Considering a move to Clearwater? This Florida city is a popular spot for young professionals, families, and retirees who want to live near the water. Check out these 12 pros and cons of living in Clearwater!

Pros of Living in Clearwater

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A prime location near the Gulf Coast, access to outdoor recreation, and a strong job market make Clearwater a great place to live. Here are the pros of living in Clearwater!

Pro: Live Affordably Near the Gulf Coast

If you’re looking for an affordable Gulf Coast city in the Tampa Bay area, moving to Clearwater is a great option. There is no state tax on personal income in Florida, which also means there’s no tax on Social Security retirement benefits—including pension income, IRAs, and 401Ks—making this city an especially attractive choice for retirees. Additionally, the state offers homestead exemption benefits, which reduce property taxes for homeowners with permanent residency in Florida. Clearwater’s median home price is $225,600 and the median rental price is $1,167, positioning the city as a more budget-friendly alternative to other Florida cities like Tampa. In fact, the cost of living in Clearwater is 2% lower than the national average and 1% lower than the Florida average. Combined with the median annual household income of $50,335, which is just higher than the state’s average, Clearwater proves to be an affordable place to live.

Pro: Strong Job Market

Clearwater’s low unemployment rate of 3.1% is aided by the city’s growing job market, which boasts top employers in a variety of industries, including healthcare, tech, tourism, manufacturing, and finance. Work at KnowBe4, a cybersecurity powerhouse headquartered in the area, offering career opportunities in sales, customer service, IT, and more. Provide payment processing solutions to all kinds of businesses with a job in software development or consulting at Cash Management Solutions. Work as a Sales Representative, Respiratory Therapist, or Pharmacy Tech at Lincare Holdings, a healthcare company that focuses on patient education and respiratory care. Or check out a wide range of healthcare jobs at BayCare Health System, one of the largest employers headquartered in Clearwater.

Pro: Good Colleges in Clearwater

Education opportunities in Clearwater extend beyond its excellent K-12 schools, with several great colleges and universities located in and around the city! Choose from more than 200 degree, certificate, and transfer programs when you enroll at the Clearwater Campus of St. Petersburg College, the first state college in Florida to offer bachelor’s degrees. Study business, information technology, criminal justice, and more at Keiser University’s Clearwater Campus. Learn about healthcare with degree programs like anesthesia, physical therapy, and school psychology through Nova Southeastern University at their Tampa Bay Regional Campus. Train to be a technician for aviation maintenance at the National Aviation Academy A&P School. Take advantage of full-time programs in accounting operations, applied cybersecurity, web development, and more at Pinellas Technical College – Clearwater Campus. Or work to become a medical assistant, dental assistant, or patient care technician through the degree programs at Ultimate Medical Academy.

Pro: Access to Outdoor Recreation

With abundant outdoor recreation spots in the city, residents have easy access to a wide range of Clearwater parks, beaches, golf courses, and more. Go kayaking, boating, or jet skiing in the clear Gulf Coast water, or soak in the sun on the white sands of Clearwater Beach, one of the best beaches in the U.S. Hang out with friends and watch buskers, enjoy nightly sunset celebrations, or try out night fishing or stargazing at Pier 60, a 1,080-foot fishing pier and recreational park. Hit up Abu Seba Beach, a drive-in beach that offers a place to socialize while enjoying the sea breeze. Play a round of golf at the 18-hole Clearwater Country Club. Walk along oak-lined paths or explore fun events and educational programs like The Energy Show at 51-acre nature preserve, Moccasin Lake Nature Park. Or spend an evening fishing or boating at Cliff Stephens Park.

Pro: Family-Friendly Entertainment Options

Life in Clearwater, Florida, is full of fun entertainment options for residents of all ages. Feed a stingray, enjoy a safari tour, or visit exhibits like Dolphin Terrace or Turtle Cove at the nonprofit Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Head out for a day of fun at the Countryside Mall, home to over 100 stores, a movie theater, restaurants, and a skating rink. Play a round of miniature golf, game in the arcade, and feed live gators at Congo River Golf. Slide down the world’s largest inflatable waterslide, “The Hippo,” at Clearwater Beach Waterslide. Feel the ocean breeze while dolphin-watching on the world’s largest speedboat, the Sea Screamer. Or hop on Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise, a two-hour private adventure cruise that offers face painting, dancing, games, and more!

Pro: Diverse Art & Museum Scene

With a thriving arts scene, Clearwater is full of many museums, theaters, and galleries to explore. Buy tickets to see live performers like Lucinda Williams, or attend events from authors like Tabitha Brown at the Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre, located in Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District. See music, comedy, and Broadway shows like Bored Teachers or Tower of Power in the Murray Theatre at Ruth Eckerd Hall. Browse through photos, historical artifacts, and yearbooks that showcase the city’s history at the Clearwater Historical Society. Learn about Black history and culture, or attend events like Journey to Emancipation at the Pinellas County African American History Museum. Check out a collection of rare antique automobiles and engines during a museum tour at The Collection on Palmetto. Or view a wide range of glass sculptures from award-winning sculptor Marlene Rose at the Marlene Rose Gallery.

