Explore St. Pete/Clearwater’s beautiful Gulf Coast beaches and beach towns, from north to south.
When you see its stunning beaches, experience the endless fun and enjoy the numerous dining and entertainment options, you'll understand why Clearwater Beach was voted the "Best Beach Town in Florida" by USA Today readers in 2013. There's truly something for everybody here. This is small, walk-able beach community and the pedestrian-friendly Beach Walk Promenade and colorful red and yellow Jolley Trolley make it even easier to explore.
Beaches: Beautiful white sand and clear, shallow water make Clearwater Beach an ideal playground for families, but everyone loves a beach this gorgeous. From the activity along the brick-paved, palm-lined Beach Walk Promenade – a great place to walk, bike and enjoy beach vistas – to the natural shores of Sand Key Park, you're sure to find your perfect spot in the sand. For a truly laid-back beach experience, rent a cabana and beach umbrella from a local vendor, or walk toward the more residential north side of the beach for a little serenity away from the bustling scene of Pier 60 and Clearwater Marina.
Attractions & Entertainment: Clearwater Beach's fun, energetic vibe extends well beyond the beach. Kids and parents alike will delight in the excitement of a number of boat excursions – from pirate cruises and dolphin watch tours to sunset sails and fine dining yachts. Discover sea life encounters at Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter, star of the hit movie Dolphin Tale. Nightly sunset celebrations at world-famous Pier 60 feature street performers, musical entertainment, kids' activities, arts & crafts vendors and, of course, enchanting views as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico. Parasailing and water sports are also abundant here. After the sun sets, adults will also love the variety of dining and nightlife options along the beach, ranging from casual to upscale. Two side-by-side beachfront favorites offering true "toes-in-the-sand" fun are Frenchy's Rockaway Grill and the Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill & Bar.
Accommodations: In true Clearwater Beach style, you can also choose from a variety of accommodations options, located directly on the beach or just a few blocks away on the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway. Experience beachfront pampering at luxury resorts, enjoy ultimate convenience at middle-of-the-road chain and local hotels, or revel in the laid-back, Old Florida feel found at smaller inns, motels and rentals.
Full of old-fashioned neighborhood charm, the City of Belleair Beach is an upscale residential community that’s set on a barrier island. A variety of folks call it home, including families with children, empty-nesters, retirees and seasonal residents.
Attractions: The town is known for its relaxed atmosphere on two waterfronts – the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway. Residents and visitors can enjoy shopping, sporting events, dining and entertainment within a short drive.
Outdoors: With such a beautiful setting, recreation is a natural. Belleair Beach maintains a considerable number of park facilities, including 4,500 feet of beach with four beach access points, 11 public parks, including Morgan Beach Park, the Causeway beach area, a boat ramp, tennis courts and a small municipal marina.
The tiny enclave of Belleair Shore is perhaps the smallest beach town in Florida in both geographic size and population, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in appeal.
Beaches: Imagine living where your front yard is a private white, sandy beach with uninterrupted views of the Gulf of Mexico. In all, just 61 waterfront properties are nestled along a one-mile-long stretch of beach.
Location: The entire town (all 0.4 square miles of it) lies west of Gulf Boulevard, the two-lane road that runs the length of the island. Belleair Beach is the neighbor to the north, and Indian Rocks Beach sits just to the south.
Attractions: Mostly a residential community, you won’t have to wander far afield to find beach boutiques, fine dining and informal beachfront eats. The activity and excitement of Clearwater Beach are waiting just four miles north of this serene, tranquil town.
Nestled between mile markers 16 and 18 along Gulf Boulevard, Indian Rocks Beach is the place to bask. Sure, you’ll find restaurants and beach bungalows lining Gulf Boulevard, but the real joy is lolling on the barrier island’s wide, white-sand beaches.
Beaches & More: This 2.7-mile-long stretch of beachfront is part of a barrier island set in the Gulf of Mexico, with waterfronts facing emerald Gulf waters and the Intracoastal Waterway. At various points, this small island narrows, allowing for spectacular water views on both sides – and perfect for enjoying both sunrises and sunsets reflected on the water. Find creature comforts at Indian Rocks Beach County Park, with its paved parking, changing and showering facilities and wheelchair accessibility.
Dining: This small beach community offers a wide variety of options when hunger pangs set in. Featured on the Food Network’s "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," Keegan's Seafood Grille is a longtime local favorite. Try the original recipe gumbo or mouth-watering ceviche. Another legendary seafood establishment is Crabby Bill's. Just look for the giant crab on the roof. The relaxed atmosphere, family-style picnic tables and fried soft-shell crabs are always a hit. At Guppy's on the Beach, renowned Chef Scott puts a new twist to old seafood favorites. Sample the Tandoori Crusted Swordfish with walnuts and bleu cheese crumbles.
