Are you thinking about relocating to Clearwater, Florida? This beachfront town is one of the best places to live in the entire state. Residents decide to make Clearwater home to take advantage of its beaches, entertainment, and food. Not to mention, Clearwater remains relatively affordable, making it fantastic for all kinds of people and lifestyles.
But how does Clearwater stack up in terms of livability? There are plenty of things to love about the city, but it is not without its downsides. Let us take a closer look at the pros and cons of living in Clearwater. If you are considering moving to Florida, be sure to keep reading.
What Is Clearwater, Florida Like?
Clearwater, Florida, is a beach town located in Pinellas County on the Gulf of Mexico. With a population of around 116,000 occupants, it is the smallest city in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area.
The beach is a huge draw, but what makes Clearwater an attractive place for families, retirees, and young couples alike is it offers so much more. The city is quaint and beautiful, with a lot to discover. It’s also close to Tampa and St. Petersburg, where you can take advantage of major-league sporting events, museums, and the performing arts scene.
And despite its modest size, Clearwater has plenty of employment opportunities. Healthcare, technology, and social assistance are the major employment industries in Clearwater, and the employment rate has been rising in recent years.
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that over half of the people living in Clearwater relocated from out of state. We can assume the high transplant rate says a lot about desirability. In terms of diversity, Clearwater is predominantly filled with Caucasian residents, though the city is becoming more diverse.
Top Reasons To Live in Clearwater, Florida
Now that you know a bit about the city, we’ll discuss the top reasons to live in Clearwater, Florida. Here are a few of the aspects residents highlight.
Cost of Living
We’ll start with the cost of living, which most people are concerned with knowing. Clearwater is an affordable place to live despite being a beautiful beachfront town.
The median home value is slightly less than the national average, and renters can also expect to pay less than they would in other places. More than half of Clearwater residents own their homes, and property taxes are low.
Another thing that attracts people to Florida is that there is no state tax on personal income.
Ready to say goodbye to your winter coat and heavy boots? Many people from colder regions are excited to do just that in Florida—after all, it is called the Sunshine State for a reason. Clearwater is sunny almost every day, boasting warm temperatures year-round. Highs range from 71F to 90F, while lows range from 53F to 74F.
So, if you always dreamed of spending Christmas day on the beach, it can be your reality if you live in Clearwater.
Culinary variety may not be the first thing you associate with Florida, but Clearwater is an excellent place to try out new cuisines. There’s no shortage of highly-rated dining establishments downtown, and almost every cuisine is available in the area.
As you might expect, Cuban and Spanish foods are in heavy rotation, but you can also find favorites like Greek fare and Asian food. Seafood lovers will also be delighted with Clearwater’s offerings. The proximity to the water means fresh fish is always in supply—like locally caught grouper. The beach cafe scene is also a fun, laid-back way to dine out.
If there is one thing Clearwater locals love, it is taking advantage of the sunshine to enjoy outdoor activities. There’s something for everyone, starting with the beach. Clearwater has had the number one ranked beach in the country countless times. Fishing and watersports like kayaking and canoeing are the most popular activities.
Golf lovers will also be in heaven in Clearwater, as the town has plenty of courses. Trail lovers can test their outdoor limits on one of the beautiful local hiking paths. If biking is more your speed, you will find that Clearwater is perfect for biking around town. The area is primarily a flat landscape making getting around on two wheels a breeze.
If exercise is not on your to-do list, you can enjoy one of the many Farmer’s markets, dog parks, and outdoor breweries.
It is not a shock that retirees (or soon-to-be retirees) flock to Clearwater. The city is especially well-suited for a mature crowd looking to live their best beach life. Clearwater has plenty of neighborhoods that fit a wide variety of tastes, even those on a budget. Here are some of the best neighborhoods for retirement in Clearwater, Florida:
- Sand Key
- Del Oro Groves
- Northwood Estates
- Old Clearwater Bay
- Clearwater Beach
You can also find fantastic beach condos and beach communities for retirees without breaking the bank.
Disadvantages of Living in Clearwater, Florida
Now that we have gone over the top reasons to live in Clearwater, it is time to look at some disadvantages. Here are some honest reviews from residents in the area.
While the Florida heat and sunshine are a plus for many people, the warm climate is not for everyone. It has certain downsides any potential Clearwater resident should be aware of before moving. Like the fact that hurricane season is a reality in Florida.
Hurricanes affect the state from June to November and are severe weather conditions you must be prepared to combat. You should also know that Florida is the Lightning Capital of the US, and torrential downfalls are common. Clearwater receives a lot of rain compared to other areas during hurricane season.
Florida also has no winter weather to balance out the warm temperatures. If you like seasons, you should probably choose somewhere else to live—especially since the heat and humidity in Florida can be oppressive year-round. Not to mention, residents have to spend a pretty penny on sunscreen.
Florida’s climate is responsible for another downside: the warm weather and high humidity levels create the perfect conditions for pests to flourish.
It is vital to familiarize yourself with the pests and critters common to the area, as they are something every Clearwater resident must be mindful of to manage. If you are not careful, these pests can cause significant damage to your home.
Although Clearwater is classified as a quaint town, do not be fooled into thinking it has no traffic. If you are commuting, expect to spend about twenty-five minutes each way. And while Clearwater’s total commute time is a bit less than the national average, it has many toll areas that might make your commute more expensive.
The weekends can also get pretty busy, especially if you’re trying to get to the beach or travel between coastal towns. The town receives a lot of tourists, which tend to clog up the roads. Add frequent construction sites to the mix, and things tend to get slow.
Lack of Public Transportation
Is access to public transportation and a high walkability score important to you? If so, Clearwater might not be the best choice.
With a walk score of 42, residents are car-dependent for errands and getting around. Some neighborhoods are more walkable than others, like Northwood, Clearwater Beach, and Island Estate. But in general, expect to use your car for most things.
As for public transportation, Clearwater’s transit score is just 29. There are about 18 bus lines, the most useful of which is the Jolley Trolley, which runs two coastal routes. You can take the Jolley Trolley to move between nearby coastal towns, but that’s about it. Plus, the frequency of the bus service leaves a lot to be desired.
Clearwater, Florida, may not be the safest place. It does have a C grade, which indicates that the town’s crime rate is a bit higher than the average US city. The crime rate is 29.23 per 1000 residents every year.
So, is Clearwater, Florida a good place to live? Residents have claimed that south Clearwater may be the safest area, so if you choose to move to this city, it may be best to consider settling around south Clearwater.
Final Thoughts: Is Clearwater, Florida a Good Place To Live?
So, is Clearwater, Florida a good place to live? Deciding where to live is a personal decision, so only you can answer the question of whether Clearwater is a lovely place to settle down. But many people seem to agree that there are many reasons to make the city their home.
Chief among them are its fantastic weather, affordable cost of beach living, and plenty of outdoor activities. Clearwater is also an excellent place for retirees or people close to retirement age. You will always have something to do, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly.
However, it is critical to make sure you are aware of the cons. Florida’s hot and humid climate, not to mention hurricane season, is not suitable for everyone. Neither are the traffic jams you are likely to encounter in Clearwater or having to worry about Florida-specific pests infesting your home.
Before you make your decision, be sure to check the sinkhole map and other recent events involving sinkholes in Florida. Florida properties are prone to sinkholes, and you want to ensure your potential new home is not at risk of sinkhole-related damages.