Is Clearwater Florida a Good Place to Live? Pros & Cons

by Rentals Editorial Team | Published: Aug 22, 2023

Welcome to Clearwater, Florida – a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Our city is renowned for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, providing the perfect setting for various water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and boating. Clearwater is also home to several state parks and nature reserves, offering opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring diverse ecosystems. In addition to our natural attractions, Clearwater has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1888. The city played a significant role during World War II and now pays tribute to its history through various historic sites and landmarks. Culture and the arts thrive in Clearwater with museums, galleries, and performing arts theaters providing entertainment for all. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or cultural experiences, Clearwater has something for everyone. The city’s economy is thriving with diverse job opportunities across various industries. Clearwater also boasts an attractive tax environment with no personal income tax in the state of Florida. Education is top-notch in Clearwater with a comprehensive K-12 education system and notable colleges and universities offering higher education options. Getting around the city is easy thanks to its well-connected public transportation system and proximity to major airports. Clearwater offers a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. From beautiful beaches to family-friendly attractions, tourism thrives in Clearwater drawing visitors from all over the world. Whether you’re considering moving or retiring in Clearwater or simply looking for a vacation destination, you’ll find that this vibrant city has so much to offer.

Nature and Outdoor Activities in Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater, Florida is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The city is renowned for its pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, providing the perfect setting for various water activities such as swimming, snorkeling, paddleboarding, and boating. The area is also home to several state parks and nature reserves, offering opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, and exploring diverse ecosystems.

One of the most iconic natural attractions in Clearwater is the famous Clearwater Beach. With its soft white sands and stunning sunsets, it consistently ranks among the top beaches in the United States. Visitors can soak up the sun, build sandcastles, or take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Caladesi Island State Park is a must-visit destination. Accessible only by boat or ferry, this secluded island offers miles of untouched beaches lined with mangrove trees. Visitors can go kayaking through winding water trails or simply relax on the tranquil shores.

City’s History

Clearwater has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1888. Originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Tocobaga people, the area later became home to Spanish explorers and settlers. The name “Clear Water” was derived from the natural springs found in the region.

In the early 20th century, Clearwater began to flourish as a popular tourist destination thanks to its pleasant climate and picturesque landscapes. It attracted visitors from all over who sought refuge from harsh winters or simply wanted to enjoy the charm of Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The city also played a significant role during World War II when it served as a training site for military personnel at Drew Field Air Base. Today, Clearwater pays tribute to its history through various historic sites and landmarks, such as the Belleview Biltmore Hotel, which has been beautifully restored.

Culture and Arts

Clearwater is a vibrant city that embraces culture and the arts. From museums and galleries to performing arts theaters, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is one of the city’s most popular attractions, known for its dedication to marine life rescue and rehabilitation. Visitors can learn about sea turtles, dolphins, and other marine creatures through interactive exhibits, presentations, and behind-the-scenes tours. This nonprofit organization gained worldwide recognition through the heartwarming story of Winter the Dolphin.

For those with a passion for visual arts, the Dunedin Fine Art Center showcases a wide range of contemporary artworks created by local and regional artists. The center provides art classes and workshops for all ages, making it an excellent place to foster creativity.

Music enthusiasts can enjoy live performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall, a premier performing arts venue hosting concerts by internationally acclaimed musicians, Broadway shows, and other cultural events. The Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater is another popular destination for music lovers with its intimate setting and diverse lineup of performances.

City Entertainment

Clearwater, Florida offers a variety of entertainment options that make it an enjoyable place to live. Whether you’re looking for outdoor activities or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone in this vibrant city.

Beach Fun

Living in Clearwater means having access to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Clearwater Beach, with its white sands and crystal-clear waters, is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Spend your weekends sunbathing, swimming, or taking part in water sports such as kayaking and paddleboarding.

Pier 60

Pier 60 is a must-visit destination in Clearwater. This bustling pier provides entertainment for the whole family with its daily sunset festivals featuring street performers, artisans, and live music. Enjoy breathtaking views while strolling along the pier or treat yourself to delicious ice cream from one of the many vendors.

