Once best known as a spring break destination, Clearwater is now an active coastal city with world class amenities for tourists and travelers.
Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, and like most of the Sunshine State, Clearwater is well-known as a family friendly tourist haven and vacation destination that is internationally recognized for one of the best beach fronts in the country. The city of Clearwater lies just west of Tampa and northwest of St. Petersburg, and is the smallest of the three principal cities that make up the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area.
Before the turn of the 20th century, Clearwater was another part of early Florida that attracted many pirates, explorers, Indians and (mostly European) settlers that called the area "The Clear Water Harbor" due to the presence of many fresh water springs flowing from the area near where the City Hall building is located today. In the early 1900s, the population of Clearwater was only around 400 permanent residents, with another 600 coming into the area during the winter for a total of about 1,000 people calling Clearwater their home. In the mid-40s during World War II, Clearwater became a training base for US troops before they headed off to fight in Europe and the Pacific, and nearly every hotel in the area, including the opulent Belleview Biltmore and the luxurious Fort Harrison Hotel, was used as a barracks to house new recruits.
In recent years Clearwater has been undergoing a major redevelopment, especially in the downtown area where new high-rise condos and large marinas join new hotels, restaurants and bars to revitalize the downtown area that has been renamed the "Cleveland Street District". The renewal has helped transform Clearwater from a small town once best known as a spring break destination, into an active coastal city with enough world class amenities to rival any city in the Sunshine State for the title of the ultimate vacation destination. Buzzing with urban amenities and opportunities for outdoor fun, the most popular part of the city's shoreline is a world-renown stretch called Clearwater Beach that was voted as having the Best Sand on the East Coast by the Conde Nast Traveller Magazine.
Although it is one of the largest cities in Florida, Clearwater still has a small town feel for the 106,000 or so current residents who live there year round. The city grows a bit during the winter months thanks to the flow of incoming tourists, but on average, the median age of the population is estimated to be around 43 years. Clearwater continues to grow in popularity and draws more visitors every year thanks to its mix of laid-back, beach lifestyle and first-class tourist amenities including great hotels and restaurants that both visitors and locals enjoy all year long. The construction of more new motels, hotels, condos and resorts are all in the works and despite the nation's weak overall economy, the area draws over a million annual visitors who travel there to enjoy the beaches, fishing, shopping, lodging, dinning, and other various forms of entertainment related to the sun, sea and sand.