Pro: Abundance of Clearwater Festivals

Clearwater is home to variety of festivals that residents can attend throughout the year. Enjoy live music, seafood, craft beer, and wine from local market vendors at the Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival. Take part in the annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday festival, which features performances by both local musicians and big names in the world of jazz. Experience a lighted nautical event that celebrates the holidays on the water at the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade. Participate in the Clearwater Marathon & Running Festival, which takes you through beautiful scenery on Florida’s west coast. Hang out with the family at Clearwater’s annual sand sculpting event, the Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival. Or watch performances, explore interactive art installations, and check out craft vendors at the Reggae Rise Up Music Festival.

Pro: Amazing Places to Eat in Clearwater

The city of Clearwater is known for its mouthwatering seafood and American Southern food options, with many restaurants overlooking the water. Enjoy a delicious breakfast in Clearwater with the Buttermilk Pancakes, Banana Bread French Toast, or Belgian Waffles at Lenny’s Restaurant. Bring the family out for gourmet brunch options like Shrimp & Grits, Country Fried Steak, and the Cajun Shrimp Omelette at Clear Sky Beachside Cafe. Try a Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Pulled Pork Sandwich, or a Sandbar Taco Salad at Sandbar. Chow down on a Fiesta Salad, The Rumba Melt, or an Island Rice Bowl at Rumba Island Bar & Grill. Fill up on Buffalo Shrimp, Seafood Ceviche, or a Beach Crab Rangoon at beachfront eatery, Frenchy’s Rockaway Grill. Craving sushi in Clearwater? Dine on dishes like a Yellowtail Roll, Veggie Tempura, or Tofu Teriyaki at Umai Cafe. Or order Prince Edward Island Mussels, Bourbon Street Shrimp, or Atlantic Salmon at family-friendly spot, Crabby’s Dockside.

Cons of Living in Clearwater

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Though Clearwater provides access to beaches, entertainment, and more, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind. Check out these cons of moving to Clearwater.

Con: Severe Clearwater Weather

If you’re moving to Clearwater, be prepared for extreme weather, especially during hurricane season from June to November. During that time, tropical storms and hurricanes can produce large amounts of rain and high winds, which can cause flooding and other property damage. To prepare for hurricanes, it’s important to know your evacuation zone, test your emergency communication plan, and stock up on emergency supplies. Florida summers are also known for their oppressive humidity, so residents should cool off indoors when needed. On the bright side, Clearwater has around 240 sunny days per year, and its subtropical climate means short, mild winters with no snowfall. Plus, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of the warm weather! Head downtown and cool off under shaded picnic pavilions or in the year-round splash pad at Coachman Park. Or join Encounters With Dolphins for a narrated sightseeing tour where you can watch for dolphins, collect shells on the beach, and swim.

Con: Pest Problems

It’s not uncommon for Clearwater residents to experience sudden pest invasions, since the warm climate creates perfect conditions for common pests such as mosquitoes, termites, bed bugs, and more to thrive. However, there are preventative measures you can take to control pest invasions, like regularly disposing of trash, deep cleaning your home, patching exterior holes, and storing food in containers. Plus, residents can take advantage of the variety of pest control companies in Clearwater to effectively get rid of bugs.

Con: Limited Public Transit & Heavy Traffic

With limited public transit and average walkability, many Clearwater residents rely on vehicles to get around the city. Delays are likely during peak rush hour, and traffic can get even worse during tourist season, as large crowds head to Clearwater to enjoy the warm weather. However, Clearwater commute times tend to be shorter than the U.S. average, and some public transportation options are still available for residents to explore the city and beyond! Take advantage of bus routes within Downtown Clearwater offered by the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA). Hop on the Clearwater Jolley Trolley to get around Clearwater Beach and other coastal towns in the area. Explore the beach communities in the area on the Suncoast Beach Trolley. Or fly out of the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to reach faraway destinations!

Con: Lack of Professional Sports Teams

Clearwater doesn’t have a professional sports team, which may be a downside to moving here for hardcore sports fans. Thankfully, nearby cities like St. Petersburg and Tampa give Clearwater residents the ability to enjoy live games close to home! Cheer on the Tampa Bay Rays (MLB) as they swing for the fences at Tropicana Field. Watch the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) rush the quarterback at Raymond James Stadium. Wave your Tampa Bay Rowdies (USL) scarves at Al Lang Stadium. Pound on the glass at Amalie Arena as the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) crash the net. Catch the Philadelphia Phillies (MLB) in Clearwater as they hold spring training games at BayCare Ballpark. And return to the same complex to support the local Clearwater Threshers (MiLB) as they hit it out of the park!


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This post was originally published 08/04/2020, and last revised on 02/16/2024 with updated information.

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