First time visitors to Tampa Bay, Florida, usually discover to their delight, that they just hit the beach lottery. When you’re in downtown Tampa, you’re just about a half-hour drive away from not one, nor two, but amazingly over a dozen beautiful beaches. If you were looking at a map of Tampa, all you’d have to do is blindly toss a dart, and you’d likely land on a gorgeous beach that rivals some of the best in the world.
With so many choices to sift through, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed. But fear not, because we here at Viewcation are longtime fans of Tampa’s fabulous beaches. To help you make the most out of your next beach vacation, we’ve compiled a list of the 7 best beaches in the Tampa Bay area – ranked in no particular order.
All of Tampa’s beaches feature white sand and crystal-clear turquoise-tinted waters. The climate in this region of Florida is famous for being very mild and warm year-round. With over 240 sunny days a year on average, the weather shouldn’t give you any trouble. But even if you do happen to visit during the rainy season, there is an abundance of indoor attractions in the surrounding area that can help flesh out your trip.
Tampa is famous for it’s theme parks, top-notch accommodations, and thriving food scene, but all of that is just the icing on the cake, as the beaches in and around Tampa are nothing short of world-class. Just a short drive away from the city center, you’ll find spots like St. Pete’s Beach, Clearwater Beach, Indian Rocks, and Fort Desoto Park.
Planning a day at any of these beaches is usually quite painless as parking isn’t difficult to find and access to the water is painless. Plus, since Tampa is such a foodie city, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a decent spot to snag some takeout to take back to your beach chair.
If you’re planning a sun-drenched vacation either with your family or significant other, this is one video you won’t want to miss. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Vindication Presents: The Best Beaches In Tampa Bay, Florida.
Fort De Soto Park
If you’re searching for a couple of beaches with lots of space to stretch your legs and relatively few other people to deal with, then head on over to Fort De Soto Park. This spot is about forty minutes away from Downtown Tampa, and the beaches are amazing not only for their historical context, with the namesake fort dating back to the turn of the 1800s, but they’re also downright breathtaking in terms of their natural beauty.
Additionally, the park has two fantastic fishing piers that offer views of the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge and Anna Maria Island.
Fort De Soto Park is perfect for families as it features clean and plentiful facilities, making beach barbecues an easy task to undertake. There are also numerous covered picnic shelters that provide visitors with a bit of relief from the hot Florida sun. Each of these shelters comes with grills and picnic tables. Not far from each one, you’ll find large green spaces that are perfect for a rousing game of soccer, flag football, or cornhole.
The two beaches at the park are North beach and East Beach. The former faces the Gulf of Mexico and is a bit less accessiuble. To get there, you’ll need to trek out quite a bit, but once there, you’re efforts will be rewarded as the beach features warm crystalline waters and miles of sand to explore.
East beach is a more traditional beach that faces the Tampa Bay. This is the beach that most visitors tend to flock to, but it’s hardly ever crowded. Most of the time it’s quite calm and serene, but the winds do occasionally pick up quite a bit, so it’s best to check the weather before venturing out. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Anna Maria Island
Just about an hour’s drive south on Interstate 75 will bring you to the delightfully peaceful beaches of Anna Maria Island. Since you have a few options to choose from, it might be difficult to decide which beach to choose from, but trust us when we say that any of them are worth your time.
Anna Maria Island is a quirky and fun place that is famous for it’s seven beaches. Each beach is a bit different from the others, ensuring that guests from all walks of life and interest will find what they are searching for.
The most popular beach on the island is Coquina Beach – and for very good reason! The beach is backed by a towering band of Australian pine trees and features a ton of shade. There are exceptional facilities at this beach as well.
The water is always warm and reasonably shallow. There are also picnic tables, shelters, and barbecue grills just steps away from the sand.
On Saturday and Wednesdays, towards the back of the beach you’ll find a market that operates under the shade of the Pines. Vendors sell everything from fresh produce to prepared foods and fashionable beach accessories. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Due east of Tampa is Clearwater Beach. While it’s one of the busier beaches in the region, Clearwater still has a lot going for it. There is a three-mile stretch of white sand that is typically loaded with beachgoers on any given warm sunny day. The waters are warm, shallow, and perfectly clear, making this spot ideal for those that wish to wade out a bit, engage in a game of water polo, or just splash around with the little ones.
Be sure to bring your towel, sunscreen, umbrella, and maybe a good book, as this is one of the best beaches in the area to lounge out by the water’s edge. The parking lot is a short walk from the water, and you can rent beach chairs and other gear from local vendors if you forgot your own.
