Averaging 361 days of sunshine a year, Tampa, Florida is the ideal beach destination. From the city’s downtown you are only a short drive from several beaches, including family-friendly ones with full amenities such as Clearwater Beach as well as quiet and more peaceful stretches such as in Caladesi Island State Park. The mild climate means that Tampa is a year-round tourist destination with the high season being in the summer and around spring break time. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Archibald Beach Park

Archibald Beach Park
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Archibald Beach Park, known to locals as The Hammocks, is a public beach area that is popular among families. The beach has convenient beach access with four wooden pathways providing access to the sand from metered parking spots near the beach. There are plenty of amenities, which makes Archibald Park an easy day out. There are two beach volleyball courts, a Snack Shack that sells drinks and snacks and, of course, restrooms and outdoor showers. Covered picnic areas are available as well. Archibald Beach Park has everything you need to spend the entire day relaxing at the beach with the whole family.

15100 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33708, Phone: 727-391-7373

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2.Tampa Beach: Ben T. Davis Beach

Tampa Beach: Ben T. Davis Beach
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Ben T. Davis Beach is a favorite among locals due to its close proximity to the city. In fact, it is the closet beach to Tampa. The beach has soft, powdery, white sand and typically calm water. The beach is also located quite near the Tampa airport, so is easily accessible for tourists who would rather spend time lounging on the beach than traveling to and from their destination. Beach volleyball is a popular pastime at the beach and local teams often come out in full force a couple of days a week. The beach offers stunning sunset views, picnic shelters, and access to the Courtney Campbell Trail, which is a 4-mile multi-use walking and biking trail.

7730 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, FL 33607, Phone: 813-274-8615

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3.Caladesi Island State Park

Caladesi Island State Park
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The beach at Caladesi Island State Park is one of the most beautiful beaches on our list, and even in the country. The beach is secluded and natural with virtually no manmade features. Plenty of beautiful shells wash up on the unspoiled shores, making it ideal for shell hunters and those who appreciate nature. The beach is quiet and offers gorgeous white sand and teal-hued water. You can only reach the island by boat, which comes to the beach from the mainland several times a day. The beach is perfect for those who appreciate a pristine getaway without all of the crowds you will find at some of the more popular beaches on our list.

1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, FL 34698, Phone: 727-469-5918

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4.Best Beaches near Tampa: Clearwater Beach

Best Beaches near Tampa: Clearwater Beach
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Clearwater Beach is one of the most popular and busiest beaches in this part of the state. The beaches are well-kept and groomed each day and feature a number of great amenities. The area has many attractions, which draw families and adventurous tourists who would rather be out doing something than just sitting on the beach. Activities include fishing and dolphin-watching excursions, pleasure boating trips, an aquarium, seafood restaurants, clubs, and night clubs. There are always exciting events happening at Clearwater and each evening crowds congregate near the pier to experience the sunset celebration, complete with live entertainment and a small craft market.

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5.Tampa Beach: Davis Island Beach

Tampa Beach: Davis Island Beach
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Davis Island was constructed by filling two small natural islands with mud that was scooped from Tampa Bay in the 1920s. The island was named after local resident and developer, D.P. Davis. His vision was to create a vacation community with a variety of amenities such as hotels, an airport, and golf courses. The development never quite reached the level of the developer’s dream, but the beaches remain a popular vacation destination for Tampa residents. The beach is often crowded with anchored boats so it’s not the best choice for swimming. Visitors come to relax in the sun, have a picnic, and enjoy the off-leash dog area. There is a boat ramp for launching canoes and other boats. Things to Do in Tampa

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6.Beaches near Tampa: Egmont Key State Park

Beaches near Tampa: Egmont Key State Park
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Egmont Key State Park is a state park located on Egmont Key, which primarily exists as a wildlife refuge. The park has an interesting history, some remnants of which can still be seen on the island, including a historic lighthouse that was built in 1858. The island housed captured Seminoles during the 19th century and later served as a base for the Union Navy. Fort Dade was constructed on the island in 1898 and can still be seen today. The island is quite remote and has virtually no amenities. There is no drinking water available, so be sure to pack plenty of supplies including food, water, and sunscreen. In addition to seeing the interesting historic sites and walking the trails, visitors enjoy swimming, watching wildlife, picnicking on the beach, and fishing.