Cultural Offerings

If you’re seeking a dose of culture, Clearwater has you covered. The city boasts several museums and galleries, including the Dunedin Fine Art Center and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Additionally, Ruth Eckerd Hall is a renowned performing arts center that hosts concerts and Broadway shows throughout the year.

Local Sights, Attractions, Events and Things to Do

  • Explore Caladesi Island State Park: Take a ferry ride to this pristine island known for its untouched nature trails and secluded beaches.
  • Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium: Get up close and personal with dolphins, turtles, otters, and other marine life at this popular rehabilitation facility.
  • Experience Sunset at Honeymoon Island State Park: Enjoy stunning sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico while walking along the trails or relaxing on the beach.
  • Attend the Clearwater Jazz Holiday: Join music lovers from around the world at this annual festival featuring top jazz artists.
  • Take a Dolphin-Watching Tour: Embark on a boat tour to see dolphins playfully swimming in their natural habitat.

Job Opportunities & Overall Economy

Job Opportunities

Clearwater offers a diverse range of job opportunities across various industries. Some of the biggest employers in the area include:

  • BayCare Health System
  • Tech Data Corporation
  • Kane’s Furniture Corporation
  • Lincare Holdings Inc.
  • St. Petersburg College

Overall Economic Outlook

The overall economy in Clearwater is thriving, with a combination of industries driving its success. The average household income in Clearwater is above the national average, providing residents with a comfortable living standard. The unemployment rate in Clearwater is also lower than the national average, signifying a healthy job market and potential for career growth.

State taxes and local taxes

Clearwater, Florida is known for its attractive tax environment. The state of Florida does not impose a personal income tax, making it an appealing destination for those looking to save on taxes. In addition, the sales tax rate in Clearwater is currently 7%, which is slightly below the national average.

Property taxes in Clearwater are based on the assessed value of the property. However, there are certain exemptions available to homeowners such as the Homestead Exemption, which can help reduce property tax obligations for primary residences.

Education system

Clearwater boasts a range of educational opportunities for residents of all ages. The city is served by the Pinellas County School District, which offers a comprehensive K-12 education system with numerous public schools in the area.

In terms of higher education, Clearwater is home to several notable colleges and universities:

  • St. Petersburg College – A state college offering associate and bachelor’s degree programs.
  • The University of South Florida St. Petersburg – A branch campus of the renowned University of South Florida.
  • Saint Leo University – A private university with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

City’s public transportation and traffic

Getting around Clearwater is relatively easy thanks to its well-connected public transportation system. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) operates buses that serve Clearwater and its surrounding areas. Additionally, there are several taxi services and rideshare options available for those who prefer private transportation.

The city also has two major airports nearby:

  • Tampa International Airport – Located approximately 18 miles southeast of Clearwater, it offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.
  • Saint Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport – Situated in neighboring Pinellas County, this airport primarily serves domestic flights.

Neighborhoods in Clearwater

Clearwater offers a variety of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and characteristics:

  • Sand Key – A barrier island neighborhood known for its pristine beaches and luxury condominiums.
  • Downtown Clearwater – The city’s bustling center, featuring a mix of residential, commercial, and cultural attractions.
  • Harbor Oaks – A historic neighborhood characterized by elegant homes and tree-lined streets.
  • Countryside – Located in the eastern part of the city, Countryside offers a suburban feel with shopping centers and residential communities.
  • Island Estates – A waterfront community known for its boating opportunities and close proximity to Clearwater Beach.
  • Feather Sound – Situated near the Tampa Bay, Feather Sound is a residential area that offers easy access to both Clearwater and Tampa.

Note: These descriptions are brief summaries of each neighborhood. For more detailed information on specific neighborhoods in Clearwater, it is recommended to consult local resources or real estate agents.

Family-Friendly Atmosphere in Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater, Florida is a wonderful place for families to call home. With its beautiful beaches, warm weather year-round, and a variety of recreational activities, there is no shortage of opportunities for families to bond and create lasting memories.

