How Safe Is Clearwater for Travel?

Clearwater, United States
Safety Index:
71

Clearwater, Florida, is home to one of the best-ranked beaches in the country and the world.

The white sugary sand with a crystal blue water backdrop brings five million tourists a year.

It’s surrounded by water with the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the east.

The city of Clearwater includes Clearwater beach and there is as much to do on or near the water as there is on land.

It’s a seafood lover’s paradise with fresh catches day or night.

You can dine with your toes in the sand or all dressed up as Clearwater offers so much cuisine variety.

Saunter down Cleveland Street to get a more urban feel while still enjoying the gulf breeze.

The Pier 60 Sugar Sand Festival is a top tourist draw in the spring with intricate sand sculptures that will blow your mind.

Every spring, America’s favorite pastime heats up with Spring Training and Clearwater is home to the Philadelphia Phillies.

With all the visitors comes a higher risk of crime than the Florida average, but the actual numbers can be misleading when you look at the rates of residents vs. tourists.

Warnings & Dangers in Clearwater

Overall Risk

OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Clearwater has a medium risk overall, due to crime rates, weather hazards, and gulf dangers. That's not to say the overall city isn't safe, it just means you need to be educated about the environment before you go.

Transport & Taxis Risk

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW

There is low risk when you use transportation in this area, and boy, do you have options! Cars, trolleys, busses, ferries, even a new free ride program all cater to tourists and are all regulated at a city or state level.

Pickpockets Risk

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM

Larceny is the second biggest crime category in Clearwater, so we'll give it a medium risk. Larceny can happen when you leave belongings unattended at the beach or while shopping in the downtown area. Let's break down the real vs. reported numbers. o Larceny/Theft based on just population: 2200 in 100,000 crime rate o Larceny/Theft based on average tourism numbers: 51 in 100,000 crime rate.

Natural Disasters Risk

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH

There's a high risk of natural disasters in Clearwater. While the average day is going to be a perfect day at the beach, when the weather gets bad here it gets really bad, really quickly. Florida is known as the "Lightning Capital of North America" with 3.5 million strikes per year. Six months of the year, Florida is in Hurricane Season, so eyes are always on the tropics.

Mugging Risk

MUGGING RISK : LOW

There's a low risk of getting mugged. 105 robberies were reported in 2019 to the FBI, one of the lowest crime categories across the board.

Terrorism Risk

TERRORISM RISK : LOW

Barring an event like Tampa hosting the Super Bowl (again), there's a low risk of a terror attack in Clearwater. More likely targets would be in Orlando or at the Kennedy Space Center on the east coast of Florida.

Scams Risk

SCAMS RISK : LOW

The Clearwater Police list the common scams in the area, and they are no different than the nationwide trends. There's a low risk of getting scammed. Beware of anyone who is offering charter boat rides for a discounted rate. That's more about safety than being scammed, however.

Women Travelers Risk

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Women are safe to travel around Clearwater, with a low risk of being victims of crime. It's good practice to stay out of dark alleys, don't flash jewelry around, and keep shopping items tucked away in a truck or hotel room.

Tap Water Risk

TAP WATER RISK : LOW

In general, there's a low risk for tap water. Clearwater Public Utilities treats and tests the tap water year-round and it meets or exceeds safety standards. During hurricanes or some kind of sewage spill, the city is quick to notify residents if there is a boil order or water shortage.

Safest Places to Visit in Clearwater

The city boundaries nook and cranny through the Tampa Bay handle, but there are clear spots every tourist must-see and can safely do so.

Starting at Clearwater Beach, you can just sit and enjoy the sound of the waves, do some beachcombing, or take a swim.

The city of Clearwater offers this message to tourists:

“Come for the beaches, but stay for the shopping, dining, and live entertainment.”

From high-end resorts to mom-and-pop crab shacks, there’s something for everyone.

Downtown Clearwater is a daytime and nighttime adventure, with live music playing while frozen daiquiris are poured.

The Clearwater Police Department has 234 sworn officers, giving a rate of one officer per 500 people in Clearwater, and they patrol the roads, beaches, and businesses around the clock.

Placess to Avoid in Clearwater

There’s no specific bad part of town in Clearwater.

In a city that caters to five million tourists a year, police work tirelessly to keep the community safe, provide safety information, and respond quickly to crimes in progress.

You want to avoid the water if you are not familiar with swimming in the Gulf.

The rip tides can quickly drag someone out to sea, and while there are ways to navigate the rip tides, you need to know ahead of time what to do before the panic sets in.

There are also the typical ocean critters of jellyfish, stingrays, and sharks.

You should avoid being outdoors if you hear thunder.

Lightning strikes happen all too often in Florida and Clearwater Beach was the location of a lighting strike that hit eight people on the beach in 2019.

Storms here are a whole different story than what you might be used to at home.

