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When I first moved to Florida, I worked for Walt Disney World, smack in the middle of the state. I didn’t know much about the beaches on either side of the state, let alone the Tampa Bay Beaches. While I still live in Central Florida, we try to take a trip to the beach as often as we can.
Over the years I’ve tried out a few different beaches, both Atlantic and Gulf side, and both south and north Florida. I have to say I like the beaches in the Tampa Bay area… which really is known as the St. Petersburg and Clearwater area. (Did you know Tampa isn’t really on the ocean, but on the bay? It’s Clearwater and St. Pete Beach that are ocean side)
Everyone has different expectations for what a great day at the beach means. I tried to write the following recommendations based on different perspectives.
Most travelers think of Clearwater Beach when visiting this area. This bustling area has it all; from vast stretches of white sands, surf shops, restaurants and resorts. Clearwater can be a lot of fun, but get there early if you are looking for a good parking spot. Better yet, stay at one of the many resorts along the beach for full day adventures.
Indian Rocks Beach & Indian Shores
Indian Rocks & Indian Shores are definitely a more “locals” beach and are often less crowded than Clearwater. Parking shouldn’t be an issue at these beaches. Don’t be swayed by the amount of hotels on the western side of Gulf Blvd, you won’t see the beach from the road. But it’s not far beyond parking or the buildings. There are a couple of public areas. Shopping is lighter but the bigger restaurants are popular. You can find a few smaller dining, but you may have to drive a quarter mile if you don’t want to walk.
St. Pete Beach
St. Pete Beach, not to be confused with the city of St. Petersburg, offers miles of white sands and turquoise waters. SPB is certainly more populated, along the lines of Clearwater, and offers many amenities. Plenty of water related rentals are available here, as well as world-class accommodations and dining yet still maintains a laid-back beach vibe.
For my complete list of Tampa Bay Beaches, be sure to check out my full article at The Little Tourist.
Do you have a favorite Tampa Bay area beach? Comment and let me know which is your favorite and why.
Are you visiting Tampa soon? I highly recommend taking advantage of a Tampa City Pass and getting 5 attractions for just a little ore than one you might pay for one. Be sure to go to the zoo, one of my favorite places in Tampa!
More Clearwater Resources