4905 34th Street South #5000, St. Petersburg, FL 33711, Phone: 727-893-2627

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7.Fort De Soto Park

Fort De Soto Park
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Fort De Soto Park is a county park that is well-loved by locals and tourists alike. The park has a beach but there are many other amenities and activities as well. The area known as North Beach has received accolades as the best family beach in the area. A large pirate-themed playground stands at the entrance and welcomes families. The beach has a wide tidal pool, which is perfect for kids to splash and play in. Beautiful seashells are frequently scattered around the beach, including tons of sand dollars. Historic Fort De Soto stands near the middle of the park. Visitors can tour the fort and the small museum located adjacent to it.

3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715, Phone: 727-552-1862

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8.Indian Rocks Beach

Indian Rocks Beach
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Indian Rocks Beach is a wide, white sand beach with little in the way of commercial development. The beach is understated and quiet with plenty of space to stretch out and relax. There are more than 20 public beach access points offering plenty of convenience to get out on the beach from one of the surrounding vacation rental homes. There are few amenities, limited only to showers, parking, and restrooms. However, there are a number of bars and restaurants close-by for when you are ready for a break from the sun and sand. Indian Rocks Beach is perfect for those looking for a quiet beach retreat.

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9.John’s Pass Beach

John’s Pass Beach
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John’s Pass is a charming, turn of the century fishing village located in Pinellas County. The village is known as a shopping and dining destination and features more than a hundred merchants, unique shops, and restaurants serving delicious cuisine. There are a variety of water sports on offer as well as boating activities. John’s Pass is a good place to book a fishing trip or a dolphin watching or shelling tour. The beach is just a short walk away from the shops. Throughout the year, John’s Pass hosts a number of popular festivals, concerts, and other entertainment events and there’s typically something happening for the whole family to enjoy.

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10.Beaches near Tampa: Madeira Beach

Beaches near Tampa: Madeira Beach
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Madeira Beach is a beach city located just west of St. Pete. The beach is most well known for being home of John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk, with it’s ocean-themed tourist attractions, restaurants, and shops. The boardwalk stretches an impressive 1,100 feet along the beachfront. The beach itself is popular with those who come to fish but you will find plenty of locals and tourists relaxing there each day as well. Madeira hosts an annual seafood festival, which brings a large number of visitors to the town to eat delicious local seafood, enjoy great music, and more.

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11.Pass a Grille Beach

Pass a Grille Beach
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Pass a Grille Beach is situated at the southern tip of St. Pete Beach. The beach has the distinction of being the longest section of undeveloped public beach in the United States. The beach is perfect for relaxing and offers several nearby activities and amenities, such as fishing and sunset tours, private excursions, paddleboarding, and more. The beach is located near a town that features a picture-perfect historic district, historical museum, boutique shopping, ice cream shops, outdoor markets, public tennis courts, and restaurants. While at the beach, stop by the grand Don CeSar Hotel for a tour of the massive pink resort hotel or a spa treatment in the hotel’s ultra-posh Spa Oceana.

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12.Redington Beach

Redington Beach
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Once exclusively a “local’s only” beach, this once well-guarded secret is now growing in popularity with tourists. The beach has developed from having only a few small cottages on the beach and has added a few large condo developments. The beach is still fairly quiet compared to many of the other beaches on our list. However, there are a few tasty restaurants and beach bars, with more being added all the time. There is a small parking area that provides public beach access. From this parking area you can walk to restaurants and a few small shops. Redington Beach is perfect for those who wish to have a bit more of a low-key day at the beach or spend a week at a laidback vacation rental or beach cottage.