Accommodations: Indian Rocks Beach offers a range of places to stay including quaint beach cottages sprinkled between lavishly appointed beach condos. You won't find any large chain hotels along the Gulf side of the beach, but you will find the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Harbourside directly on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Indian Shores is a quiet beach community south of Indian Rocks Beach that’s popular with everyone from to snowbirds and seabirds. The town’s residential quality and its variety of shops, restaurants and accommodations help visitors to Indian Shores feel right at home.
Beaches: Indian Shores has more than two miles of sandy Gulf Coast beaches to enjoy, whether your preferred activity is swimming, shelling, sunbathing or fishing. The Tiki Gardens public beach access, formerly a well-known tourist attraction, offers restrooms, showers and plenty of parking.
Attractions: One area favorite is the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, one of the largest nonprofit bird hospitals in the United States. Dedicated to the care and release of injured birds, the sanctuary is open daily, and admission is free. Pay a visit to Town Square Nature Park and take a stroll on its 800-foot boardwalk, which winds through beautiful, natural Florida landscapes on its way to a fishing pier. Or visit Mayor Bob McEwen Veterans Park, located on the Intracoastal Waterway. The park has picnic benches, barbecue grills and excellent fishing.
Wide, white-sand beaches, abundant fishing, boating, parks and plentiful wildlife – find it all in Redington Shores. This lively beach town is close to shopping, water sports, recreation, golfing, arts, attractions and theme parks, and convenient to both area airports.
Activities: Come watch the sunrise over Boca Ciega Bay, and later, enjoy the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Go shelling along the shoreline, or check out the well-known Redington Long Pier, a 1,021-foot-long haven for fishermen, sightseers and seabirds including pelicans, herons and terns. Find a bench and sit a spell, taking in the fabulous surroundings.
Looking for a relaxed vacation? The pace is slow and friendly here. Pristine beaches and sparkling waters draw residents and visitors alike to the community of North Redington Beach, which is close to all the major attractions in the St. Petersburg/Clearwater area.
Beaches: North Redington Beach offers almost a mile of beautiful beaches that slope gently into the Gulf of Mexico. These shores are perfect for low-key relaxation.
Attractions: Although a quieter area, North Redington Beach’s central location means that museums, art galleries and boutiques are not far from your home base. Along the beach, visitors will find a number of local shops and restaurants. Two playground areas and two tennis courts are also available for residents and visitors.
Accommodations: There are plenty of welcome mats for visitors in North Redington Beach. From the mix of condominiums, apartments, hotels and motels available here, you’re sure to find a perfect place to stay.
One square mile of beachside fun, Redington Beach has great neighbors: The town is bordered by North Redington Beach to the north, Madeira Beach to the south, the Intracoastal Waterway on the east and the Gulf of Mexico on the west.
Attractions: This small beach community has a residential ambience, but there’s plenty to explore, including four parks, five public beach accesses, a causeway with benches for relaxing and fishing, and a community recreation area with basketball courts and a large playground. Spectacular sunrises and sunsets are also a major draw, and like snowflakes, no two are alike.
Transportation: Everything a visitor would want – shopping, restaurants, fishing, boating and attractions – is close at hand. Eager to leave the car behind? Ride the Beach Trolley and use the fish mile markers posted throughout the beach communities to find your way.
Known as the Grouper Capital of the World, Madeira Beach (known colloquially as Mad Beach) offers beautiful Gulf Coast beaches, big-time fun and (obviously) delectable seafood.
Beaches: First, head to the beach: The sun, white-sand beaches and emerald-turquoise waters invite swimming, sunning and diving. Be a beachcomber for the day, or just sit and watch the action from the shade of a beach umbrella.
Attractions: You can’t visit Madeira Beach without making a stop at John's Pass Village & Boardwalk. An outdoor shopping and dining complex, it has more than 100 stores and restaurants (including Bubba Gump Shrimp Company), many sporting tin roofs and featuring water views. From the marina here, go deep-sea fishing, take a dolphin-watching cruise or rent WaveRunners.
Events: Madeira Beach hosts the annual John’s Pass Seafood Festival, held the last weekend in October. Taste fresh grouper and other seafood, while enjoying the arts, crafts and entertainment that round out this popular event. In May, dig out your eye patches and pirate hats for the annual John Levique Pirate Days, a three-day, pirate-themed event that includes costume contests, a treasure hunt and the Pirates Ball.
