Anchored by the cities of Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg, the Tampa Bay area offers 26 miles of beaches along the blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Two major airports serve Tampa Bay – Tampa International Airport (TPA) and St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport (PIE).
Tampa and Clearwater, Florida Beaches
Clearwater Beach – adjacent to the city of Clearwater and very near the city of Tampa – is the most popular of the northern beaches. Heavily populated by both tourists and full-time residents, many activities, restaurants, and nightclubs are located here. Clearwater Beach has a large marina and fishing pier, Pier 60.
Those wanting a quieter beach experience in the northern Tampa Bay area should visit Honeymoon Island State Park or Caladesi Island State Park. Both of these uninhabited islands are located north of Clearwater. Honeymoon Island is connected to the mainland by the Dunedin Causeway and Caladesi Island can be reached by ferry from Honeymoon Island. Just south of Clearwater Beach, Sand Key Park is another quiet alternative.
Sand Key Beaches
Several beach communities farther south along Sand Key offer a balance between the quiet state parks and boisterous Clearwater Beach. Indian Rocks Beach features public beach access with parking and showers on every block. Redington Beach has a fishing Pier. At the southern end of Sand Key, Madeira Beach is the home of the John’s Pass Boardwalk. Rental condominiums are very popular in these communities and many dining and shopping options are nearby.
St. Petersburg, Florida Beaches
Several southern Tampa Bay beaches are located close to St. Petersburg. St. Pete Beach on Long Key is a major tourist destination boasting luxurious resorts as well as mom-and-pop motels and charming bed and breakfasts. This beach town also features a historic shopping district.
Historic Pass-A-Grille with quaint inns and shops lies at the southern tip of Long Key. Just to the north of St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island offers very wide beaches and accommodations to please any family as well as numerous restaurants and stores.
Fort De Soto State Park lies at the mouth of Tampa Bay, just south of the high-end residential area of Tierra Verde. Composed of five interconnected islands, the park boasts many features including pristine beaches, fishing piers, nature trails, and camping facilities.
Tampa Bay Vacations
Outdoor activities abound throughout the Tampa Bay area and many beach communities offer rentals of boats, jet skis, sailboards, and canoes. Over 20 public golf courses are located in Pinellas County alone. The Suncoast Beach Trolley provides shuttle service along the entire stretch of gulf beaches from Clearwater Beach down to Pass-A-Grille.
With close proximity to Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater, Florida, visitors on the Tampa Bay beaches have access to museums, aquariums, amusement parks, zoos, and even a casino. Baseball fans can see a major or minor league game. But nothing can beat a stunning gulf sunset viewed from the soft white sand of a Tampa Bay beach.