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13.Sand Key Beach

Sand Key Beach
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Sand Key Beach is located just south of Clearwater but the beach is a much more tranquil destination than its northern neighbor. The beach is family friendly and is flanked by a park with a nature trail. During certain times of the year, sea turtles come to Sand Key Beach to lay their eggs, which can be an exciting treat for children and adults alike. The beach is located on a barrier island in-between the mainland and the Gulf of Mexico. There is a boardwalk, ample parking, picnic facilities, restrooms, and showers. There is also a playground, making the beach a great choice for families with small kids.

1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33767, Phone: 727-582-2100

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14.Beaches near Tampa: St. Pete Beach

Beaches near Tampa: St. Pete Beach
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St. Pete Beach has won awards from the likes of Parents Magazine and TripAdvisor as the best beach in America. The beach is clean, large, and has an especially rich variety of amenities and activities. The nearby town has several old-school motels and inns that will bring to mind the Florida of days gone by. However, if you are looking for more of a luxury experience, there are several beachfront luxury resorts that offer full amenities. There are a ton of activities near the beachfront, including shopping the Corey Avenue district’s many unique shops, dining at beach bars or upscale seafood restaurants, and taking part in one of the many water sports activities on offer, such as stand-up paddleboarding, parasailing, and more. Of course, no one would blame you if you rented a beach-front cabana and spent the entire day relaxing.

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15.Treasure Island Beach

Treasure Island Beach
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If you are looking for a beach with a unique retro vibe, this is it. The beach here is wide with tons of sand upon which to stake your claim for the day. The wide, spacious beach makes kite flying a popular pastime, which is fun whether you bring along a kite to fly or simply sit back and watch the colorful show. A 1-mile paved pathway links a large number of the beachfront hotels, bars, shops, and eateries, making Treasure Island Beach quite easy to get around. The beach is popular with families for it’s fun, laidback atmosphere, large number of amenities, wide sand, and ease of access.

11260 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33706

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15 Best Tampa, Florida Beaches

More Ideas: University of Southern Florida Botanical Gardens

The University of Southern Florida Botanical Gardens located in Tampa , Florida is 16 acres of garden and greenbelt with more than 3,000 species of living plants and animals in natural habitats. More than 35,000 people visit the gardens annually which is also home to plant festivals and research in medical botany, and botany education.

The USF Botanical Gardens was established in 1969 and served as a teaching and research facility throughout the next two decades for the biology department of the university. Greenhouses were added and fencing installed in the 1970’s when temperate and tropical trees and shrubs were planted that can still be seen in the gardens today. The palm garden, wetland forest, and sand scrubs were added into the 1980’s as well as the conservatory where classes and workshops are taught and flowering plants are still displayed.

The 1990’s saw a lot of growth with the building of additional structures and new gardens and an increase in visitor traffic outside of the college and research scientists. Today, the USF Botanical Gardens attract visitors from all over the world and host many special events and botany festivals. The gardens are open to the public 7 days per weeks and closed for federal holiday. There is an admission fee with discounts for children, seniors, and students with valid I.D., and members.

USF Botanical Gardens is located on The University of Southern Florida next to Lake Behnke. The gardens are meant to be strolled through with the trails being accessible from the parking lot. The collection of plants includes fruit trees, palm trees, temperate forests, meat eating plants, tropical and subtropical plants and trees, as well as native species.

There are more than 3,000 living species of plants divided into several individual gardens including the Wetland Forest, Fruit Orchard, Temperate Forest, Flowering Trees, The Butterfly Garden, Florida Native, The Sandhill, Palms, Scrub, Rainforest, Shade Garden, Carnivorous Plants, Cycads, Cactus & Succulents, Bamboo, Grasses, and other flowering species, as well as herbs and a scent garden.

The gardens are also home to over 60 species of birds, many insect species including bee hives in the apiary, cats, gopher tortoises, and several species of butterflies and moths that represent the vast biological diversity of Southern Florida.

