Stretches of white, sandy beaches are the main attraction in Clearwater, but the family-friendly atmosphere is a leading reason for settling down in this little town. Clearwater Beach was ranked the Best Family Beach by the Travel Channel in 2014 thanks to its gentle sloping shoreline and numerous facilities. The city just celebrated its Centennial in May.
Clearwater is the smallest of the triangle cities that make up the greater Tampa Bay Area, with a little more than 107,000 full time residents. Health care services make up the largest part of the economy, in addition to tourism and retail. The Home Shopping Network and Morton Plant Hospital, part of the larger BayCare Health System, are two of the largest employers. Clearwater has several well-ranked schools in the public district. In addition, there are a dozen museums and research facilities that encourage hands-on education.
Located on Pinellas County peninsula, Clearwater is bordered by the Gulf of Mexico in the center of Florida’s west coast. The city is a little more than 20 miles west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg. The Intracoastal Waterway divides Clearwater Beach from the downtown area, which sits on top of coastal bluffs that once produced the spring water that inspired the city’s name. The downtown area has been the focal point of city initiatives focusing on beautification and revitalization in recent years. Streetscaping on the main thoroughfare Cleveland Street and the renovation of the Capitol Theatre are two major projects completed in the last few years.
The clear Gulf waters and white sand beaches provide countless entertainment options nearly year-round. However, there is plenty in the way of theater, arts and dining options to keep residents busy away from the beach. The Clearwater Jazz Holiday attracts jazz stars and fans every October. The buskers at Sunsets at Pier 60 are another cultural staple. Starting nearly every night a few hours before sunset, performers and artisans line the pier, while residents mill about watching the sun dip into the Gulf.
The turtle rising station at Clearwater Beach. Photo credit: Robert Neff / Flickr
Beach-goers enjoy clear waters and blue skies at Sand Key Park. Photo credit: Denis Santana / Flickr