Florida may be best known for being the home of the Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios theme parks, along with a long list of other major attractions that draw in tens of millions of visitors each and every year, but the natural side of the Sunshine State also has a lot to offer. Between mangroves, barrier islands, the Florida Keys, the Everglades, and other exciting natural areas, there’s a lot of diverse wilderness to explore all around the state, and Florida also boasts some of the finest beaches in all of North America.
1. Clearwater Beach
A world-famous beach that almost everyone has heard of, Clearwater has been consistently classed as one of the best beaches not just in Florida, but in all of America. It was named for the shimmering clear waters right off the shore, and it's almost impossible to resist going for a dip at this St Petersburg beach. The sands are simply perfect too, being exceptionally white and cool as you let your feet sink into them. The local area is nicely built-up with good quality restaurants and a Beach Walk area with stores and nightlife spaces. In short, there's a lot to love about Clearwater and it's a must-visit location for any beach enthusiasts in the Sunshine State.
2. St Pete Beach
No mention of St Petersburg beaches can be complete without St Pete Beach itself. This is the main beach of the city and a big hit with both locals and tourists in the area. St Pete Beach runs for several miles and is a hugely popular spot for surfing, paddleboarding, swimming, and other water-based activities. It's also been ranked as one of the best American beaches by several prestigious vacation experts and companies. The great thing about St Pete Beach is all the amenities of the city right nearby like hotels, eateries, bars, and more, so you can have a full day of fun here without needing to worry about anything.
3. Belleair Beach
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Stretching out for over 4,000 feet, Belleair Beach is a far cry from Clearwater in terms of crowds and popularity, but it's arguably just as beautiful. It's a quiet beach and a perfect pick for people who just want to sit back and feel like they've set foot on an almost-private island. The views out to the Gulf waters are breathtaking and the sands are among the softest you'll ever hope to find. Millionaire's mansions line the seafront, giving an exclusive, elegant atmosphere to this secluded space, but there aren't any amenities or concessions, so you'll have to bring your own food and beach gear.
4. Caladesi Island
Often ranked as one of the best beaches in all of Florida, Caladesi Island is another barrier island near St Petersburg. It's only accessible by boat, but it's definitely worth the trip, with pristine powdery sand and lots of useful amenities like concessions, showers, a rental shop, grills, changing areas, and more. The views from this location are simply astonishing and it's a super spot to fire up the grill and enjoy a BBQ with family or friends. Kayaking is especially popular around this area too, with various guided tours exploring the nearby islands.
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5. Honeymoon Island
Technically classed as the Honeymoon Island State Park, this is a barrier island that covers almost 400 acres in total, including around four miles of stunning sandy beaches. It's one of the northernmost beaches in the St Petersburg area but is well worth a visit, especially for nature enthusiasts and keen wildlife spotters. Lots of different bird species can be spotted around the island and there are some super nature trails to hike along. The beaches themselves are warm and welcoming, with a nice Gulf Coast breeze to cool you down on the hottest of days. Dogs are welcome at one of the Honeymoon Island beaches too, and there are lots of activities to enjoy here like kayaking, swimming, and sunbathing.
6. North Redington Beach
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Not far from St Petersburg is North Redington Beach. Boasting white, silky smooth sands and shimmering waters, this is another of Florida's best Gulf Coast beaches. There's a huge fishing pier here which is a lovely spot to walk along and admire the sunset in the evenings, and the beach itself is ideal for sunbathing, reading, and simply relaxing with friends and loved ones. It's a very large, wide beach with a lot of space, so you'll never feel crowded out at North Redington Beach, even on the busiest of days.
7. Archibald Memorial Beach Park, Madeira Beach
Comfortably nestled between 2 tall condo buildings on Gulf Boulevard, this beach is one of the most popular and laid-back beaches in the area. The beach is hidden behind a large dune and access is via 4 wooden walk-overs. You will notice the log-cabin Snack Shack which has not changed since the 70’s when it served local beach-goers. The beach is beautifully maintained and offers a long stretch of clean powdery sand where you can relax on a lounger and listen to the soothing sounds of the waves rolling in. This popular beach can get very crowded on weekends – the best time to visit is early morning.