Educational Opportunities

The USF Botanical Gardens are used for research by USF students and faculty. Educators from the community may also call the University to schedule field trips during public hours and can also access many educational resources including a full course on Bee Keeping, Landscaping for Central Florida, and Invasive Species with Federal and State regulations all through the USF Botanical Gardens website. Under the Bee Keeping Course, there are 15 different courses that provide instruction for all a bee keeper needs to know to keep a hive successfully operating and producing honey.

Volunteers at USF Botanical Gardens are also more than happy to share gardening tips with visitors and materials are available related to the gardening of cacti, succulents, bromeliads, ethnobotany, and how to make grow boxes specifically. The USF gardens also educates on sustainability and sustainable gardening practices. Volunteers can teach visitors how to make rain barrels and harvest rainwater for use in landscaping.


There are annual and special events that are hosted by and at The USF Botanical Gardens. An events calendar is accessible on the website with updates and the ability to make reservations to special events and ticketing information.

Fall Plant Festival- This annual plant festival typically takes place in October and has been a popular festival for over 25 years. Local vendors sell plant and garden wares, scarecrow displays and information on gardening clubs and societies. There are also workshops and children’s activities.

Taste of Honey Event- The Annual Taste of Honey Event is held in September with tickets available in advance or at the door. More than 100 honeys from around the globe are available to be sampled and purchased at this event that features live music, workshops, and door prizes.

Spring Plant Festival- The Annual Spring Plant Festival features local and commercial vendors that sell their gardening wares and hold workshops with a focus on butterfly plants, free arts and crafts, children’s activities, getting your garden spring ready, and expert gardening advice. This event takes place in April.

Summer Plant Festival- The Annual Summer Plant Festival in June is much like the Spring Festival with a focus on butterfly attracting plants, workshops and gardening. All proceeds support the USF botanical gardens with an admission fee for the public and free parking.

12210 USF Pine Drive, Tampa, FL 33612, Phone: 813-974-2329

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More Ideas: HorsePower for Kids Inc.

What started as a horse farm in the Tampa Bay community, HorsePower for Kids, Inc. is now an farm animal sanctuary. The sanctuary is a non-profit organization that offers a farm experience and petting zoo to the public, organizing several fun and educational camps as well as activities like bonfire ranch parties, horse camps, horseback riding, critter camps, group field trips, and a petting farm for adults and children aged 6 years and older.

HorsePower for Kids, Inc. strives to share its passion for animals by organizing extensive animal interaction events that also benefit the community. Interacting with animals builds one’s emotional quotient while caring for animals teaches responsibility and respect towards vulnerable creatures. The farm prides itself on its impeccable social responsibility towards its community; the farm houses rescued animals and raises donations for the betterment of underprivileged children in the Tampa Bay area and to care for their animals.

Petting Farm - Hands-on interaction with farm animals, including feeding and petting every animal. The session also includes a group discussion and a Q&A session.

Pony Ride - Height-appropriate ponies are led by experienced staff while the visitor gets a chance to sit in the saddle.

Train Ride - A guided train ride around a pond, providing a view of farm animals on one side of the train.

Parties & Services - Celebrate a ranch-themed party with the animals on the farm or arrange for the animals to visit your party location.

Pet Boarding Service - Let the farm take care of yourbeloved pets while you enjoy your holidays. Prices are charged by the day.

Fun on the Farm Program - A free event organized once a month that offers free entrance to their petting zoo, pony rides, train rides, playground, and crafts, and offers lunch when scheduled.

Entrance Fee

· Children and adults are charged at $7 (per person) and the ticket includes a train ride

· Children under 12 months visit the farm for free

· Pony rides are charged an extra $3

· The farm offers annual membership that is valid for a year. Membership for a family of 2 is $50 and $100 for a family of 4.


The farm accepts donations of any amount as they believe no donation is too small. All their proceeds from fundraisers and donations go into taking care of their animals and helping the Tampa Bay community with scholarships and financial aid to underprivileged families.

