Redington Beach is so small that you might miss the sign indicating it on Gulf Boulevard, mistaking it for a residential enclave of bustling Madeira Beach to the south.
The town, which has a population of about 1,500 people, stretches for about a mile from 158th to 164th avenues. The main street has no storefronts or restaurants, but there is a nice little sliver of beach tucked away behind the waterfront homes.
Charles Redington, an Indiana developer, purchased the area that became Redington Beach, North Redington Beach, and Redington Shores in the 1930s, when Pinellas County’s barrier islands were mostly deserted.
Redington built his own house in Redington Beach – it’s still standing, albeit renovated and expanded several times – and the building boom began. In 1944, the town was incorporated.
The peace and quiet is the real draw of Redington Beach, but tourists don’t have any real reason to visit (unless they know someone who lives there). It’s a sleepy little hamlet, and the residents prefer it that way. But it makes for a great respite from the miniature golf courses and daiquiri bars surrounding the community.
The 100–foot–wide beach offers all the scenery without any of the crowds. At any given time, chances are good that the only people on Redington Beach are residents or their guests.
This is great if you’re looking for relative solitude. There’s no loud music, plenty of elbow room and the odd game of volleyball or cornhole set up near million–dollar backyards. Several beachfront rentals (condos and houses) are available, so many parts of the day you’d end up with essentially your own private beach.
As an added bonus for those in the know, this is one of those rare beaches that doesn’t seem to have any rules prohibiting alcohol. As of this writing, there was no ordinance specifically barring alcohol or glass bottles on the beach. Proceed accordingly, but be sure to double check, just to be sure.
La Contessa, a beachfront condo on the northern end of town, has a pier that juts out into the Gulf of Mexico that offers stellar sunset views. The catch is that the pier is private, and is blocked by a gate that keeps outsiders from strolling or trolling.
Be aware that dogs are prohibited on the beach, but the pair of golden retrievers we saw on our last visit didn’t seem to care.
There’s plenty of public access to the waterfront for a town this size, with five beach approaches wedged between houses every block or two. Crosswalks help you traverse Gulf Boulevard at 163rd, 161st and 158th avenues.
Keep in mind that people are supposed to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, but there’s no guarantee they will.
Getting to Redington Beach
The 2 main airports in the area are Tampa International Airport (TPA) in Hillsborough County and St. Pete–Clearwater International Airport (PIE) in Pinellas County. Multiple carriers service TPA, while most flights to and from PIE are run by Allegiant. There are many ground transportation options at both airports.
Redington Beach is on State Road 699, known locally as Gulf Boulevard. The closest way to access the island from the mainland is to take the Tom Stuart Causeway (150th Avenue) from Seminole in Pinellas County, via Alternate U.S. Hwy 19, a.k.a. Seminole Boulevard. If you’re driving in from St. Petersburg, Alt 19 is Tyrone Boulevard.
You’ll likely need a rental car to get around if you plan on exploring. If you’re sticking close to the area you have some options. Some businesses in North Redington Beach and Madeira Beach are within relatively easy walking distance, but we’d suggest walking those miles on the sand. Sidewalks on Gulf Boulevard here are right next to the road, making the experience a bit too hectic for a leisurely stroll.
Uber and Lyft are available. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority operates its Suncoast Beach Trolley service along the length of Gulf Boulevard, with stops clearly marked. A schedule is here.
You can access the islands by taking Interstate 275 or U.S. Hwy 19 into Pinellas County, then heading west on a main artery.
In Redington Beach, which has limited parking, there’s a hidden gem at 164th Avenue and First Street East. Adjacent to a playground, it’s a block east of Gulf Boulevard, two blocks from the beach. The small gravel strip, which can accommodate about a dozen vehicles, has no signs that limit or prohibit parking.