The short answer: YES!
If you’re thinking about making a big move, like relocating to another state, you’re probably googling simple questions like the one that titles this post. But no matter how many times you ask Google “Is Clearwater Florida a good place to live? Should I try out life in the Sunshine State? When should I move to Clearwater?” you may still have cold feet (that could be because it’s January, and you’re sitting at home scrolling on a snow day).
Now before I tell you 6 reasons why the answers are yes, of course, and as soon as possible, AND give you access to a free resource that will allow you to purchase your Clearwater home the right way (with no stress), let me give you the Cliff Notes version of our journey from Long Island, New York, to Clearwater, Florida.
Back in 2005, Adam and I were visiting our friends Larry and Nicole. Nicole’s parents had moved from Long Island to the Tampa Bay area, so Nicole followed them, and Larry followed her. We were here for a long weekend, but our trip was extended when a blizzard back home canceled our Sunday flight, and we were “stuck” here for another few days.
Larry and Nicole had to return to work, and that meant we were without our friends and their car on Monday. The weather was a bit too chilly for the pool (yes, sometimes that happens here), and we didn’t have anything else to do, so we took a walk around the neighborhood and stopped at an apartment complex that was being converted into condos.
To make a long story short, we decided right then and there to bite the bullet and see what life would be like to LIVE where many people go to VACATION. Yes, we did what you’re thinking of doing right this very minute!
Ask people down here how they’re doing, and many will reply with a phrase like, “Just another day in paradise,” or, “Living the dream!”
THIS COULD BE YOU!
So, if you’re on the fence and are asking for your sign as to whether this would be a smart move for you, here’s your motivation.
6 Compelling Reasons This is Your Year to Move to Clearwater
- Year-Round Outdoor Activities: The mild and sunny climate of Clearwater allows for a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the year. Whether boating, fishing, swimming, biking, golfing, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll, residents can stay active and enjoy nature in this picturesque coastal city all year long.
And while the beaches get all the glory (more on those in a minute), we have plenty of beautiful parks that offer lots of shade, which you will come to find is very necessary during a Florida summer.
And if trails are your thing, you’ll be moving to the right place. The Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail goes from the southern tip of Pinellas to the northern tip and passes through Clearwater. The Ream Wilson Clearwater Trail will one day connect the bay to the Gulf. Finally, the Courtney Campbell Trail offers safe passage over the causeway connecting Clearwater to Tampa.
- Booming Job Market: Clearwater is part of the larger Tampa Bay area, which has experienced significant economic growth in recent years. The region is home to a diverse range of industries, including technology, healthcare, and tourism.
Forbes Magazine named Tampa the number one emerging tech city in the U.S. in 2021. With 50+ software and IT companies headquartered in Tampa, working in the city while living in the suburbs is easy.
Jobs in healthcare abound in Clearwater, St. Pete, and Tampa with employers like BayCare, Advent Health, Moffitt Cancer Center, John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, and many more.
And while these fields are bringing more diverse jobs to the area, we are still a tourist and hospitality town, especially with the hotels and restaurants lining Gulf Blvd from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach.
This economic vitality translates into job opportunities, making Clearwater an attractive destination for those seeking career advancements.
- Beautiful Beaches: Clearwater boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the United States, with soft white sand and clear blue waters.
Clearwater Beach, consistently ranked among the best beaches nationwide, provides residents with a year-round tropical paradise right in their backyard.
- Cultural and Entertainment Hub: Clearwater offers vibrant cultural, entertainment, and sports scenes.
Outdoor lovers and concert fans will love the newly renovated 35-acre Coachman Park near downtown Clearwater with its new amphitheater, The Sound. There’s also the Capitol Theatre and a variety of restaurants on nearby Cleveland Street.
Clearwater is home to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, once the residence of Winter, the famous dolphin without a tail whose story was told in the movie Dolphin Tale. More of a rescue and rehab center than a traditional aquarium, this is truly a special place.
The city hosts various events and festivals year-round. Popular annual events include Clearwater Jazz Holiday, Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival, Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week, Chalk Art Festival, Clearwater Celebrates America for the 4th of July, and Light It Up Clearwater on New Year’s Eve. You can enjoy a nightly sunset celebration on Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach.
BayCare Ball Park, home to the minor league Clearwater Threshers and the MLB Philadelphia Phillies during their spring training, is in Clearwater, and Lightning, Bucs, and Rays games are about a 30–40-minute drive away in Tampa and St. Pete.
- Cost of Living: This topic is a little more nuanced than the others. It used to be that Florida’s appeal, in general, was a cheaper cost of living compared to many other states, and in some cases, that’s still true.
Some pros include no state income tax and access to homestead exemptions on your property if it’s your primary residence. The Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program and Live Local Act make homeownership more affordable for qualified resident homebuyers who want to purchase a primary residence in the community in which they work and serve.
But I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t mention that rising insurance costs are eating away at affordability. And in November of 2023, Realty Hop named Miami the LEAST affordable housing market, with Los Angeles, Newark (NJ), New York City, and Hiahlea (FL) rounding out the list of least affordable cities in the country. Different media use different data to produce click-worthy headlines, but seeing Florida mentioned alongside California and New York when it comes to housing prices is still a shock to me.
But Florida is still affordable for most people relocating from places like New York, New Jersey, and California.
The BestPlaces website allows you to easily pit two cities against each other to compare housing prices. According to the site, the average price of a Clearwater home is $338,400. St. Pete comes in at $346,900; Newark at $385,700; East Los Angeles at $603,300; and Islip, a suburb of Long Island in New York, clocks in at $669,800.
- Convenience: With Gulf to Bay Boulevard and Highway 19 running through Clearwater, residents have easy access to most Tampa Bay area destinations, including St. Petersburg, St. Pete Clearwater Airport, downtown Tampa, Tampa International Airport, and surrounding neighborhoods like Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Belleair and Belleair Bluffs, and Largo.
With all of this said, unless your job takes you down to St. Pete or over the bridge to Tampa, we’re not sure why you’d ever want to leave Clearwater.
AND NOW, AS PROMISED, THE FREE GUIDE…
Now, before you get impulsive and decide to quit your job and make the move down here ASAP (which we do NOT recommend), the first thing you should do is request our FREE relocation guide if you are serious about life in the Sunshine State.
This resource, Reality House Hunters – Everything They Don’t Tell You on HGTV About Relocating to Florida, describes the 5 regions that make up the Tampa Bay metro area (including Clearwater), how the process of buying a home here works, the 4 things you’ll need to know before you make your purchase, relocation mistakes to avoid, and much more. Click here to grab your copy.