Keep in mind, however, that parking is fairly expensive. Recent visitors have reported shelling out $30 to a get a spot for the day. Beyond that, since the beach is usually quite crowded, finding a spot close to the beach can be tricky if you arrive later in the day. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Sand Key Park
Clearwater admittedly can be a bit overwhelming for those that are looking for a more laid-back vibe. If you find it to be a bit too crowded for your tastes, Sand Key might be the best alternative. This quiet, low-key beach is hardly ever crowded and can be found just about 500 yards south of the main Clearwater Beach.
Sand Key is known for it’s wide-open spaces, accommodating lifeguards, and that signature soft powdery sand that Florida’s Gulf Beaches are noted for.
Parking, unlike Clearwater, isn’t a hassle. It’s cheap, costing about $5 a day, and there are usually tons of spots close to the water. Sand Key is especially popular with beach walkers. If you head south, you can make your way out to John’s Pass. That trek is about 15 miles, but if you have the time, it’s pretty amazing. Bring your camera and prepare to see a large number of birds and other wildlife.
At the beach, you’ll find a small concession stand where chair and umbrella rentals are availble. You can also purchase cold drinks and snacks. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Honeymoon Island State Park
There is nothing more pleasing than spending a long romantic day at the beach with your partner. What better place to do this than at a location called Honeymoon Beach? This small, yet feature-rich offshore island is home to one of the best beaches in the Tampa Bay area, and it’s well worth the trip! Once you get there, miles of beaches will await you. Best of all, there normally aren’t many people to get in the way of you and your love making memories that will last a lifetime.
Back in the day, Honeymoon Island was slated to become a resort community. There were plans to build a bunch of houses, hotels, restaurants, and the like but local opposition to that idea halted it from ever happening. Today Honeymoon Island is preserved as a state park.
The best beach on the island is called North Beach. It can be reached by following the main road almost to it’s end. Once you get there, you might find yourself tempted to drive in and park at the first lot you se, but we urge you to continue onwards. Trust us, you’ll be glad you took our advice.
North Beach extends uninterrupted to the tip of the island. It’s at the very end that you’ll find the best beach experience. Soft, supple white sand and warm blue water awaits. Once you step out into the water, you’ll find it hard to leave it’s tender embrace. After enjoying a dip, you can settle on your beach towel and soak up the sun’s warm, inviting rays as you stare off into the cobalt-hued waters of the Gulf. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Indian Rocks Beach
One of our favorite beaches near Tampa is one that usually doesn’t get a lot of attention. While Indian Rocks Beach typically flies below most people’s radar, it’s one of the funkiest and funnest beaches around. Just ask any local where they prefer to soak up the sun and get their splash on, and they’ll likely name this one.
This beach features miles of soft, white sand, clear water, and incredible views of the Gulf. There are plentiful beach access walkways, ample parking, and several other amenities that will make your stay that much more so enjoyable.
In the surrounding area, you’ll discover dozens of restaurants and shops within walking distance. Some of the best seafood in town can be found over at Guppys. For dessert, consider grabbing a scoop of hand-crafted ice cream over at IRB Creamery. And at sunset, it’s never a bad idea to enjoy a fruity cocktail or craft beer over at Hurricane Eddy’s patio bar. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete has long been a favorite beach destination for both local and out-of-town visitors. While it’s certainly one of the most popular and crowded beaches, it’s still one of the best. Since luxury hotels and resorts first popped up in the 1920s, people have been coming out in droves to sink their feet into the white sands of this exquisite beach.
Parking is plentiful, albeit a bit on the pricier side. Beach access is easy, and there are plenty of amenities to ensure that your family’s visit is lacking in nothing. Chair and umbrella rentals are available if you don’t feel like lugging out your own gear, and there are a number of other vendors that offer things like snacks, drinks, and sunscreen.
In the surrounding area, you’ll find a collection of restaurants, bars, and shops – many of which feature outdoor patios. If you’ve got some free time and are up for a bit of cardio, taking a short jog down the beach will lead you to an impressive pink building called the Don CeSar Hotel. This enormous structure dates back to 1928 and is famed for being one of the best beach-side resort hotels in St. Petersburg. Dive into paradise with the best beaches in Tampa Bay, Florida! Explore sun-soaked shores and coastal charm. Your guide to seaside bliss in the Sunshine State.
Well, that about wraps up our rundown of the best beaches in Tampa Bay. If we had time, we’d give you a quick summary of all of Tampa Bay’s fantastic beaches, but still, we think we’ve covered all of the major highlights.
Did you know that there are more than a dozen world-class beaches in the Tampa Bay area and that the region experiences 244 sunny days a year on average? Let us know in the comments, and as always, happy travels!