Bordered by John’s Pass to the north and Blind Pass to the south, Treasure Island is a unique blend of laid-back beach community and internationally known family vacation destination.
History: Treasure Island got its name from an early hotel owner who buried and then "discovered" a couple of wooden chests on the beach. The hotelier claimed that the chests were filled with "treasure," news of the discovery spread quickly and people began calling the area Treasure Island. The name stuck.
Beaches: The main draw for today’s visitors is still the town’s three miles of white, sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. Go swimming, shelling, sunning, snorkeling, parasailing and more, or simply walk the beach and enjoy memorable views, especially as the sun sets.
Amenities: As a growing destination, Treasure Islands boasts a number of hotels, restaurants and attractions. Accommodations here cater to all price ranges, and numerous beach bistros offer great places to relax. Walk the mile-long Treasure Island Beach Trail for convenient access to the motels, restaurants and bars that make up the heart of Treasure Island.
Beautiful, laid-back St. Pete Beach was recently voted TripAdvisor's No. 1 Beach in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world for 2012, based on millions of reviews and opinions from travelers around the world. It comes as no surprise considering its stunning Florida Gulf Coast beaches coupled with varied attractions, breathtaking resorts and local charm. Finding your way around is easy – just hop aboard the Beach Trolley.
Beaches: St. Pete Beach’s sandy shores include the longest undeveloped stretch of public beach in the county at Pass-a-Grille Beach. The area beaches offer a variety of water sports and beachside adventures, from parasailing and stand-up paddleboarding to windsurfing and kiteboarding.
Accommodations: The town's rightfully famous Florida beaches front the Gulf of Mexico and are sprinkled with nostalgic Old Florida motels and inns. But if you’re looking to stay in luxury or just want a photo op with a majestic backdrop, the Loews Don CeSar Hotel, affectionately known as the Pink Palace, is a must-see. The Tradewinds Island Resorts are a favorite of families and couples alike.
Attractions: For a touch of history, visit the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, site of the first church built on the county's barrier islands. For livelier diversions, head to the Corey Avenue district. For over six decades, Corey Avenue has thrived at the heart of St. Pete Beach. There’s a variety of funky specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, the classic Beach Theatre and more, so you can plan to spend an hour or an entire afternoon. Enjoy the Sunday morning fresh market which takes place between October and May. A variety of special events such as art walks, wine tastings and craft festivals also take place throughout the year.
Looking for a glimpse of Old Florida beaches? You’ll find them here. The road to this laid-back beach town doesn’t continue on to anywhere else, and those who know and love Pass-a-Grille wouldn’t have it any other way.
Hidden Gem: Though officially part of St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille begins where Gulf Boulevard passes the Loews Don CeSar Hotel. There’s plenty you won’t find here – high-rises, crowds, shopping malls – so savor the laid-back, relaxed vibe of this community.
Beaches: Four miles of undeveloped, public Gulf Coast beaches along Gulf Way wrap around the end of the key to meet Boca Ciega Bay on the harbor side. Go on a shelling or snorkeling excursion to Shell Key, an uninhabited barrier island, or watch the dolphins play and enjoy gentle sea breezes on a sunset cruise.
Shopping & Dining: Stroll down Eighth Avenue, where you’ll find small galleries, boutiques and restaurants, including the Hurricane Seafood Restaurant, a famous place to savor the area’s spectacular sunsets.
Head south, all the way south, and you’ll reach the boating community of Tierra Verde. Surrounded by water, the community sits at the juncture of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Beaches: The highlight is Fort De Soto Park – 1,136 acres of award-winning Gulf Coast beaches and more set on five islands. In 2011, Parents magazine named it America's best family beach, and it was proclaimed the nation's best beach by TripAdvisor in 2009. The park has plenty to keep your family entertained for a full day and even longer – a historic fort, three miles of white-sand beach, two fishing piers (one on the bay, one on the Gulf), a dog beach, a 6.8-mile-long paved recreational trail, a large family camping area, snack bars and bike, kayak and canoe rentals.
Island Getaway: From Fort De Soto, take a ferry to Egmont Key State Park, an uninhabited (unless you count the scores of gopher tortoises, seabirds and other creatures) barrier island at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Accessible only by boat, Egmont serves primarily as a wildlife refuge. A lighthouse that has stood since 1858 still guides ships past this island, which played a role during the Third Seminole War, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Wander among building ruins and down weed-strewn red brick roads. Then head to the water for swimming, fishing, shelling and snorkeling.