One of the main attractions for families in Clearwater is its stunning coastline. The city boasts some of the most pristine beaches in Florida, such as Clearwater Beach and Sand Key Park. Families can spend their days building sandcastles, swimming in the turquoise waters, or simply relaxing under the sun.

In addition to the beach, Clearwater offers numerous family-friendly attractions. The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a popular destination where children can learn about marine life and get up close with dolphins, sea turtles, and other fascinating creatures. Moccasin Lake Nature Park provides educational opportunities for kids to explore nature trails and learn about local wildlife.

City Tourism in Clearwater

Clearwater is a renowned tourist destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. Its breathtaking beaches serve as the main drawcard, with millions flocking each year to experience the powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters.

Aside from beach activities like swimming and sunbathing, tourists can engage in various water sports such as jet skiing, parasailing, and paddleboarding. Clearwater Beach Walk offers a scenic promenade where visitors can enjoy stunning views while strolling along eateries and shops.

Apart from beach-related attractions, Clearwater also hosts several cultural events throughout the year. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a popular music festival that draws top artists from various genres. The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival showcases incredible sand sculptures crafted by talented artists.

Moving to Clearwater: A Great Decision

For those considering a relocation, Clearwater, Florida is an excellent choice. The city offers a high quality of life with its pleasant climate, diverse neighborhoods, and numerous opportunities for employment and recreation.

The cost of living in Clearwater is relatively affordable compared to other cities in Florida. Housing options range from beachfront condos to suburban family homes, ensuring that individuals and families can find accommodation that suits their needs.

Clearwater also boasts excellent educational institutions and healthcare facilities, making it an ideal place to raise a family. The city’s strong sense of community and abundance of parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities contribute to an active and fulfilling lifestyle.

Retire in Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater, Florida is a popular destination for retirees due to its pleasant year-round weather, beautiful beaches, and abundance of recreational activities. Retiring in Clearwater offers a laid-back lifestyle with plenty of opportunities for outdoor enjoyment. Whether it’s strolling along the sandy shores, playing golf on one of the many championship courses, or exploring nature trails in nearby parks, retirees can enjoy an active and fulfilling retirement in Clearwater.

Pros and Cons of Living in Clearwater

  • Pros:
    • Breathtaking Beaches: Clearwater is known for its stunning white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Residents can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and engaging in water sports all year long.
    • Tropical Climate: With mild winters and hot summers, the tropical climate in Clearwater allows for outdoor activities throughout the year.
    • Diverse Entertainment Options: From cultural events to vibrant nightlife, Clearwater offers a wide range of entertainment options such as art galleries, music festivals, renowned restaurants, and lively bars.
    • Retirement Communities: There are numerous retirement communities in Clearwater that cater specifically to older adults seeking an active lifestyle with amenities like golf courses and clubhouses.
  • Cons:
    • Tourism Crowds: Clearwater attracts a significant number of tourists each year due to its popularity as a vacation destination. During peak seasons, it can become crowded at tourist spots.
    • Traffic Congestion: Like many popular coastal cities in Florida, traffic congestion can be an issue during rush hours or special events. It’s important to plan commuting times accordingly.
    • Higher Cost of Living: While not extremely high compared to other cities in Florida, the cost of living in Clearwater is slightly above the national average.

Frequently Asked Questions about Clearwater, Florida

Q: What are some popular attractions in Clearwater?

A: Clearwater boasts several popular attractions, including the stunning Clearwater Beach, Pier 60 with its nightly sunset celebrations, Clearwater Marine Aquarium (home to Winter the Dolphin), and the vibrant downtown area filled with shops and restaurants.

Q: Is Clearwater a family-friendly city?

A: Yes, Clearwater is known for being a family-friendly city. It offers a variety of recreational activities suitable for all ages, such as water parks, mini-golf courses, nature parks, and playgrounds. The city also has highly-rated public and private schools.

Q: Are there any job opportunities in Clearwater?

A: Yes, Clearwater has a diverse economy with job opportunities in various industries such as healthcare, technology, hospitality, and education. Additionally, nearby Tampa offers even more employment options within commuting distance.

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