Archibald Memorial Beach Park, 15100 Gulf Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708,
727 914 6902
8. Romantic St Petersburg Beaches: Maximo Park
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Formerly the private beach-front property of the mid-19th century homesteader Antonio Maximo Hernandez, Maximo Park is a beautiful water-side recreational area which is much loved by the St. Petersburg community. The 70 acre park comprises a small swimming beach, several boat launches and hiking and biking trails. There are large shady trees right beside the beach and a covered playground for younger visitors. There are also restrooms and a brand new 18-hole disc golf course. The beach is perfect for shoreline fishing. There are several picnic shelters which you can rent for your next family gathering or club picnic. The park is easily accessed via Interstate 275.
Maximo Park, 34th Street & Pinellas Point Drive, St. Petersburg, FL 33701,
727 893 7441
9. Fort De Soto Park
Offering stunning natural vistas in all directions, Fort De Soto Park is home to a great diversity of habitats which attract many species of bird life and sea life. The massive park covers more than 1000 acres and links five beautiful islands, all home to mangroves, wetlands, palm hammocks and other essential wildlife refuges. The 3-mile long beach is covered in soft powder-white sands which are perfect for sun bathing. There are 2 large swim centers, a network of wonderful nature and birding trails, an 800-foot boat launch area and 2 fishing piers. You will also find restrooms, picnic shelters and a family camping area.
Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway South, Tierra Verde, FL 33715,
727 582 2100
10. St Petersburg Beaches: Madeira Beach
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Madeira Beach is a great mix of quiet Old Florida fishing village and lively modern beach town. The town is home to 2.5 miles of wonderful beaches which are perfect for swimming, sun-bathing, castle-building and long romantic beach walks. At the southern end there is a rocky outcrop which offers perfect shoreline fishing. If you are looking to do some water sports you will find everything you need at the John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk where you can rent a boat or jet-ski, join a fun dolphin-watching cruise or charter a fishing excursion. There are also many shops to visit and a selection of great places to eat freshly caught fish and sea food.
Madeira Beach, 14995 Gulf Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708, 727 391 9951
11. Pass a Grille Beach
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Pass a Grille Beach is a little slice of pure paradise located at the southern end of St. Pete’s beach. Forming part of the quaint and attractive St. Pete’s Beach historic district, Pass a Grille is reminiscent of an Old Florida vacation town and offers visitors a relaxing alternative to the hustle and bustle of some other beach resorts. The location of the beach, at the very tip of the barrier island boasts more than 350 days of annual sunshine – a hard to beat reason for coming here on vacation. Although the town is relaxed and laid back, you can be in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg in about 20 minutes if you fancy some nightlife.
Pass a Grille Beach, 155 Corey Ave, St. Pete Beach, FL 33706, 727 367 2735
12. Indian Rocks Beach
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The barrier-island communities of Indian Rocks and Indian Shores are the ideal destination for those looking for a quiet and relaxed beach vacation. Although the pristine beaches are generally on the quiet side, the two communities are within easy striking distance of John’s Pass and Clearwater Beach, when you feel the need for a bit of entertainment. Indian Rocks Beach is a long stretch of perfect sandy beach which is wonderful for walking and shell-hunting. You will probably also catch a glimpse of frolicking dolphins in the surf. There are several marine outfitters who have everything you need to get active on the water or on land – they rent out kayaks, paddleboards, bikes and scooters.
Indian Rocks Beach, 1700 Gulf Blvd, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785, 727 595 2517
13. More Info About St Petersburg, FL Beaches
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Everyone will have their own views on the best beaches in Florida. Some will prefer the shores down by Miami on the Atlantic Coast, while others will favor the powdery white sands at locations like Clearwater on the Gulf Coast. The truth is that Florida has an exceptionally long list of awe-inspiring beaches for everyone to enjoy, and almost all of the state’s major coastal cities have their own selection of super shoreline locations, including St Petersburg. Often known by locals at St. Pete, this Gulf Coast city is located in Pinellas County. With some of the whitest sands and warmest waters around, along with plenty of barrier islands to visit, St Petersburg beaches are simply breathtaking.
