My wife and I stayed many places on your beautiful Gulf over 25 years, from Tampa to Key West. Settled on Clearwater Beach for many reasons: beautiful, reasonably priced, unpretentious, many dining and lodging options in a broad price range, easy to get around and lots to do even without a car.
We're not rich and we stretch our dollars, so we stay at smaller family-owned places a block or two off Mandalay. We’re content, but have two concerns.
The famous beachwalk and Mandalay are well-maintained, but a block or two over, where us mortals live, the sidewalks are either nonexistent or in terrible shape. It's actually dangerous to walk in the street and/or navigate the sidewalks. One would think a major tourist area, with touristy prices, expensive parking, and probably high property taxes, could have and maintain sidewalks.
The second concern is litter. I understand we tourists are slobs, but we also spend enough to pay for a person or two to police the area. I facetiously suggested paying one of your homeless a minimum wage. I pick up stuff as I walk along the streets, and wonder why even the merchants don't police their parking lots and public frontage.
Despite these concerns, we love the area and hope it continues as a destination for people of all income levels.
David A. Shumway, Beavercreek (Dayton), Ohio