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Your ultimate guide to moving and living in Clearwater/Clearwater Beach, FL

Your ultimate guide to moving and living in Clearwater/Clearwater Beach, FL

Home » Your ultimate guide to moving and living in Clearwater/Clearwater Beach, FL

Clearwater Beach, FL

With powder-white sand, family-friendly beaches, and a rich culture, Clearwater stands out as one of the best places to live in the Sunshine State.

More than just another vacation spot, it’s a coastal town with its own distinct character and an excellent quality of life. To those of us who know and love Clearwater, it comes as no surprise that it was named one of the best beach communities in Florida by Travel + Leisure this year.

If you’re thinking of relocating to Florida in pursuit of the coastal lifestyle, Clearwater should be at the top of your list. In this article, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about moving and living in Clearwater Beach, FL.

ABOUT CLEARWATER, FL

Clearwater is a city in Pinellas County, on the northern end of the Pinellas Peninsula. While smaller than many of its Tampa Bay area neighbors, Clearwater enjoys a close proximity to some of the busiest parts of west-central Florida. It’s situated just 23 miles from St. Petersburg, while Tampa is 27 miles east. The city measures a total of 35.92 square miles, and has a population of more than 115,000. 

The city’s namesake beach is located on a barrier island, accessible from the downtown area through the Memorial Causeway Bridge. It’s a 2.5-mile stretch of white sand beach and is a popular tourist spot with resorts, restaurants, and shopping. From Clearwater Beach, you can access another nearby barrier island, Sand Key.

What it’s known for

For many homeowners, the allure of waterfront living is undeniable. Clearwater Beach is famous for its powdery white sand and sunny year-round climate, and enjoys anywhere from 240 to 360 days of sunshine a year. Outdoor enthusiasts can indulge in a wide range of activities, from water sports to leisurely beachfront strolls. The area also boasts a flourishing arts and culture scene, excellent educational opportunities, and a well-rounded lifestyle with plenty of modern amenities.

LIVING IN CLEARWATER BEACH, FL

Clearwater Beach, FL  

The real estate market

Housing in Clearwater is diverse, ranging from luxury condos and single-family homes to new construction. As of data from October 2023, the average home is listed at around $389,000 – slightly lower than Tampa’s current median of $460,000, and much lower than St. Petersburg’s $1.8 million.

If you’re looking for homes on the higher end of the market, there are waterfront estates listed for up to $39 million. In general, homes priced above the million-dollar mark offer luxurious amenities and are in coveted locations. In the mid-range, you can find spacious single-family homes with two to three bedrooms and ample lot sizes. 

The rental market is thriving, too. There are currently over 500 active properties in the market, with a median monthly rent of $2,600. Renters are spoiled for choice, with properties ranging from modern apartments and single-family homes to luxury condos with a full suite of amenities. Prices range from $900 for a 1-bedroom to $15,000 for a beachfront condo.

Property age and features

The majority of homes in Clearwater were built between the 1970s and 1999, accounting for 58.2% of the total housing stock. This indicates that Clearwater’s housing market is predominantly composed of newer properties, reflecting its growth and development during this period. Common architectural styles include Spanish/Mediterranean, Florida Ranch, and Contemporary.

Luxury homes in Clearwater offer a wide range of high-end amenities. Some of the most popular features among single-family homes include sweeping ocean views, lush landscaping, and expansive lots. It’s not uncommon to find a home with a private pool, a spa facility, sports courts, and an outdoor entertaining area. 

Most interiors come with custom finishes and spacious open layouts that allow homeowners to achieve their dream lifestyle. Full chef’s kitchens come with the latest appliances, and flexible rooms can easily be converted into a home office or entertainment room. 

Top neighborhoods to consider in Clearwater, FL

Each neighborhood in Clearwater offers something different. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular communities.

  • Clearwater Beach boasts a median home price of nearly $859,000, with many luxury homes reaching into the multi-million range—an ideal choice for those seeking waterfront properties and close proximity to vibrant activities.
  • Imperial Cove, located on the bay side of the peninsula, is a 55+ community providing a range of amenities. Buyers will find several affordable condos and villas with waterfront views. Residents enjoy group activities such as fitness classes, yoga, and fishing.
  • Northwood Estates, situated near the highly-rated Countryside High School, is a great choice for families. With a median price at around half a million, the area predominantly features single-family homes.
  • Sand Key stands out for its abundance of high-end waterfront condos, offering panoramic water views for those in search of a luxurious coastal living experience.

street on Clearwater Beach, FL

Getting in and around

Residents have plenty of options for getting in and around Clearwater, thanks to the city’s commitment to connectivity and walkability. 