They accept donations made in person at the farm or online donations via credit card and you can even support them while you shop online at specific sites.

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HorsePower for Kids, Inc., 8005 S. Racetrack Rd. Tampa, Florida 33635, Phone: 813-855-8992

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More Ideas: SS American Victory Mariners Museum

The SS American Victory in Tampa is a World War II ship that is one of four fully operational ships from the period. On board visitors will find a Mariner Museum complete with exhibits dedicated to American maritime history, rare artifacts, war memorabilia, and more throughout nine decks and many rooms.

The SS American Victory was built over the course of 55 days in 1945 as part of a call for 531 ships to be assembled for the war effort of World War II. The ship served in the Korean and Vietnam wars following World War II and was granted a restoration in 1985 that attuned to $2.5 million.

A decade later the SS American Victory was headed for the scrap yard when Captain John C. Timmel decided to acquire it and transport it from Virginia to Tampa Bay where it would serve as a maritime museum. The steamship is still fully functioning in 1940’s era glory. The ship arrived in Tampa Bay in the fall of 1999. After 80,000 hours of restoration time the SS American Victory could sail again on September 20, 2003 with nearly 500 passengers on board.

The SS American Victory is 455 long and 109 feet high weighing over 10 tons. There are 9 decks and a 2 Allis Chalmers marine steam turbine engine that is fully operational, with 500,000 cubic feet of cargo space on board.


The SS American Victory is open 7 days a week with hours posted online. They are closed on certain holidays. Tickets can be purchased on board with discounts for groups of 10 or more and museum members.

Tours- Visitors can relive history through self-guided or docent lead tours of the exhibits. A self guided tour comes with a visitor’s guide received at admission and is a go at your own pace adventure through the ship. Docent lead tours must be booked in advance and a lead by experience and expert docents.

The Ship Store- The ship store offers apparel, souvenirs, artworks, mugs, books, games, and more for visitors. Merchandise is only available in store.

Field Trips- Hour long educational programs are available for school and homeschool group field trips. Students will learn about the life of sailors during wartimes, merchant ship life, and hands on activities for their age level. Tour the cargo holds, radio rooms, wheel house, mess halls, lifeboats, engine rooms, and cabins in the Passage Back in Time Field Trip.

Educator’s Resources- Educators can partner with the SS American Victory for resources on major themes in American history including the women’s suffrage movement, Florida’s maritime history, Corld War Era, World War II, and other educational programs. The programs coincide with the guidelines outlined in Florida’s Sunshine State Standards.

Special Events

The SS American Victory hosts an annual Independence Day Family Fun Fest on July 4th. The evening opens at 6:30pm featuring food, music, adult beverages, and family activities followed by the Channelside fireworks show at dusk. Tickets are needed for admission.

Visitors looking for a private rental option in the Tampa Bay area can rent the SS American Victory with use of both indoor and outdoor spaces for wedding receptions, corporate events, birthday parties, banquets, and other affairs. There are catering options that the SS American Victory staff have as preferred vendors as well as bar service, DJ and Specialty lighting services available through preferred vendors.

Become a Member

Membership has a lot of perks such as discounts on admission to the Florida Aquarium, Henry B. Plant Museum, MOSI during certain months, Armed Forces History Museum, and a discount in the Ship Store with free admission to the SS American Victory. There are also discounts and newsletters that you can receive with membership with all perks subject to change at any time.

There are memberships for students, teachers, individuals, and families. Some of the family membership plans include guest passes, free tickets to special events, and a free behind the scenes tour for the tour tier level of membership.

American Victory Ship is always looking for volunteers in administration, marketing, public events, and educational programs. Maintenance and restoration crew members with valid USCG are always needed as well with volunteers receiving discounts in the store, a free t-shirt and appreciation parties. More information on how to be a volunteer can be found on the SS American Victory website along with a downloadable volunteer packet.

705 CHANNELSIDE DRIVE, TAMPA, FL 33602, Phone: 813-228-876

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