Averaging 361 days of sunshine a year, Tampa is the ideal beach destination. There are many great things to do in Tampa. 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.
1. 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. Check out these fun day trips from Tampa to explore the nearby area.
Archibald Beach Park, 15100 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33708, Phone: 727-391-7373
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2. 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. Dine at the best romantic restaurants in Tampa on your trip.
Ben T. Davis Beach, 7730 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa, FL 33607, Phone: 813-274-8615
3. 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. Tampa Bay Beaches are free and relaxing.
Caladesi Island State Park, 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin, FL 34698, Phone: 727-469-5918
4. Clearwater Beach
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Clearwater 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.
Clearwater Beach Map
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5. 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. Browse our things to do in Florida guide for more ideas.
6. Egmont Key State Park
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Egmont Key State Park is 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. Check out our list of free things to do in Tampa on vacation.
Egmont Key State Park, 4905 34th Street South #5000, St. Petersburg, FL 33711, Phone: 727-893-2627
7. 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. Find the best Tampa resorts that fit your budget.
Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S., Tierra Verde, FL 33715, Phone: 727-552-1862
8. 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. Browse our best places to visit in Florida guide for more ideas.
9. 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. Read about the best things to do in Tampa with kids.
10. 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 Beach
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. Florida beaches offer a cheap way to relax and enjoy.
11. 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.
Pass a Grille 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. Read about the best Florida weekend getaways for an extended stay.
12. 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. Redington 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.
13. 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.
Sand Key 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. Browse Tampa Resorts
1060 Gulf Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33767, Phone: 727-582-2100
14. 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. St. Pete Beach Map
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15. 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. Explore more Beaches in Southern Florida.
Treasure Island Beach, 11260 Gulf Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL 33706
16. Picnic Island Park
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Picnic Island Park is a relatively unknown park in south Tampa which is just perfect for a family day out. The ocean-side park is spacious and seldom becomes crowded and offers very good amenities. These include several large (bookable) picnic shelters which are ideal for children’s birthday parties and other family get-togethers.
The beach is a beautiful strip of white sand, lapped by placid waters which are perfect for younger children. Other amenities include a wide concrete boating and fishing pier, clean restrooms and a sandy children’s playground. There is also a fenced-off dog beach, volleyball courts and a disc golf course.
Picnic Island Park, 7409 Picnic Island Blvd, Tampa, FL 33616-2000, 813 274 8615
17. Honeymoon Island State Park
Honeymoon Island State Park is located a short drive from Tampa where it provides an ideal escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Perfect for long romantic beach walks, the park is home to a 4-mile stretch of pristine sandy beach as well as a 3 mile hiking trail through one of the last remaining strips of slash pine forest in the region. Besides exploring the beautiful ocean shore, visitors can enjoy exceptional bird watching in this park. Other activities include swimming, fishing, hunting for sea shells, hiking and cycling. At the south end of the beach there is a special dog beach for your fur-baby to enjoy.
Honeymoon Island State Park, #1 Causeway Blvd, Dunedin, FL 34698, 850 245 2157
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