  • Public transit. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) operates a reliable public transit system, providing bus routes that connect Clearwater with neighboring cities and communities. 
  • Jolley Trolley. The Jolley Trolley offers picturesque rides along Clearwater Beach, Sand Key, Island Estates, and Downtown Clearwater. It operates from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on weekdays and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Suncoast Beach Trolley. Those looking to explore the barrier islands stretching south to St. Pete Beach can take the Suncoast Beach Trolley. Its hours are commuter-friendly, starting at 5 am and ending at 10 pm on most days.
  • Major airports. For those traveling beyond the city limits, Clearwater is served by both St. Petersburg-Clearwater International and Tampa International Airport.

Employment & business opportunities

Clearwater has a thriving economy backed by a business-friendly environment. From 2020 to 2021, employment grew at a rate of 3.13%, with the city adding over 1,700 new jobs. This growth was driven by a variety of industries, including healthcare, retail, and construction. The city is also home to a number of major employers, including BayCare Health System, Publix Super Markets, and Spectrum.

Additionally, Clearwater allows small businesses and startups to thrive through various programs and partnerships that provide business owners with the necessary tools and training. The city also benefits from its ideal location, boasting convenient access to Tampa and St. Petersburg, whose economies are among the largest and most diverse in Florida.

Climate

Clearwater, Florida is a subtropical paradise with hot and humid summers and cool and dry winters. The average temperature ranges from 72°F in January to 91°F in July, and the city gets 240 to 360 sunny days a year. This makes Clearwater the perfect place to enjoy the outdoors year-round.

sunset view on the beach

THINGS TO SEE AND EXPERIENCE IN CLEARWATER, FL

Exploring the beach

There’s no denying that Clearwater’s beaches are its major draw. Here are some of the best places to enjoy the coastal lifestyle.

Clearwater Beach

Located on a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Tampa Bay area. Known for its clear emerald waters and fine white sands, the city’s namesake beach is widely considered one of the best in Florida, drawing in visitors from all over the country. Jet-skiing, parasailing, and fishing are just a few of the water sports that can be enjoyed here. 

Pier 60

Whether you’re looking for a fun night out, a unique shopping experience, or a chance to witness some of the best sand sculpting in the world, Pier 60 is a must-visit in Clearwater Beach. One of the most recognizable sights in the Tampa Bay area, the pier stretches out 1,080 feet. It’s a magnet for partygoers, shoppers, anglers, and tourists of all ages.

Every night, Pier 60 hosts a sunset celebration with live music, street performers, and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s also home to a variety of shops and restaurants, where visitors can find everything from souvenirs and beachwear to casual dining and fresh seafood.

Sand Key Park

If you want to avoid the crowds, head to Sand Key Park just across the bridge from Clearwater Beach. Perched on Sand Key Island, the park boasts a stretch of soft white sand and pristine waters. Complete with cabanas, a dog park, and nearby seafood spots, Sand Key Park has all you need for the perfect day out.

Attractions and culture

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit organization that’s committed to rescuing and rehabilitating injured marine wildlife. Visitors can view a variety of rescued animals up close, including dolphins, otters, sea turtles, and even a shark. 

The aquarium is home to five pools of over 1.5 million gallons of water, which allows visitors to get incredible views of the dolphins and other marine life. The aquarium also features massive underwater windows that provide a unique perspective into the dolphin habitat.

Nancy and David Bilheimer Capitol Theatre

Established in 1921, Bilheimer Capitol Theatre is a local institution in Clearwater’s Cleveland Street District. Formerly a vaudeville theater, this classic venue is one of the oldest theaters in Florida, and regularly hosts prominent entertainers from different generations.

Clearwater Beach, FL

Dining & shopping

Living in Clearwater Beach, FL provides residents with access to a variety of shopping and dining options. At Pelican Walk Plaza, one of the island’s main shopping centers, you’ll find a lineup of local boutiques alongside pubs and restaurants. On the mainland, there’s Westfield Countryside Mall, which anchors over 150 retailers from Nordstrom to JC Penney. In Downtown Clearwater, Cleveland Street District is the major thoroughfare. Here, you can catch pop-up markets, live music, and plenty of specialty stores.