The good news is, these storms tend to be short, so you are back outside before you know it.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Clearwater

  1. The beaches of Clearwater can get pretty packed, and if you want to get a little more space, head north to Caladesi Island State Park. Here you can explore the wonders of the mangroves. The mangroves are trees with roots underwater but the leaves are above water, and they create tunnels where kayakers or paddleboards can explore.
  2. This is one where you’ll smell it before you see it. Red Tide is out-of-control algae bloom that is toxic to fish and people. The algae kill fish, which then wash up on shore and bake in the Florida sun, and get eaten by seabirds. The smell is nauseating and it can be harmful to people with sensitive respiratory systems. Red Tide can ruin a day at the beach and can sometimes be smelled miles inland. It can happen seasonally, so there’s no way to plan to avoid it. It’s luck of the draw.
  3. Of all the great places you can get an alcoholic drink in Clearwater, you cannot drink booze on the beach. Open containers aren’t allowed on city streets either.
  4. Clearwater Police warn there have been reports of people impersonating an officer with a vehicle equipped with a dash-mounted police light. To be sure you are seeing a real police vehicle, you should know Clearwater law enforcement vehicles have a light bar on the roof or a variety of lights in the headlights and grill. Don’t take chances—if you do get stopped by someone who appears to be law enforcement, don’t pull over until you are at a safe public location like a gas station or grocery store.
  5. Scientology has a stronghold in Clearwater and it’s causing debates within the city. There’s even a “Cult City Tour” that mocks the presence of the religion in the area. There are 22 Scientology buildings in Clearwater and nearly 9% of the residents are Scientologists. Locals say they won’t bother tourists. They won’t communicate with them at all, so don’t be frustrated if you say hello to someone who ignores you.
  6. If you are in Clearwater between March and November, you are going to sweat—a lot. The average humidity can be around 70% in the summer. You just sweat all the time and there’s no way to stop it. Pack extra clothes because you will want to change them often. Drink plenty of water and electrolytes to make up for the nutrients lost in the sweating.
  7. May through October, you might see areas on the beach blocked off by posts and warning signs. This is a sea turtle nest. A sea turtle comes onshore and lays about 100 eggs. About 1-2 months later, the eggs hatch and the hatchlings are guided by moonlight to the Gulf waters. Do NOT mess with a sea turtle nest or stop the movement to the water. If you are lucky enough to catch this rare sight of hatchings going into the water, just enjoy the view and don’t use any lights with a camera as it can disorient the hatchlings.
  8. Before you go, you can sign up for crime alerts through the Clearwater Police Department website. That will help you stay informed of any missing people, crimes, or concerns during your stay without having to search for information.
  9. There are about 200 homeless people who live in Clearwater. The city works to find housing that isn’t an eyesore for tourists, but if you do come across one of them, don’t donate. Instead, donate to one of the many homeless advocacy groups in town.
  10. Florida has terrible drivers. That’s not just this former Floridian telling you that—Finder did a study and put Florida in the 10 top worst states for drivers. Florida drivers can be rude and aggressive. Nearly 25% of them are uninsured.

So... How Safe Is Clearwater Really?

Clearwater’s crime rate is higher than the Florida average, but that’s just based on residency alone.

When you factor in tourism numbers, the city is quite safe.

The highest crimes are property crimes, followed by larceny/theft and burglary coming in a distant third.

You need to keep your belongings close or safely stored away in the hotel room.

Weather can turn a perfect day into danger, and in the summer months, the storms bloom quickly.

I once had a convertible in Florida and I ran some errands and needed to shower before meeting friends for lunch.

I was inside my home for about 45 minutes.

It was sunny when I went in and it was sunny when I came out.

As I sat in my convertible, I got soaking wet because a quick storm came by while I was inside and hadn’t noticed.

You have to be weather aware here.

It can change by the hour.

How Does Clearwater Compare?

CitySafety Index
Clearwater71
San Francisco61
Philadelphia60
Houston59
Atlanta58
Belize City (Belize)37
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45

Useful Information

  • Visas - You'll take care of all the visa information at the airport or port of entry. There isn't a special ID required to be in Clearwater, but if you are going to be out drinking, be sure to keep your ID close, as the police do check that nobody is drinking illegally underage.
  • Currency - You'll just need the U.S. Dollar currency while you are in Clearwater. Most places take credit cards, even the smaller restaurants, and shops, but there might be tolls or park entry fees you'll need to pay in cash, so carry some with you at all times.
  • Weather - The funny part about Florida is when it gets into the 50s in winter, you'll see people dressed like there's a blizzard outside. You'll just need to have plenty of light clothing that doesn't absorb too much sweat, and maybe a jacket for the breeze. In the summer, you'll want as little clothing as possible because it's just sticky from all the humidity. Tank tops and shorts are perfect for a summer stroll in Clearwater.
  • Airports - The closest airport is St. Petersburg/Clearwater. It is just 11 miles away. Tampa International Airport is a 20-mile drive away. There's also Sarasota/Bradenton Airport 54 miles away.
  • Travel Insurance - You are going to need travel insurance for your trip to Clearwater. Hurricane season runs from June - November, and a tropical system can quickly cancel flights as everyone battens down the hatches.
Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Clearwater Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 16° C
Feb 17° C
Mar 19° C
Apr 23° C
May 25° C
Jun 27° C
Jul 28° C
Aug 28° C
Sep 27° C
Oct 25° C
Nov 20° C
Dec 18° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High
°C
191922252729303029272321
Low
°C
131416202325262625221715
High
°F
666672778184868684817370
Low
°F
555761687377797977726359

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