As of mid-2013 the local tourism board likes to promote Clearwater Beach as the "Best Beach Town in Florida" though I recall previous "Best Beach in America" and "Top X Beaches in the World" titles having been used while researching a visit.
Still, they have a fair claim. It has the cleanest white sand among the main St. Petersburg beaches, moderate waves, reasonable public access and plenty but not quite too many tourist diversions. This shot is from Pier 60, a pleasant pier with a fishing shack at it's end and a nightly array of craft vendors (the hand-painted light switch cover you've always wanted) and buskers. It's nearly dark but people are still playing in the water. The pink building in the background is the Hyatt, one of three large pink hotels in the greater St. Petersburg area.
Clearwater Beach is in the North of the greater St. Pete beach area, a collection of barrier island beach towns facing the Gulf of Mexico. Each town has a different approach to zoning, so if you don't want high-rises and tacky beach stores you can find exclusive resorts, dive motels, high-end yacht marinas or laid-back residential neighborhoods just by changing towns.