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Pros and Cons of Living in Clearwater, FL

Pros and Cons of Living in Clearwater, FL Written by Leigh Cooper

Clearwater, Florida, is the smallest principal city in the Tampa Bay Area (Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater). The city is well-known for its pleasant climate, abundant employment opportunities, and cultural diversity.

The beaches and water of Clearwater are widely considered to be among the best in the United States. Everyone from snowbirds to young professionals to families to retirees would enjoy living in this city. 

However, there are some not-so-great aspects of the city too, and it’s important that you’re aware of both sides of the coin. Here are 10 pros and cons of living in Clearwater, FL!

Let’s take a look at the good stuff about the city:

Pros of living in Clearwater

1. If you love beaches, you’ll love Clearwater

Clearwater is as close as you can get to the ocean without really being in it. As one might expect from a city on the state’s Gulf Coast, this one boasts gorgeous beaches and a way of life centered on its proximity to the water.

The beaches are ideal for a wide range of water sports, from swimming and sunbathing to paddle boarding and jet skiing, thanks to their powdery white sand and clear seas. 

Some include Sand Key Park, Clearwater Beach, Caladesi Island, Honeymoon Island, and many more.

2. Lots of options for entertainment

There are a ton of fun things to do in this city. The Annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday features performances by both local musicians and big names in the world of jazz. 

See a musical performance at Pier 60. See Broadway and Off-Broadway plays and musicals, operas, dance performances, and comedy shows at Ruth Eckerd Hall, the historic Capitol Theater, or even The Murray Studio Theater. Play some golf at Chi Chi Rodriguez Golf Club or the Congo River Golf. Visit Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see different aquatic animals.

3. The city is filled with parks

Clearwater has plenty of parkland for those who want to spend time outside away from the shore. On its 51 acres, Moccasin Lake Nature Park features six unique ecosystems. 

Bayview Park may be smaller than other parks, but it still offers many amenities such as nature walks, picnic spots, a butterfly garden, an environmental teaching center, and more.

Also, the Pinellas Trail, which travels from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg, goes right through the middle of town. One of the city finest is Coachman Park, which spans 20 acres and is located directly behind the central library.

4. There are lots of great schools

Clearwater is home to many great schools that are sure to offer your children the very best education. There are dozens of private schools available, in addition to the numerous well-rated public schools. 

There are also a number of colleges and universities in the city, including St. Petersburg College, Pinellas Technical Education Center-Clearwater, Clearwater Christian College, and the National Aviation Academy A & P School.

Within a radius of fewer than 20 miles, you have other options such as the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, the University of Tampa, the University of Central Florida, and Hillsborough Community College.

5. There’s more than enough seafood 

Due to the abundance of superb fishing opportunities, Clearwater is teeming with restaurants serving up delicious and nutritious seafood. Caretta on the Gulf, the Island Way Grill, Keegan’s Seafood Grille, the multiple Frenchy’s locations, the Rumba Island Bar and Grill, and Guppy’s on the Beach are just a few of the local favorites that consistently attract repeat customers. 

Ward’s Seafood Market is the place to go when you want to take home some delicious and healthy seafood.

And now, to the not-so-good stuff about the city:

Cons of Living in Clearwater

1. The city is prone to hurricanes

The hurricane season is something you’ll need to be ready for if you live in Clearwater. The usual time frame for this is July through October. At that time of year, severe weather can affect the entire state of Florida, but hurricanes are most common along the west coast, which is where Clearwater is.

2. Pest invasions are a common thing

As a homeowner in Clearwater, you have to be ready for pests to show up out of the blue. When the weather is warm and there is a lot of humidity, bugs, rodents, and other pests tend to thrive.

Infestations of these bugs, scorpions, and even snakes can do a lot of damage to people and property, so residents should be sure to get regular pest control.

3. Public transportation is limited

A large, well-connected system of public transit is not something you can count on in Clearwater. The Jolley Trolley can help you get around Clearwater Beach and the other coastal areas, but not many more

Due to Clearwater’s low walkability rating, we highly recommend that you own a car, which makes it easier to get around town and access certain parts of the city.

4. Traffic could be bad

There will probably be a lot of traffic in Clearwater during rush hour, especially from 4 pm-6 pm, and on weekends. This is worsened by the high number of tourists that flock in and out of the city every day, especially during the winter high season When a lot of people want to visit the beach and construction is taking place, things might become quite congested. So you might be spending a longer time than usual in your car on most days 

5. The crime rate is a little on the high side

Although Clearwater is generally considered to be a safe place to live, the prevalence of violent and property crime here is significantly greater than in other areas of Florida. 

The city’s violent crime rate is 30.4, which is higher than the national average of 22.7. The property crime rate is also a whopping 51.9, which is higher than the US average of 35.4.

If you are relocating here with your family, you will need to take additional safety measures to protect yourself, your property, and your things once you are settled in.

 In Summary

Clearwater is a wonderful place to call home because of all the fun things to do outside, the low cost of living, and the pleasant year-round climate. The city also boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States.

The neighborhoods are perfect for families and retirees thanks to their beautiful scenery, abundance of amenities, and lively nightlife.

Some of the area’s drawbacks, however, should not be overlooked.  If you choose to live in Clearwater, you’ll have to endure hurricane season, like the rest of Florida. There’s also the possibility of an insect invasion, and you’ll have to deal with constant gridlock around the beach area. 

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