Best Beaches in St Petersburg, FL
St Petersburg is home to some of Florida’s finest and prettiest beaches. There are at least a dozen world class beach locations to be found in the city and surrounding area, so it can be quite hard to choose between them. We're here to help, providing brief breakdowns and key details on each beach to help you decide which one to visit first. Read on to learn all about them.
What are the 12 Best St Petersburg, FL Beaches?
The 12 Best St Petersburg, FL Beaches according to local experts are:
More Ideas: Skyway Fishing Pier
Situated in Tampa Bay, Skyway Fishing Pier State Park is in St. Petersburg, Florida. Perfect for serious anglers and families alike, Skyway Fishing Pier State Park boasts the word’s longest fishing pier, and visitors can enjoy fishing and kayaking amidst the natural beauty of the park.
Before the Skyway Fishing Pier, Tampa Bay was the location of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which was constructed in 1954. For decades, the bridge functioned as planned, but when a 1980 storm caused a collision that killed 35 people, part of the bridge was destroyed. Nevertheless, the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built in 1987.
The remnants of the old bridge would then become what is known today as the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. Transformed into a pier, this structure was finished in 1994. Today, the bridge Sunshine Skyway Bridge remains and is lit at night to illuminate the bay.
Open 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, Skyway Fishing Pier State Park allows visitors to enjoy outdoor recreation at any hour of the day and on any day of the year.
Fishing – Visitors come from all over to enjoy fishing at Skyway Fishing Pier. Guests can park their cars just steps away from the pier, which offers added comfort and convenience to all-day fishers. The nearby bridge is illuminated at night, which allows for clear views of the water no matter what time of the day it is. Skyway Fishing Pier also rents out fishing poles, so lack of equipment should not prevent less experienced anglers from visiting. Guests may need a current fishing license to fish at Skyway Fishing Pier.
Kayaking – Visitors to Skyway Fishing Pier can also enjoy the water up close from a kayak. Whether bringing their own kayak or enjoying a guided tour by an outside company, visitors can fish from these boats, travel along the bay, or simply float in the tranquil waters.
Sightseeing and Photography – Guests adore the unparalleled view that the Skyway Fishing Pier offers. The tranquility of the water and the view of the sky create the opportunity to see gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, although the pier is beautiful at any time of the day. Photography buffs can also enjoy the lovely backdrop provided by the bay.
Natural Environment – The beauty of the Skyway Fishing Pier makes it the perfect site for all tourists, whether they want to fish or not. Tampa Bay hosts a wide variety of fascinating fish native to the area that can be spotted from the pier, as well as the occasional dolphin.
Although the pier does not offer formal tours or field trip opportunities, Skyway Fishing Pier does present an initiative that educate the public about the environment.
Waterbird Entanglement – Working with Audubon Florida Coastal Islands Sanctuaries and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Skyway Fishing Pier has begun teaching fishers at the pier how best to handle water birds that become tangled in fishing tackle. Fishers can become experts in disentangling birds and disposing of fish carcasses safely. Helpful informational brochures can be found at the pier and also on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website.
The Skyway Fishing Pier’s historical relevance as the site of the 1980 Skyway Collision, as well as its scientific significance as a natural habitat for a variety of aquatic creatures, make it the perfect place for hands on learning.
Special events at Skyway Fishing Pier State Park are rare, but interested visitors can check the park’s website for an updated schedule of events.
Dining and Shopping
For dining and shopping alike, the Skyway Fishing Pier offers two bait shops. Not only can guests purchase supplies related to fishing, such as bait and tackle, but they can also enjoy a variety of beverages, snacks, and sandwiches. The Skyway Fishing Pier Bait Shops are open 24 hours to serve clientele at all hours, but availability throughout the year, particularly on holidays, may vary.
No alcoholic beverages are permitted on the pier, but visitors may bring outside food onto the pier. Guests can pack their own snacks, and for full meals, the nearby town of St. Petersburg has a variety of dining options to suit all tastes. Nighttime visitors should plan ahead, as not all restaurants in the area have 24 hour service.
4905 34th Street South #5000, St. Petersburg, FL 33711
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