weekdays to avoid congestion. If you’re traveling during a busy season, such as the summer months or major holidays, be sure to factor in extra travel time and plan your route accordingly.
When planning your route, consider alternate routes such as the Turnpike and Suncoast Parkway or the Veterans Expressway, depending on your starting point and final destination. We recommend pre-booking any Orlando or Clearwater day trips in advance, too.
And be sure to check for any weather-related road closures or travel advisories, especially during hurricane season! If you’re planning a trip and want some more advice on driving between Orlando and Clearwater, just get in touch!