Clearwater, Florida ranks as the third-largest city in the Tampa Bay area, with a population of over 107,000. The city is part of a larger, nearly continuous metropolitan region along the Florida coast. Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and the city has the distinction of holding the world record for 361 consecutive days of sunshine in a single year. More than one fourth of the Florida state’s business and information service companies are hosted in Tampa Bay, providing many employment opportunities. Clearwater's vibrant downtown has experienced recent redevelopment with new construction along Florida's tallest bluff. The city has created a public art program that plans and provides funding for public art as a component of recent and new development projects, creating an attractive urban setting. Clearwater was named one of the 10 Best Places to Retire in the US by CBS Money Watch and named Best Beach Town in Florida by USA Today.
In 1835, the United States Army chose a high bluff overlooking the Gulf of Mexico for the site of Fort Harrison. The spot was known as Clear Water Harbor because of the abundant fresh water springs found throughout the area. Population growth was stimulated when the Florida Armed Population Act of 1842 made up to 200,000 acres of land available to settlers who would establish a home and defend it. Early settlers fished, grew vegetables and cotton, and journeyed to Tampa to sell their goods. The first railroad arrived in 1888 and this vastly cut the time required for moving goods to market, improving the economic conditions for area locals. Clearwater was incorporated in 1891, and the Belleview Biltmore resort, built in 1897, established Clearwater as a vacation destination for well-heeled travelers. Clearwater saw significant population growth in the 1920’s as speculators and developers invested in land and built homes. During World War II, Clearwater became a major training base and the Belleview Biltmore resort became a barracks for new recruits. After the war, many troops who had trained in the area returned to live, creating another population boom. Since 1950, the local population has grown steadily from 15,000 residents to its current population of more than 107,000. Explore more Clearwater history with the following links.
From Mid-May to Mid-October, Clearwater is humid and hot with an average high temperature of 90°F and almost daily thunderstorms in the afternoons. The storms are often followed by a clear, cooler and pleasant evening. Winter in Clearwater is dry and mild, with average highs in the 70’s and average lows in the 50’s. Get more local weather information using these links.
Public transportation is a popular way to get around Clearwater and area beaches. The Jolly Trolley travels from downtown to Sand Key and Island Estates and the Suncoast Beach Trolley travels along the beaches to St. Petersburg. Further inland, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority provides 40 service routes throughout the area. Tampa International Airport provides year-round air passenger service to major destinations, and the smaller St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport also caters to the air traffic need of the region.
Cost of Living in Clearwater
Clearwater is an affordable city with a cost of living that is 8% below the national average and housing prices that are 20% below the national average. Use these cost of living calculators to see how far your budget will go in Clearwater.
Public education in Clearwater is administered by the Pinellas County School District. The district covers a total of 142 institutions, including elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, alternative & exception education schools, adult/vocational schools, and charter schools. With more than 17,000 teachers, administrators and support staff, the district is also Pinellas County’s largest employer.
Clearwater’s best hospital is Morton Plant Hospital. Morton Plant is a general medical and surgical facility and is known for its high performance in heart bypass surgeries. If you’re planning a move to Clearwater, be sure to know the medical resources available to you:
Clearwater Real Estate
The sun and sand is what attracts most people to Clearwater. If your heart’s desire is to find a home with an ocean view, many waterfront homes and condos can be found on Clearwater Beach Island, along the island’s extreme southern and northern boundaries. Even inland, you are never more than 3 miles from the shore. Explore the Clearwater real estate market with these convenient links.
When visiting Clearwater, you will discover some of the finest and most affordable accommodations are found on Clearwater Beach. The Sandpearl Resort is an exclusive, luxury hotel right on the beach and within walking distance to many restaurants and shops. For the budget-conscious, there are a number of private hotels on the beach, including Pelican Pointe, the Gulfview Hotel, and the Sands Point Motel. Find more places to stay with the following links.
The best-known restaurants in Clearwater can be found along the main strips to the north and south of the causeway on Clearwater Beach Island. But if you venture inland to Cleveland Street, you can find some of the newest dining hot spots in town. Muretto is an authentic Italian restaurant with a growing reputation, and The Cleveland Street Café isn’t fancy, but the food is delicious and the service is friendly. If you head south on Harrison Ave, watch for the Salt N Pepper Bistro, Clearwater’s favorite local establishment. Another local favorite is Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill, a seafood restaurant right on the beach, just north of the causeway on Clearwater Beach Island. For more dining discoveries, use these links.
Clearwater Things to Do
The City of Clearwater offers something for everybody. Three miles of white sand beaches and warm gulf waters, an abundance of golf courses and a multitude of dining and shopping choices provide something for everyone to enjoy. The Cleveland Street District, sitting atop a 30-foot bluff overlooking Clearwater Harbor, provides a stunning backdrop for urban living, shopping, dining, and year-round entertainment. Kids enjoy meeting Winter, star of the motion picture "Dolphin Tale" at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Cyclists can ride the 40 mile Pinellas County Bike Trail that runs through Clearwater from Tarpon Springs to downtown St. Petersburg. Baseball enthusiasts can enjoy spring training with the Philadelphia Phillies, and for water sport enthusiasts, there is parasailing, scuba diving, deep sea fishing, and more! Start planning your visit to Clearwater, Florida using the following links.