Clearwater Beach is also home to a myriad of seafood restaurants:

  • Caretta on the Gulf – A contemporary menu and immaculate water views make this fine dining restaurant one of the most popular spots in Clearwater Beach. Located in the Sandpearl resort, its main draws include fresh, seasonal food and organic wines.
  • Island Way Grill – Known for their Asian flavors and seafood, Island Way Grill offers a variety of fresh fish grilled on an open fire pit. Some of their crowd favorites include sushi, oysters, and wood-fired steak.
  • Crabby’s Beachwalk Bar and Grill – The go-to place for some of the best locally caught food on the island, Crabby’s has become a tradition for both residents and tourists. Their gator bites, mahi tacos, and crab legs are just a few of the dishes that keep guests coming back for more.
  • Marina Cantina – Enjoy bottomless margaritas while watching the sun go down at Marina Cantina, an eatery on Clearwater Beach known for its Mexican cuisine and specialty cocktails.

Parks and outdoor activities

Living in Clearwater Beach, FL also means having access to a variety of parks and green spaces: 

  • Bayview Park is a lush, secluded site defined by a historic oak grove. The area is home to a diverse range of native flora and fauna, and was established in order to protect an untouched slice of Florida’s abundant vegetation and wildlife. Families and visitors can unwind at the picnic area and explore the half-mile nature trail.
  • Moccasin Lake Nature Park is a sprawling 51-acre facility with a playground, pavilion, picnic tables, and paved walking trails. It’s home to several wildlife species, including native birds and gopher turtles.
  • Pinellas Trail starts from Tarpon Springs and extends all the way to St. Petersburg, passing through Clearwater. It’s a multi-use trail for cycling, jogging, or walking and is a great way to discover Pinellas County.
  • The Countryside Recreation Center is perfect for families who want to get active. The facility offers an indoor playground and various sports courts, including a pickleball court, basketball court, and an adult exercise park. 
  • Coachman Park is located in the heart of Downtown Clearwater with a wide range of amenities, from lush green spaces to a state-of-the-art playground. Music enthusiasts will love the fact that Coachman Park is home to The Sound, a covered amphitheater that can accommodate up to 4,000 attendees and features both local and national acts. Throughout the park you will also find several art installations and sculptures.

man holding cardbox

TIPS FOR MOVING TO CLEARWATER, FL

Relocating to Clearwater can be exciting, but like any big move, it requires careful planning and preparation. From choosing the perfect home to settling into your new town, here are some essential tips to help you navigate your move with ease.

Planning your move 

  • Start early. Relocation often involves many moving parts. It’s best to begin planning well in advance to minimize stress and ensure a successful move.
  • Budget wisely. Set a clear budget for your relocation, including moving expenses, housing costs, and any other financial considerations. Also, be sure to account for the cost of living in Clearwater Beach, FL.
  • Choose a professional moving company. Hiring a reputable moving company can make the relocation process much smoother. Make sure you’re getting quotes from multiple companies so you can make a more informed decision.
  • Declutter. Before packing your things, it’s best to start by decluttering. Organize the items you don’t need into donation piles, for-sale piles, and to-dispose piles. This will allow you to reduce the volume of items to move into your next home.
  • Create a timeline. Develop a moving timeline that outlines tasks to be completed each week leading up to your move. This will help you stay organized and reduce last-minute stress.

Choosing the perfect home in Clearwater

  1. Determine your priorities

    Consider your preferences and priorities for your new home. Do you want to be close to the beach, have a specific number of bedrooms, or access to certain amenities? Create a list to guide your search – this will make the process less overwhelming.

  2. Work with a local Realtor

    Partner with a local real estate agent who understands the Clearwater market. They can provide valuable insights, show you properties that match your criteria, and help you navigate the buying or renting process.

  3. Visit in person

    Whenever possible, visit Clearwater in person to get a feel for the neighborhoods and the local community. This will help you make a more informed decision.

  4. Check school districts.

    If you have school-age children, research the local school districts and their performance ratings to ensure your new home is in an area with good educational options.

  5. Consider future growth. 

    Investigate the potential for future growth and development in your chosen neighborhood, as this can impact property values and your long-term investment. Although you may not be thinking about selling your new home just yet, it’s always wise to plan ahead.

ABOUT SAND KEY REALTY, EXPERTS IN CLEARWATER REAL ESTATE

With a legacy as the largest and longest-running brokerage in Pinellas County, Sand Key Realty brings decades of insight and a commitment to excellence. Since 1978, we have specialized in helping buyers and sellers navigate the luxury and beach real estate market through personalized services. As an independent brokerage, we don’t answer to a corporation—we answer to you.

Discover the finest properties in Clearwater and beyond with us, Sand Key Realty, your trusted experts in Florida real estate. Get in touch today at 727.443.0032 or reach us through our website.


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